Izmir’s ancient city of Ephesus, one of Turkey’s most famous sites, is one
step closer to joining the UNESCO World Heritage list following a conservation
committee’s approval of a structural plan for the tourist attraction, the local
mayor has said.
The Structural Plan for the Protection of the Ephesus-Selçuk Archaeological
Site, which was prepared by Selçuk Municipality, was recently approved by the
İzmir Committee for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Properties, bringing
the city closer to the coveted status.
Ephesus must be evaluated as a whole and follow a three-stage plan for
inclusion on the World Heritage List, Selçuk Mayor Vefa Ülgür said, adding that
as part of a protocol signed with the Culture and
Tourism Ministry, they prepared a map of the ancient city that was then
approved by the conservation committee.
The ancient city covered a larger area than is seen today, he said, adding
that the map of the 1,257-hectare area laid the framework to address a number of
The plan will provide solutions to issues like the property rights on the
site, solve current safety and transportation problems and delineate the borders
of the ancient site to ensure that the site is better protected. Planned
practical improvements to the site include the construction of entrance gates,
new visitor stores, car parking and the coordination of alternative tour routes
to reduce congestion.
“We are now preparing for the second stage following the first step we took
to solve the problems of Ephesus,” Ülgür said, adding that they would start
working on implementation strategies and discuss the dimensions and features of
the new car parking places, entrance gates and visitor stores.
“All problems between our municipality and some authorities at the Culture
and Tourism Ministry have been settled. If these bodies can fall in line with
the municipality, we are planning to finish this work in the first quarter of
‘Most radical change of the republican period’
The plans prepared for Ephesus were the “most radical changes” to the ancient
city in Turkey’s republican period, the Selçuk mayor said.
“There will be a new visiting gate for the Seven Sleepers and Magnesia in the
ancient city. Just like in the past, people will enter the ancient city through
the port, which is the real entrance of the city,” he said.
The third and final stage would be the Ephesus Area Management Plan, Ülgür
said, adding that management of the area would change. “The authorities and
responsibilities of the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, Culture and Tourism
Ministry and the Selçuk Municipality will be redefined with this plan. At the
conclusion of this process, there will be no reason for the ancient city of
Ephesus not to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List,” he