Islam is the predominant religion here today, but Turkey also played a major role in early Christianity. After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ many early Christians escaped persecution in Jerusalem by coming to Asia Minor (contemporary Turkey). The last two days we’ve explored Ephesus, one of the areas particularly rich in early Christian history. St. Paul preached here (Letter to Ephesians) and St. John reputedly moved here together with Virgin Mary.
Our first visit was the ruins of the sixth-century Basilica of St. John, said to stand over the burial site of the Apostle who is thought to have authored the Book of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel of the Bible while in Ephesus.
On to Ephesus, one of the largest and best-preserved ancient cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site… We walked the remarkably preserved wide marble streets, flanked by columns and temples. We saw the Library of Celsus, a tiered façade decorated with exquisite statues. The amphitheater, reputed to be the largest in all of Asia Minor, is the same one where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. Ephesus was also the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Though it is no longer standing, it was one of the most colossal temples ever built.