Croesus & The Persians
Ephesus prospered so much that it aroused the envy of King Croesus of Lydia, who attacked it around 600 BC. The Ephesians, who neglected to build defensive walls, stretched a rope from the temple of Artemis to the town, a distance of 1200m, hoping thus to place themselves under the protection of the goddess. Croesus responded to this quaint defensive measure by giving some of his famous wealth for the completion of the temple, which was still under construction. But he destroyed the city of Ephesus and relocated its citizens inland to the southern side of the temple, where they rebuilt and lived through classical times.
Neglecting again (or perhaps forbidden) to build walls, the Ephesians were tributaries of Croesus Lydia and, later, of the Persians. They then joined the Athenian confederacy, but later fell back under Persian control.
Legend has it that the Virgin Mary, accompanied by St John, came to Ephesus at the end of her life, circa 37-45 AD. Re-naissance church historians mentioned the trip, and it is said that local Christians ven-erated a small house near Ephesus as Mary's.
İn the 19th century a German woman named Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) had visions of Mary and of her surroundings at Ephesus. When Lazarist clergy from İzmir followed Emmerich's detailed descriptions, they discovered the foundations of an old house in the hills near Ephesus; a tomb, also described by Emmerich, was not found.
İn 1967 Pope Paul VI visited the site, where a chapel now stands, and confirmed the authenticity of the legend. A small traditional service, celebrated by Orthodox and Muslim clergy on 15 August each year in honour of Mary's Assumption into heaven, is now the major event here. To Muslims, Mary is Meryemana, Mother Mary, who bore Isa Peygamber, the Prophet Jesus.
The site is now a Selçuk municipal park; there is no regular dolmuş service, so you'll have to hitch, rent a taxi or take a tour. The park is 7km from Ephesus' Lower (northern) Gate, or 5.5 km from the Upper (southem) Gate, and 9km from Selçuk, up steep grades. The views of Ephesus, Selçuk, Ayasoluk Hill, and the surrounding countryside are wonderful along the way
Along the approach to the house are signboards explaining its significance in various languages. The house is usually busy with pilgrims, the devout and the curious. A small restaurant and snack stand provide meals at relatively moderate prices. If you are travelling on a tight budget, bring along some picnic supplies and enjoy lunch on your own in the shady park.