Duration: 2 Days+ more details
- 1 Nights at Ephesus Boutique Hotel
- Return Flight tickets; Istanbul- Izmir,Izmir -Istanbul
- 1 Breakfast, 2 Lunch, 1 Dinner
- All local Taxes, there is no hidden cost
- All transfers and transportation by private deluxe air conditioned non-smoking tour car
Duration: 2 Days+ more details
Day 1: Ephesus Ephesus the city dedicated to Artemis, the best preserved ancient city of Asia Minor with its majestic theater, marble road, Temple of Artemis, the Church of the Virgin Mary or the Double Church, the library of Celsus, the stadium, the lecture hall. Then visit the Church of St. John and his Tomb in Selcuk before driving to the home of the Virgin Mary, who was brought to Ephesus by John, the beloved disciple of Jesus.
Day 2:Priene, Miletos & Didyma Breakfast is served at the hotel. After breakfast, depart for the first ancient city; Priene which in its time was one of the most spectacular of all the ancient Ionians cities. Then travel on to Miletus with its magnificent theatre and the Byzantine fortress on the acropolis above. Last, but not least, visit Didyma. Here you will find the largest Ionic Temple in the world, that of Apollo. Also in Didyma lies the huge, cracked head of Med After the tour transfer to Izmir Airport to take the flight back to Istanbul.
Virgin Mary The home of Virgin Mary on a hill top, where she lived out her days is now visited by over a hundred thousand pilgrims each year. The pilgrims drink the water of the sacred spring, meditate and pray for health at this ancient spot of worship. Both Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979 have celebrated mass here. After tour, we will drive to our hotel at Kusadasi Dinner at Hotel . Over-night at Ephesus Boutique Hotel
House of Virgin Mary
The House of Virgin Mary - (Show on the Map) - The belief that the Virgin Mary had spent her last days in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there, focused attention on a nun named Anna Katherina Emmerich who had livid in the late 18th century (1774-1820). The efforts to find the house were greatly influenced by her detailed description of the Virgin Mary's coming to Ephesus, her life and her last home there and the characteristics of the city although she had never been to Ephesus.
In 1811, Emmerich, who had dedicated her life to God, was taken ill in the nunnery and had to keep her bed. She was hearing voices no one else did, and was having religious visions. On 29 December 1812, as Emmerich was praying in her bed with her hands stretched out, she was suddenly shaken by a divine force; and seized by a high fever, she became deep red in the face. Just at that moment, a bright light coming from above descended towards her and when it reached her the hands and the feet of the sick woman were suddenly covered with blood as if pierced by nails. The people around the bed were stunned with amazement. It was as if she had partaken of Christs agony during the Crucifixion and had become a stigmatized nun. The doctors examining her were greatly astonished. They could not explain this within the science of medicine. A writer named C. Brentano began putting into writing the narrations that Emmerich, who getting gradually worse had become bedridden, revealed in trance after loosing consciousness in 1811.
The House of Virgin Mary The House of Virgin Mary
Emmerich had seen in her visions the Virgin Mary leaving Jerusalem with St.John before the persecution of Christians had become worse and their coming to Ephesus; she had also seen that the house in Ephesus was on a mountain nearby and that the Christians who had settled there before lived in tents and caves. She said furthermore that the house of the Virgin Mary, a stone house, was built by St.John, that it was rectangular in plan with a round back wall and had an apse and a hearth. The room next to the apse was her bedroom and there was a stream of water running it. Emmerich went on as follows:
"After completing her third year here she had a great desire to go to Jerusalem. John and Peter took her there. She was taken so ill and lost so much weight in Jerusalem that everybody thought she was going to die and they began preparing a grave for her. When the grave was finished the Virgin Mary recovered. She was feeling strong enough to return to Ephesus.
After returning to Ephesus the Virgin Mary became very weak and at 64 years of age she died. The saints around her performed a funeral ceremony for her and put the coffin they had specially prepared into a cave about two kilometers away from the house".
The House of Virgin Mary The House of Virgin Mary
Emmerich narrated that at this point in her vision St.Thomas coming there after the death of the Virgin Mary cried with sorrow because he had not been able to arrive in time. Whereupon his friends not wanting to hurt his feelings took him to the cave. And she went on:
" When they came to the cave they prostrated themselves. Thomas and his friends walked impatiently to the door. St.John followed them. Two of them went inside after removing the bushes at the entrance of the cave and they kneeled down in front of the grave. John neared the coffin of which a part was protruding from the grave and unlacing its ties he opened the lid. When they all approached the coffin they were stunned in amazement: Mary's corpse was not in the shroud. But the shroud had remained intact. After this event the mouth of the cave containing the grave was closed and the house was turned into a chapel."
The House of Virgin Mary The House of Virgin Mary
A French clergyman named Gouyet who after reading in 1880 C.Brentano's book " The Life of the Virgin Mary" containing the revelations of Anna Katherina Emmerich tried to prove these by his writings but was not successful. Gouyet dedided to go Ephesus to see whether the house mentioned as beloning to the Virgin Mary fitted the description in the book or not. Monseigneur Timoni, the archbishop of Izmir of the time, supported him in his idea and gave him a helper. After a journey free from problems in contrast to his expectations, Gouyet saw the house, believed that it belonged to the Virgin Mary and sent his related report to Bishopric authorities of Paris and even to Rome, but he did not receive the attention he had expected.
About ten years after this event, H.Jung, a Lazarist priest who had read in Anna Katherina Emmerich's book the chapters relating to the life and death of Virgin Mary in Ephesus, decided that it would be useful to see the house in its place. With the encouragement of Sister Marie de Mandat Grancey, the handnurse of the French Hospital of Izmir, he organized a second research team with the collaboration of Eugene Poulin, a Lazarist priest who was the director of the French College of Izmir and who had studied Emmerich's book. The team consisting of two preists and two Catholic functionaries set out on 27 June 1891. The team successfully found the House of Virgin Mary, they had discovered a small place of workship with the roof fallen in and the walls in ruin standing a statue of the Virgin Mary with the hands broken off. Nowhere else in the region was there a scene fitting the description as perfectly as this one did. They returned to Izmir. The priest E.Poulin, although he did not quite believe the narrative of his colleague Jung, decided to go to Ephesus to see out on the journey and on his return he let work begin for the necessary scientific research. With four friends he went up the Bulbul mountain again they took various photographs pf the place for a week. Meanwhile, the archbishop of Izmir Monseignor Timoni showed interest in the matter. He organized a team consisting of seven priests and five specialists. This team went up to the house of the Virgin Mary in December 1892 and substantiated the situation by a duly signed document ( History of Panaya Kapulu).
The House of Virgin Mary The House of Virgin Mary
After the priest Jung set out on his first expedition, Sister Marie de Mandat Grancey exerted herself for nearly ten months to obtain the right of possession of his land and tried in her own capacity to repair the building and arrange the surrounding area. The restoration and other works continued until 1894. A shelter for visitors was built as an annex to the building.
This place of pilgrimage visited by thousands of tourists every year, maintains its holiness for the Moslems as well as for the Christian world. People believing in the godly qualities of the Virgin Mary came here and drinking from the water believed to be sacred they make wishes in the mystic and quite atmosphere of Mount Aladag.
Miletos which is in the vicinity of Söke, was on the seashore in the ancient times. The Miletos people who had founded about 90 colonies in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, after 650 B.C, had resisted the Persian invasions in Anatolia, but they were defeated finally and the city was destroyed by the Persians.
When you arrive at the zone of the ruins, the magnificent theater of the city appears in sight at first. The theater had been constructed during the Hellenistic period and, it acquired its present characteristics by means of the annexes made during the Roman period. The walls of the front facade of the theater, are 140 m long and 30 m high, and are an interesting example of stone workmanship. This theater was large enough to hold 15.000 people, and a fortress was built upon it during the Byzantine period.
Priene which is in Güllübahçe at a distance of 15 km from Söke, was carried to its present locality in the year 350 B.C. from the original place where it had been founded earlier. At the point of entrance of the ruins, a road on the right leads us to the Theater of Priene.The theater had been built during the Hellenistic period, and underwent modifications during the Roman period.
The theater consists of 50 rows of seats and is capable of holding 5.000 people and, in the section of the orchestra of the theater, there are marble armchairs reserved for eminent people. On the right side of the theater, the Themenos of Egyptian Gods is situated. The upper Gymnasium is in front of the theater and the Byzantine church is at its side. You pass to the famous Temple of Athena from here. The Temple of Athena belongs to the 4th century B.C. and it is the work of the architect Pytheos. The temple, with 6 x 11 columns, has dimensions of 19.55 x 37.20 m. A few columns of the temple, which is a classical example of Ionian architecture, have been erected.
Alexander the Great had the eastern half of the temple completed. The altar in the front was decorated with high reliefs in the past, and it belongs to the 2nd century B.C. The Stoa that displays a graceful example of stone-workmanship, is on the south of the Temple of Athena. When you go downwards from the temple, you see the Agora of Priene which belongs to the 3rd century B.C. The sacred Stoa belonging to the 2nd century B.C., is situated north of the Agora. Bauleuterion (the assembly building) which looks like a small theater, with dimensions of 20 x 21 m and capacity for 640 people, is adjacent to the Stoa and, adjacent to it, there is Prytaneion (2nd century B.C.) where the sacred fire used to burn. Temenos of Zeus Olympios and the food market are situated east and west of the Agora respectively. There are houses on two sides of the avenue which connects the Agora to the western gate. Temenos of Kybele and the house of Alexander the Great, are situated at the western gate side of the avenue. In the extreme south of Priene, the lower Gymnasium and the Stadium are situated.
Didyma, on the west coast of Turkey, was an important sacred site in the ancient Greek world. Its famous oracle and Temple of Apollo attracted crowds of pilgrims and was second in importance only to Delphi. Today, the temple's magnificent ruins still attract thousands of visitors - Didyma is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. The modern name of the town is Didim.
Didyma means "twin" and refers to the twins Apollo and Artemis, who were born to Zeus and Leto. The Temple of Artemis was in the nearby city of Miletus, while the much more important Temple of Apollo was in Didyma.
The Temple of Apollo at Didyma, also known as the Didymaion, has a long history. Pausanias (c. 160 AD) said the Didymaion was constructed before Greek colonization (10th century BC), and some date it to the 2nd millennium BC.
However, the earliest fragments of the temple found thus far date to the end of the 8th century BC. This Archaic temple was in the charge of the Branchids, a priestly caste named after Branchus, a favourite youth of Apollo. Three prose oracles and one dedication survive from this period.
The original temple was destroyed by Darius I of Persia in 494 BC, who looted many of the statues and its vast treasury built up by the generous gifts of Croesus, King of Lydia. The Branchids were exiled to Sogdiana.
After Alexander the Great conquered Miletus in 334 BC, the oracle of Apollo at Didyma was resanctified and quickly regained its importance. Thereafter Miletus administered the cult of Apollo, annually electing a prophet. In 313 BC, the Milesians began to build a new Hellenistic temple on the site of the earlier shrine, which they intended to be the largest in the Greek world. It is this temple that visitors see today.
Construction continued during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, and portions were still under construction in the Roman period. It was never entirely completed. Modern experts believe the magnificent temple would have been one of the seven wonders of the ancient world had it been completed. Even incomplete, the temple is enormous and impressive; it is the third largest in the ancient world after those of Ephesus and Samos.
In ancient times, pilgrims walked 12 miles (20 km) along the Sacred Way from Miletus to the sanctuary at Didyma participate in the annual spring festival, the Didymeia. The festival became Panhellenic in the beginning of the 2nd century BC.
The Oracle of Apollo at Didyma rivaled that of Delphi; pilgrims flocked to Didyma not only to worship Apollo and attend the festival, but also to find answers about their future. Famous persons known to have visited Didyma's Temple of Apollo include Alexander the Great's generals Lysimachus and Seleucus I, and the Roman emperors Augustus and Trajan.
A strict ritual surrounded the giving of oracles. Oracles could only be given on a limited number of days; the absolute minimum was every four days, but the interval was often much longer, perhaps many months. The session began with a three-day fast by the priestess, during which time she resided in the adyton (sacred precinct).
On the appointed day, the priestess would take a ritual bath and enter the naiskos (inner chapel). Meanwhile, those who wished to consult the oracle sacrificed outside and choruses sang hymns to the gods.
The priestess sat on an axle suspended over the sacred spring and, when a question was asked of her, she would dip her foot or her dress into the spring before giving her answer. The oracular responses were probably given in prose, which were then turned into verse by the priests or prophets, who were appointed by Miletus.
Didyma's fate was probably sealed in 303 AD, when an oracle advised the Emperor Diocletian to initiate his persecution of the Christian church. Constantine the Great, who was raised in the court of Diocletian and later converted to Christianity, closed the oracle and executed the priests.
In the 5th century AD, Emperor Theodosius built a Christian basilica in the adyton (sacred precinct) of the temple at Didyma, which testifies to the site's religious importance. Indeed, a number of oracles have been found on inscriptions and in literary sources that postdate Constantine's closure.
The church and much of the temple stood until the 15th century, when a great earthquake reduced the temple to rubble. Excavations made between 1905 and 1930 revealed all of the incomplete Hellenistic temple and some carved pieces of the earlier temple and statues.
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, 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 Lysimachos 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 MAGNESIAN GATE
This is the only city gate that survives up to the present day. There is not much thing to see today.
THE EAST GYMNASIUM
The East Gymnasium, one of the monumental structures of Ephesus, the gymnasium, is a complex that includes baths, palaestrae (exercise fields), study halls, and imperial cult rooms. According to an inscription it was built by famous sophist Flavius Damianus and his wife Vedia Phaedrina.
THE VARIUS BATHS
The Varius Baths were constructed in the 1st century B.C. During the excavations, parts of a bath and a roman latrine came to light. These structures next to the bath might belong to a gymnasium that may have been part of the complex.
THE WATER SYSTEM AND NYMPHENIUM
The water springs are rather away from the fountains and houses in Ephesus. This monumental fountain on the street bounding the south side of the state was supplied by the Marnas River. The large fountain is well integrated into the street that fronts it. This monumental fountain was built between 4-14 A.D., and underwent various renovations the last of which was in the fourth century.
THE STATE AGORA
The state agora, measures 160 X 73 meters and was constructed in the 1st century A.D. It was the place the location of official religious and civic ceremonies, of government assemblies, and of the mercantile activities of the larger trading concerns that were subject to government regulation.
This structure was devoted both to civic meetings and musical and theatrical performances. It seated 1400 people, and was constructed by Vedius Antonius and his wife Papiana in the second century A.D.
The Prytaneion (town hall ) was considered to be the sacred place of the city. It contained the altar of Hestia Boulaia, where a sacred fire burnt perpetually for centuries and was never extinguished. This the find spot of the two great statues of the Ephesian Artemis which are displayed at the museum now. The building was built in the 3rd century B.C during the reign of Lysimachos. The ruins seen today are dated to 1st century A.D. Two later temples near the site were dedicated to Emperor Julius Caesar and Dea Roma, the divine personification of the city of Rome.
THE WATER PALACE
It was built by proconsul Laecanius Bassus in 80 A.D., and is also called the “Water palace" because of its monumental appearance.
THE MEMMIUS MONUMENT
Memmius was one of the grandsons of Sulla, the famous Roman general. This monument dedicated to him was constructed in the first century A.D. during the reign of emperor August. A fountain was built into the northwest corner of the monument in the fourth century A.D.
THE TEMPLE OF DOMITIAN
Dedicated to Domitian, this is the first structure in Ephesus to be built in honour of a Roman emperor. The temple was erected on a terrace supported by a substructure measuring 50 by 100meters. The substructure of the temple is used as "Inscription Gallery" today.
THE POLLIO FOUNTAIN
This structure dedicated to C.Sextilius Pollio in 97 A.D. It was decorated by the statue group of Odysseus and Polyphemus, and a basin stood in front of it.
THE GATE OF HERCULES
Just before the Street of the Curetes 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
Owing to the fact that this street was used by a six-membered-class of civic priests, who were chosen anew each year, and played an important role in the management of the city, it was given “Kouretes Street. The porticoes flanked both sides of the street, which provided shade for pedestrian, and behind of which were located the various shops. The street was lined by statues of prominent Ephesians. After three severe earthquakes hit the city in the 4th century A.D. the street was restored. The main sewer system in Ephesus lies beneath this marble pavement of the street.
THE FOUNTAIN OF TRAJAN
It was dedicated to the emperor Trajan (98- 117), and constructed between 102-114 A.D. The two storied fountain had a colossal statue of Emperor Trajan in the middle.
THE SCOLASTICA BATHS
The first construction on this site dates to the first century, and was later connected to the brothel and the latrine. The three storied bath dates to 400A.D. comprises a various rooms for bathing and lounging along with a library and has a capacity of 1000.
The general toilets had a square pool in the middle surrounded on four sides by toilet seats, in front of which was a channel of running water. The floor of this place was covered with mosaics.
THE HADRIAN TEMPLE
The Hadrian Temple is one of the most impressive constructions in Ephesus. It was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian (118-138 A.D.) The relief of Tyche, the goddess of city, is seen on the pediment of the temple. The legend about how Ephesus was established is also depicted on the friezes of the temple.
THE SLOPE HOUSES
These two or three storied houses belonged to the wealthy people of Ephesus were first built in the 1st century A.D. They were used as dwelling, with some renovations and repair until the seventh century. The walls were garnished with frescoes and the floors were decorated with mosaics.
This two storied structure built during the reign of Emperor Trajan, forms a complex with the Scholastica Baths the latrines. The walls were decorated with frescoes and the floor was covered with mosaics.
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. The library, measuring 60.90 by 16.72 meters had a two storied facade and a large room inside. 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. The sarcophagus of Celsus stand under the west side of the library. Four female statues standing between the columns personify the virtues of Celsus: Sophia (wisdom), Arete (virtue), Ennoia (intelligence), Episteme (knowledge). Celsus himself is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the west side of the library.
THE GATE OF MAZAEUS AND MITHRIDATES
This gate to the Agora was erected in 4-3 B.C by the freed slaves Mazaeus and Mithridates in honour of their former masters emperor Augustus and his family.
THE COMMERCIAL AGORA
The commercial agora , one of the significant centres in Ephesus was the real market place for trade in Ephesus. It was square and enclosed on all four sides by stoas. The agora was set up during the Hellenistic age and rebuilt during the reign of Emperor Nero and again in the 3rd century A.D.
THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS
A path with a flight of stairs at the southwest corner of the Agora leads to the Temple of Serapis. The temple was rising on a high terrace .This prostyle temple had columns in the Corinthian order, each of which had a diameter of 1.5 meters and a total weight of 57 tons.
THE MARBLE ROAD
The sacred way that surrounds the Panayır Mountain is called the marble Street here, and is well preserved. The road was intended for vehicles, since pedestrians could use the colonnade. The huge sewer system of the city, which had a channel large enough to be entered by a human being also was running under this street.
THE GREAT THEATRE
It is situated on the slope of Mount Panayır. It was first built in the Hellenistic times and renovated in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. It seated 24.000 spectators. The stage building was three storied and rose to a height of 18 m. The cavea, the seating area, had consisted of three superimposed sections. The theatre was the scene of gladiatorial fights during the late Roman period.
During the early years of the Christianity, St.Paul who came to Ephesus to spread Christianty and he wanted to address to the crowd at the theatre. The silversmith Demetrius provoked the people against St. Paul because he earned a lot of many with his handmade Artemis statues and they shouted altogether “ Artemis of Ephesus is great, The greatest is Artemis”. So St.Paul was forced to leave Ephesus and he continued his journey to Macedonia.
THE ARKADIANE (HARBOUR) WAY
It was constructed in late Hellenistic period and renovated by the Emperor Arcadius (395 - 405) and known by his name. It is 500 m. in length and 11m. in width The shops were located on both sides of the Arkadiane way. It is also known as "Harbour Way"
THE THEATRE GYMNASIUM
This structure was built in the early period of the Roman Empire. Since it is situated next to the theatre it is also called "The Theatre Gymnasium" It is the largest gymnasium at Ephesus
THE HARBOUR GYMNASIUM AND BATHS:
There were two palaestras (athletic training grounds), one of which was 90 sq.m area and the other 200mx240m. The structure was built in the reigns of Emperors Domitian and Hadrian. The baths were erected in the second century. Since the baths were renovated in the 4th century they were also called “The Constantines Baths".
THE CHUCH OF VIRGIN MARY (THE CHURCH OF COUNCILS)
This church, one of the important edifices of Christianity, is the first church which was dedicated to Virgin Mary. The third meeting of the Ecumenical Council was held in this church in A.D 431.
The stadium measured 230mx30m and resembled a horse-shoe. The entrance was in its west facade. Seats for the spectators on the south side were constructed on the slopes of Mt.Pion while those on the north were built over a vaulted substructure .The first site of the stadium appears to go back to the Hellenistic period, and during the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-68 A.D.) it underwent transformation.
THE VEDIUS GYMNASIUM
The gymnasium, one of the preserved buildings to be found in Ephesus, was erected in A.D 150 by P.Vedius Antonius, one of the prominent wealthy Ephesians of the time and dedicated to the Emperor Pius and the goddess Artemis.