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The Central and Southern Aegean Coast Travel Guide

Ephesus Archaeological Site

Ephesus (Efes in Turkish), the showpiece of Aegean archaeology, is probably the most evocative ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean, and one of the grandest reconstructed ancient sites in the world. The remarkably preserved ruins were rediscovered in the late 1800s and excavations have been going on for nearly a century. The site is a pleasure to explore: marble-paved streets

with grooves made by chariot wheels lead past partially reconstructed buildings and monuments. The remains are especially appealing off-season, when the place can seem deserted. In the summer it's packed with tourists, many of whom pour off the ships that cruise the Aegean and call at Kuşadası, 20 km (12 miles) to the south. (Cruise ships have been known to organize rather campy "historical" shows inside Ephesus itself, complete with polyester togas and fake trumpets.) Go early or late in the day, if possible. Guides are available at the trinket stands ringing the parking lot, but be sure to gauge their qualifications and English before you strike a deal. Many travelers find the portable audioguide available inside the site (15 TL) a convenient, inexpensive, and definitely reliable substitute—it even comes with a map. Alternatively, join a tour from Selçuk, Kuşadası, or İzmir.

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