Kuşadasi is a beach resort town on Turkey’s western Aegean coast, and a gateway for the classical ruins at nearby Ephesus, one of the nation’s best preserved ancient cities.
Numerous attractive cafes and restaurants scattered along palm-lined boulevards serving a variety of fresh seafood and local specialities add to the lively atmosphere of the town. For a slice of tranquillity many visit Kuşadasi’s various steam baths and the natural spas.
No visit to Kusadasi would be complete without discovering Ephesus – one of the most famous attractions in Turkey. The remains of this ancient city are located in Selçuk, approximately 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Kusadasi. Ephesus, which was most famously under the control of the Greeks and Romans, was once an important trading and religious centre until its decline. Excavations on this vast site began in the late 19th century and are still ongoing today. Among the many impressive ruins that have been found is the magnificent Library of Celsus, which was built in the 2nd century AD.
The House of the Virgin Mary
Christ entrusted his mother the Virgin Mary to St John. St John brought the Virgin Mary in 12 AD to this house. In the 19th century, the paralytic nun Katarina Emmerich, who was bedridden, began to have visions in her bed, which she had not left for twelve years. She gave, in detail, information on the remains of the house and of the Virgin Mary. In 1891 a research team came to the area. They saw that the place called ’Panaya Kapulu’ by the local people was the house of the Virgin Mary as told by the nun Katarina Emmerich. Further research highlighted that the foundations of the house were from the first century. The house was restored to its present state in 1950.
Basilica of St John
One of the most sacred sites in Turkey, the Basilica of St John was built in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian, and believed to have been the final resting place of the Apostle John. Following the crucifixion of Christ, it is believed that St John and the Virgin Mary travelled to Ephesus. Though John was exiled to Patmos, he later returned to Ephesus, where it is believed he continued writing the Gospel. In the 2nd century AD, a small church was built here dedicated to St John, which was later replaced by the once impressive basilica. During the Middle Ages it was considered one of the most sacred sites, however the basilica fell into ruin. Recent restorations allow visitors to envision its former splendour and have revealed a baptistery and a chapel decorated in frescoes depicting saints.