A Brief History
Ephesus was originally an ancient Greek city.
Then later a Roman city of great importance.
At one point during the Roman period it was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world with a population around 250,000 in the 1st century BC.
Features like the vast theatre today give a taste of the size and importance of Ephesus, and if it weren’t for the fact that the harbour became silted up, the city could well have prospered for many more centuries beyond what it did.
It’s hard to believe today that Ephesus was originally a harbour city, sitting on an inlet of the Cayster River so technically it was on the coast.
Today though, with major sedimentation having blocked the harbour and filled in a great deal of land, the ancient city is actually about 3 miles (5 kilometres) inland.
The Theatre is the largest and most impressive landmark in many visitor’s eyes.
From a distance you can get a taste for the size of it, but to really appreciate the sheer scale you need to climb the many steps to the top of the theatre and look down.
You should do this anyway, as the views from the top are spectacular, allowing a bird’s eye view over Ephesus and the surrounding countryside. The
Theatre is believed to be the largest outdoor theatre in the ancient world.
It could hold a staggering 24,000 people and was used for all manner of events and performances, from gladiator and animal fights, concerts, plays, religious and political talks, and more.
The theatre is again indicative of what a great city Ephesus was in its time, and the well preserved seats and stage of the Theatre have stood the test of time.