The Artemision lies in an unprepossessing hollow west of Selfuk. Other than one reconstructed column, only scattered stones and part of the pavement can be seen and often these are below water since the site is marshy and overgrown. However, visitors with a good imagination and site plan will find their visit deeply rewarding.
Continuing out of Selfuk, a road leads (left) to the Hellenistic and Roman city. Souvenir stalls crowd the entrance. A path leads south to meet the colonnaded ‘Harbour Street’, once the road from the port to the magnificent theatre (capacity 24,500). From here ‘Marble Street’ leads south past the Lower Agora to the much-restored second-century AD Library of Celsus (capacity 12,000 manuscript rolls). The ‘Street of the Curetes’ runs uphill. Right, under a hangar, are Roman houses with breathtaking wall-paintings. Left are latrines. Past a temple of Hadrian and fountain of Trajan are the Odeon, Upper Agora and Magnesian Gate. From the carpark, another track veers off (right) to the Coressian Gate, the stadium and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers.
Ephesus Map Photo Gallery
Ephesus is one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations. In peak season it is hot and packed with slow-moving throngs, whose polyglot presence gives some idea of what Ephesus’ bustling streets must have been like at the city’s commercial height. Those wishing to experience the site’s romance should plan an off-peak visit in the early morning or late afternoon.
To reach Meryem Ana, the House of the Virgin Mary, take the turn-off (right) from the D550 south of Selfuk, which skirts the archaeological site by the Magnesian Gate, and continue several miles up the winding road towards the summit of Mount Coressus. The reward is a spiritually uplifting place amid tall trees with a spring nearby, clean air and a tranquillity so often lacking at the site below.
Selfuk’s recently renovated archaeological museum contains Roman statues of Ephesian Artemis found in the Upper Agora, architectural details from the Artemision and models of the temple. Among many exhibits are an ivory frieze commemorating Trajan’s Parthian wars and fine sculptures, including one of Androclus. Others, once part of a group associated with a fountain house, represent Odysseus and his companions in Polyphemus’ cave.