Basilica of St. John, Turkey

The Basilica of St. John in Ephesus. … stands over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. …

Construction of the church began by 548 … After its completion, it was regarded as one of the holiest churches of its time …

reconstruction model

It is believed that the Apostle John traveled from Jerusalem to the city of Ephesus where he remained for the rest of his life. …

At the site there are claims that it was the largest church in the world. That it would be 7th largest in the world today if fully restored.

Today it sits below a fortress.

I did enjoy a leisurely wander through the ruins. Huge and uncrowded, it’s a relaxing place.

One interesting related story is the nearby House of the Virgin Mary.

Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption (according to Catholic doctrine) or Dormition (according to Orthodox belief). …

The shrine has merited several papal Apostolic Blessings and visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. …

The Catholic Church has never pronounced in favour or against the authenticity of the house.

7 Wonders of the Ancient World – Temple of Artemis

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair

Though hundreds of thousand visit nearby Ephesus, Turkey, I was the only person at the Temple of Artemis when I visited.

Me, turtles and the stork nesting atop the last remaining column.

How fragile are the works of man.

Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact.

The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were all destroyed.

The location and ultimate fate of the Hanging Gardens are unknown, and there is speculation that they may not have existed at all.

model of the original Temple of Artemis, at Miniatürk Park, Istanbul

Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, it was completely rebuilt three times before its final destruction in 401 AD.

Click PLAY or watch a BBC documentary on YouTube.

I finally made it to Ephesus, Turkey

For decades I’ve heard about Europe’s most complete classical city. And it’s only 20% excavated.

Always wanted to compare Ephesus with Palmyra, Syria that I visited in 1994.

Palmyra 2010

Tragically ISIL did a lot of damage to Palmyra. I’m not sure the site will be restored in my lifetime.

Here’s Ephesus. Also great, but quite different.

Ephesus was the 4th largest Roman City with over 170,000 inhabitants.

This theatre could hold 25,000.

Ephesus is most famous for the Library of Celsus. It was the “third-largest library in the ancient world” behind Alexandria and Pergamum.

An extra ticket is required to visit the Terraced Houses, 7 well-preserved Roman homes. Restoration is in progress.

Some graffiti is being restored as well: gladiators, caricatures, animals. Poems and declarations of love. Back then you needed a chisel, not spray paint.

I was quite worried for this woman. … Will her feet overheat in those boots?

I did visit the Ephesus Museum, as well. Quite well done.

I’d recommend Ephesus to everyone who visits Turkey.

Turkish food – Testi

I met Rosie and Patrick from the U.K. while visiting the famed Outdoor Museum, a World Heritage site. A Byzantine monastic settlement, the monks had time to paint their caves.

We drank some wine at sunset point overlooking Göreme.

Then I recommended we go for a nice dinner — traditional Turkish food of this region called Testi.

A mixture of meat and vegetables cooked in a clay pot or jug over fire (testi means jug in Turkish). The pot is sealed with bread dough or foil and is broken when serving.

They were half way complete a cycling trip from England to China. Next up is Iran which they feel will be the best section of all.

Goal is to get home in time for Christmas.

travellers – Maude and Mikael

Maude (Quebec) and Mikael (Finland) met at my hostel in Antalya, Turkey. They decided to take a night bus to Göreme, Cappadocia. I invited myself along.

One night they had the crazy idea we barbecue in the hoodoos.

We walked over at dusk.

This was the very first eroded monument we had visited on arrival. Seemed an appropriate place to cook.

First … enjoy the sunset.

Next … try to get the fire going in a cave. (For all my hiking I’m still terrible at lighting campfires.)

It was a bit of a comedy. But eventually they had sausage, chicken skewers, onions and peppers cooking. We drank wine and some kind of horrible Finish liquor they use to interrogate prisoners.

Maude and Mikael headed to northern Turkey. But I really enjoyed the week we spent together. The three of us are all travellers at heart. Maude had given up everything at home to teach French in a mountain village in Morocco. Michael strikes me as an entrepreneur, traveling until he decides what business venture to launch. 

are tourists in Turkey safe?

In 2013, 37.8 million foreign visitors arrived in Turkey, which ranked as the 6th most popular tourism destination in the world

But tourism is way down in 2017 due to negative headlines in the news.

Some nations are warning citizens not to travel to Turkey. Canadians got the warning in 2016 after the attempted coupe.

I’m visiting Izmir right now.

There was a car bomb attack on an Izmir courthouse in 2017.

 

Still … Izmir and most of Turkey are generally safe for tourists, in my opinion. As safe as you’d be back home.