We had to get up bright and early to head back to the airport (yes, we just arrived in Istanbul and we’re leaving already! We’ll be back!) to fly to Izmir to tour Ephesus for the day. We flew AtlasJet from Istanbul to Izmir. We made arrangements ahead of time to have a private tour guide take us around Ephesus since we did not want to have to drive in Turkey and because I loathe group tours. We booked our tour through Private Ephesus Tours and our tour guide was excellent. She was friendly and informative and gave us time on our own to explore without hovering. Our tour costed $130 per person and included visiting the Temple of Artemis, the ancient city of Ephesus, the Terrace Houses, the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary, the Basilica of St. John and a traditional lunch and visits to carpet and ceramic shops.
Our driver and tour guide picked us up from the airport in Izmir and immediately whisked us away to visit the House of the Virgin Mary. I would’ve been much more impressed with this site if there were any concrete evidence that this was the House of the Virgin Mary, but it was still a lovely and peaceful site up in the mountains. The house was discovered after a Catholic nun, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, had a vision about the last days of the Virgin Mary and the house where she lived located near Ephesus. Other than that, there is no other proof that this actually was her house.
House of the Virgin Mary.
Next, we went to visit the ancient city of Ephesus and the Terrace Houses. This was my favorite part of the day. It was so fascinating to see this ancient city that was such a large part of Paul’s ministry and I was amazed to see how so much of it was still so well preserved. Ephesus was an ancient Greek city that was known for the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I was extremely impressed by the Terrace Houses where the wealthy had once lived and how grand it all was. It was so exciting to walk where Paul and so many others had once walked so long ago!
Ancient City of Ephesus