The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
This drawing depicts the temple as it might have looked in the 4th century BC.
Location: The ancient city of Ephesus near the modern town of Selcuk, about 50 km south of Izmir in Turkey.
Description: Rectangular in shape, the temple was 170ft wide and 366ft long. The temple had 127 columns, (each was 66 feet tall) those at the front were decorated with intricate sculptures. The entire structure was erected from marble, an unusual material for building temples. A statue of Artemis stood in the middle of the temple.
Information: Following his conquest of the Greek city of Ephesus, King Croesus built a temple to honor the goddess of hunting/wind nature, Artemis. The temple was built in 550BC, and was designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron. It was built by colonists of the town, Ephesus. Inside the temple was an inner room called the sanctuary that housed a magnificent statue of the goddess. The temple became very famous and attracted visitors far and wide. Its purposes included both a marketplace and religious institution.
On the night of July 21, 356 BC, a man named Herostratus set fire to the temple in an attempt to immortalize his name. The roof caved in, the columns collapsed, and the statue of the goddess crashed to the ground. Over the next two decades, the temple was restored, with the additional help of Alexander the Great when he successfully conquered Asia Minor.
Then in 262 AD, the temple was destroyed again and the residents of Ephesus vowed to rebuild the it. During this time, the temple began to lose its importance, as many began switching to Christianity, the town was later deserted. The temple was plundered by Goths and later swamped by floods. In recent years, archaeologists have discovered and excavated the town. Attempts have been made to reconstruct the temple, but so so far only a couple columns have been erected upon the remaining foundation..