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The Ancient Ruins of Ephesus

Only 156 km away from the Çeşme district of Izmir, this ruin of the old world used to be the trading center of the Aegean. It contains the region’s one of the largest theater, as well as the second-largest city-state. The travel time between Efes and Çeşme is one and a half hours, so be sure to plan your schedule accordingly.

Ephesus is one of the most famous tourist attractions in entire Turkey. It is an ancient Greek city and was founded in the 10th century BCE. In the 6 BCE, Lydians took over the city and during the reign of Kreisos the Lydian king, Ephesus reached its golden age. At this point, Ephesus became a leading city in the area. After the Lydians, Persians came to Ephesus however, Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great in 334 BCE. Ephesus flourished with the coming of Alexander the Great. Even there were two ruling systems in Ephesus before Alexander the Great, namely democracy and oligarchy, the oligarchic system disappeared which caused riots in the city by oligarchy supporters.

Later on, in 190 BCE, the Romans took over the city and continue to flourish during the reign of the Romans in terms of wealth and luxury. It reached its peak when Augustus became the ruler between the 1st and 4th century CE. Around this time the city became the capital of Asia. After Saint Paul arrived in the city of Ephesus, the city only continued to grow and become a lot more important in the world of Christianity. He went to Ephesus as a missionary to spread Christianity as the citizens of Ephesus were worshipping Artemis. However, the citizens of Ephesus refused to believe in the message of the missionaries at first. Yet, Christianity started to be accepted in the city.

It is also believed that the Virgin Mary visited Ephesus and stayed in Mount Bülbül in 42 CE. Even though the Seljuk Empire took over the city in 1090 CE, the Byzantine Empire conquered Ephesus and ruled it for a while. Later on, it was taken over by the Seljuks again in 1307 CE. In the Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis, as well as the Ephesus Theater, are the most visited landmarks. Make sure to check them and witness the ancient history if you visit Izmir.

Pergamon Acropolis is a rare place that survived all that has been done to it and it managed to be listed in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2014. The first settlement located in Pergamon is Acropolis and it was founded in the 2nd century BCE. Just like many other cities in Turkey, Acropolis was taken over by the Persians and then by Alexander the Great. The city was at its golden age under the rule of the Kingdom of Pergamon between the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE. At its golden age, a huge library was built in the city that is considered to be one of the largest libraries in the entire world. During this time frame, the city was also flourishing in arts, specifically sculptures.

When the Roman took over the city, it continued to grow and improve, becoming the most popular city in Asia Minor. Pergamon Acropolis is a city of the firsts. Parchment paper was first used in this city which changed the entire human history forever. This also triggered the library of Acropolis to become a unique one with a collection of manuscripts. Pergamon is an important city in terms of religion as well.

One of the first Seven Churches of Christianity was built in this city. First theater, first market law, first trade union, and many more firsts came to be in Pergamon. The landmark that attracts attention the most in Pergamon is the remnants of the Pergamon Library. The Pergamon valley which was a theater, the Temple of Dionysus, and the sanctuary of Athena are some of the important landmarks that you need to see.

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