Ephesus ruins in the Bible
BASILICA of ST. JOHN
It is assumed that in the area of Ephesus, the evangelist St. John spent his last years buried on the southern edge of Ayosolug Hill. In the 4th century, three hundred years after St. John’s death, a small chapel over the grave was built. In the area of Emperor Justinian, the church of St. John was converted into a wonderful basilica.
The founder of the Fourth Gospel and the book of Revelation was St John or the Apostle John. The Bible accounts agree that he is the son of Zebedee; Jesus started to follow him while fishing in Lake Galilee with his brother James. He became one of the nearest followers of Christ and witnessed numerous important activities, such as the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion, with him. When Jesus was on his torture stake in his books, he said:’ Mother, this is your Son.’ As to his beloved disciple, ‘this is Your Mother’(John 19:26-27).The beloved disciple is believed to have been St John.
The archaeological objects that were dug up from 1867-1905 were shipped to the British Museum in Ephesus; and discoveries were brought to Vienna from 1905-1923. The government forbade the withdrawal of antiquities from the country with the creation of the New Turkish Republic and demanded the objects that were brought back to Turkey outside the country. Ephesus Museum was established in 1964 and the findings from the excavations at and around the Ephesus archaeological site were taken to this museum.
There are not only finds from the current excavations at the Ephesus archaeological site in this charming and well-organized museum, but also objects from the Cukurici Mound, St John’s Basilica, and the Temple of Artemis. A large range of coins dating back to when money was seen here in history can be found in one of the sections.
Unlike most other museums, the Museum of Ephesus is not chronologically organized, but the galleries are packed with objects according to a theme.
ISA BEY MOSQUE
Isa Bey Mosque, located below the Basilica of Saint John, is one of the most precious examples of Seljukian architecture. The mosque was designed between 1374 and 1375 by the master of Syrian architecture, Ali, the son of Mushimish al-Damishki.
Unlike the conventional style, the mosque was styled asymmetrically, the orientation of the walls, doors and domes were not aligned, intentionally.
The gateway is adorned with an inscription by a god at the entrance to the mosque. The columns come from earlier ruins in Ephesus inside the house of prayer, providing a fascinating comparison to the mosque. The domes are ornamented with turquoise and blue faience, showing the Ottoman style characteristic. Crown-like doors later blend the Seljuk architectural form with the unique elements of architectural style decoration. In 1934, Isa Bey Mosque was repaired.
In the excursion across this area, the magical atmosphere of “Isa Bey Mosque” must be witnessed.
This lovely old Orthodox settlement, 12 km(7 miles) from Ephesus and 30 km(18 miles) from Kusadasi, was once known as the Circince (“ugly in Turkish”). Indeed, this name was deliberately given by its residents because they did not want to be disturbed by foreigners or to share the beauty of their village.
Years later, tourists discovered that the village was not at all ugly and renamed it Sirince (“pretty”). As the village is situated on the top of a mountain, those on their way can enjoy the views of the spectacular wine yards and peach trees.
The village today is a perfect fusion of Turkish-Greek culture from the 1920s: there was an exchange of people between Greek and Turks during the War of Independence, and all those traditional Greek homes, although they retained their original exterior characteristics, received the local layout inside. For visitors, the most exquisite specimens are available. Also, you can see a restorated Orthodox church as well.
The women belong to all the small streets of the village, selling all sorts of handicrafts and olive oil. Sirince’s wine is another attraction, so you should try its taste in tiny cafes or in a renovated former municipal school.
While Sirince Village is very quickly developing its tourism, it has been able to maintain its authenticity and its name’s sense. You can have a look at our Ephesus half and full day tours.
The Cave of Seven Sleepers is situated on the northern slopes of Mount Pion, near Ephesus, and has been discovered with increasing interest by both Christians and Muslim people. Seven young men were walled in during the period of Decius (250) according to Christian legend and yet were seen alive in the streets of Ephesus during the reign of Theodosius II several years after the Council of Ephesus.
In the Koran, sleepers are said to have slept in their tombs for 309 years. A church was constructed by the Christians above this Grotto.
The church and several tombs were brought to the light of day during Ephesus excavations in the city. On the walls of the church, several inscriptions of the Seven Sleepers have been noted.