The surroundings of Ephesus include the long ridge of Bülbül Dagi, the House of the Virgin Mary and the town of Selçuk.
Panayir Dagi (Pion)
From the Eastern Gymnasium a good road goes northeast up Panayir Dagi (Mount Pion, 155m/510ft), from which there is a fine view of the ancient site set in a semicircle round the hill. A Byzantine wall, some stretches of it well preserved, leads north along the crest of the hill to the Koressos Gate.Under the northeast side of the hill is the so-called Cave of the Seven Sleepers. According to the legend seven young men of Ephesus were walled up in a cave during the persecution of Christians in the middle of the second century Falling into a deep sleep they were discovered, alive and well, in the reign of Theodisius II (414-50). After their death, it is said, the Emperor had them buried in the cave and built a pilgrimage church in their honor.
To the southwest of the excavated area of Ephesus is the long ridge of Bülbül Dagi (Nightingale Hill 358m/1,175ft), known in antiquity as Mount Koressos, which can be climbed either on the east side or by a road ascending from the ancient harbor up the west side of the ridge. Along the ridge extends the Hellenistic town wall of the time of Lysimachos, still retaining some of the battlements.On a hill above the harbor canal, known in Hellenistic times as Pagos Astyagou, stands a ruined watch-tower, originally on the Hellenistic town walls, which for some unexplained reason is known as St Paul's Prison.
House of the Virgin Mary
Southeast of Bülbül Dagi, on Ala Dagi (the ancient Mount Solmissos, 420m/1,378ft), is a building known as the House of the Virgin Mary (Panaya Kapula), in which the Virgin is said to have lived and died. The building, the foundations of which date from the first century A.D., was restored in Byzantine times but thereafter was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Its association with the Virgin only dates from the 19th century following the visions of a German nun, Katharina Emmerich (1774-1824), who gave a precise description of the situation and appearance of a house at Ephesus in which she claimed the Virgin had lived and died. In 1891, on the basis of her account, Lazarists from Smyrna (Izmir) discovered on the south side of Bülbül Dagi the ruins of a small church which had evidently belonged to a monastery, and this is now revered as the Virgin's house.The pilgrimages which began after the finding of the house continued on an increased scale after the Second World War, and the Feast of the Assumption (August 15th) is celebrated here with particular ceremony. The house, beautifully situated and commanding an extensive view, has also become a major tourist attraction.The road to the House of the Virgin branches off the main Selçuk-Aydin road. In 4.5km/3mi it passes close to the Eastern Gymnasium and the Magnesian Gate and then continues for another 3.5km/2mi round the east side of Bülbül Dagi to the site.
About 15km/9mi northeast of Ephesus, not far from where the road branches off to Tire near the village of Belevi, are a burial mound (tumulus) and the remains of a monumental structure, evidently unfinished, reminiscent of the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos. Belevi, possibly dating from the fourth century B.C. (perhaps Persian), is believed to be the Bonita of antiquity. The tumulus, encircled by a wall of masonry, contains two burial chambers, reached by means of a passageway 20m/65ft long. The burial chambers themselves are carved out of the rock from above. The mausoleum consists of a central burial chamber originally embellished with a sixteen-column peristasis on a three-tiered base (crepidoma). Winged lions and horses adorned the corners of the roof. The sarcophagus found in the mausoleum, carved with reliefs, is on display in the Ephesus Museum.Opposite, on a rock to the west can be seen the medieval Keçi Kalesi (Goat Fort).
The seaside resort town of Kusadasi was founded in the 13th C and today it is a popular tourist destination owing to its fine beaches and cruise ship port.
The Samsun Dagi National Park is home to a diverse and rare set of vegetation and a variety of fauna including wild horses, wild boar, porcupines and rock squirrels.
Map of Ephesus Attractions