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Seven wonders of the world: Temple of Artemis in Ephesus

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus — an ancient temple built in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (in our days — the city of Selcuk in Turkey). The temple was so large and beautiful that contemporaries began to call it the wonder of the world, so the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus was in the classic list of “Seven wonders of the world”.

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus-wonder of the world
The temple appeared in Ephesus is no coincidence: from time immemorial in this area worshiped the goddess of fertility, which was called “the Great Mother”. Even before the Greeks, a sanctuary was built here for the ancient goddess. When the Ionian Greeks came to these lands, they decided that the Great Mother was Artemis, and in the sixth century BC they began to build a huge temple in honor of their goddess on the site of an ancient sanctuary. Funds for the construction of the temple donated Lydian king Croesus, famous for his wealth. The project of Church was designed by architect [Khersifron], under his leadership was built the walls of the building and a colonnade. After the death of [khersifron] the construction of the temple was continued by his son — Mutagen, and the construction was completed by architects Peony and Demetrius. The most talented masters of Ancient Greece had a hand in the decoration of the temple. Inside was a huge statue of Artemis, decorated with gold and precious stones. About a century lasted the construction of the temple, but the result was impressive. The temple of Artemis in Ephesus became the largest sanctuary of the ancient world: its length was about 105 meters and width-52 meters. The roof of the temple was supported by 127 eighteen-meter columns.

Temple Of Artemis Of Ephesus
Ephesus Temple of Artemis was used not only as a sanctuary — it soon became the financial and business center of the Greek metropolis. At the same time, the temple was completely independent from the city authorities and was ruled by priests.

In 356 BC, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus burned in a fire. The fire was committed by a resident of Ephesus Herostratus. According to legend, it happened on the night when Alexander the Great was born in the capital of Macedonia. Later contemporaries of Alexander the great told:

“It is not surprising that the Temple of Artemis burned down: after all, the goddess was busy at this time, helping Alexander to be born.”

After the fire, Herostratus was caught, and during the torture he confessed that he burned the temple to immortalize his name in history. The arsonist was executed, and the people of Ephesus were forbidden to mention his name. However, the name Herostratus still went down in history and even became a household name. Nowadays, the phraseology “Herostratus glory” refers to the shameful fame associated with eternal shame. Also often use the popular expression ” to acquire the laurels of Herostratus — – to gain notoriety by destroying something created by others.

After the fire in the temple, the snow-white walls and columns were so blackened that the inhabitants of Ephesus decided to completely dismantle the sanctuary and build it again. By the beginning of the III century BC, the Temple of Artemis was completely restored to its former form. Funds for the restoration of the temple donated by Alexander the Great. Architect Harakat directed the construction, retained the old view of the Church, however, raised the building on a higher step basis. Inside the temple was decorated with magnificent statues by Praxiteles and bas-reliefs of the famous scopas, who had a hand in the creation of another wonder of the world called “mausoleum of Halicarnassus.”

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Thus, one of the wonders of the world was restored, but in the III century ad The temple of Artemis was looted by the Goths, and at the end of the IV century the sanctuary was closed by order of Theodosius I due to the prohibition of all pagan cults. Some elements of the abandoned temple were used for other buildings, as a result, the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus was destroyed, and the ruins of the sanctuary eventually swallowed the swamp.

The ruins of the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus in the swamp
And even the place where once was a great wonder of the world, gradually forgotten.

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