Located in the county of Selcuk in Izmir, Ephesus Ancient City hosts Artemis Temple, which is one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” Selcuk and house of Mary, which has been functioning as a religious center for centuries. Ephesus is a unique cultural heritage, which reflects the variety of Anatolian civilizations and an important pilgrimage place, which represents the intercultural dialogue live through hundreds of thousands of visitors. One of the most important centers in antiquity, Ephesus, was inhabited for approximately 9000 years without interruption during the Hellenistic, Roman, East Roman, Principalities and Ottoman periods and became a very important port city and cultural and commercial center during all stages of its history. There are examples of supreme architectural and urban planning examples, belonging to different periods, in Ephesus, which encompass symbols, which shed light to the superior urbanizing, architectural and religious history of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. Dating back to the 8th Century B.C. and having become famous as one of the seven wonders in antiquity, cult center Artemision, its unique monuments, which witnessed the Early Christian Period, such as Church of Mary, where Mary was accepted and announced as the mother of Jesus and Ecumenical Council, dated 431 took place the basilica, built on the tomb of St. John, who was one of the apostles of Jesus and who wrote the Bible according to John in Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary, which is accepted as a pilgrimage place by Christians today and Islamic buildings, built during the Principalities Period offer an unprecedented accumulation.
Located in the western Aegean shores in Turkey, Ephesus ancient city was inhabited from the Neolithic period in Cukurici Hoyuk to Medieval Settlement Ayasuluk. It changed its location a few times, in line with the needs and habits. Therefore, this large area of settlement, which covers approximately 1600 hectares exhibits the remains of all important stages of the history of mankind, such as the Prehistoric, Archaic, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine, Seljuk, Aydinogullari, Ottoman and contemporary periods. The city played an important role in the communication and trade between the Aegean and Central Anatolia. Ephesus became the center of the region, which surrounds it through the rich natural resources around it and fertile soils around it in time. Due to filling of Ephesus region with alluvium gradually throughout history, there are not large layers on top of each other but on the contrary, there are various settlements in different locations. Roman and Late Antiquity city of Ephesus is the only mega city in the world, on which buildings were not constructed over it in contemporary times. Therefore, ancient Ephesus settlement offers a unique possibility to study the urban life phenomenon in antiquity. Protection of these extraordinary and individual evidences provide important contributions for solid world heritage. In addition, Ephesus constitutes an enormous example for the history of the world.
House of the Virgin Mary, The church, where it is believed that Jesus’ mother Mary spent her last years with St. Jean in Mount Bulbul in Selcuk, Izmir. It is a place of pilgrimage for christians. It is thought that the tomb of Mary is also on Mount Bulbul. There is a small Byzantine Church in Virgin Mary ruins, accessed by going beside the upper gate of Ephesus ancient city. It is believed that mother of Jesus Mary lived and died here. It is considered holy by the Muslims in addition to Christians. The church might have received the name Virgin Mary due to the Ecumenical Council, assembled in Ephesus in 431 deciding that Mary gave birth to Jesus as son of God. Most of the visible architectural remains are unique due to their historical context, artistic craftsmanship, benefits to the city as well as their being scientific source. In addition to the authentic value of individual monuments, these building groups get together to create a Roman city plan and Ephesus creates a more unique historic monument with its independent hinterland, which has protection status, that cannot be found anywhere else in Turkey or the Mediterranean. Therefore, it can be rightfully claimed that Ephesus archaeological settlement, which has the widest collection of very well preserved Roman buildings in the Eastern Mediterranean, is a monumental city with all its assets.