Tag Archives: Ephesus

Ephesus and Miletus

This morning we visited the city of Ephesus, one of the most spectacular excavated sites to be seen anywhere. Austrian archaeologists have worked here for the past 115 years. The city has taken on what Blaiklock calls, an “edited look.” And the work continues.

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.

We had a group photo made in front of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus. Here is a small copy of the photo. If you know some of the folks on the tour and would like to see a larger photo, just click on the small one.

Group photo in front of the library of Celsus at Ephesus.

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).

The Archaeological Museum in Seljuk contains many items from Ephesus. There are two statues of Diana.

After lunch at a carpet shop we went to Miletus where Paul preached to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20). Construction of the theater began in the fourth century B.C. The Lion harbor was built in 63 B.C. Our photo shows the remnants of the Lion harbor. The entire harbor has silted up over the centuries, but a small amount of water stands in the inner harbor. I think this is likely where Paul docked, and the place from which he departed for Jerusalem.

The biblical account of Paul’s departure is touching. Luke records,

When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. (Acts 20:36-38).

Note especially these final words about the event:

And they were accompanying him to the ship.

Try to envision this scene as you look at the photo.

Archaeological work at Ephesus might take centuries

Today’s Zaman, reports that the archaeological excavation at Ephesus may continue “for centuries.” The article says that work began at Ephesus 138 years ago. This reference seems to be to 1869 when the English architect J. T. Wood found the marble floor of the temple of Diana. Some research had been done as early as 1845.

Most of the archaeological work at Ephesus has been done by Austrians. They began the work in 1895 and have continued until the present time.

The article reports an interview with Dr. Fritz Krinziner, director of the dig and head of the Austrian Archaeology Institute. I note that Dr. Krinziner wrote Preface 2 in Ephesus: 100 Years of Austrian Research, published in 1996. Here are a few interesting comments from the article.

” He [Krinziner] stressed that it would be impossible to uncover the entire ancient city at once, underlining that only 10-15 percent of the site has been unearthed so far.”

“The excavation work may last for centuries. This is not an easy job. We focus on spots where we are likely to find something important as we cannot carry out the entire excavation at once.”

The article says that 1.5 million people visited Ephesus last year. An added note says that the Greater Izmir Municipality has announced plans “to establish an electric railway connection, similar to a tram, in Ephesus.”

The complete article may still be available here.

I speak to some people who seem to think that most of the archaeological work in various biblical cities has already been done. The work is complete! Think again.

Ephesus is visited by many tourists who have no interest in the Bible. They arrive on the cruise ships that dock at nearby Kusadasi. Others find the ruins interesting because the city was the site of Paul’s work (Acts 19). I think the tradition that the apostle John was here prior to being exiled to Patmos is a reliable one. The first letter within the book of Revelation is addressed to the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2).

This photo shows the Library of Celsus and some costumed actors from one of the cruise ships putting on a show for the passengers.

Library of Celsus at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Library was built in A.D. 135, after the time of Paul and John. The first time I saw this area, in 1968, only the steps were visible. The Austrian excavators did a marvelous job of reconstruction between 1970 and 1978. It is estimated that the Library could hold between 9,500 and 12,000 rolls. The arch to the right leads to the ancient agora.

We visit Ephesus on our Steps of Paul and John tour.