New construction plan approved for Ephesus

The Seljuk Municipality Assembly has approved a reconstruction and protection plan for the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, an important step toward its bid for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

New construction plan approved for Ephesus
Ephesus theatre [Credit: Wikimedia]
The 1/1000-scaled reconstruction plan for the protection of Ephesus, which is located in İzmir’s Seljuk district, as well as the St. Jean (Ayasuluk) Church, was approved during the assembly’s November meeting. The plan was sent to the İzmir General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage for approval by the Municipality Assembly.

Borders

After the plan is put into effect, agricultural operations will continue in the field within the borders of the Ephesus 1st degree Archaeological Site. As the borders of the ancient city have been determined, new walking lanes will be created in the ancient city as well as new entrance gates and retail stores.
In a written statement, Seljuk Mayor Vefa Ülgür said the plan clarified which part of the city would serve tourism, which part would have car parks and businesses and which part would be agricultural fields.


Ülgür said that thanks to the new plan, unplanned urbanization around the city would be prevented. “Also, transportation, trade, displays and other functions will be to modern standards. When the plan is put into effect, there will also be a field for camel wrestling and new entrance gates from the side of the Yedi Uyuyanlar Inn.” He added that a terrace view that can be reached through a tunnel was also planned for Mount Bülbül.

This year in August, the İzmir Culture and Tourism Provincial Director Abdülaziz Ediz announced that the ancient city would add a harbor on the Aegean coast.

The city’s importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes). Ediz said they had been working to complete a project, called “Ephesus Reunion with the Sea,” with the support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry as well as the Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry. Currently, the city’s distance is six kilometers from the sea.

“The transportation from Ephesus Harbor to the Pamucak Coast [on the Aegean] will be possible with boats. Our aim is to revive history again. Recreational areas will be established with proper landscaping. We want to make the ancient city of Ephesus more attractive to tourists. The visitors will have a chance to live the experiences and ambiance of the old times,” he said. 

The ancient city is famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Currently only on the temporary UNESCO World Heritage Site list, it was one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation and the site of several fifth-century Christian councils, where the Gospel of John may have been written.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [November 10, 2012]

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