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The Government sometimes tolerated discrimination against and the abuse of religious groups by private actors and often failed to punish perpetrators.While Aceh remained the only province authorized to implement Islamic law (Shari'a), several local governments outside of Aceh promulgated laws implementing elements of Shari'a that abrogated the rights of women and religious minorities.In several countries, celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 has the main focus rather than December 25, with gift-giving and sharing a traditional meal with the family.
Strong Syrian influence over local politics and decision makers made officials unwilling to press for further progress on fulfilling Taif agreements, including Syrian withdrawal.
The area surrounding Ephesus was already inhabited during the Neolithic Age (about 6000 BC), as was revealed by excavations at the nearby höyük (artificial mounds known as tells) of Arvalya and Cukurici.
Excavations in recent years have unearthed settlements from the early Bronze Age at Ayasuluk Hill.
The city was the site of several 5th century Christian Councils (see Council of Ephesus).
The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River.