Monday, July 11, 2011

Touring Turkey - St. John's Basilica

***Before I go any further, I should say that this is St. John the Apostle and not the Baptist. Ya know, just in case you were wondering. :) ***

We had finally left Cappadocia extremely early in the morning, and took a short flight from the city Kayseri in Cappadocia to Izmir (aka ancient Smyrna) with a drive to the small town of Selcuk. Selcuk is about 3 miles from the Ephesus ruins.

One of the main sights to see in Selcuk proper is St. John's Basilica, a church that was built on the believed site of John's grave. Construction was started in 536 by the Emperor Justinian and took almost 20 years to complete. Historians and others think that John lived in Ephesus where he wrote the Gospel of John and possibly the book of Revelation in the Bible (some scholars dispute the latter). John lived to a nice ripe old age and died in Ephesus. Apparently, he may have also taken care of Jesus' mother, Mary, as well while they both lived in the Ephesus area (more on her later).

Walking towards the site, you can already see that it used to be a pretty grand church.

One of the main reasons to even stop here is to see John's grave, and here it is below. A mausoleum was first built over the grave, and then the church built above that.
Grave site

There are still reminders that this used to be a large, expansive indoor space.

If you're curious about what the church actually looked like back then, take a look.

Husband J and I were just pretty happy to see the beauty of this part of western Turkey close to the Mediterranean Sea, which has a much different feel and climate to Cappadocia in the center of the country. Do you notice anything different about all of these pictures? THERE'S SUN!!! We finally saw the sun on our sixth day in Turkey! It felt soooo good.

The Ephesus area is gorgeous!

St. John's Basilica was just a prep for the Ephesus site, which I loved and will write about soon.


Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Love all the beautiful details. So much history, I bet it brought a few chills to your spine!

Pearl said...

I love Turkey. A mix of Eastern and western culture


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