|Pigeon Island and Fortification|
The religious shrine of the Virgin Mary’s House was our first stop.
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|
|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!