Your guide will meet you at the cruise pier in Kusadasi to explore the ruins of Ephesus. Originally founded as a Greek colony in the 10th Century BC, it became a major trading hub and religious center for the worship of the Mother Goddess, Cybele.
From Macedonian, to Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rulers, a wide variety of cultures influenced Ephesus. Begin at the Ephesus Archaeological Museum located in Selcuk.
Many works of art excavated in Ephesus lie in museums in Great Britain and Austria. The Turkish Republic forbade taking antiques out of the country and founded the Archaeological Museum. The exhibits are laid out thematically, e.g. The Hall of the Fountain, The Hall of Funerary Relics, the Hall of Artemis and so on.
Continue to the site of the original ruins. Most of the structures surviving today at Ephesus are from the Roman period. The Library of Celsus was built in the 2nd Century to store some 12,000 scrolls and is one of the few remaining examples of ancient Roman libraries. The statues of the Goddesses Sophia (wisdom), Arete (virtue), Ennoia(intelligence), Episteme (knowledge) adorn the façade.
The Temple of Hadrian is one of the best preserved and most beautiful structures. It was built before 138 AD and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, who came to visit the city from Athens in 128 AD.
Walk along the Arcadian Way, the main street in Ephesus, to the Temple of Domitian. Visit the remains of the Hellenistic theater, which is believed to have been the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world. Visit the Odeon, Temple of Hadrian and the Fountain of Trajan.
Visit the Ephesus terrace houses which are truly remarkable and provide a wonderful insight into family life during the Roman period. Continue to the home of the Virgin Mary. Ephesus was an important center of early Christianity. The apostle Paul spent more than two years here and wrote the first letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus. The apostle and evangelist John also lived in Ephesus during the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan. Mary spent the last years of her life in a modest stone house, which is today a popular place of pilgrimage.
If time allows, visit the Basilica of St. John. It is believed that the evangelist St. John spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and was buried at Ayosolug Hill. A small chapel was constructed over the grave in the 4th century, but was redesigned as a monumental six-domed basilica by Emperor Justinian.
With the invasion of Turks, the chapel was used as a mosque in the 14th century, and was soon rendered unusable thanks to an earthquake soon after. Today, archaeologists continue to excavate its extensive ruins.
Return to your ship in time for its departure.
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