In Turkey, the ancient city of Ephesus is a popular destination for tourists. Part of the Aegean region, the city encompasses modern day attractions with well maintained historical sites and significant cultural monuments. The region also has modern facilities for visitors and many beautiful beaches and private bays to give any holiday the variety that most tourists are looking for.
Once a port city, the former harbour is now filled with silt and the city is now inland from the sea. In Ephesus can be found the Temple of Artemis and is one of the “Seven “Wonders” from ancient history. The city was the home of the apostle St. Paul and Heraclitos the philosopher.
Just 5km from the center of the city is a dwelling known as the “House of the Virgin Mary.” It is believed by Muslims and Christians that after Jesus was crucified, Mary was taken to the house fleeing the persecution of the Christians in Judea.
Various Popes have visited this stone house including Pope Paul VI and Pope Paul II. A visit scheduled for later this year from the newly appointed Pope Benedict XVI has been confirmed by officials from the Vatican and Turkish government.
Mary left Jerusalem with St. John in 40 A.D and came to Ephesus where it is thought she eventually died. The city holds a special place in Catholic history as it is the first place to be officially recognized as a location of pilgrimage.
As well as Ephesus, other locations of interest in Turkey include Pergamon and Troy. The entire region is a place where ancient figures of history lived and created great civilizations. Guided tours are available and are perhaps the best way to understand and experience the vast culture that exists here.