Kusadasi, Turkey 11-14-08
We arrived in Kusadasi this morning about 7:00am and took a Princess Tour Bus for our journey through St. Johns Basilica, then on to the Virgin Mary Shrine, and the ancient city of Ephesus. The city of Kusadasi was originally settled by the Ionian Greeks in the 10th century B.C. The area lies along the Aegean Sea.
The Basilica of St. John was built by the Roman Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St. John the Apostle, the Basilica now in ruins except for a few columns and colorful mosaics once rivaled St. Sophia in size. This picture is the entrance to St. Johns Basilica. Our guide said that St. John likely wrote his gospel here and part of the Book of Revelation. Tradition also says that both Mary the mother of Jesus and John the evangelist lived at Ephesus during their final years. Mary and John are revered by both Christians and Moslems.
Next stop was the shrine to the Virgin Mary. The Vatican has recognized this small house in the Solmissos Mountains as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. A small shrine dedicated to Virgin Mary was found when the ruins of the house were first discovered. Our tour guide, on the way up the winding mountain road to the shrine told us about a major fire that had occurred on the mountain side two years ago. The fire came up to the top where Virgin Mary’s house was and just stopped!! We could see where the fire had been and how close it got. There was no known reason why the fire had stopped. The guide told us that what had led to the discovery of the location of the house was a German nun who had never been out of Germany but had the same dream 3 nights in a row telling her the location of the house. She told a priest and he sent word to the Vatican. They investigated and found the house, it is the only structure on the mountain.
Nashville Al and Sue were on this trip with us, so we had someone to talk to and have fun with. We all sat for a few minutes and I had what was kind of like a big pretzel with sesame seeds and Sue had a tiny cup of Turkish coffee, which she said tasted like mud and was just as thick! Ha
We left that area and headed back down the mountain to the Ancient City of Ephesus. Ionian Greeks settled this part of Asia Minor in the early 10th century B.C. They founded cities around the finest natural harbors in the Mediterranean. One of the ancient world’s medical centers was here. Ephesus replaced Smyrna as the commercial capital of Asia Minor and at one time had a population of over 200,000 people. A huge temple was built to house the statue of the multi-breasted goddess Artemis a symbol of fertility. St. Paul preached against the shrine in his letters to the Ephesians which remains one of his finest works.
Only 10% of this city has been excavated. They estimate that the ancient city covers 10 to 12 miles. The above pictures are of the main street and commerce area. There were lots of people but this is the off season, can you imagine in the summer when it is packed??? The tall building at the end of the street is the Library of Celsus. Its two level façade is being restored. The interior walls were designed to display twelve thousand scrolls. The city reflects Greek and Roman architecture. The picture below is the Roman Temple to the Goddess Diana, goddess of the hunt. I thought our Diana would like to see this picture! We have been seeing temples to her since Sicily. Ha
The above right picture is of the Great Theatre. This is the site where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. They also had a Sting concert here two years ago to raise money for the continued excavation of the city. As you can probably tell, we are remembering parts of this and taking parts of what our guides told us and taking clips from our travel sheets. Below are a few more pictures of sculptured stones that were lying around the main street that we liked. Brandy, we have tons more! There were thousands of pieces just laying there.
From here we headed back to our ship and we were able to finally get a full picture of the outside of this monster. It is 951 feet long (3 football fields!!) and 118 feet wide. On the back of the ship is a nightclub called Skywalkers that is on the 17th Deck.
See you in Istanbul,
Tony & Candy