European Adventure Part VI

Kuşadasi is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Turkey, attracting a large number of tourists each year.  It has a population of approximately 50,000, and its close proximity to the many ancient cities and archeological sites.

Port of Kuşadasi
Kuşadasi means “bird island”, a name derived from the small island of Güvercin Adasi (Pigeon Island) which is now connected to the city by a causeway.  Güvercin Adasi is home to a famous defensive castle built to protect against enemy attack, a monument that can easily be seen as your ship sails into the harbour.

Pigeon Island and Fortification

 The religious shrine of the Virgin Mary’s House was our first stop.



Wishing Wall

The House of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos (Turkish: in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Selçuk in Turkey.

The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano after her death.  

The Catholic Church has never pronounced in favour or against the authenticity of the house, but nevertheless maintains a steady flow of pilgrimage since its discovery.  The shrine has also gained the Apostolic Blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pope Leo XIII in 1896, having been taken a positive attitude towards the site and towards Emmerich's visions.  Anne Catherine Emmerich was Beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004.


Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption (according to Catholic doctrine) (or what would be Dormition (according to Orthodox belief)).

The shrine has merited several papal Apostolic Blessings and visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Note:  The shrine has a strict rule against anyone taking photographs inside.

After a short break, we made our way to the ancient city of Ephesus.  It contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean.  Only an estimated 15% has been excavated.


The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city's original splendor, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life.  The theater dominates the view down Harbor Street, which leads to the silted-up harbor.


Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces, it was originally built c. 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107) in the Roman Empire.

A longer view provides a sense of scale


Library of Celsus
Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth, and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it.  The library was mostly built by his son Gaius Julius Aquila and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls.  Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.

They enjoyed one another's company everywhere!
Excavation work continues in several locations and by different teams. They've estimated it will be another 400 years before everything is uncovered. Personally, I have my doubts about their estimated timeline.


The above image is roped off and the modern looking structure provide archaeologists the needed shelter they require to perform their work.  The roadway itself appears to be a mosaic or something similar.

A pleasant surprise was the sudden appearance of costumed character actors.



We made our departure and dropped by a school where carpets are made by hand using a loom.  They have all their materials on site, including silk worms.  There was also a section devoted to ceramics.  They showed us all the stages involved... right down to the hand-painting the ceramics they make.

Our private tour also included an authentic meal located nearby in a lovely courtyard setting.  The food was varied and delicious.

Keep-up with our European Adventure!
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

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Tammy said…
Wow, Daniel...your post is filled with both stunning photos and interesting info. The shrine is stunning and I'm sure was incredible to see in person.
Red said…
Great tour for me. You combine the historical story with photos to illustrate the action. I'm always amazed at the huge ornate structures that were made using the technology they had at the time..
Terri said…
Wow- what a fascinating tour! I would love to see the ruins in Ephesus.
TexWisGirl said…
the views of the ruins looking up are spectacular! i found the shrine interesting - both catholic and muslim.
Stephen Hayes said…
Great pictures. Mrs. C. and I visited Ephesus two years ago and your great pics remind me of the wonderful time we had. Interesting, I also posted a nearly identical shot of the group toilet.
Linda said…
Gorgeous architectural images of Roman ruins!! :)
Chel C said…
Stunning photos Daniel, you have really captured the light of the place so well and I do love a history tour too!
Zosia said…
I've never been on a cruise. Wonderful photos! Thanks for taking us along.
Zosia said…
I've never been on a cruise. Wonderful photos! Thanks for taking us along.
Zosia said…
I've never been on a cruise. Wonderful photos! Thanks for taking us along.
Zosia said…
I've never been on a cruise. Wonderful photos! Thanks for taking us along.
Zosia said…
I've never been on a cruise. Wonderful photos! Thanks for taking us along.
eileeninmd said…
Wow, I felt like I went back into time. Loved these scenes and the ruins. Your photos are awesome, what a cool place to visit. Have a happy week ahead!
Rajesh said…
Wonderful shots of such a nice place. Impressive history
Sylvia K said…
Thank you for such an incredible tour of a fascinating place, Daniel! Your captures are superb as is your description of your tour! The next best thing to being there!! Hope you have a great week!
Gemma Wiseman said…
Loved your first photos, but I spent a lot of time carefully looking at your wonderful photos of Ephesus! That is one ancient place I would so love to see! Even after all this time, it seems that the atmosphere draws many people!
Gary said…
What a great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.
noel said…
this looks like an amazing visit and I would love to go there someday soon!

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