The remarkable Greco-Roman archaeological site of Ancient Ephesus dating back to the 11th century B.C. It has been painstakingly excavated and restored and is one of the world’s most fascinating sites of antiquity. Ephesus flourished as a prominent city and seaport between 600 B.C. and 500 A.D.
We will begin our private walking tour along Royal
Road also known as the
Arcadian Way, a 4th century white marble chariot thoroughfare whose most striking sight is the two-story Library of Celsus.
Uniquely beautiful, with its restored facade now the famed symbol of Ephesus, the Library once housed 12,000 scrolls of papyrus manuscripts making it the 2nd largest in the ancient world after the library in Alexandria, Egypt.
Your walk along the Royal Road will also take you past the remains of some of the ancient city’s major civic buildings and temples as you move toward the
Ephesus Theater from which St. Paul once preached to the Ephesians. The theater, seating 25,000 has exceptional acoustics and is still in use today for concerts and theatrical performances.
You will also visit the ongoing excavations of the Greco Roman PALACES the
"Elite Yamac Homes of
Antiquity" (Terrace Houses) with their magnificent mosaics and frescoes being restored by archeologists as you visit the site.
In addition to the historic monuments, your tour will also include a visit to the
House of The Virgin Mary, a lovely little chapel set in the hills behind Ephesus believed to be Virgin Mary’s last home.
At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel or to the pier.
Priene, Miletus and Didyma
Scenic drive south from Kusadasi to
Priene. The city is not especially large, but has an unusual intimacy and charm, in part because so many private houses have survived. All the monuments they will see date from the Hellenistic period (that is to say, between the death of Alexander and the coming of Rome) and all of them are aligned according to a strict grid-plan of the kind perfected by Hippodamos a native of
neighboring Miletus. They include a
Temple of Zeus, a council chamber, and a small theatre. But
Priene's greatest treasure is its
Temple of Athena, which was considered the masterpiece of the architect Pytheos who also designed the Mausoleum at Halicarnassos (Bodrum).
You will next cross the broad flood-plain of the River Meander (Turkish Buyuk Menderes) to
Miletus. This was once a major port but silt brought down by the River
Meander blocked its harbor centuries ago, and it is now several miles from the sea. The city is laid out according to a grid-plan designed by Hippodamos, which centers on three spacious agoras, but perhaps the most striking features of the site today are the
Baths of Faustina and the massive Roman theatre. Due to the silting of its
harbor, Miletus inevitably declined, but it seems to have enjoyed something of a revival in the 14th and early 15th centuries when the Mentese emirs of Milas built the Mosque of Ilyas Bey on the site. With its polychrome stonework and delicate relief carving, this is one of the loveliest buildings in Western Turkey.
A paved Sacred Way led from Miletus to
Didyma. This was not a true city but rather a sacred precinct centering on a colossal Temple of Apollo that was surrounded by a double colonnade of no less than 108 columns. Work on the temple continued for 500 years, but its design was so ambitious that, when work was abandoned in the 4th century AD, it was still unfinished. But even unfinished and ruined, the temple at Didyma remains one of the most awe-inspiring monuments to be found anywhere around the Eastern Mediterranean.