A Letter from Ephesus

Dear Reader:

The Ephesians really had a nice town! John and I came to visit last year and we liked it so much we wanted to share it with Shannon and Megan.


We began our trek yesterday at 4 a.m. by taking a taxi to the airport to catch a flight to Izmir (known as Smyrna in biblical times) then a train to Selcuk, a nice town just a few kilometers from Ephesus.

From Selcuk we hopped a taxi to the first stop on this year’s tour — Mary’s House. Many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary lived here, brought to the area in the last years of her life by the Apostle John. John was imprisoned on Patmos, a small island in the Aegean Sea right off the coast near Ephesus, where he had the vision(s) he documented in Revelations, and ultimately died in Ephesus.


Muslims recognize Mary as the mother of Jesus, one of their prophets, so they also consider the house a sacred spot and honor it by tying a strip of cloth, with a prayer request often rolled up tight within it, to a retaining wall below and in front of the house.

Neither Catholic nor Muslim, we nonetheless respectfully tied our own red strip, torn from John’s bandanna, to the wall to commemorate our visit to a site revered by so many.

Then it was on to Ephesus itself. The ancient city hadn’t changed much since my last visit. It was as awe-inspiring as ever.

We oohed and aahed our way throughout, but took particular enjoyment in the Terrace Houses 2, a covered area that exposes the interior of several dwellings of wealthy Ephesians.

Amazingly, the internal plumbing was still intact in one room which served as part of a larger lavatory.

Shannon recorded some great video clips throughout to share with friends back home, particularly at the large amphitheater used for entertainment. (A second, smaller amphitheater was used for political/governmental activities.) We shut our eyes and tried to imagine the sounds of 25,000 people watching a play or perhaps even a bout between gladiators.

The trip back to our Istanbul apartment added a couple of buses to our transportation menagerie…

Yet, while it took trains, planes and automobiles to get us to and from Ephesus in a day — all mapped out by my wonderfully industrious husband — it was worth it. Ephesus is a window into an ancient world that continues to influence our own.

If you haven’t already visited Ephesus, I strongly encourage you to add it to your bucket list.

From the road,

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2 Responses to A Letter from Ephesus

  1. Lisa says:

    I travel vicariously through you. Thanks for the insights.

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