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After breakfast, we were picked up from our hotel at 08:30 and once again taken to Selcuk, where we joined our tour guide and small group of 11 travelers before hitting more ruins. 

First stop: the House of Mother Mary. Located on the top of Bulbul Dag (the Mount of the Nightingale) and seven kilometers south of the ancient city of Ephesus, the Blessed Virgin is said to have lived her last years on earth in this home under the care of St John, who also lived and preached in the area. It was reconstructed on the foundations unearthed in 1891 by Lazarist Fathers, following the detailed description given to them by an infirmed German woman who claimed to have been shown this neighborhood in visions that she had of the Virgin Mother. Soon after, this place began to attract interest and is visited today by pilgrims from all over the world. Pope John XXIII visited this shrine many times during his stay as the Apostolic Delegate in Turkey. Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II came here as pilgrims in 1967 and 1979 respectively.

Nothing prepared us for the grandeur of Ephesus, often referred to as the “New York City of the ancient world” until Constantinople came into existence. Rising on the north slope of Mount Pion and extending southward to the slopes of Mount Koressos, Ephesus is probably the largest archeological site in Turkey. First founded as a colony of Athens some 1000 years before Christ, it was rebuilt and fortified with city walls in the late part of the 4th century BC by Lysimachus, who had been left in charge of the city by Alexander the Great after his visit there in 334 BC. After Alexandria and Antiochia during the Roman period, it was designated as the capital of Asia Minor. The apostle, Paul, came to Ephesus in the 1st century and it is believed to be the place from where he wrote his letter known as 1 Corinthians in the Holy Bible. Ephesus is also one of the seven churches, or communities of Christians, referred to in Revelations (Revelations 2:1-7). We explored the extensive site of this white-marble ancient city and marveled at its spectacular monuments: the Library of Celsus, the Agora, the Odeon, the Trajan Fountain, the Domitianus Temple, the theater and the roman latrines. Well worth paying the extra money, Peter and I spent half an hour at “the Terraces”, admiring a group of 7 well preserved homes at Ephesus that once belonged to its wealthier citizens.

After our lunch break, we made a brief stop to see the remains of the Temple of Artemis. This famous temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was first built in the lonian style during 560-550 BC by the Lydian King, Croesus. After being burned down in 356 BC, it was rebuilt on the same foundations, its height extended by 3 meters. Famous for its marble statues, this temple was 55x115 meters in dimension and was the largest of all the ancient temples. With many of the ruins taken to the museum in England, all that is sadly left of this huge and magnificent temple is....... 1 column.

After our second full day of Greco-Roman ruins, amidst the crowds and under a searing sun, we longed for the lush surroundings and tranquility of Nisanyan House, our final night.

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 30th September, 2014 | Trackbacks
Categories: Turkey

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