Over the years, more and more Christians have begun to flock to the Aegean coast of Turkey to discover the roots of their religion. This land has close ties to the Christian faith mentioned in the Bible. Take a look at the top Christian sites to visit when you’re next on the Aegean coast.
1. The Seven Churches of Revelation are seven major churches of Early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation. But the ones not to miss include Ephesus, Pergamon and Sardis.
2. The Cave of Seven Sleepers near Ephesus – If you get a chance to visit the ancient city of Ephesus, you simply won’t regret it. Home to a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is often known for being the birthplace of ancient civilization. But it is also linked to an important Christian tale called The Cave of Seven Sleepers. The Seven Sleepers were young third-century Ephesian Christians who went against the pagan Emperor Decius. According to the legend, they hid in a cave on a nearby mountain, praying and waiting to be taken away for refusing to honor the pagan gods. Later, Decius ordered the cave sealed by a rock, with the young men inside. Nearly 200 years later, after the empire had become Christian, the owner of the land where the cave was had the rock moved, and discovered that the young men had been sleeping for all that time. The tale goes that the Seven Sleepers appeared in the city, said what happened to them, were seen by many, and then died.
3. The House of the Virgin Mary – Did you know the Shrine of the Virgin Mary is located in Turkey? After the resurrection of Christ, it is believed Saint John brought Mary to Ephesus between 42-28 AD. The house was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has been running as an active chapel over a century. So far, approximately 1.5 million people from different faiths and religion visit this house.
4. Saint John’s Basilica – Many are aware that St John or the Apostle John wrote the Fourth Gospel and the book of Revelation. But did you know that he also spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and was later buried there? About 300 years after his death, a small chapel was built over his grave in the 4th century. But during Emperor Justinian’s reign during the Byzantine Empire, it became an impressive basilica which you can visit today.
5. The Bodrum Castle was built in 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller – the medieval Roman Catholic military order. Located in southwest Turkey in the city of Bodrum, the castle currently houses an impressive museum of underwater archaeology, with items excavated from ships that went down in the Aegean Sea as many as 3,000 years ago. The castle was also a Christian haven for those in Asia Minor.
Do you want a bespoke Christian tour of Turkey? Reach out to me and maybe I can help: MuratGuzelgun81@gmx.com
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