Temple of Artemis, Most Beautiful of the 7 Wonders of the World


You may wonder why the Temple of Artemis (Artemision) is one of the Seven Wonders of the world. In ancient times, historians agreed that the Temple of Artemis was one of the marvels of their time. Temple of Artemis was the most beautiful of all 7 wonders.

According to Pausanias, the size of the Artemis Temple, and the love of Ephesians for the goddess sets the Temple of Artemis apart from any human construction.

The oldest surviving literature about the 7 Wonders of the World is written by Antipater of Sidon. In his poem, Sidon clearly states that the Temple of Artemis is the most marvelous of Seven Wonders. Here is the poem;

“I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, “Hey, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on so grand on anything” 

— Greek Anthology IX.58 Antipater of Sidon Source wikipedia

7 Wonders of The World Compared. Temple of Artemis may not be the biggest but, it was the most beautiful.

Where is the Temple of Artemis located today?

Temple of Artemis is in Selcuk province of Izmir in Turkey. The Temple of Artemis is also 20 minutes drive distance to Kusadasi and 1 hour driving distance to Izmir. 

In ancient times the Temple of Artemis was located on the outskirts of the ancient city of Ephesus.

In those times Ephesus was the second biggest city of the world with a population of more than 200.000 people.

Who built the Temple of Artemis? 

The holiness of the site of the Temple of Artemis is older than itself. The exact time of construction is still not known because the Temple of Artemis renewed itself over time. Yet, the place Temple is located is around 8500 years old.

The Temple of Artemis was ransacked more than 7 times and rebuilt at least three times. Yet, each time, the Temple of Artemis was restored, it got more beautiful.

A Medieval fantasy painting about the Temple of Artemis

As the Temple of Artemis was destroyed three times, there are three builders of the Temple of Artemis. The builders of the Temple of Artemis were Amazons, Lidyan King Croesus, and Ephesians.

  • The first builders of the Temple of Artemis are Amazons. Roman believed that the Amazons built the Temple for their Queen Diana. 
  • The second builder of the Temple of Artemis is Lidyan King Croesus who was the wealthiest man of his time. Lydian Kings were so rich, they were the inventors of the currency standard we use today. Yet, even for them, it took more than 100 years to complete the Temple of Artemis. 
  • The third builders of the Temple of Artemis are Ephesians. They even refused help offer from the Great Alexander because they didn’t want to share their love of Artemis with anybody else.

Archeological excavations at the beginning of this century also revealed three temple bases confirming the Temple of Artemis was built three times. 

Modern archaeology could not confirm the first builders as Amazon, but it is revealed that the first temple was older than any other in the Greek world. The first Artemis Temple is 8500 years old.

It is also believed that the Temple of Artemis is the oldest of temples with marble columns. It is also the first building in the world constructed solely with marbles.

Are the Temple of Artemis and Temple of Diana the same? What does this have to do with Wonder Woman?

Ephesian God Artemis and Roman God Diana are both goddesses of the hunt and Moon. Roman believed that these Goddeses are the same and for this reason Romans called the Temple of Artemis, Temple of Diana.

Ancient God Artemis became Roman God Diana. And in modern-day Diana still lives in our culture as Wonder Women, Queen Diana of Amazons.

Artemis is Diana in Roman Times. Diana is the Goddes of Hunt and the queen of Amazons. The modern day version of Artemis is Wonder Women.

Remember the scene in Wonder Women where Amazons throw an arrow at the Pantheon and light the ancient fire. The Pantheon is another Temple of Artemis, but the real one is the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (“Artemission). Artemission dwarfed the Pantheon in every aspect, not just by size but beauty as well.

What did the Temple of Artemis look like? How big was the Temple of Artemis?

The Temple Artemis in Ephesus (Artemision) was four times bigger than Pantheon in Athens. According to historian Plynus, Artemis Temple had a height of 18 meters (60 ft). 

The base of the temple was rectangular and its sides were 115 meters ( 377 ft) and 55 meters (180 ft).  It was made entirely with marvel and 127 columns were supporting its marvel roof.

This replica of Temple of Artemis in MiniaTurk in Istanbul. Yet, it is very far away to reflect its original beauty.

The Temple Artemis was not just a place for worship, but also a commercial hub. The outer ring of the Temple was a bazaar resembling of Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.

Who destroyed the Temple of Artemis and why?

The Temple of Artemis was destroyed three times. Yet, The first destruction was due to a flood in 700 BC. The second destruction was by a man called Herostratus. Herostratus burned the Temple of Artemis to make his name remembered.

The reason was the third destruction is relatively unknown, it is believed to be around 400 AD during the persecution of pagans in the Roman Empire. 

The spread of Christianity and Apostle Paul arriving in Ephesus are also other reasons the Temple of Artemis was abandoned in time. Also, another woman figure Virgin Mother started to be loved by Ephesians as much as Artemis. Virgin Mary came to Ephesus with Apostle Paul, she spent the rest of her days with Ephesians.

Does the Temple of Artemis still exist? Is the Temple of Artemis still standing? What Happened to Remains of Temple Artemis?

Today, Temple of Artemis’ location is mostly empty. You can only see one of its columns standing. Most of the late findings in this site can be seen at Ephesus Archeological Museum and British Museum in London.

There were limited remains on the site because the last remains of the Temple of Artemis were destroyed in 401 CE by a Christian mob. It was the time of persecution of pagans in the Byzantine (East Roman) Empire.

Temple of Artemis Lives in Hagia Sophia

Another interesting fact is that the remaining parts of this world wonder are used in the construction of Hagia Sophia. For this is also another major reason, why there were limited ruins in the orginal site of the Temple of Artemis.

You could say Temple Artemis transferred its beauty to Hagia Sophia and still lives in Hagia Sophia.

The place where mighty Temple of Artemis is stood is mostly empty today, Yet Ephesus area is rich in history.

Efe Genit

I am a father, a passionate traveler, and a Turkish lawyer. You can enjoy my guides and tips about Turkey that only Turkish locals would know.

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