Depart the Izmir port with your private driver and guide, passing through lush countryside en route to the site thought to have been host to the Virgin Mary in her final years of life, the House of Virgin Mary. Out front is the Fountain of Our Lady, supplying faithful water from the holy foundation. From there, a short drive will bring you to Ephesus, the most important ancient ruins in Turkey. Upon arrival, enter the Open Air Archaeological Museum where you will see the Odean, Fountain of Trajan, the temple of Hadrian, and the steam baths of Scholastika. The impressive Library of Celsius, adorned with columns and statues is yet another key remnant of the Greek, and later Roman, past that can be seen. One of the largest theatres of the ancient world, and the preaching site for St. Paul, the Grand Theatre, remains at the site of Ephesus, with a capacity of 24,000 seats. Visit Ephesus’ Double Church, or the “Church of Virgin Mary”, one isle thought to be dedicated to Mary, while the other to Apostle John. Perched above Ephesus is the remains of St John’s Basilica, where you will learn about its importance to the history of Christianity. A “Biblical lunch” (included) will be served, based on dishes and ingredients cited in the bible. You will then get a short lecture by an expert on the impact of Christianity on the local handicrafts, followed by a carpet weaving presentation which elaborates on that influence. Return to Izmir port.
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