Saturday, August 14, 2010


After our morning in Ephesus, we spent some time at what many believe is the house that Mary the mother of Jesus lived in during her final days before being taken into heaven. The story is that John the Beloved, to whom Jesus had entrusted the care of his mother, came to Ephesus to preach the gospel, bringing Mary with him. He built a little house for her several miles away from Ephesus and the corrupt, Artemis-worshipping masses. The tomb of John is supposed to be in Ephesus, giving some support to the theory. Additionally, the first basilica in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary is in Ephesus. Apparently, in early Christianity, churches were only dedicated to "locals," or people who had lived or died in the area.

There is a difference of opinion about the authenticity of this site.
Catholics: Yes, Mary lived here. Pope John Paul declared this to be the spot, and it has become a pilgrimage place.
Orthodox: No, Mary stayed in Jerusalem.
Muslims: Agree with the Catholics and also worship here. (They too believe Mary was a virgin and the mother of a prophet.)

Statue of Mary at the side of the road between Ephesus and Meryemana:

Beautiful farmland, much like Utah Valley:

Stone wall lining walk up to house:

There was a long line waiting to walk through what was essentially a two-room house, and no pictures were allowed inside:
Standing guard:
The only Catholic nun we saw in Turkey:
Many were buying and lighting a candle on their way out. They were very thin, fast-burning candles:
A picture of the shrine/altar that is inside the house:
Just below the house was a natural spring, the water of which is said to have miraculous healing power. Many stood in line to take a drink.
I loved this Wall of Wishes. Originally, pilgrims would write a wish or a request for a blessing on a piece of cloth and tie it to a tree around the house. However, so many people did it that the trees began to die. The caretakers erected a wire wall to be used for the cloth ties. Somehow it has evolved into a Wall of Toilet Paper Wishes, the main "cloth" now being used. I wonder if they clean it up and start over after it rains? Not-so-fearsome looking government guards:

After leaving Meryemana, we went to a museum that houses some of the treasures found in Ephesus. There was a wonderful storks' nest on the telephone pole just outside the museum:

Guess who?
The museum housed some amazing artifacts. We loved this snake:
And this statue of Artemis (aka Diana), goddess of fertility:
This must have been one colossal statue when it was whole. Notice how it actually looks like someone rather than being an idealized version of the human form so common in Greek statuary:
After the museum we had a wonderful buffet lunch. From the restuarant window we had this view of a private cove below:
Quite the spread:
We ended the day (and our time in Turkey) at a Turkish carpet demonstration. Imagine sitting at one of these looms all day and keeping track of thousands of threads and colors and patterns. Pretty mind-blowing.



  1. OK, I'm not so smart. Who is it, the bust in front of the crescent and star flag? (it was Greek to me!)

  2. It's Ataturk, the Father of Turkey, whose image is everywhere you look in Turkey, and that's the Turkish flag. Under the bust are Ataturk's famous words: "Peace at home, peace in the world."