Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey
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Approximately 6¼ Hours
Begin your tour with a visit to the house where Jesus’ mother is said to have lived the last years of her life. The site, called the Virgin Mary’s House, has been officially declared a Catholic shrine and was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979, and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. Next, continue to Ephesus for a visit to the Great Theatre, which dates back to the Hellenistic period. In the 1st century AD, the theater was reconstructed and expanded by the Romans to a seating capacity of 25,000. This is also the place where St Paul preached to the Ephesians. The acoustics are excellent and it is still used for performances today. The Marble Road, which runs between the theater and the Celsus Library, is part of a sacred walkway that you’ll follow to reach the Celsus Library and Hadrian’s Temple. The temple was dedicated in AD 118 to Hadrian, Artemis and the people of Ephesus. This impressive Corinthian-style temple has beautiful reliefs on the porch, and the Ephesians believed that the Medusa head would protect the city from its enemies. Enjoy a demonstration of carpet weaving and dyeing accompanied by with a snack of Turkish pastry, appetizers, wine, beer and soft drinks at a local weaving center before returning to the port at Izmir.
Although this tour is designed not to involve uphill walking, there is extensive walking at the site. The two-hour walk is at a slow pace and mostly downhill, with the exception of the Terrace Houses, which are on a slope and require some stair climbing. Wear comfortable non-skid shoes. Shade is limited; please dress accordingly. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen. The drive to Ephesus is approximately 60 minutes each way.