Turkey is glorious and the main attraction for me was the Celsus Library at Ephesus. Kusadasi was a port on the Princess Cruises Holy Land itinerary in 2011 and is one of the more beautiful cities on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
From Princess Cruises:
From the port of Kusadasi on Turkey’s Anatolian Coast, one travels into the past. Nearby stand the ruins of ancient Ephesus, a major site of archeological excavation. The city was once a Roman provincial capital and trading center. Ephesus is also home to several of Christendom’s holiest sites. St. Paul preached at the Great Theater and the ruins of Ephesus’ Basilica cover the tomb of Christ’s most beloved disciple, St. John the Apostle.
In Kusadasi, whitewashed stone houses rise in tiers behind the market district. The palm-lined esplanade is the center of town life, with thousands of merchants offering wares to rival the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
Excursion: Ephesus, St. John’s & Virgin Mary Shrine
A guided walking tour of Ephesus and its major sights celebrates the historical significance of this ancient city. Visit The House of the Virgin Mary, considered by the Vatican to be the final resting place of St. Mary. Set in the Solmissos Mountains, the shrine is nestled among lush foliage; a curative steam flows through the grounds. Walk among the ruins of the Basilica of St. John, built over the tomb of St. John, where frescos and mosaics still remain and graceful columns hint at the structure’s former grandeur. Next pass through the arched Magnesian Gate at Ephesus and begin a slow, downhill walk to the ruins of the Roman provincial capital, where your guide will highlight such pivotal sights as the Temple of Hadrian, the magnificent Trajan Fountain, the Odeon Theater, the beautiful Celsus Library and the dramatic Great Theater. Back at port, shop for souvenirs and view a Turkish carpet-weaving exhibition.
House of the Virgin Mary
Mary is part of the Christian, Islam and Jewish religions. It is believed that she was brought to this house by St. John and remained until her death.
The Vatican has recognized this small house in the Solmissos Mountains as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. A small shrine dedicated to St. Mary was found when the ruins of the house were first discovered.
Ephesus was a Roman provincial capital and the Magnesia Gate is the entrance to Ephesus and there is a marble road to the ruins. The major sites are the Odeum, the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Great Theater. The theater had seating for 25,000 and is the site where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians.
The Celsus Library
The Great Theater
Basilica of St. John
St. John the Apostle was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. It is believed that he wrote the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. St. John was born in AD 6 in Bethsaida, Galilee and died in AD 100 on the island of Patmos, Greece. Of the Apostles, it was only John who stayed with Jesus on the cross and he took care of the Virgin Mary after. John is also mentioned in the Quran.
The Basilica of St. John was built by Justinian I in the 6th century and the tomb of St. John is located here.
Tomb of St. John
Carpet Weaving and Shopping
Carpet weaving is a cottage industry in Turkey and we observed the different stages of the carpet making process. I loved looking at the massive Turkish rugs hanging from the ceiling. Of course, the ones I liked were 30,000 Euro which was a little outside of both my budget for the trip and my savings. I purchased this gorgeous Tree of Life rug for 250 Euro. I usually have it either on my coffee table or hanging on the wall.
The Grand Bazaar was a highlight and without a doubt a successful shopping event for me. I always look for items that are made in the country where I am. I found two pillow covers and an intricate orange bowl both “Made in Turkey”. As you know, orange is my favourite colour!
Wandering around the port area of Kusadasi was a lot of fun and yes there is a Starbucks!
I can’t wait to go back to Turkey and plan to spend about a month there on my travels. Things I will be doing:
- Gobekli Tepe
- Mount Ararat
- Istanbul Marathon is on November 11