Cave of the Seven Sleepers

Ephesus Artemision Church of St.John Isabey Mosque Plan of Ephesus Cave of the Seven Sleepers State Agora – Aqueduct of Sextilius Pollio Odeion (Bouleuterion) – Baths of Varius Prytaneion (Municipal Hall) Basilica – Fountain of Laecanius Bassus Fountain of Pollio Temple of Domitian Memmius Monument Victory Arch with Reliefs of Hercules Street of the Curretes Fountain of Trajan Temple of Hadrian Round Tower – Baths of Scholastikia Brothel Terrace Houses Celsus Library Agora Gate of Mazaeus and Mithridates at the agora Marble way Arcadian Street – Ephesus Theatre Stadium – Harbour Baths Church of the Virgin Mary Vedius Gymnasium Harbour Gymnasium and Verulanus Baths House of the Virgin Mary Ephesus Museum A road leading past the Vedius Gymnasium directs eastwards towards the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. According to legend, seven young Christians living in the reign of the emperor Decius (around 250 AD.) refused to offer the required sacrifices at the emperor’s shrine, and escaped from the town to hide in this cave. Some time later they are said to have fallen asleep, and slept for so long that when they woke up and went out for food, they found that the city had completely changed, and along with it the emperor’s rule. With some surprise they realise that they have been asleep for 200 years, and that Christianity has spread throughout Ephesus.

The new emperor, Theodosius, hearing of their tale, declared it a miracle that they had been raised from the dead, and their fame spread.

On their death, the seven sleepers are said to have been buried here in the same cave with funerary rites, and a church erected over the cave.

Excavations on the site revealed, in the walls and tombs of the 5-6th century church, a number of graves belonging to devotees to the seven sleepers, among them one thought to belong to St. Madeleine.