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Stop At: Ancient City of Ephesus, Selcuk 35920 Turkey
Ephesus has been located at different places in different times. The first settlement of the city was located on Ayasuluk Hill and inhabited by ancient Anatolians ( Amazons, Hittites ), Carians and Lelegians. The second settlement of Ephesus was on the North of Mount Panayır ( Mount Pion ). As with other cities of the Aegean cost of Anatolia, Ephesus came to be ruled by Croesus of Lydia and Persians. The third settlement was located in the valley between Mount Panayır and Mount Bülbül ( Mount Coressus ), found by Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander The Great. This settlement of Ephesus is the biggest and can be visited today. Finally, due to the persistent silting up of the harbour and repeated raids by Arabs, the city changed its location back to Ayasuluk Hill forming Fourth Ephesus.
History of Ephesus
According to excevations,the history of Ephesus dates back to 6000 BC, to Chalcolithic Period. Excavations at the Ayasuluk Hill brought to light a settlement, thus ancient Ephesus was first on the located on Ayasuluk Hill. It was first settled by Anatolian Tribes, for Ephesus is mentioned in Hittite cuneiform tablets under the name of Apassas that means “Honey Bee”.
According to the ancient geographers Strabo and Pausanias, and the historian Herodotus claim that Ephesus was found by Amazons and the native tribes of the area were the Carians and the Lelegians around 3000 BC. Amazons gave the city’s name as Ephesos, can be named one of Queens or generals of Amazons. According to them Hittites came here around 1400 BC and changed the name of the city from Ephesos to Apassas. Ionian colonists came here around 1100 BC.
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Meryemana (The Virgin Mary's House), Selcuk 35100 Turkey
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 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. Catherine Emmerich died in 1884. 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 that the little house was from the 6C AD but that the foundations were from the 1C AD.
This place was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage. Pope Paul VI visited the shrine in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: The Temple of Artemis, Selcuk Turkey
Artemis was the Greek goddess, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who replaced the Titan Selene as Goddess of the Moon.
At Ephesus a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic icon. The original was carved of wood, with many breast-like protuberances apparently emphasizing fertility over the virginity traditionally associated with the Greek Artemis. Like Near Eastern and Egyptian deities (and unlike Grek ones), her body and legs are enclosed within a tapering pillar-like term, from which her feet protrude.
On the coins minted at Ephesus, the many-breasted Goddess wears a mural crown (like a city’s walls). She rests either arm on a staff formed of entwined serpents or of a stack of ouroboroi the eternal serpent with its tail in its mouth. Like Cybele, the goddess at Ephesus was served by hierodules called megabyzae, and by maidens (korai).
A votive inscription dating from about the 3rd century BC associates Ephesian Artemis with Crete: “To the Healer of diseases, to Apollo, Giver of Light to mortals, Eutyches has set up in votive offering (a statue of) the Cretan Lady of Ephesus, the Light-Bearer.”
For a more in-depth look at Artemis of Ephesus and the role she played in Ephesian life and religion, please see our special article on Artemis of Ephesus.
The ancient temple was built around 650 BC to the cult of Artemis, was constructed on a site already sacred to the Anatolian Mother Goddess,Cybele. The temple was financed by the wealthy king of Lydia and marshy ground was selected for the building site as a precaution against future earthquakes.
The temple soon attracted merchants, kings, and sightseers, many of donated jewelery and other treasures to Artemis and her temple. Its splendor also attracted many worshippers and pilgrims, strenghtening the cult of Artemis.
On July 21, 356 BC, the night Alexander the Great was born, legend has it that a psychopathic arsonist intent on immortality set fire to the temple. Plutarch remarked that Artemis was too preoccupied with Alexander’s delivery to save her burning temple.
The arsonist, named Herostratus, was motivated by fame at any cost, thus the term “herostratic fame”. The Ephesians, outraged, instructed that Herostratus’ name never be recorded and that anyone who spoke of him should be put to death, but Strabo later noted the name.
Twenty-two years later, during his sweep through Asia Minor, Alexander the Great offered to reconstruct the temple. In the famous refusal recorded by Strabo, the Ephesians said it would not be right for one god to build a temple to another god.
The Temple of Artemis was eventually rebuilt remaining true to the original except for a raised platform, a feature of classical architecture adopted in the construction of later temples. By 263 AD, the temple had been plundered by Nero and destroyed by the Goths.
The temple was again reconstructed in the 4th century, but by the end of that century the temple had been abandoned and was being used as a marble quarry for new buildings, including churches.
The site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869 on an expedition sponsored by the British Museum, and several artifacts and sculptures from the reconstructed temple can be seen in the museum today.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: The Basilica of Saint John, Isa Bey Mahallesi, 2013. Sk. No:1, Selcuk 35920 Turkey
The Basilica of St. John was a great church in Ephesus was constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of Revelation).
The basilica is located on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selçuk, just below the fortress and about 3.5 km (2 miles) from Ephesus.
Myth and Mystery
There was a St. John identified wih Ephesus since as early as the 1st century, who seems to have originally been the author of Revelation who was exiled on Patmos. By the second century this John was equated with John the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of John (presumed also to be the same person as John the Apostle, beloved disciple of Jesus).
Legend had it that John wrote his gospel in Ephesus at the request of other disciples, then died in the church named for him on Ayasoluk Hill. Later legends developed that he was not really dead, but sleeping, and dust could even be seen moving above his grave as he breathed.
Duration: 1 hour