Aug 20, 2013

Ephesus: Basilica of St. John


The last stop on our tour of Ephesus was the Basilica of St. John. The basilica was constructed in the 6th century by Justinian the Great and was said to be standing over the burial site of the Apostle John. Justinian the Great believed that Apostle John was buried in a tomb from the 4th century sitting high atop Ayasuluk Hill in the town Selçuk (just a few miles outside of Ephesus), so he built a church around it to preserve and honor the final resting place of the saint. It is said that Apostle John traveled from Jerusalem to Ephesus and spent part of his life there (and is said to have written his gospel here) until he was exiled to the Isle of Patmos by Emperor Domitian. During his time in exile on Patmos, historians believe that was when he wrote the book of Revelations. Apostle John was later pardoned from exile when a new emperor took power and he came back to Ephesus for the remainder of his life. With the decline in importance of Ephesus in 1402 (and after many Arab raids of the area), the basilica built around St. John's tomb fell to ruins. Soon after, the destroyed church was pillaged for building materials, but in recent years has become a site for historic restoration. Today, amidst the ruins of St. John's Basilica, you can find a small tombstone engraved with the words 'The Tomb of St. John,' no doubt to continue honoring his supposed resting place.

While the ruins were of a much smaller scale and not quite as imposing as those of ancient Ephesus, probably the most interesting part of our visit to the basilica was standing in the rain, overlooking the Turkish countryside as the call to prayer rang through the rubble from a mosque down below. We'd heard the call to prayer multiple times during our visit to Istanbul, but I finally got smart and whipped my iPhone out to record it (video above). It was eerily beautiful, standing there amongst the supposed burial grounds of John the Apostle hearing a Muslim call to prayer. I almost couldn't wrap my brain around what my eyes were seeing and what my ears were hearing. Very surreal, for sure.

 While Ephesus wasn't my favorite stop of our Mediterranean cruise, it was wonderful to be able to see so much history firsthand, and to learn a little more about the numerous biblical connections found in Turkey. If you ever have the chance to travel to Ephesus, on a cruise ship or otherwise, definitely do! Just avoid the carpet making demonstrations. Consider yourself warned. Up next on my Med cruise recap...we journey to Athens, Greece! 

Stay tuned...

[Linking up with Bonnie & Belinda for Travel Tuesday!]

24 comments:

  1. Great photos! And a fantastic idea to include that video... it really is so eerie, I can just imagine how much more so actually being there.

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  2. Very cool! The historian in me is loving these places.

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  3. What an incredible experience! I loved your video since it put me right there with you. We loved hearing the call to prayer ring out every few hours in Morocco (except for the time it woke us up at 4 AM--but even then it was so hauntingly lovely we got over it :).

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    1. Oooo Morocco...sounds lovely! I'm sure it's an easy sound to get used to...kind of soothing, actually. :)

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  4. This is so beautiful! I'm moving to England in a few weeks and I'm using your blog to figure out where I need to travel!

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  5. I would love to visit there some day. I have a close friend that was actually there not too long ago too.

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  6. Again, this is so so cool! It's incredible to think that prominent biblical figures really stood in some of these places. While we were in Greece I really wanted to visit Patmos, but it was too far away. Next time :)

    xxx
    Jenna

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  7. The call to prayer sound is much different than I thought it would be, but you're right, it is eerily beautiful :)

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  8. What an amazing trip - these photos are absolutely gorgeous! :)

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  9. Wow, your trip looks absolutely incredible!

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  10. Wow, I love the video to accompany the pictures! What a beautiful place.

    Kate @ http://fattofitgeek.com/

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    1. Thank you, Kate! I'm so glad I remembered I had that video to post! :)

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  11. Such pretty flowers and some amazing photos of what looks like an interesting place to visit

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  12. Stunning pictures!! That is a place I would like to visit one day. :)

    xo,
    Ana Paula
    {Visit me at Mommyhood, PhD}

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    1. Thank you!! It was so beautiful there...even in the rain! :)

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  13. Oh girl you are so cute! I love that you did all the posing...such a fun traveler! Really have loved all your recent travels so far, but this one looks like it was amazing. I dont know if I would be able to put my camera down upon arriving! ;) Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for #TravelTuesday and I hope to see you again next week!

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  14. Such beautiful photos! I loved the ones of you posing, they actually made me laugh out loud (a bit awkward in my office) Thanks for sharing!

    Erin | Quintessentially English

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  15. Gorgeous photos!
    I am going to be a poor woman if I keep getting inspired by these amazing blogs to spend more money on travel!
    Britt @ One&20

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    1. Hahahaha thanks, girlie! Don't wanderlust toooo much over there, ok? :) :)

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  16. I had to comment too about all of your posing! It looks like such fun traveling and taking pictures with you!

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    1. Hahaha man I can be such a goof sometimes. :) Gotta make the most of an empty statue canvas when you can! :)

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  17. Oh, my! This makes we want to go back to Ephesus. I think it was one of my favourite places in Turkey. Thanks so much for sharing your pictures! At least I could armchair travel along with you. X http://janeheinrichs.blogspot.com

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