Founded by the Greeks in about 1000BC, and later a major Roman city, Ephesus is truly steeped in history. Nestled between two mountains, the city was originally developed as a port on the Aegean Sea, and it quickly became a prosperous centre of trade and commerce. By the time the Romans inherited the city in the 2nd century BC Ephesus was a wealthy city boasting many ornate buildings.
Ephesus and empire
In the 2nd century AD Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the world, with a monopoly on the wealth of the Middle East and one of the entire Mediterranean's principal ports. The silting up of the harbour by the 8th century led in part to the decline of Ephesus, and the city was ultimately abandoned. Yet by this time Ephesus had been under the control of the Greeks, the Romans, Alexander the Great, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire, so there was an enormous cultural heritage here that stayed largely intact, despite parts of it being allowed to decay. In later years the city was preserved as a traffic-free monument to its magnificent past, and attracts many visitors from all over the world. Some of the highlights of Ephesus include the remains of the Temple of Artemis - which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and believed to be the world's largest building when it was completed. There is also the ancient Roman Library of Celsus, which was devastated in an earthquake but was reconstructed using its original materials.