The Temple of Artemis

Seven Wonders of Ancient World is a list named by famous Greek poet Antipater of Sidon. He described them in detail in his writings and we know how they look only through the reconstructions. From seven of them, only pyramids from Giza in Egypt are preserved until today.

Guided tours visiting The Temple of Artemis

About The Temple of Artemis

Just a couple of kilometers from the old city Ephesus, in 550 BC a temple devoted to goddess Artemis is built. It is considered to be a masterpiece of Greek architecture and sculpture. We don’t know exactly how it looked but it is assumed it had 127 pillars double-lined with height of 18 meters. The entire Temple was made of marble. There was a high statue of Artemis, who was very respected and celebrated in Ephesus, made out of vine tree and covered in gold and silver. It was about 2 meters high.

Artemis was Greek goddess of Moon, beasts and hunting, as well as protector of girls, weddings and children. According to the myth, she was the daughter of Zeus and his first wife, Leto, twin sister of Apollo. There are many myths about her and the most famous one is the myth on her birth, saying she was born in Ortigia, in Ephesus, and that is why they built the temple for her right here. The writers from that time said that was the most beautiful construction in the world.

Because of the specific type of ground it was build on, many problems occurred during the construction. As the Ephesus is turbulent area, the temple was built on the shores of river Cayster where the earthquake danger was way smaller. All the circumstances revolving around the construction complicated the process and it lasted way longer - 120 years in total. Ancient Greeks were bringing additional charcoal to make the ground more stable. Unfortunately, in 356 year BC, Herostrat, a man eager to get the eternal glory, burned it down in an attempt to make his name immortal. Despite the fact authorities prohibited mentioning his name, history remembered him. It’s interesting that’s the same night Alexander the Great was born.

During his reign, Alexander the Great gave a substantial amounts of money to help renovating the temple. The new one was 3 meters higher than its predecessor and was a heavy construction. It served as a temple and a shrine. Everyone would visit it - traders, artists, tourists, kings. Everybody wanted to show their respect to the goddess by leaving their wealth here. For this reason archaeological excavations found the pilgrims’ gifts, artwork from entire Persia and India, objects made of gold, silver and ivory and many, many other valuables. Since the development of city was depending on these visits, it is clear that tourism was quite important at the time.

However, all the fortune inside of the temple was very interesting to many conquerors who robbed it during the years. Finally, the Goths destroyed it in 262 AD. Remains of the temple collapsed in wetlands, while some parts were used as constructive materials. By the end of the 19th century, majority of remains were taken to British Museum in London. There is only one pillar left here and you can visit it on the location in Ephesus.

(Although the pillar is not from the original temple, but from the one restored after the fire, it still causes admiration and deep respect. This place is a connection with prehistory. It is so easy to be taken away here and remember the times when gods and goddesses determined the ways and rules of human living. If you are curious to find out how did the temple look before, in Istanbul you can find miniatures of all important monuments in Turkey)

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