A magnificent gate at the end of Harbour Street opens onto the harbour of Ephesus. The alluvium deposited by the Küçük Menderes (Kaystros) river throughout the centuries finally deprived Ephesus of its harbour. Although the swampy area has not been excavated yet, the remains of structures like warehouses are seen in the vicinity. There is also a small lake, the last remnant of the harbour.
Kucuk Menderes (Kaystros) River has always been a problem for the Harbour of Ephesus
The location of Ephesus on a busy sea traffic lane was the most important factor contributing to its development. Hence, throughout the history of Ephesus, it had been necessary to take precautions against the deposit of alluvium.
Although Attalos II, the King of Pergamum, had wanted to deepen the opening of the harbour and had built a retaining wall enabling large ships to come closer to the shore, it was never used since the harbour filled up very fast.
Despite All Efforts, the Port of Ephesus was Filled up Again
In 61, the proconsul of the time tried to deepen the harbour, and in the next century when Emperor Hadrian came to Ephesus, he tried to move the bed of Kaystros which drained into the Ephesus harbour. An inscription states that an Ephesian spent 20,000 denarii to clean the harbour. Yet, all these efforts failed and the harbour filled up. Today, only a small lake in a swampy area of 4.5 km. inland is all that is left of it.
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