Ephesus Ancient City and/ or House of Virgin Mary
07 November 2015
13:00 – Departure from Pine Bay Hotel-Kuşadası
13:30 - Lunch
Visit to the Ephesus Ancient City
Although ancient writes claim that the name of Ephesus derives from an Amazon Queen’s name, the archaeological finds reveals that The Carians and Lelegians, at the native peoples of Anatolia, had settled here long before the Ionians’ arrival. Ephesus was first established in 6000 B.C and grew up around the Temple of Artemis. The Ephesians started to move to the new city built by Lysimachus in the 3rd century B.C. The following is the list of the various ruins of Ephesus as they appear from the upper gate, which leads to the House of Virgin Mary, to the lower gate.
- The Water System and Nymohenium
- The Prytaneion
- The Memmius Monument
- The Temple of Domitian
- The Pollio Fountain
- The State Agora
- The Varius Baths
- The Magnesian Gate
- The Odeion
- The Gate of Hercules: Just before the Street of the Curettes stand the remains of ancient gate known as the Gate of Hercules. This name arises from the figures of Hercules on the western faces of the two extant pillars. The capitals of the columns were decorated with acanthus leaves. Presumably these pillars, along with four others were standing on the beam above the arch of the gate.
- The Streets of Kouretes
- The Fountain of Trajan
- The Scolastica Baths
- The Library of Celsus: The Celsus Library was erected in A.D 135 by Julius Aquila for his father Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the consul of Asia province of Roman Empire. Its facade contains exemplars of architectural elements that are among the most beautiful ones of the period, such as doors, windows, gables, niches and columns. A gap of one meter between inner and outer walls of the the library protected the books from extremes of temperature and humidity. Four female statues standing between the columns personify the virtues of Celsus: Sophia (wisdom), Arete (virtue), Ennoia (intelligence), Episteme (knowledge).
Visit to the House of Virgin Mary
This house, one of the important edifices of Christianity, is the first house which was dedicated to Virgin Mary. The third meeting of the Ecumenical Council was held in this church in A.D 431. Located on the top of the “Bulbul” mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place.
The house of Virgin Mary is a typical Roman architectural example, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church, combining her house and grave, has been built. The original two-stored house, which consisted of an anteroom (where today candles are proposed), bedroom and praying room (Christian church area) and a room with fireplace (chapel for Muslims). A front kitchen fell into ruins and has been restored in 1940′s. Today, only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. From there one can understand that this building looks more like a church than a house. Another interesting place is the “Water of Mary”, a source to be found at the exit of the church area and where a rather salt water, with curative properties, can be drunk by all.
Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960′s. Later, in the 1980′s, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary has a pilgrimage place for Christians. It is also visited by Muslims who recognize Mary as the mother of one of their prophets. Every year, on August 15th a ceremony is organized to commemorate Mary’s Assumption.