The cruise shipped docked in the city of Kusadasi, Turkey on the the fourth day of our trip. From the port, we took bus to the city of Ephesus. This was our favorite cruise tour for both of us so be warned there are a ton of pictures. Our first stop was the city of Ephesus. Yes, like the book of the Bible! The city of Ephesus is a massive archaeological site that includes many shops, a bath house and a library. A lot of the city is still buried under the mountains due to a massive earthquake that occurred.
Pomegranate trees were in bloom all around the city. It was so neat to see them on a tree and not at the grocery store.
The largest building in the city is the Library of Celsus. It was build with double walls to help keep the air flowing around the scrolls in order to preserve them.
The theater at Ephesus was built to hold 25,000 people. This is where people say Paul spoke to the angry mob in the book of Acts. The size of the theater from the bottom is breathtaking.
After Ephesus, we visited the Basilica of St. John. The church was built over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. They believe that John stayed in the city of Ephesus before being exiled. From the ruins, you could see the Temple of Artemis. This is considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Paul also visited this temple in the book of Acts.
Behind Joe in the grassy lot is the ruins of the Temple of Artemis. There is only a column and the foundation left.
St. John's Tomb
The last stop before lunch was the House of the Virgin Mary. Legend says that this is where Mary spent her last days. The house was converted to a shrine for pilgrims to visit. There is a spring where you can take holy water from. There is also a wishing wall where individuals can tie paper or cloth to with their wishes.
On the drive down the mountain we drove by a 50 foot tall statue of the Virgin Mary. The location was on a winding road by the side of a huge cliff. Our tour guide told us it was erected by the local government and since it's dedication there have been no wrecks on this strip of highway.
Our last stop was lunch at Cittantica Ephesus park. We enjoyed a buffet lunch featuring a wide array of Turkish food. We got the chance to try Turkish Baklava which was extra sweet and sticky compared to it's Greek counterpart. The name theme park gave us a bad impression but the cite was actually impressive. They build the site to resemble how the city of Ephesus would have looked in it's prime. Think the Turkish version of Williamsburg, VA. Afterwards, we enjoyed trying Turkish delight and exploring their shops. They also feature an reenactment of an Roman ceremony.
Headed back to the ship
After returning to the ship, we cleaned up for cocktails at sail away followed by enjoying a preformance at the theater and another delicious dinner.
Our favorite cocktail- Sammy Sosa