The Temple of Artemis

statue of ArtemisThe Temple of Artemis, known as Artemision, was first built entirely of marble during the Archaic period (8th century BC) over a sanctuary dedicated to the mother goddess Cybele, venerated by local people. Later during the Hellenistic period the temple became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Throughout the centuries the temple was damaged several times by the wars, fires, or flooding. In the 6th century BC King Croesus financed its restoration. In 356 BC, at the night when Alexander the Great was born, the temple was set on fire by a lunatic called Herostatus who always wanted to be remembered in the future (and he succeeded). Later it was reconstructed by the citizens of Ephesus and by the will of Alexander during the Hellenistic period.

The Temple of Artemis had 127 ionic style columns and its dimensions were 55 x 115 meters (180 x 377 feet) and 19 meters high. Architecturally it had a dipteros style, a building surrounded by a double row of columns. Some of the column bases of the temple are ornamented with raised relief design.

First excavations started in 1869 by an archaeological expedition sponsored by the British Museum. Today, two marble statues of the goddess Artemis can be seen in the nearby archaeological museum in the town of Selcuk. Some other friezes are at the "Hall of Ephesus" in British Museum in London.