EPHESUS and Environs 

(Lunch Included)

Meeting by your guide just outside the port area about 08.00 in the morning and this day will be devoted to the sights of Ephesus, the House of Virgin Mary, the Basilica of St.John, the Museum of Ephesus, the Artemision and the village of Shirince.  

Dating back to the earliest times Ephesus had a beautiful harbor, a fertile hinterland and a well-established cult center for Cybele, the Mother Goddess of Asia Minor.

Greek legend has it that Androchus, the son of the legendary king of Athens, founded Ephesus.  The truth is that in the 10th century BC it was colonized by the Greeks seeking to establish trading posts on the western shores of Asia Minor.

Today, Ephesus is considered as one of the most majestic and extraordinary archaeological sites in the world.  The ancient city is so much evident that it is almost alive.

The tour will start with a visit to the House of Virgin Mary,  who is believed to have settled here with St. John the Evangelist(c. 40 AD).  The little building where she spent her last days is now a pilgrimage point.  Situated on a hill surrounded by forests the location is very peaceful.  The Basilica of St. John where he is buried is located in the town of Selcuk, modern day Ephesus.  This basilica, originally a tomb only, attracted visitors and pilgrims starting in the 2nd century.  In the 6th century Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire had the structure existing today built.

The site of ancient Ephesus as a metropolis will be the following visit.  This city is so magnificent that a description is not possible.  An extensive tour of the city will be given with the major buildings explained and with reference to the city's relation to early Christianity.

We will also visit the site of Artemision, the temple of Artemis, which was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Unfortunately today most of it is in the British Museum. We will have lunch following the Artemision visit.

After lunch the Museum of Ephesus will be the next place to visit.  The museum is a small but a very rich museum with a very varied list of artifacts from Ephesus.

Following the museum and given the time remaining we will take you somewhere not many tourists are taken,  the village of Shirinje as it is known today, but Kırkıja to the well known Greek writer Dido Sotiriou, or Chirkinje to the Turkish story-teller Sabahattin Ali.

Only seven kilometers into the hills east of the modern day Ephesus, Shirince was purely a Greek village until the first Greek-Ottoman troubles when the Greeks of Greece started fighting for their independence.  The ensuing population movements brought about a more mixed population with the Turks being settled there after being forced to leave by the Greeks from today's Greece.  The last of those forced population exchanges took place in 1923 when Greeks still living in Anatolia (Asia Minor) were expelled to Greece and the remaining Turks still in Greece were sent to Turkey, bringing the total number of the dispossed to about 2 million.

Today the village of Shirinje is a lovely little town of a dwindling original population but with its white-washed houses built on terraces on the hill side, the always hospitable inhabitants, the home made olive-oil, wines and wine cellars, their well-known "Gözleme" the Turkish version of "Crepe", and the little old ladies trying to sell their hand made embroidery, or hand picked bunches of oregano.

Shirinje today is becoming a rather popular location for the wealthy of Izmir and of the surrounding area, buying old houses, restoring them and using them as summer homes.  The good side of this is that the architectural heritage will be protected and the restoration of the two churches of the town started and is continuing.

The Greek writer Dido Sotiriou wrote many years later about her family's hometown saying that "if there is a heaven on earth, our Kırkıja must certainly be a part of it".  Today there are still descendants of original inhabitants making a pilgrimage once a year to visit the old homes, pray in front of trees planted by fathers or grandfathers. 

After the devastating earthquakes of 1999, first in Turkey and then in Greece,  the ensuing rapproachment between the two countries initiated by the people and later taken up by the politicians may even make Shirinje even more of an attraction for some.

After this pleasant side-trip and the experience of hospitality of the locals you will be  returned to Kusadası to embark your cruise ship around in the late afternoon.

Inquire about price. 

Included the costs of transport, all guiding, all entrance fees, 3 course lunch with local beverages included (wine, beer, rakı -Turkish Oozo, or soft drinks) all taxes and all tips except to guide and driver.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.