The ‘Burbs of Ephesus

Earlier today, I posted about “Downtown” Ephesus, but there are actually several more sites of historical significance around Ephesus. I’m referring to these sites as the suburbs of Ephesus.

House of the Virgin Mary

This house was discovered in the 19th century, but the Catholic Church has never proclaimed whether or not they support its authenticity. Regardless of that fact, many Catholics set forth on a pilgrimage to visit the site. Several popes have also visited the house. It is believed that Mary was taken to the house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption.

Side note: I don’t believe in all of this “virgin” hoo-ha. I’m pretty sure she was getting it on in this tiny house. I know…I’m a heathen.

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Basilica of St. John

The basilica was built in the 6th century in the shape of a cross (cruciform) with six massive domes. The brick foundations and marble walls have been partially reconstructed, but the ruins aren’t quite as grand as the remains elsewhere in the area. However, if they were to fully reconstruct the cathedral to its original form, it would be the 7th largest in the world! Pretty impressive for something that was built in the 6th century.

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Temple of Artemis

Ephesus’s greatest claim to fame was the Temple of Artemis. Although not much remains today, it was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Represented now by just one pillar, it was actually about four times bigger than the Parthenon in Athens. Wow!

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“Downtown” Ephesus

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The ancient city of Ephesus contains one of the largest collections of ancient ruins. Even though only about 15% of the site has been excavated, tourists are able to see the grandeur of this ancient city. Ephesus was a major Roman city second in size (and importance) only to Rome. At its height in the second century, about 300,000 people lived there.

City street
City street

The Library of Celsus is probably the most well-known structure in Ephesus. It was built around 100 AD and then destroyed during an earthquake around 270 AD. The library was not rebuilt after the earthquake, but the front façade was re-erected in 1970. Celsus was the 3rd largest ancient library (after Alexandria and Pergamon) and once held about 12,000 scrolls.

Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus

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The Odeon was a small roofed theater built around 150 AD with seating for about 1,500 people.

Odeon
Odeon

Ephesus’s outdoor theater is believed to be the largest in the ancient world. This three-tiered theater is built into the slope of a hill and offers seating for 25,000 people!

Outdoor Theater
Outdoor Theater
Temple of Hadrian
Temple of Hadrian

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Hadrian's Gate
Hadrian’s Gate

The Temple of Domitian was one of the largest temples in the city.

Temple of Domitian
Temple of Domitian

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Nike
Nike

And just in case you ever wondered what an ancient public latrine looked like…

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