Ephesus, a commercial, religious and social center during ancient Greek and Roman times, is the best-preserved ancient city in Turkey. Ephesus is the highlight of any visit in Turkey, and you can see its top sights on this excursion from Kusadasi. With so many mythological stories and spectacular ruins, Ephesus will make you feel like you've gone back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. See the famous Fountains of Trajan, built to honor the emperor of the same name, and the Polio Fountain, located opposite the Domitian Temple. Visit the Temple of Hadrian, the Private House (a brothel which was part of the scholastic baths), the Library of Celsius and the bouleuterion (a small theater used for the meetings of the Senate). Admire the Great Theater, which was completed by the Romans in 117 AD and has a capacity for 24,000 spectators.
Afternoon visit of House of Virgin Mary, located on the top of the "Bulbul" mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, where she spent the last days of her life. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place. The house of Virgin Mary is a typical Roman architectural example, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church, combining her house and grave, has been built. Today, only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. From there one can understand that this building looks more like a church than a house. Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960's. Later, in the 1980's, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary has a pilgrimage place for Christians. It is also visited by Muslims who recognize Mary as the mother of one of their prophets. Every year, on August 15th a ceremony is organized to commemorate Mary's Assumption.
Next, see the graceful columns and mosaics that remain of the Basilica of St John, built by the Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St John the Apostle, before returning back to your hotel