The temple antedated the Ionic immigration by many years. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed the origin of the temenos at Ephesus to the Amazons, whose worship he imagines already centered upon an image. In the seventh century the old temple was destroyed by a flood. The construction of the "new" temple, which was to become known as one of the wonders of the ancient world, began around 550 BC. It was a 120-year project, initially designed and built by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes, at the expense of Croesus of Lydia.
It was described by Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the list of the Seven Wonders:I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, "Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand".