The Ephesus Museum, located in Selçuk, displays the findings from the excavations made at Ephesus, the Basilica of St John, the Belevi Tomb Monument, and various places in the surroudings. The highlight of the museum are the two white marble statues of Artemis, the Goddess of Fertility, Abundance and Earth venerated like the former Anatolian mother-goddess Cybele. The bigger statue, known as “Colossal Artemis”, is 2,92 m /9.58 ft high and dates from the 1C AD. The other one, called “Artemis the Beautiful”, is 1,74 m high and dates from the 2C AD. The four rows of protuberances on their chest have been interpreted as differently as breasts, eggs, figs, but according to a more recent theory, they seem to rather represent the testicles of bulls, also a symbol of fecundity (bulls were an object of cult but were also sacrificed to Artemis). The museum also displays an interesting reconstruction of one of the hillside villas excavated at Ephesus, and a gladiator section.

Since 1898 excavations at the city of Ephesus have been conducted by the Austrian Institute of archaeology. The early findings are displayed at the Vienna Ephesus Museum in the Neue Burg. The most important exhibits are the 40 m / 131 ft long frieze of the Parthian Monument and the bronze statue of an athlete from the Hercules - Centaur Group.



Gold figurine
of a woman, 7C BC
The Temple of Artemis (Artemision) was built for the first time in the 6C.BC, and was supported by 127 Ionic columns. It was rebuilt between 334 and 250 BC, after having been set on fire by a madman the same night Alexander the Great was born (23 July 356 BC). Pilgrims came from all over Asia Minor to see the Artemision which was considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World because of its decoration, its monumental dimensions, its magnificence and its luxury. When Christianity became state religion in the 5C AD, the temple was finally destroyed by a fanatic mob, marking the end of paganism. The site became a marble quarry for the Byzantine constructions. On the spot, what is left of this masterpiece are only one single re-erected column and foundation stones. It is located at the exit of Selçuk on the right hand side of the road to Kuşadası.

What could have the Artemision looked like
The Basilica of St John: according to an opinion based on the decisions of, and thus at least as old as the Council of Ephesus held in 431, John the Apostle came to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary. As he was dying on the cross, Jesus entrusted his mother Mary to the care of his beloved disciple John who brought her to Ephesus between the years 37 and 48. John, after 67, spent the rest of his life preaching the Gospel. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos where he wrote the Revelation, and returned to Ephesus in 95. There he lived on top of Ayasuluk hill where he was buried when he died approximately at the age of 100. At the beginning his grave was indicated by a stela placed in a chapel in the 4th century.

The grave of St john

A basilica built by Emperor Justinian (527-565) was dedicated to his memory in the 6th century. The walls constructed around the basilica were reinforced with large marble blocks taken from Ephesus, and an outer wall was added to protect it better during the pirates and Arab attacks in the 7th - 8th centuries. The walls had gates opening to the east, west and south. The main gate is the Persecution Gate (John was twice threatened by death under Emperor Domitian), which was flanked by two high towers. The entrance was through an atrium opening onto the narthex. The three naved basilica, whose dimensions are 40 by 110 m/ 131 by 360 ft, is cruciform. It is made of stone and brick and its roof was once composed of six domes. The grave of St John, today covered with marble, was located under the central dome, that was originally supported by the four columns with spiral flutes. As seen in the model made by the museum, the top of the grave was covered with colored marble mosaics. During the middle Ages, the church was an important place of pilgrimage and it was believed that the fine dust coming out of the grave by the opening located above it, had miraculous and healing properties. On the capitals of the columns on the north side, the monograms of Emperor Justinian and Theodora can be seen. The chapel to the north of the apse was built later in the 10th century and has frescoes among which is one of St. John. Next to the Baptistery is a small buiding, where holy relics were kept. A terrace, with an atrium on top of it, was buit to support the west end of the church. After 1304, when Ephesus came under the Turkish domination, part of the church was converted into a mosque. The basilica was destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 14th century.

The Citadel
is located at the very top of Ayasuluk Hill which overlooks Selçuk. It was built in the 6th century by the Byzantines in order to insure a better protection of Ephesus which, at the time, had weakened considerably. The Seljuks strenghtened and extended the citadel which was used until the early Ottoman period.

Isa Bey Mosque, located below the Basilica of St John, is one the most important work in Turkish transition art between Seljuk and Ottoman periods. It was erected in 1375 for Isa Bey, grandson of the founder of the Aydınoğulları emirate to which Ayasuluk belonged. The architect who built this most unusual mosque was Ali of Damascus. The mosque is composed of a huge courtyard which was surrounded by porticos topped with domes. Today theses colonnades are lost, only a few ancient columns, from the baths and gymnasium of the harbour in Ephesus, are still standing. The octagonal ablution pool has remained.

The entrance to the prayer room, which is composed of two naves covered with a double smooth wooden roof, is made through a gateway with three arches. The mihrab room is topped by two domes supported by four ancient marble columns and capitals. The pendentives are decorated with turquoise and blue enamelled ceramic.

The House of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana) is located in the heights above Ephesus, and can be reached by a 9 km/ 5.6 miles long scenic road leading to the Bülbül Mountain.
According to an opinion based on the decisions of, and thus at least as old as the Council of Ephesus held in 431, John the Apostle came to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary: as he was dying on the cross, Jesus asked his beloved disciple John to take care of his mother.

As John thought it was dangerous for Mary to remain in Jerusalem, between the years 37 and 48, he brought her to Ephesus. Mary lived and ended her days in a remote place while John spent the rest of his life preaching the Gospel.
German nun Anna Katherina Emmerich (1774-1824) who had never been to Ephesus, had visions where she described the last place where the Virgin Mary lived, as beeing a house on the top of a hill at Ephesus. After reading Clemens Brentano’ s book “The Life of the Virgin Mary” containing the revelations of A. K. Emmerich, a clergyman named Gouyet discovered the mentionned place, sent a report to Paris and Rome but was not taken seriously. Ten years later in 1891, H. Jung in turn found the ruins of a “chapel” that corresponded to the descriptions and which was called by the Christian locals Panaghia Capouli: it was a small place of worship with the roof fallen in, the walls in ruin and there was standing a statue of the Virgin Mary with the hands broken off. On his return he convinced P. Eugene Poulin, Superior of the Lazarists in Izmir, to accompany him with a scientific research team. Restoration works were made until 1894. In 1950-51, during the excavations made before the construction of a church, a sacred spring with rather salted water and curative properties, was discovered.
This place was officially declared a shrine by the Roman Catholic Church in 1896. It was sanctifìed by Pope Paul VI in 1967, after the Vatican confirmed that the Virgin Mary had spent the last years of her life here. Since John – Paul II’ s visit in 1979, it has become a popular place of pilgrimage and every year, on August 15th a ceremony is organized to commemorate Mary's Assumption.
Mass is celebrated here every morning at 7:30 and on Sunday mornings at 10:30.

The Selçuk "Camel Wrestling Festival" takes place every year in January. Camel wrestling is now mostly restricted to the Aegean region, although it was once widespread to a greater part of Anatolia.

12 km/ 7.5 miles south of Selçuk and 14 km/ 8.7 miles east of Kuşadası is Çamlık village, famous since 1991 for its Steam Engine Museum (Buharlı Lokomotif Müzesi) which displays one of the largest steam engine collection in Europe. Çamlık station was on the former ORC line, the oldest line in Turkey. As it is located at the highest and most difficult part of the line, with steep gradient and sharp curves, the station has been disused (except for a slow local train operating between Selçuk and Ortaklar) since the Izmir - Aydın main line has been following a new route . The museum also displays two interesting hand powered quay cranes among other miscellaneous items.

Ephesus II