Ephesus is one of the most excavated sites from the Biblical world. Teams of Austrian archaeologists have worked at the site since 1895.
Items of interest at Ephesus include the single standing column of the Temple of Diana (Artemis), the harbor which is now silted up, the great theater which seated nearly 25,000 (Acts 19:29), the Marble street, the Library of Celsus, the Agora, the Temple of Hadrian, the Temple of Domitian (or the Flavian Emperors), and much more.
The first instance of believers baptized into Christ at Ephesus is recorded in Acts 19. Many changes took place in the church between the time when Paul spent nearly three years in the city, and the time when John lived there. There are two letters in the New Testament addressed to the church at Ephesus. The first is the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. The other is the letter included in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:1-7).
Yamauchi comments on the size of Ephesus in the first century:
“In the New Testament era it was probably the fourth greatest city in the world (after Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch) with a population of about 250,000” (Archaeology of New Testament Cities, 79).
The photo below shows the site of the Temple of Artemis (Diana). Notice the stork standing on top of the sole standing column. Click on the photo for a larger image.
The ruins of the famous temple were discovered in 1869 by J. T. Wood, an English engineer. Pausanias, the second century A.D. geographer, said the “temple of Diana surpassed every structure raised by human hands.” The temple was four times as large as the Parthenon. The platform of the temple was 239 feet wide by 418 feet long. The temple itself was 180 feet wide by 377 feet long, and the roof was supported by more than 100 sixty-foot columns. The temple served as a bank and a place of asylum for criminals. The earliest stage of the temple was built about 600 B.C. The Hellenistic temple which Paul and John saw was destroyed in A.D. 262.