In the 1st century, Ephesus was home to a staggering 250,000 people, but its origins are found by excavators to go back as far as 6000 BC. As the largest city in the Mediterranean at that time, it was known for its structures such as the Temple of Artemis (even though it remained uncompleted until approximately 550 BC) and the site of the Gladiator’s Graveyard.
Ephesus was a formidable city, having survived the Cimmerian attacks around 650 BC, the Greco-Persian Wars, and the victory of Alexander the Great.
In the early 1300’s, the city fell under Seljuk rule and flourished for some time, building new structures such as the Turkish bathhouses, and the Isa Bey Mosque. In 1402 BC, the city was restored to the Turkmen Beylicks only to be abandoned within the century.
The Temple of Artemis met its fate at the hands of angry Christian citizens in 401 AD. An earthquake in 614 AD further reduced the city to the ruins we see today.