Ephesus is one of the most ancient cities of the world and it has played a very important role as a capital city during ancestry. Located on the west coast of Asia Minor, it joined the Ionian League during the period of the Classical Greece. Later on, during the Roman Empire era, Ephesus grew to the second largest city (after Rome)and it was inhabited by 250,000 people in the 1st century AD.
Culture, commerce, arts and science bloomed in Ephesus as it is proved by the remains of its ancient buildings, especially those that were constructed during the Roman era.
Celsus’s Library is one of the most brilliant and best preserved buildings of Ephesus proving the fact that its habitants were highly interested in Knowledge. The Library was built in 114-117 AD by Consul Gaius Julius Aquila to pay honors to his father. The visitors are, even today, welcomed by four statues on the front side of the library, which depict Wisdom, Virtue, Intellect and Knowledge.
The Great Theatre of Ephesus is a very big structure which could host 25,000 people. It consisted of 22 flights of stairs divided into three semi-circular rows and its diameter was 50 meters long. It was framed by three walls (left, right and front sides). Located on the foot of Panayir mountain, it was positioned at the beginning of the Harbor Street. Spectators used to watch sports, theatrical plays, musical performances and, during the roman period, gladiatorial combats were carried out in it. The audience was usually composed of people who came from far away such as Athens, Jerusalem etc.
A smaller theatre called Odeon or Boulefterion had also been constructed in ancient Ephesus by Vedius Antonius during the 2nd century AD. Concerts and plays were presented to the audience which might consist of almost 1,500 spectators. It was decorated with red granite pillars in the Corinthian style and it consisted of 22 stairs and two entrances on both sides of its semi-circular construction which led to the upper parts of the theatre through some steps.
Ephesus has also been connected with one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, which was located close to the ancient city. Its construction lasted 120 years and it was completed in around 550 BC. Unfortunately, nowadays only the ruins of the temple have survived.
The ancient site of Ephesusis under continuous excavation and a great part of its sites are restored.