Best of Ephesus with St. John's Basilica and Lunch
Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey
- Guided walking tour: This vast archeological site includes remarkable fountains, amphitheaters, temples built in tribute to emperors, steam baths, and a renowned ancient library.
- House of the Virgin Mary: See where the mother of Jesus is said to have spent her last years, enter the chapel for quiet reflection, and drink from the Fountain of Our Lady.
- St. John's Basilica: Frescoes, mosaics, and columns still honor the memory of St. John the Evangelist at the ruins of this great church built atop his presumed tomb.
- Cittantica Ephesus Park: Enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch at a theme park that lets you experience life in the ancient world with an interactive show, sightseeing, shopping, and cafes.
- Free time in Kusadasi: See a brief presentation about the time-honored Turkish art of carpet making, or stroll the colorful streets in this lively seafront city.
About this Ephesus (Kusadasi) tour
Scattered stones, timeworn walls, and solitary pillars still whisper the grandeur of St. John's Basilica, the greatest church in Ephesus. It was, in fact, one of the largest and most important churches in Christendom, built by the emperor Justinian to commemorate the site where the Apostle John is believed to be buried.
Designed in a Greek cross pattern, Justinian's monumental basilica was large (428 feet by 213 feet), topped with six impressive domes, and adorned with marble decorations commissioned from Constantinople. Perhaps to show his pride in the building, Justinian added his and his wife's monograms to columns in the courtyard. His pride was justified. If the basilica were fully restored, it would be the seventh largest cathedral in the world.
St. John established the first Christian community at Ephesus, preached and wrote his gospel there, and by some accounts lived to be 100 years old. (He left briefly while exiled to Patmos, where it is believed he wrote the book of Revelation.) It's said John liked writing in this quiet spot in Ephesus and wished to be buried there. An inscription on the basilica's altar conveys his thoughts in a quote from Psalms 132: "This is my resting place forever, here will I dwell."
Legend holds that St. John was not dead in his tomb, but merely resting – the dust floating around his altar was said to have been stirred by his breathing. This dust, called manna, was reputed to have wondrous healing powers, and inspired pilgrimages to Ephesus for centuries, the pilgrims purchasing special flasks to hold the miraculous manna and carry it back home. For believers, the dust was manna from Heaven.
When religion is bad for business
When St. Paul arrived in Ephesus in 52 A.D., he preached in the Grand Theater to the pagans who worshipped Artemis and purchased goddess statues. (These graphic statuettes portrayed her draped with eggs or multiple breasts, emphasizing fertility over virginity.) Artisans who made the statues feared the new religion would dampen their sales and brought St. Paul to the theater for judgment. He was found guilty, imprisoned, then expelled from the city.
Meeting point at the Kusadasi Cruise Port, Hotel, or Izmir International Airport. Call the operator once you are at the designated meeting point.
At the House of the Virgin Mary, you may enter the chapel and light a candle, or even just leave a paper note on the wall to bring you luck. *On August 15th, the House of Virgin Mary will be heavily congested due to "The Assumption of Mother Mary" day. Guests will have to walk long distances as well as might have to wait in the queue. There will be several masses in the site as well. The draft program: 10:30 - 11:00 / Blessing + 11:00 - 12:30 / Mass + 15:00 - 15:30 / Rosary prayer for Mother Mary.
Please consider your mobility and physical fitness before selecting this tour. Participants must be able to walk continuously for approximately 2.5 miles over uneven terrain including cobblestone surfaces, inclines, and 10 to 30 steps.
Cultural, Scenic, Shopping, Walking Tour
Luxury air conditioned bus.
English, German, Spanish, French, Italian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
This tour is not recommended for travelers with walking difficulties or who cannot manage steps. There is no maximum age restriction, but we ask travelers to be aware of their physical fitness, limitations, and understand this activity is rated strenuous.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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