Walking Tour Ephesus
As you walk into the site from Dr Sabri Yayla Bulvarı, a road to the left is marked for the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, on the north-eastern side of Panayır Dağı about 1 km away.
Grotto of the Seven Sleepers
According to legend, seven persecuted Christian youths fled from Ephesus in the 3rd century AD and took refuge in this cave. Agents of the Emperor Decius, a terror to Christians, found the cave and sealed it. Two centuries later an earthquake broke down the wall, awakening others describe as a private house. Either way, its main hall contains a rich mosaic of the Four Seasons.
The Sacred Way ends at the Embolos, or 'central Ephesus', with the Library of Celsus and the monumental Gate of Augustus to the right (west), and Curetes Way heading east up the slope.
As you head up Curetes Way, a passage on the left (north) leads to the public
toilets. These posh premises were for men only; the women's were elsewhere. The famous figüre of Priapus (now in the Ephesus Museum in Selçuk) with the penis of most men's dreams was found in the nearby well, right next to the presumed brothel.
You can't miss the impressive Corinthian-style Temple of Hadrian, on the left, with beautiful friezes in the porch and a head of Medusa to keep out evil spirits. it was dedicated to Hadrian, Artemis and the people of Ephesus in 118 AD, but greatly reconstructed in the 5th century. Across the street is a row of 10 shops from the same period, fronted by an elaborate 5th century mosaic.
On the right side of Curetes Way across from the Temple of Hadrian, excavation and restoration work is stili in progress on the Yamaç Evleri (terrace houses). These are usually closed to visitors although some of the finds can be seen in Ephesus Museum. Should you get the opportunity, be sure to see the rare glass mosaic in a niche off the atrium of one of the houses.
Further along Curetes Way, on the left, is the Fountain of Trajan. A huge statue of the emperor (98-117) used to tower above the pool; only one foot now remains.
Curetes Way ends at the two-storey Gate of Hercules, constructed in the 4th century AD, with reliefs of Hercules on both main pillars.
The road comes over a low rise and descends to the car park, where there are teahouses, restaurants, souvenir shops, a PTT and banks. To the right (west) of the road are the ruins of the Church of the Virgin Mary, also called the Double Church. The original building was a museum - a Hall of the Muses - a place for lectures, teaching and educated discussions and debates. Destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in the 4th century AD as a church, later to become the site of the third Ecumenical Council (431 AD) which condemned the Nestorian heresy. Over the centuries several other churches were built here, somewhat obscuring the original layout.