The origins of the city of Ephesus are dated back to 7000 B.C. In the mounds around Ephesus and Ayasuluk Hill where the castle is, recent research and digs led to the findings of settlements from the Bronze Age and the Hittites.
The Hittites called the city Apasas. The port city Ephesus, where settlers from Greek Peninsula immigrated around 1050 B.C., was moved to the vicinity of the Temple of Artemis around 560 B.C. Today’s Ephesus is founded by General Lysimachus of Alexander the Great around 300 B.C. In its heyday in Hellenistic and Roman times, the city was the capital and largest port of the Asia Province and had a population of 200,000.
The reflection and continuation of an ancient Anatolian belief system in the Aegean Archaic Period, the temple of Artemis from Ephesus was located near the Ephesus Museum. The temple is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A number of very important finds were dug out in excavations launched by the British railroad engineer J. T. Wood in 1869. During the excavations, extremely valuable offering gifts that were brought to the Temple of Artemis from various regions were found, as it was a very famous and big cult center. A great majority of these finds may be seen in the rich collection of artifacts in the Museum.
The exhibition is organized according to a system of halls where various themes and find groups are on display. The most striking artifacts in the Ephesus Museum may be listed as two big marble Artemis statues, an Eros bust, an Eros statuette with dolphins, the statue of Governor Stephanos, the bust of Socrates, ivory Trajan frieze, and electron Ephesus coins.
The artifacts in the museum not only embody the artistic and aesthetic understanding, culture, technology, relig-ious beliefs, and lifestyles of the time in which they were made, but also offer unprecedented visual beauty to the visitors.