May 18, 2024

Kusadasi, Turkey

Christian history in Turkey. Virgin Mary's house? Ephesus. And the burial place of St. John?

Kusadasi, Turkey

We arrived in Turkey for the first time in our lives. We got a private tour with Tolga which was a great idea because it made it super easy to get around.

First stop was the Ephesus House of Virgin Mary. Some people believe Mary came with John the Beloved to live here after Jesus died. A German nun in the 1800's had a vision about it, the Catholic church checked into it and agreed, and the place has been a very busy tourist destination ever since.

The tiny church here was build in the 600's.

They have Holy Water coming out of the pipes from a spring nearby. Mitzi drank some. Maybe it will bless her from getting breast cancer. We don't know.

There is a wall of prayers that people write down. Our tour guide said it worked for him. He wrote a prayer to be a tour guide in other countries – and he did for about 10 years.

Turkish Tea is a really big thing in Turkey. Tolga drinks 13 to 15 cups a day. It's a chai tea and is good for the heart. I had a few cups during the day and it was a great experience, very cultural.

Our next stop was Ephesus. This is where Paul went and lived for a couple years. The books in the New Testament to the Ephesians was for these people. They had an amazingly advanced society. Not much different than ours really. Humans, even with advanced technology, really haven't changed at all.

These stray dogs were everywhere. Very relaxed, they were always laying around sleeping.

This whole area is a debris field. The archeologists have been digging and reconstructing for 150 years. They have to find peices of things, because everything is in pieces having crashed down a long time ago from earthquakes and weather. They've done a good job and help give us an idea of what it was like.

The god Nike.

Public toilets! Runoff water from the Roman Baths up the street ran under the toilets and washed the stuff away.

They did a really good job reconstructing the front of the building. Make you realize how advanced they were.

This arena sat 24,000 people. That's as big as many modern day stadiums.

We visited a pottery place. Mitzi got the tour while I sipped Turkish Chai and chatted with Tolga about hyperinflation in Turkey, which led of course to a discussion of Bitcoin.

Our next visit was the Basilica of Saint John. About 700 years after Jesus someone realized that John's body was buried here so they built this massive church on the site. It's all been turned into a debris field but from the foundation and other evidence they have a pretty good idea of what it looked like.

They built a baptism by immersion baptismal font in the middle of the church and would use it for baptisms.

Mitzi prepares to go under.

I asked Tolga if they exhumed John's body to verify that it was buried there. He said no body was found, it's probably because it ascended to Heaven.

Since they discovered St John was buried here it has brought a lot of people around!

Our last stop was a beautiful and delicious lunch at a rug making facility.

We ate out in the garden. Very beautiful and peaceful there.

It was traditional Turkish food. The little meatballs and pastries were amazing.

Then we got a tour of hour the Turkish rugs that are hand made. Getting the silk and spinning it and watching these women go stitch by stitch making it. For a small rug like these which are about 4 feet by 5 feet it takes the rug maker about 2 years.

We headed back to the ship really happy to experience a little bit of Turkey!