Ephesus (Ancient Greek Ἔφεσος, Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city on the west coast of Anatolia, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome, the empire’s capital. Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it the second largest city in the world.
Construction of the Great Theatre of Ephesus may have begun during Hellenistic times: Lysimachus is traditionally credited with building the theater, but so far there is no archaeological evidence for its existence before 100 BC. However, Lysimachus may have chosen the building site and begun the preparation of the site, a process that required 60 years of digging in the mountainside.
The theatre was capable of holding 25,000 spectators. This open-air theater was used initially for drama, but during later Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage, with the first archaeological evidence of a gladiator graveyard found in May 2007.
Built into the northern base of Panayır Dağı (Mt. Pion), the theater rises 30m (100 feet) high and can seat 25,000 people. There are magnificent views to be had from the top. Most of the marble paving and some lower elements of the backdrop remain on the stage.
A small Hellenistic theater was probably built here around 200 BC, but the theater seen today dates almost exclusively from Roman times. Constructed primarily in the 1st century (beginning about 40 AD), it was expanded periodically and used continously until the 5th century.
Earthquakes damaged the theater in the 4th century, after which it was only partially repaired. By the 8th century, the theater was incorporated into the city defense system.
Today, the theater is restored and is put to use every May during the Selçuk Ephesus Festival of Culture and Art.
In the 1st century AD, the Apostle Paul spent over three years in Ephesus preaching the Gospel. This magnificent classical theater is considered an important biblical site: the probable place where Paul preached to the pagans as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.
According to the Acts, the theater was the site of the riot of the silversmiths in which those who made silver figures of Artemis rioted because Paul’s preaching was bad for business.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
Lens: Sigma 18-200mm
Two RAW images PhotoMerged in Photoshop CS4.
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Featured in : Preserving History : 5 Apr 10