The Temple of Artemis was located in the city of Ephesus in modern Turkey, and it was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. At its grandest the building contained more than 100 marble columns (each 50 feet or more in length) and covered an area larger than the Acropolis in Athens. The first temple built on the site was finished around 600 BC, but was burned down and destroyed some 50 years later. The temple was rebuilt starting circa 550 BC, and its new incarnation was even larger and more magnificent than before. Its construction was sponsored by the Lydian king Croesus and it was designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron. The temple was decorated with bronze sculptures made by the finest artists of the era, including Phidias, Polycleitus, Kresilas, and Phradmon. It served as both a marketplace and a religious institution, drawing tourists from far and wide across Greece and the Near East.
Unfortunately, the Temple of Artemis was destroyed again in 356 BC by a man named Herostratus, who deliberately committed arson in an attempt to immortalize his name (in which he obviously succeeded). Legend has it that the temple burned to the ground on the same night as Alexander the Great was born, and that Artemis was too busy attending his birth to save her temple. After Alexander's death, the Temple of Artemis was rebuilt once more, achieving its largest and most impressive size yet. Aside from its roof, the new temple was made entirely out of marble, with steps leading up to a huge terrace that measured 260 by 430 feet in size. The temple was re-adorned with statues, paintings, and other fine artwork, and over time regained its position of glory.
When St. Paul visited Ephesus in the first century AD, the Temple of Artemis was still standing and its priests had no intention of renouncing their goddess. Unfortunately, the building was burned down by the Goths during a raid in 262 AD. The Ephesians vowed to rebuild it, but interest in the Hellenic gods and goddesses was beginning to wane by that point. By 400 AD, most of the people of Ephesus had converted to Christianity, and the remnants of the temple were torn down by St. John Chrysostom. The marble from the temple was salvaged for use in other building projects, and almost nothing remains of the Temple of Artemis today.