The first city states in the world were founded along the western coast of Anatolia, one of these was Ephesus. It was founded by emigrants from the Greek mainland sometime between 1200 and 1050 BC, and lies in what was then known as Ionia.

Over the centuries Ionia grew in importance in all fields, including architecture in which the Ionic style spread across the Mediterranean world and even into Persia

The most magnificent example of this style was the temple of Artemis at Ephesus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World).

In 545 BC the Persians under Cyrus conquered the area and it was to remain under Persian rule until Alexander the Great arrived in 334 BC.

There followed a period of calm and expansion for Ephesus until, in 129 BC, the Romans decided to incorporate the whole area into the Roman Empire.

At that time the city had a population of 200,000.

Much of what is seen today comes from the period of Augustus, considered the first Roman Emperor, who reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD.

St. Paul remained in the city for three years from 65 to 68 AD.