We adore Turkey! Ephesus was our favorite location back in 2015, and we decided we couldn’t come back without digging deeper into the Ephesian area! After allowing 6 years to pass by, we couldn’t stand it any longer and had to book our return!
Our first must-do stop was touring what many believe is Mary’s last house. The Legend is that this was her final home before she died. Thanks to getting up early, we were the first people to tour Mary’s house that day. A great tip for traveling is to get up before the crowds. That way, you get to spend as much time as you want and do more without hundreds of people in your way.
Tip: On trips, get up early. On vacations, stay in bed forever! Decide what you are on a trip or vacation and act accordingly.
Make sure you go check out our video from this trip to Mary’s house, where we show you all the amazing sights, and you can even feel the feels through the screen! It was pretty amazing!
The structure of Mary’s home was rebuilt after other first-century buildings in Ephesus. But the bottom level of the house is original and dates back to the first century.
We visited the wishing well that is filled with natural springs. The people believed it was Holy water.
The City of Ephesus
After visiting Mary’s home, we descended the mountain to the massive gates of the city of Ephesus. When you arrive at the entrance, there are many shops with trinkets, books, shirts, and hats. These items are much cheaper than inside the city. If you are visiting after February, make sure to buy an extra bottle of water! Walking through all those rocks get hot, and there isn’t water until the exit, which is hours away if you are touring right and taking it all in!!
Advancements in 1st Century Ephesus
The people in the first century were much more advanced than I once thought. They had male and female plumbing for the whole town. The segments of the pipe were connected using egg whites. Genius, isn’t it? The plumbing system ran throughout the entire city, from an aqueduct leading to a large bathhouse. The bathhouse was built with thick walls (6 feet thick in most spots) to hold the moisture and heat inside.
The town hall was built with marble and was essentially a large auditorium that held 1700 seats. Fun fact, the pillars in front of the town hall have the laws of the people inscribed into the stone. The writing is still visible today.
The main street of Ephesus once lined with shops on both sides. Each shop had a staircase leading to an upper level which would have been the shop owner’s residence.
It’s amazing that people already understood how to heat buildings using hot water under the floor centuries ago. Today we call this radiant floor heating.
Below the bathhouse, a trench once had running water; this is what they use for toilets. Another smaller trench was used for washing their hands and body. You were the unlucky one if you got the last seat because all the trenches ran to the next seat!
The Grand Amphitheater
The grand amphitheater is another amazing sight in the town of Ephesus. It could hold over 20k occupants, and you all could hear a pin drop due to their advanced understanding of acoustics! This is where Paul the apostle taught the people against the worshipping of the Goddess Artemis and about no graven image and idolatry. He was then nearly killed and barely escaped due to some of his Christian followers assisting him in his getaway from the mob! The exact street, amphitheater, and stones inside of them are the ones the Apostle Paul, Apostle John, Mary, and even Cleopatra walked on!!