Private History and Religion of Roman Ephesus


Roman Catholic tradition states that St. John and the Virgin Mary moved to Ephesus, where they eventually died, though there is an alternative tradition that holds Mary's death to be in Jerusalem, where her tomb is, a tradition held true by Orthodox Christians. This tour will visit Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St. John.

With your professionally-trained guide, you will first visit the House of Virgin Mary. It is known with certainty That the Virgin Mary went to Ephesus and lived there for some time. Whether or not she died in Ephesus was not known until Anne Catherine Emmerich's 1884 vision. The stigmatized German nun who had never been to Ephesus had a vision of the House of the Virgin Mary and described it in detail to the German writer Clemens Brentano who later published a book about it. In 1891 Paul, Superior of the Lazarists from Izmir read about her vision and found a little building which corresponded with Emmerich's descriptions. Archeological evidence showed the foundation to be from the 1st-Century A.D., but the little house itself was from the 6th-Century A.D. The site was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage.

From the house, you will travel down to the ancient city of Ephesus. Follow your guide as you walk the city visiting the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theater. It was in this theater that Paul preached to the Ephesians.
You will then visit the Basilica of St. John. It is believed that the evangelist St. John had spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and was buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after the death of Saint Paul, a small chapel was constructed over the grave. The chapel was replaced with a marvelous basilica during the region of Emperor Justinian (527 -565 AD). The monumental basilica was in the shape of a cross and was covered with six domes. Its construction, being of stone and brick, is an extremely rare find amongst the architecture of its time. Raised on two steps and covered with marble, the tomb of St John was under the central dome. After this visit you will have a traditional lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, you will visit the Ephesus Archaeological Museum which displays religious sculptures and other artifacts from Ephesus. Most notable are two beautiful statues of the Ephesian Artemis.
After your museum visit, you will have the opportunity to see a Turkish carpet demonstration before returning to Izmir.




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