Ephesus which was established as a port, was used to be the most important commercial centre. It played a great role in the ancient times with its strategic location. Ephesus is located on a very fertile valley.
Ephesus, once, the trade centre of the ancient world, a religious centre of the early Christianity and today, Ephesus is an important tourism centre in Turkey.
The ancient city Ephesus is located in Selcuk, a small town 30km away from Kusadasi.
The House of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres (4.3 mil) from Selçuk in Turkey.
According to St. John’s Gospel, before His death, Jesus pointed at St. John and said, “Woman, here is your son” and then pointed at the Virgin Mary and said “Here is your mother”. The minutes of the Ecumenical Council of 431 indicate that four or six years after the death of Jesus, St. John and the Virgin Mary came together to Ephesus, and for a short time stayed in the building , a section of which is now under the Church of the Virgin Mary today. Later, St. John moved the Virgin Mary to a house he had prepared for her on Bülbül Dağı. As time went by, the location of the where Mary spent the last days of her life was forgotten and it fell into ruins. Yet, shortly after the Middle Ages, the location of the house was often discussed again but no conclusion could be reached.
In 1878, Clêment Brentano published the relevations of a German nun named Catherine Emmerich in “The Life of the Virgin Mary” written in French. The work brought new interest to the subject of the location of the Virgin Mary’s house. In 1891, Eugene Poulin, a Lazarist priest who was the president of İzmir College, in order to check the validity of this devoted nun’s revelations, entrusted a group under the leadership of a priest named Yung, with the search of the house. The group searched for a long time on the mountains South of Ephesus, and finaly found the house on Panayır Dağı, known as the House of the Virgin Mary.
Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) had never left the town where she was born, yet her description of the house of Mary exactly fits the house at Panaya Kapulu. In order to indroduce the house of the world, Eugene Poulin published a series of articles and succeeded in getting a lot of attention. Most of the religious experts who visited the house accepted it as the house of the Virgin Mary. The patriarch of İzmir, Monseigneur Timoni, after serious research, gave permission in 1892 to conduct religious ceremonies here. In 1961, Pope John XXIII put an end to the dispute stil going on over the location of the house of the Virgin Mary, by announcing it place of pilgramage. In 1967, Pope Paul VI and in 1979 Pope John Paul II visited the house, and therefore indicated the importance they placed on the house.
The road which stretches from the Magnesia Gate toward Bülbül Dağı reaches the house. The remains of a round cistern in the small square located 100 metres from the house, and its arched wall on the side facing the hill, were discovered first. The steps on the side of the cistern are completely destroyed, only a section which resembles a pool is extant. In the course of excavations carried on near the wall, two sarcophagi made of baked clay were discovered. Each contained a skeleton, the skull of which was turned toward the house and burial gifts. One of the two coins found in the sarcophagi belonged to the reign of Emperor Constantine and other the reign of Emperor Justinian.
There is a small, domed church with a cross-shaped plan at the and of the road that leads from cistern. This building is known as the House of the Virgin Mary and it dates of the 6th-7th centuries.
When it was discovered, only its foundation and parts of its walls were standing. It has been restored to its present state. In order to indicate the original walls, a red line was drawn between these and the new walls. An entrance with door-like niches on both sides, leads into a vaulted vestibule whence one enters the hall with an apse. The statue of the Virgin Mary, found in the apse, had been placed there about one hundred years ago. Since the grey area in front of the apse is different from the rest of the marble paved floor, it must have been the location of the hearth. The pieces of coal found during excavations and a section of the foundation were dated to the first century. The small room in the South is known as the bedroom and there is an apsidal niche in its eastern wall. Since the Virgin Mary is also revered by Muslims, they pray (perform namaz) in this room. Inscriptions seen on the walls are interpretations of the section of the Koran relating to the Virgin Mary. Also, for those who want further information, there are many Korans in the different languages in a special chest. The remains of another room which should be located symmetrically to this one have not been discovered yet. On the second terrace to the west of the house, there are fountains, the waters of which supposedly have medicinal qualities. The water supply of these fountains comes from under the pink coloured marble floor covering of the bedroom.
2013- REPORT ON MILLENNIUM CRUISE JANUARY 20, 2013
We departed from MLU on January 15, 2013 via Delta airlines. I had checked the price of using Delta all the way to Singapore and found using Singapore out of LA was cheaper than Delta all the way. + We spent the night in Monroe on Jan 14th because of a freeze and fear of iced over roads in the early morning. We spent the night at LAX Marriott Courtyard and flew Singapore air to Singapore on Wednesday January 16 via SX11.(stopped in Narita Japan), and arrived in Singapore on January 18th at about 3:30 AM. SQ37 none stop to Singapore did not fly on Tuesday or Wednesday. We returned from Singapore on SQ 38 nonstop to LA and spent the night in LA at the same hotel.
We arrived In Singapore at about 5:00 AM on Friday January 18th and met up with our English friends that were already checked into the Marina Mandarin hotel. We looked for another couple from Cruise Critic at the hotel, but did not come across them until boarding. While in Singapore I had a tailor made shirt and Vance had a jacket made. We were allowed to check in around 8:00 AM on the 18th, a pleasant surprise. We had dinner one night at the East Coast Seafood Company at cab ride toward the airport. One night ate at Ruth Chris steakhouse in the hotel.
On Friday, we visited the Marina Sands hotel an Eight Billion project which is a new hotel on the Marina in Singapore, Unfortunately it rained all day on Saturday so we just made our way over to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel to meet up with other Cruise Critic members. While there my LSU hat attracted a lawyer from Vacherie, La and we chatted awhile regarding mutual friends.
We boarded the Millennium on Sunday around 12 noon and our Penthouse Suite was ready about 1:00 PM. The concierge Jennifer (Jenny) Knights from England was superb in making arrangements for us throughout the cruise. Our 74 tourist for the Komodo island tour were in the first tender off the ship thanks to Jenny.
Monday we were in Singapore, but elected to stay aboard and enjoy our cabin.
Tuesday we were at sea and ate with the Staff Cabin at the late dining for the first formal night.
Wednesday we were at sea and ate at the Olympic Restaurant in the wine room which is nice, but it tends to be a little warm, so be-fore warned.
Thursday Jan 24 Bali-- We were scheduled to visit Lombok, but the captain stated that Indonesian officials were making it difficult to remain on our schedule so the captain changed the schedule and sailed to Bali arriving much earlier than previously scheduled and on a different day. We all had to change our previously scheduled private tours. When we arrived in Bali, we just took a cab tour to Denpasar, the capital of Bali, visited a market, then stopped at the Batik factory and bought some beautiful shirts and many very reasonably priced gifts. When we returned to the dock we did not go back to the ship, but waited around for 30 minutes to go on our previously arranged Tanah Lot Pan Pacific Sunset dinner tour. We used PT.BEWISH INTERNATIONAL TOUR CO. We visited the Taman Ayun temple used by Hindu people. We visited Alas Kedaton (Monkey forest) which had monkeys just running all around free and many huge winged bats in the area. Tanah Lot temple (A Hindu Temple) was viewed from a distance since the sun did not co-operate for a beautiful sunset. We ended up eating at the Pan Pacific hotel in Bali we a beautiful view of the sea. We returned to the ship 12 hours after we left so it was a long day.
Friday we were still in Bali, but it rained so we did not go on a tour. I went ashore to just buy from the locals that were giving the hard sell on the previous day when I didn’t have time to work with them.
Saturday- we arrived at Komodo Island and met our tour group with 74 of us that Art had arranged. Everything worked fine in spite of the change of venue. We received everything that was promised. We visited the village for a few minutes and then the pink beach and had lunch on board our little boat.
Sunday we went to Lombok (originally scheduled for Thursday) and did our private tour with Jane’s arrangements. Visited the Lembar Harbor, the Sukarara village where weaving is done, Sengigi Beach, the Batu Balong Temple and the Banyu Mulek village. We had a very good fried shrimp dinner included in trip cost. We did drive to Mataram city and visited a Mayura floating Pavilion.
Monday – we were at sea and enjoyed some Joker Poker games.
Tuesday we were at sea and ate in the Q-sine Restaurant which was an eating experience.
Wednesday-Jan 30 we docked at Port Klang to go to Kuala Lumpur via a private tour arranged by Eileen. We went to the Batu Caves, but 276 steps was too much for us. Made a photo stop to take a picture of the PETRONAS Towers, and went up in the KL tower, and then to the Central Market and had a nice meal and did some shopping visiting Chinatown.
Thursday Jan 31 we toured Penang, Malaysia via a private tour run by Kimmy. We landed in Georgetown and then visited the Kek Loksi Temple and the Funicular. We drove through Little India, drove up Penang Hill and came down on a funicular. We past Kapital Keling Mosque and St. George church but did not get to the Botanical Gardens.
Friday Feb. 1 was a tour of Phuket, Thailand arranged by Art which was very good. Phuket is approximately the size of Singapore and is Thailand’s largest island. We cruised on a Chinese Junk, the JUNE BATHRA to James Bond Island (KoTapu or Nail Island) ($6 fee to stop on the island) We cruised in the beautiful Phang Nga Bay. We had to transfer to a long tail boat for a wet ride to Ko Tapu and also to the Sea Gypsy Village. This island became famous from the 1974 Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” starring Roger Moore and Christopher Lee- (Scaramanga). As we made our way back from a long day we noticed how active the downtown area of Phuket was. This Friday night we were invited again to the Captain’s table for a formal dinner.
Saturday was a day at Sea and we had to pack to disembark the next day. It was an easy disembarkation and well organized and we toured the Botanical Gardens in Singapore on the way to the airport where we had plenty of time in the wonderful Singapore lounge to eat a nice Buffett meal complimentary to guests on Singapore’s flight SQ38 none stop to LAX. We spent the night at the LAX Marriott Courtyard and flew home the next day.