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During its heyday, the ancient city of Ephesus was most famous for the Temple of Artemis. Considered one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” the temple was completely destroyed in 268AD leaving just one inconspicuous column remaining.
Today, the two most impressive sites within Ephesus are the Library of Celsus and the Grand Theatre. Construction on the Library of Celsus began in 117AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an ancient Greek who was governor of Roman Asia during the Roman Empire.
Celsus paid for the entire construction from his own wealth and he is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it. The library once held as many as 12,000 scrolls making it the third richest library in ancient times. The scrolls were kept in cupboards in niches on the walls where they were protected from extreme temperatures and humidity.
Today, the library’s façade has been carefully reconstructed from all the original pieces and it’s one of the most spectacular sights within Ephesus.
How to Visit the Library of Celsus
It’s easy to visit Ephesus from Selcuk or on a day trip from Bodrum, Izmir or Kusadasi. If you decide to stay overnight in Selcuk, the Hotel Bella is a terrific choice. The hotel features spacious rooms and a lovely rooftop terrace. From the terrace, guests can observe the giant nests of Selcuk’s famous white storks.
For more information, here’s the complete guide to visiting Ephesus with Ease.