Ephesus History

The earliest findings of human settlement found in Ephesus dates back to late 7th millennium BC ( Cukurici Hoyuk).

Towards the end of 3rd millennium Ayasoluk Hill locates in Selcuk city, was easy to defense and was a perfect  place to be lived for primitive people. Until the early 8th century Ayasoluk remained the only known settlement of Ephesus City.

Ephesus_Curetes_streetIn the Late Bronze Age; human settlement at Ayasoluk was named after Apasa, the capital of the Luwian Kingdom of Arzawa. (16th–13th centuries.) Apasa was the most important power in western Anatolia, which was first a rival, then a vassal of the Hittite Empire.

During 11th century BC; Greeks conquered the coast of western Asia Minor during the so-called Ionian colonization. According to foundation legend of Ephesus, son of Attic King; Androclos took control of Ephesus from local Carians, Lelegians and Lydians. Greeks did not change centre of the city and it remained at Ayasoluk.

After the mid-8th century BC, Ephesus, enlarged as an independent city around Mount Panayir. With great trade opportunities, fertile and defensible land Ephesus City was drawn attention of Lydian Kingdom, shortly after 560 Bc, Lydian King Kroisos conquered the city. After Lydian Kingdom, Ephesus conquered by Persians in 546 BC. Persians ruled Ephesus City until Alexander the Great set Ephesus free in 334 B.C. After death of Alexander, one of his commander Lysimachos, resettled inhabitants in valey between Mount Panayır and Mount Bulbul and named city Arsinoea after his wife Arsinoea. Arsimoea name was not kept after Lysimachos’s death.

Construction of Ephesus City  began fortification wall over 9 km in length around 294 Bc. After that most wellknown buildings of city such as Curetes Street, Commercial Market (tetragonos agora), Theatre, the Stadium, State Agora (Market), Prytaneion, Bouleuterion, etc were built. Residential areas developed on the slopes of the two city-mountains around 3rd century B.C

After last King Attalos III died in 133 B.C, Ephesus was given to Roman Empire as a gift in King’s will. As city was given, it had oppertinities such as free citizenship and ax-exempt status and became part of the Roman Province of Asia.

Marble Street
Marble Street

Ephesus was easy to access to the sea and local products and trade increased economic power of Ephesos in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C., which was to become the Metropolis of Asia (capital city of the Province of Asia) during Roman rule. Ephesus was not only a trade city but also a sanctuary functioned as a credit bank and a pilgrimage centre with population of 250 000 people. City lived its golden age in Roman Era as being permanent headquarters of the Roman provincial administration. Most of the monuments, that have survived nowadays, date back to that Era.

After A.D. 230, Ephesus lost its economic power and importance because of a series of earthquakes, as well as Gothic invasions.

During the Byzantine era, Ephesus was a very important city (5th-6th centuries AD). However city was destroyed again due to an earthquake. Continuously, the harbor of the city  was silted up and city was abundant abandoned during the 15th century as there was no possibility to regain its past days.