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The upper entrance to the Ephesus Archaeological Site.
|The upper entrance to Ephesus|
The Ephesus Archaeological Site has two entrances. This gallery takes the tour from the upper entrance to the lower entrance.
The lower entrance
The lower entrance (see photo on Ephesus page 4: sightseeing) is at the north of the site and closer to the road to Selçuk and the highway between Izmir and Kuşadası. It is now considered the main entrance and is where most visitors arrive, particular the tour buses. The bus stop for the dolmuş to/from Selçuk is also there (see Ephesus page 5: getting there).
There are also more facilities at the lower entrance, including a larger car park, toilets, a post office with ATM, and more cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. Naturally, it is usually much more crowded.
If you want to see the photos in the order from the lower entrance, you will have to navigate backwards through this gallery.
The upper entrance
The upper entrance is at the southeast of the archaeological site, 3 km along the "back road", between Selçuk and the House of the Virgin Mary. This road also passes a turnoff for the Cave of the Seven Sleepers (1.5 km from the turnoff, right), the remains of the Upper City and the upper entrance (see below).
For further information about getting to Ephesus from Selçuk, see Ephesus page 5: how to get there.
Along the road outside the upper entrance are a smaller car park and a couple of restaurants, souvenir shops and toilets (costs 1 Turkish Lira). The ticket office is on the left, just inside the entrance gate.
There is no dolmuş service to the upper entrance, although you can take a Selçuk-Ephesus dolmuş and get off at the signposted turnoff for the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, or take a taxi or even a fayton (see Ephesus page 5: getting there). The back road is is a pleasant drive, walk or bicycle ride through a farmland of fields and peach trees (see Ionian Spring part 2 at The Cheshire Cat Blog).
There are a number of advantages in starting your visit to Ephesus at the upper entrance It is usually not so crowded as the lower entrance, and the atmosphere is thus a little more relaxed (and less selling pressure). You can visit the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, or see the ruins of the Upper City, including the Magnesian Gate, the East Gymnasium and "Luke's Grave", which are outside the upper entrance (see gallery page 2), before entering the archaeological site.
From the upper entrance the route through the site to the lower entrance is downhill, and you can see the ruins and exit by the lower entrance without having to double back (unless you've left your vehicle in the upper cark park).
From the upper entrance you also get a better overview of the site as you walk down towards Kuretes Street, and can leave the best (arguably) till last, since the most popular sights, such as the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre, are in the lower city.
Entering the site, the first thing you see is the enormous area of the the Upper State Agora (see next page).
The view downhill (northwards) to Selçuk on the back road up to the House of the Virgin Mary
(9 km uphill), passing the turnoff for the Cave of the Seven Sleepers (1.5 km from the turnoff, right,
2 km from Selçuk), the Upper City and the upper entrance of the Ephesus Archaeological Site (3 km).
The road between Selçuk and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers is quite flat,
but then rises to the upper entrance. From there the slope becomes
steeper as it twists and turns up to the the House of the Virgin Mary.
Cafe Dereli, in the row of cafes and shops along the road opposite the upper entrance to Ephesus.
At the left (east) end of this row stands "Luke's Grave", and a little further
downhill are the ruins of the East Gymnasium and the Magnesian Gate.
The museum shop, just inside the upper entrance to Ephesus, sells
books, postcards and reproductions and casts of ancient artifacts.
There is also a museum shop at the lower entrance.
Some of the many ancient statue bases, altars, inscriptions and architectural members
displayed just inside the upper entrance, on the left before you come to the Upper Agora.
The upper city of Ephesus, the southeast section of the archaeological site.
The view northwards from the road up to the House of the Virgin Mary.
|The upper entrance and part of the car park can be seen on the right. Further right, outside the photo, are the Upper City district and the road between Selcuk and the House of the Virgin Mary.
In the centre, the Bouleuterion or Odeion, in the Upper State Agora, backs on to the south slope of Mount Pion (όρος Πίων; Turkish, Panayırdağ). To the left (west) of the Odeion, the way leads down to the lower city.
In the field in the foregound, in front of a tree, you can just make out the bending figure of a local woman gathering herbs.
|Photos and articles and map: © David John
Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis
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have been attributed where applicable.
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Higher resolution versions are available on request.
Some of the information and photos in this guide to Ephesus
originally appeared in 2004 on davidjohnberlin.de.
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