In this blog, we will talk about our tour of the ancient city of Ephesus, Izmir. The ruins are on the World Heritage List. We will describe in detail the order in which you should visit the city of Selcuk. It houses Ephesus archaeological museum the ruins of the Artemis Temple and many other historical sites. Moreover, our blog provides information on everything from parking fees to the price of coffee. We will also cover important locations that you may miss while exploring the area. This blog has 2 parts. when you finish reading this part, you will find a link to reach the second part.
Of course, my journey started like any good journey with waking up early in the morning. I live in a city called Aydın and Selçuk district of Izmir is one hour away from where I live. My friend and I started our journey at 9 am and arrived in Selçuk around 10 am. Since it was close to the entrance of the city, our first stop was the Ephesus Museum. We parked our car in a park that also housed the museum, just a 1.5-minute walk away. If you visit during the tourism season, you may not be as lucky as us because Selçuk is heavily visited during the summer months.
After entering the park, you will immediately see two tombs with engravings and several ancient stones with soldier figures on your left. On the right side of the park, just 5 meters away from the museum entrance, you will see a small cafe that can be considered tiny. If you haven’t had your morning coffee yet, we recommend trying the coffee served by the friendly woman who runs this cafe. On March 2, 2023, a cup of tea and a cup of filter coffee cost 64 Turkish liras.
The entrance you see in the second paragraph is the entrance of the Ephesus Museum. After passing through security, you will immediately see the ticket office on the right. You can find current prices on their website. As Turkish citizens, we bought an annual museum pass worth 60 Turkish Liras, which is valid for one year. There are brochures that you can access by scanning the QR code at the ticket office, which you can take advantage of.
Right across from the ticket office is the entrance to the first room of the museum, which will enchant you. After passing through this door, no matter where you come from, you will see that it was worth it, and your fatigue from the journey will immediately disappear.
The first and The Second Room of Ephesus Museum
The first room’s name is The Sculptures from The Fountain and contains three different sections, each with 5 to 10 sculptures and artifacts. Among these sculptures are two depicting the head of Zeus and the body of Aphrodite. This room will give you a clue about the rest of the trip.
The second room houses the findings from the terrace houses. There are artifacts unearthed by archaeologists in the terrace houses of the ancient city of Ephesus. Each artifact is kept in ideal preservation conditions and is displayed in glass cases that receive regular maintenance. Every item in this room will enchant you, and these artifacts, which were made centuries ago, left us in awe. Some of the artifacts are made of ivory, some of glass, and some of clay sculpture.
In the same room on the left side, there are sculptures and remnants of sculptures. However, the background and the light hitting the sculptures are so beautifully arranged that you can’t resist taking photos. What caught our attention the most is that the artists have made these sculptures down to the smallest detail. Sometimes, the sculptures are so lifelike that you might be afraid to look into their eyes. I would like to mention three sculptures that I think will draw your attention the most. ( Marcus Aurelius, Zeus (missing part of his leg), and the head sculptures of Socrates). They will truly fascinate you.
I would have liked to share all the photos of the places in this room with you, but it would make our writing too crowded, so if you follow us on our Pinterest and Instagram pages, you will have a chance to see more photos.
The Third Room
As you enter this room, there is one thing you definitely need to pay attention to. That is the Coin Room, located on the immediate right side, which cannot be seen when entering through the main door. There are a total of 5 large and 1 small glass sections in this room. Each of these sections displays gold, silver, and bronze coins from the earliest times of Ephesus to the Ottoman period. You can see one of them in the photos below. Don’t forget to check out this room!
As you continue through the room, you will see a wide area. In this spacious area, you will find glass sections on the walls, as in the other sections of the room. In the center of the room, you will see famous sculptures inside elegant glass displays. The first glass section usually contains water jugs and jar-like structures.
In the second glass section, you will see swords and daggers. Personally, the fact that these objects were once used by people thousands of years ago really affects me. I feel like I am communicating with the people who lived so long ago. You can’t help but wonder about the story behind them. I will try to explain the feelings I had when I saw the sculpture in the garden section.
In the 3rd, 4th, and 5th sections, you will see jar and jar-like structures, but they are slightly larger and the engravings and paintings on them are more distinct. Of course, in these sections, you will not only see these objects, but sculptures of various sizes and animal figures. If you are interested in jewelry, you will see some of the oldest earrings, rings, and other jewelry you’ll ever see in your life.
Eros and Artemis
The last place I want to talk about in this room is the place where glass workmanship is displayed. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I never thought that glass craftsmanship could be so advanced at that time. I think you will feel the same when you look at the photos. In the middle of the room, there is the cute and world-famous love god Eros. You can examine these small love god and Artemis statues very closely.
Garden Section of Ephesus Museum
The view you will see after the automatic doors open does not initially attract attention. I couldn’t help but think that they were insignificant because they were left outside at first. But when I turned to the left and touched the writing that a person wrote thousands of years ago, things changed for me. When you visit the Ephesus Museum, you will think that you are actually a very touch-hungry person. Sometimes you find yourself touching everything with your curious hands like a curious cat.
After passing the first structure, you will see a gravestone, but do not think of it as modern-day gravestones when you hear the term. I’ll leave the photo below for you to interpret it yourself.
The garden is rectangular in shape with a sarcophagus located on its short side. The sarcophagus may seem a bit small in the photos, but it is the size of a human being, about 180 cm tall. There is another tomb next to it that is similar in size, and both tombs have very detailed figures and carvings on them.
Another thing that I definitely need to warn you about is the structure of the garden. The garden is actually like a low balcony. When you look from the place where the mentioned sarcophagus are located, you will see the mosaic patterns on the ground, which cover an area of approximately 4 meters by 2 meters. It is possible to see 5-6 more tomb covers and decorated wall stones on the other long side of the garden. At the end of the garden, there is a tomb about 2 meters long with a human statue resting on it, which is really gigantic.
The Unfinished Sculpture of Ephesus Museum
There is a passage to the last room next to this tomb, but don’t rush to enter. Right in front of the enormous tomb I mentioned earlier, there is an unfinished statue that made my friend and me think deeply, even though we are still at the beginning of our tour. The statues are so detailed that it could take months or even years to make one. If you examine this unfinished statue closely, you will see that it depicts a male figure, but only the basic outlines of the statue are present.
The first thing that will impress and make you think is why the artist who made this statue left it unfinished? Considering the conditions of the time, security problems or natural death may have caused it. Please approach the statue and examine it closely when you go there. There are chisel marks all over the statue. These chisel marks were made by a person who lived thousands of years before you, and now you are touching the marks they left behind, communicating with that person. It’s truly fascinating!
The Cult of Cybele Room
You will find relatively fewer antique items in this room compared to other places. On the immediate left of the room, you will see small statues and carvings that resemble a photo album. Their backgrounds are very beautiful, so it’s definitely one of the places that must be photographed.
The next room is the Artemis Temple room. In the center of the room, there is a replica of the Artemis Temple. At first, you might think it’s an original artifact from that time, but it’s actually a modern artwork created by contemporary artists and gifted to the museum. I will add a video of it here.
In this room, there are artifacts unearthed in the Artemis temple displayed in glass cases. Each of these artifacts is worth seeing and just as beautiful and similar as those in the other rooms. It is very obvious that they were made by people from the same era. As you exit the room, you will see the expression “Ephesus Artemis,” and in this room, you will also see two statues of the goddess Artemis, one human-sized and the other gigantic. If you want to take a nice photo, we recommend using the darkness to your advantage.
The Last Room, Emperial Cult
In the entrance of this room, there are fragments of a very large statue, which was probably broken into pieces before. The statue depicts Emperor Domitianus. As a short person myself (170 cm), it made me feel even smaller to see that the statue’s arm is as tall as me. Right across from this statue, there is a mold brought from the Hadrian temple, which shows soldiers and civilians fighting side by side. Although this room mostly contains detailed depictions placed on large molds, there are also statues of emperors and important figures to be seen.
One of the most impressive ones for us was the depiction of a shield-bearing soldier on the right side of the opposite wall. Beware, you may get lost in its details. The expression on the face of the council member statue next to the exit made us chuckle, and we hope it will put a smile on your face too. I recorded a souvenir imitating the statue with my camera, and I recommend you to do the same. 🙂
Our museum journey comes to an end here, and there is a small shop where you can buy souvenirs right at the exit. We took a look inside and found some noteworthy souvenirs. We saw a group of tourists bringing gifts of the god of fertility to their friends. You can also bring some small souvenirs for your friends waiting for you in your country.
When Is Ephesus Museum Open?
Opening Hour: 08:30
Closing Hour: 17:30
Ticket Desk Closing Hour: 17:00
How Much Is Entrance Fee?
50 Turkish liras per person. If you want a museum card, it will cost 60.
Do you need to book in advance to visit Ephesus Museum?
You don't need to book in advance except for tourism seasons. We recommend that you should book in advance if you want to visit the museum in summer.
How to Get to Ephesus Museum from Izmir?
To get to the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk from Izmir, you can take one of the following transportation options:
Bus: There are regular buses that run from Izmir's main bus terminal (Otogar) to Selcuk. Once you arrive in Selcuk, you can take a short walk or a taxi to the Ephesus Museum.
Train: There is also a train that runs from Izmir's Basmane train station to Selcuk. Once you arrive in Selcuk, you can take a short walk or a taxi to the Ephesus Museum.
Car: If you have access to a car, you can drive from Izmir to Selcuk. The distance between the two cities is around 80 kilometers, and the drive should take about an hour. Here is the google maps link of Izmir to Ephesus museum route.
How to Get to Ephesus Museum from Marmaris?
To get to the Ephesus Museum from Marmaris, you can take one of the following transportation options:
Bus: There are direct buses that run from Marmaris to Selcuk, where the Ephesus Museum is located. The bus ride takes around 4-5 hours depending on the traffic and the route taken.
Car: If you have access to a car, you can drive from Marmaris to Selcuk. The distance between the two cities is around 220 kilometers, and the drive should take about 3-4 hours. Here is the google maps link of Marmaris to Ephesus museum route.
How to Get to Ephesus Museum from Dalaman Airport?
To get to the Ephesus Museum from Dalaman Airport, you can take one of the following transportation options:
Bus: There are no direct buses from Dalaman Airport to Selcuk, where the Ephesus Museum is located. However, you can take a bus from Dalaman to nearby cities like Fethiye or Marmaris, and then take a bus from there to Selcuk. The bus ride from Fethiye takes around 3-4 hours, while the bus ride from Marmaris takes around 4-5 hours depending on the traffic and the route taken.
Car: If you have access to a car, you can drive from Dalaman Airport to Selcuk. The distance between the two cities is around 250 kilometers, and the drive should take about 3-4 hours. Here is the google maps link of Dalaman to Ephesus museum route.
Private Transfer: You can also hire a private transfer service from Dalaman Airport to Selcuk. This option is more expensive than the bus or car, but it offers more comfort and convenience.