In my original Greek Islands cruise post I promised to come back to write up the best things to do to in Ephesus, Turkey. Because that one day we spent there was entirely quite incredible.
The boat port was in Kusadasi. Dave and I found ourselves a pretty awesome tour guide from Get Your Guide to take us around this place and show us all it’s glory.
House of the Virgin Mary
He first took us to the spot where it is believed that Mary the mother of Jesus spent the end of her life. Since Jesus put his mother in the protection of John, many believe that he took her with him in his travels.
I’m going to tell you the story our guide told us…you can fact check if you want!
According to his story, a German nun in her later life had visions and dreams of where the Mother Mary spent the end of her life. She explained it in great detail and with so much conviction that it inspired a group of German priests to make a quest to find what she was describing.
They searched in the mountains near Ephesus for TWO YEARS and finally found the spot they felt like fit pretty perfectly what the nun had described. (More about this in the description sign pictured below.)
And this is where the House of the Virgin Mary stands.
It has become a shrine that attracts visitors from all over the world.
Lots more details here:
I love so much that there were “prayers” rolled up and attached to the wall below the shrine.
So similar to the Western Wall and also the temple in some ways.
I thought it was beautiful that I spotted the word “mama” a few times as I scanned those prayers.
One thing I our guide told us is that it probably would have taken John and Mary close to ten years to get to Ephesus. With all the stops and preaching along the way. Isn’t that incredible?
After the shrine, we traveled on to Ephesus. I loved watching the scenery since Turkey and the Greek Islands nearby are quite dry. This place is so fertile!
This is because the sea used to make it’s way all the way into this valley from Kusadasi to Ephesus but has since become land. Ephesus was once the port and it’s now forty minutes away by car.
There is talk of making a major project to renew this waterway so boats can come closer to Ephesus. Sounds pretty impossible to me, but hey, it would be pretty cool!
Ephesus was the highlight of this stop for sure. It was a city built in the 10th century BC and rule dna conquered over and over again. Today there are ruins from that complete city that used to be one of the biggest harbor ports in the Mediterranean region. At one point over 250,000 people lived there.
The apostles John and also Paul came to Ephesus to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ from this port in the nations.
This says it better than I can:
It was a major commercial center having an international trade port located by the Aegean Sea. The port of Ephesus allowed connection with the West via sea routes of Adriatic and with the East via Royal Road starting from the Persia. It was at the Western tip of Asia and the last point of the Royal Road. Eastern merchants used Port of Ephesus to export their goods to Western countries such as Greece and Italy. The same applies to Western merchants trading goods to the Eastern countries. Therefore, Ephesus played a crucial role in the expansion of the Christianity in its early years. St Paul launched many of his missionary journeys from Ephesus.Ephesus.us
So fascinating to imagine how that city ran, and so impressive to see how they’re working to restore it. Also to think about those apostles Paul teaching there.
Loved exploring it all.
Greek Goddess Nike:
Picturing this place bustling with all those thousands of people.
The public toilets. Ha! Also, ancient mosaics.
We explored the terraces complete with mosaics and restored “great houses” they are trying to restore.
Not only was this ancient city attacked over and over again, an earthquake pretty much devastated it in 282 AD. So lots to more to put together.
Probably the most famous part of Ephesus is the facade of the Library of Celsius.
It has been restored pretty beautifully with 70% of what was originally there.
There’s also a giant amphitheater.
We were coming back to Ephesus that evening, so we took a break and got a little tutorial as to how they make beautiful Turkish pottery:
That guy was so talented!
Temple of Artemis
We also visited the Temple of Artemis which was once made of over a hundred marble columns. And also an ancient wonder of the world.
Today only one remains:
Please google more about the history of that place, but I’ll just add this from Wikipedia:
Destruction. In 356 BC, the temple burned down. Various sources describe this as a vainglorious act of arson by a man, Herostratus, who set fire to the wooden roof-beams, seeking fame at any cost; thus the term herostratic fame.Google
Pretty interesting story.
Dinner at Celsius Library
The thing I still can’t believe is that they took us back to the Celsius Library as the sun was starting to set.
It was a night we won’t ever forget. They had a little string quartet and served us a beautiful five-course meal right there in the courtyard in front of that ancient ruin.
Dave and I just looked at each other with huge eyes that we got to do that!
Let’s get a better look at that place all lit up:
Ephesus is amazing.