Driving from the pier through the countryside along a hilly drive, you arrive at the House of Virgin Mary where the Blessed Virgin is reputed to have spent the last years of her life. The site was made famous by the travels of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. in November of 2006, Pope Benedictus the 16th paid an official visit to the House of the Virgin Mary. Outside is the Fountain of Our Lady, providing the faithful water from the holy foundation.
From there, a short drive will take you to the entrance to Ancient City of Ephesus that was built on a small hill. Once you enter the Open Air Archeological Museum of Ephesus and pass by the Magnesia gate, you will enter the administrative section of ancient Ephesus. The guided walking tour will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. See the Odeon, the Fountain of Trajan, the steam baths of Scholastika, temple of Hadrian and the impressive library of Celsius. The Grand Theater, where St. Paul preached, is one of the largest theaters in antiquity with a capacity of 24,000 seats.
You will also visit Terrace Houses of Ephesus inside the ancient site, which is considered as an exclusive museum in Ephesus located on the slopes of Bulbul Mountain, opposite the Hadrian Temple. Also called as "the houses of rich", these houses belonged to the important and prominent people of Ephesus. The terrace houses contain great engraving, mosaics, sections, floors, representing the life style of the rich Ephesians who used to live in these apartments. You will visit the inner sections of these houses in which excavations still continue. The most ancient of the houses were built in the first century BC, and most of the houses were restored in the second century AD. The houses seemed plain from outside, but inside were constructed with the highest standards of their era. They are decorated with mosaics and frescoes, and they had interior courtyards in the center, with the ceiling open. The houses also had cold and hot water usage to give you an idea about the quality of life in Ephesus. The visit to the Terrace Houses will give you a clear idea about the Ephesians and their way of life.
At the Ephesus Archeological Museum, you'll be escorted through the 9 exhibits tracing the religious and chronological history of the ancient city. Filled with attractively displayed mosaics, statuary, and other artifacts, the museum exhibits several marble statues of the Mother Goddess Artemis, goddess of nature, childbirth, and the harvest. Combining the information at the Open Air Museum and the Archeology Museum will give you a very fulfilling idea of the city of Ephesus and its importance in the ancient times.
Overlooking Ephesus are the remains of St. John's Basilica, a once great church built on a 2nd century tomb thought to hold the remains of St. John. While the church is now in ruins, there are frescoes, mosaics and graceful columns that attest to the glory that marked the place where St. John, the Evangelist, lived and died. The site requires stair climbing at the entrance and walking over uneven dirt, stones and gravel walkways. After your visit, you'll return to Kusadasi.
Remarks* Walking at the House of Virgin Mary includes approximately 0.50 mile over mostly paved walkways with some inclines to/from the car parking area to the shrine. The car parking area is constructed of uneven gravel/dirt surfaces.* Visiting Ephesus includes walking approximately 1.5 miles over uneven and cobblestone surfaces, inclines and 100+ steps (mostly at the Terrace Houses). Comfortable walking shoes, comfortable clothing, a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. Guests should watch their step at all times in order to avoid injuries.* Guests must be able to walk approximately 0.5 miles over uneven and cobblestone surfaces, inclines and 10 - 30 steps in The Basilica of St. John.* Temperatures can reach extreme highs during summer months; we recommend that you drink a lot of water and use suitable sun protection.