If you would have asked me a year ago if I would be traveling to Turkey at this time next year, I am sure I would have responded with an unequivocal “No”. Also, I wouldn’t have thought I would be an American expat, living in Sweden at the time.
Here I am! One of the opportunities that living in Northern Europe has given me is the ability to travel to some places that are now closer to me. One of those places is Ephesus, Turkey.
Ephesus was a very large town. In the first Century BC it had a population of 250,000.By the time of the year 100 AD it is estimated there were between 400,000 to 500,000 residents. The aqueduct system was advanced for the time. But now it is only a ruins. It is an ongoing project in restoring the city, but only about 15% has been restored. Things such as changes in power, high taxes that made those that had resources move away, are what affected the rise and fall of the city over the years. But the final ruin came because the seaport there was filled in because of silt from the river, causing it to not be able to be used for a port any longer.
In the Bible the church at Ephesus, and the Ephesians are mentioned often. There is even a book in the Bible that is written by Paul as a letter to the Ephesians. Paul visited Ephesus on his missionary journeys, and lived there for at least 3 years.
Paul preached in several places in Ephesus, including the Great Theater that seated 25,000 people. I never imagined that the theater he preached in was that large. After Paul preached against pagan gods, in one of his sermons, the silversmiths in town started a riot, because what he said was bad for business. They made the silver idols of Artemis. The riot was centered in the theater, and Paul wanted to address the crowd, but wasn’t allowed to by his disciples, and others in town of whom he had favor, because of the danger. This is recorded in Acts 19:23-41.
John also lived in Ephesus for a while. Because John was asked to take care of Mary the mother of Jesus, after Jesus’ death, people in the area think the Virgin Mary lived there. However there is no Biblical account of this, and things point to John going to Ephesus with Mary Magdalene to visit the church, after Mary the mother of Jesus’ death. This is unclear, but the Catholic church tradition says she was in Ephesus with John. It really doesn’t matter, except to the pride of the Catholics in the area.
Here is a slide show of more of the city of Ephesus.
- Ephesus 1 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 2 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 3 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 4 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 5 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 6 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 7 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Original Mosaic Floor Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 9 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 10 Library Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 11 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Engraved Cross Ephesus Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 12 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 13 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 14 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 15 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 16 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 17 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 18 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 19 Photo by Daren R. Couch
- Ephesus 20 Photo by Daren R. Couch
More things are always being uncovered in the archaeology. Some things can be known for sure by Bible history, or other written history of the time. When touring areas like this, it is sometimes hard to sort out some of the things that are more of folklore, or traditional beliefs, or something the tour guide believes, versus what is indisputable truth.
Did you already know everything about this city?
I think I was most surprised by the size of it, and the advance modern things like their aqueduct system. Also, the size and the seating in the Great Theater surprised me.
Globe Trottin Granny