Ephesus

7 Experiences to Have in Selcuk, Turkey

Julie Turkey 7 Comments

When you visit Selcuk, Turkey, there is more to see than the ancient city of Ephesus. You can also tour a mosque, visit an Ancient Wonder of the World, and see where the Virgin Mary lived after the death of Jesus.

Here are our recommendations of things to do in and around Ephesus.

The Ancient City of Ephesus

Without a doubt, Ephesus is the highlight of a visit to Selcuk. Touring this ancient city is what attracts tourists to this town.

Ephesus (Efes in Turkish) was once an ancient Greek city and later became a Roman city. During the beginning of the Roman period, around 100 BC, Ephesus had a population of 250,000, making it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world.  The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the world.

Ephesus was an important city for early Christianity. The Gospel of John may have been written in Ephesus from 90 to 100 AD. Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean and only 15% of the city may be excavated.

Here are some of the most important places to visit in Ephesus.

Street of Curetes

This is the main thoroughfare through Ephesus.

Marble Road

Library of Celsus

The centerpiece of Ephesus, the Library of Celsus was built in 117 AD. It housed more than 12,000 scrolls, making it the third richest library in ancient times after Alexandria and Pergamum.

Library of Celsus

Library Celsus

Earth Trekkers Ephesus

Temple of Hadrian

This is another impressive structure, with its Corinthian columns and curved arch.

Temple of Hadrian

The Great Theater

This is the most magnificent structure in Ephesus. It was constructed in the Hellenistic period in the 3rd century BC. It contains 25,000 seats, half of that of the Roman Colosseum. The theater was used for concerts, plays, political discussions, and gladiator and animal fights. Kara uses it for dancing.

Great Theater

Kara Dancing

Ephesus Turkey

Odeon Theater

This was an enclosed theater used for meetings of the Senate and concert hall performances. At one time, before excavations of Ephesus, this entire theater was completely underground.

Odeon Theater

The Terraced Houses

The Terrace Houses of Ephesus are located just opposite the Temple of Hadrian. These houses are also called the “houses of the rich” because they were owned by the elite families of the city. Inside there are six buildings decorated with very fine mosaics and frescoes. The time span that the houses were in use varies between 1 century BC up to 7 centuries AD.

Mosaics Ephesus

Terrace Houses Ephesus

To enter the Terraced Houses, you do have to pay €5.00 additional to the entrance fee into Ephesus.

House of the Virgin Mary

This is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. She may have come here with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. It is now a place of pilgrimage for Christians and has been visited by several Popes.

House of Virgin Mary

The Basilica of St. John

The Basilica of St. John was built in the 6th century AD over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. John preached about Christianity in Ephesus, where he lived out his final days.

St John Basilica

Basilica St John

Isa Bey Mosque

This mosque was built between 1374 and 1375. It was constructed asymmetrically, on purpose, with its windows and doors not matching up.

Isa Bey Mosque

Tombstones

The Temple of Artemis

This is one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. One pillar out of 127 remains standing in a boggy marsh in Selcuk. It was built around 323 BC as a shrine to the goddess Artemis. The Isa Bey Mosque and the Basilica of St. John can be seen nearby, and Ephesus is only one mile away. There is so much history right here is such a small geographical area!

Temple of Artemis

Cave of the Seven Sleepers

In the third century AD, seven young men sought refuge in a cave from persecution by Christians, which they avoided by sleeping for centuries. According to legend, they were seen alive over 200 years later.

Cave of the Seven Sleepers

Cave Seven Sleepers

Sirince

Sirince is the “Tuscany of Turkey.” Enjoy views of the green mountains, wander the cobblestoned streets, and have lunch or dinner here. This also makes a nice spot to spend the night if you want to get out of touristy Selcuk.

Sirince Turkey

Sirince Street

Entrance Fees and Hours of Operation

  • Ephesus:  €10; April through October 8 am – 7 pm; November through March 8 am – 5 pm
  • Terraced Houses:  €5; April through October 8 am – 6:30 pm; November through March 8 am – 4:30 pm
  • House of the Virgin Mary:  €5.5; March through October 8 am – 6 pm; November through February 8 am – 5 pm
  • Temple of Artemis:  free
  • Basilica of St. John:  €2.5, same hours as Ephesus
  • Isa Bey Mosque:  free
  • Website:  Get updated hours and pricing here.

Where We Stayed

Saint John Hotel in Selcuk. This is a charming, small hotel just a short drive from Ephesus.


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Ephesus Turkey

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Comments 7

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello, thanks for the info. There are two versions of the history of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, a Christian version and a Muslim version. So, the sleepers could have been Muslim or Christian. Cheers, Julie

  1. I don’t drive and I don’t want to spend money on a driver and car. I’m relying totally on public transport. With this in mind, will spending 4 nights (coming from Marmaris via Rhodes) in Selcuk be sufficient to see the more important sites? Thanks.

    1. Post
      Author
  2. It all looks so incredibly beautiful!
    Does it cost anything to enter those places? Can a person enter alone, or is a tour guide needed? 🙂

    1. Post
      Author

      Everything on this list can be visited without a guide. Several sites (Ephesus, Isa Bey Mosque, and St. John’s Basilica) all have entrance fees. Ephesus is the most expensive on the list at 40 TL per person but it is worth it. Cheers, Julie

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