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Archeology dig at Ephesus. Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selcuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world. The archeology site is a popular travel destination for people and tourists on holiday or vacation.