The ancient city of Ephesus which is just over an hour away from Didim is destined to once again have a harbour on the Aegean coast, according to plans announced for a new project. Ephesus is one of the most visited sites in Turkey; it is noted as one of Turkeys top tourist attractions. It was once the centre of travel and commerce and the city was one of the greatest seaports of the ancient world, around 3 million tourists visit the site each year.
In the ancient world, Ephesus was connected to a harbour on the Aegean Sea with a broad canal, but the port and the canal have silted up by the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes) over the years. The area around Ephesus has turned almost into swampland and the city is now more than six kilometres from the sea.
The 2nd regional director at State Hydraulic Works, Ali Fuat Eker, was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu Agency that an “Antique Canal Project” would refill the canal and eventually link the ancient harbour to the sea once again. A 6,130 metre section of the canal has been covered with alluvium over the centuries.
Eker said the project would also deepen and enlarge the canal, adding the tender for the project would be held this year, with construction starting in February or March 2018. He added that it would be carried out “carefully in order to not damage the historic fabric and we have received the environmental impact assessment report needed for the tender process. The first stage of the project will be finished by March 2019,” Eker said.
The first stage of the project is forecast to cost around 30 million Turkish Liras ($8.5 million), he added. “With the realization of the Antique Canal Project, we will return the region to its situation 2,500 years ago,” ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Izmir deputy Atilla Kaya claimed, saying the project would further boost tourist numbers visiting Ephesus as they would be able to visit via the new canal route.
Ephesus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation, and the Gospel of John may have been written in the ancient city. The city, the library façade of which is particularly famous, was also the site of several 5th-century Christian councils. Little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean region.
The ancient ruins of Ephesus are a firm favourite with international and local visitors making it a top tourist attraction in the area. Hellenistic and Roman settlements were founded and excavations revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. The Ancient City of Ephesus is an outstanding example of a Roman port city with sea channel and harbour basin. Great news again as Turkish tourism, is moving forward.