After visiting the house of Mary the taxi dropped us off at the top entrance to Ephesus. Ephesus first became a Greek colony back in 10th century BC. It was a famous city even back then as it became home to the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In those times Ephesus would have been a port city although due to silting in of the river it is now many kilometres inland
. Eventually Romans took control of the area and made Ephesus the capital of their province of Asia. Most of the ruins are from that time. In 262 AD the city was sacked and levelled by the Goths and never regained its previous glory (in part due to it's loss of being an adequate port). The city remains one of the best preserved classical cities with numerous large ruins (partially reconstructed) to give us an idea of what life would have been like back in that day. The most spectacular ruins in the place are typically fountains devoted to rich guys (politicians or statesmen) who funded aqueducts or theatres for the city. The most spectacular ruin is the grand two story facade of the Celsus Library. Ephesus can get quite crowded and the heat can be tiring so we were quite exhausted by the time we reached the bottom. We took a cab ride back to the city where, after a quick bite, we returned to our hotel for a nap and some blogging.
After our nap we made the short walk over to visit the ruins of St. John's Church. It is generally accepted that St. John came to Ephesus several times with Mary and spent his last years hear writing his gospel. A monumental tomb was made for him here in the 3rd or 4th century and later a basilica and a church were built around it. There are also some nice views of the country side from the site of the ruins.
We then had supper at a nice local restaurant and went to our hotel to watch a movie and relax.
Today was our day for seeing the world renowned ancient city of Ephesus. We hired a taxi to take us first to the house of the Virgin Mary that is 7km beyond Ephesus up in the hills. This is speculated to be the house that she lived out her last days in. Apparently the house was first discovered in 1892 based on the visions of a nun from Bavaria. Her descriptions of where the house would be were incredibly accurate even though she had never left Germany in her life. The house is set in a beautiful forested area and is quite small and modest.