Selcuk is a district of Turkey’s Izmir province. Menderes and Torbalı are located in the north of the district, Tire districts in the northeast, Aydın province in the east and south, and the Aegean Sea in the west.
Ephesus Ancient City
Selçuk, formerly known as Ayasuluk, was captured by the Aydınoğulları Principality in 1304 and joined the Ottoman Empire in 1426. In 1914, its name was changed from Ayasuluk to Selçuk, and after the War of Independence, Selçuk, known as Akıncılar, was included in İzmir Province in 1957 and received the title of the district.
Selçuk is one of the largest open-air museums in the world. It has been one of the most important settlements of Antiquity. Most of the historical buildings in Selçuk are standing. Ephesus is a very important center for Turkish and world tourism. Ephesus is visited by approximately 2 million visitors every year. Selçuk Ephesus Museum is one of the most important and richest museums in Europe, with only local artifacts that it owns and exhibits. Apart from these activities, conferences and painting exhibitions held in the museum keep the cultural life alive. Isa Bey Mosque, one of the most important works of Seljuk art, is in Selçuk. The mosque is the oldest known example of both the Turkish mosque with courtyard and Anatolian columned mosques.
Ephesus, one of the most famous cities of the first age, was established near the bay where the Küçük Menderes River drained its waters. Its land suitable for agriculture, its being at the beginning of a major trade route opening to the East, it’s being a very important religious center both in the Ancient Age and in the Christian period made it a great city in history. He made a name for himself in the world of science and art and raised famous people. Among them is the dream interpreter Artemidorus, the poet Kallinos and Hipponaks, the philosopher Heraclitus, the painter Parrhasius, and the grammarian Zinodotos.
The history of Ephesus goes back to the 6th millennium BC. This conclusion has been reached with the archaeological site findings uncovered in Arvalya and Çukuriçi mounds in recent years. The excavations carried out on Ayasuluk Hill have shown that there was an uninterrupted settlement here from the Early Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Age. This proves that the ancient Ephesus was on the Ayasuluk Hill and that this place was inhabited by the Anatolian tribes and the Hittites. In addition, it is certain that the city, which is mentioned as Apasas in the Hittite written texts, is this city.
Authors such as Strabo and Pausanias, the historian Herodotus, the Ephesus poet Kallinos indicate that Ephesus was founded by the Amazons and that the indigenous people consisted of Carians and Lelegs.
In 1050 BC, Androklos, like other ancient Greek colonists, came to Anatolia and took Ephesus and its surroundings. Ephesus was invaded by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC and the Temple of Artemis was destroyed. In 560 BC, the city was moved around Artemision by the Lydians. At the end of the King’s Peace signed in 386 BC, Ephesus falls under Persian rule, which will last until the arrival of Alexander the Great.
Ephesus, which is visited today, was founded by Lysimakhos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 BC. Ephesus changed its place again in the Byzantine Age and came to Ayasuluk Hill where it was first established.
The district, which covers an area of 277 km², consists of 1 town and 9 villages, including the center. Selçuk is 8 km from the sea and 16 meters above sea level.