Following the Harbour Street which is approximately 500 metres long one reaches the Harbour of Ephesus which has today turned into a very small lake. In the Hellenistic period and at the beginning of the Roman period the harbour was the best protected mercantile port of the Mediterranean.
At the end of the street it opened towards the sea in the form of an ellipse and was connected to it by a narrow channel. This channel was bordered on either side by marble piers. Close to the sea there are the remains of a building once belonging to the Ephesian customs. The width of the harbour can be easily seen from today's outcrop of plants and vegetation.
In excavations carried out in the last three years quays, piers and a lot of materials which had been dropped into the sea were discovered. In these excavations were also found very near the quay of the harbour traces of the road beginning at the Curetes Street and reaching Ortygia after passing through the Gate of Hadrian.
All through history the harbour of Ephesus was to be continually silted and then each time with great difficulty cleared and made navigable again. At the end of the 4th century it was seen that the clearing process was futile and it was abandoned. Thus, the mercantile harbour to which Ephesus was indebted for its riches was buried into history.
A multi lined inscription used as an ambo, found during the excavations in the Church of St. John and now on display in the Museum of Ephesus, comprises the Ephesian harbour laws. The inscription also known as the Monument of Ephesus indicated the rates of the customs duties. In the Roman period tax revenue was sold against cash to tax farmers who would collect the taxes as foreseen by the law. The transport of the emperor and the army and personal belongings were not taxed.