House of the Virgin Mary

Some four to six years after the death of Christ, St. John is said to have accompanied the Virgin Mary to Ephesus, where it is believed they dwelt in a small house over which now stands the Council Church, or the Church of the Virgin Mary. The Council Ephesus, dated of 431 record this. Later St. John brought the Virgin Mother to a house on the slopes of Bulbul Mountain, the position of which was later forgotten, until research was begun in 1891 to find traces of it. Katerina Emmerikin discovered this house at Panaya Kapulu, which fits the descriptions given in the sources. It was officially accepted to be the house of the Virgin in 1892 with the celebration of high mass there by Timoni, Archbishop of Izmir, and this belief has recently been confirmed by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979 with the celebration of high mass at Ephesus. The house is reached by a road leading from the ruins of Ephesus towards the Bulbul Mountain, and is only a short walk from the road (100 m).

On the site of the House of the Virgin Mary is a cruciform church with a central dome, which is thought to have been incorporated into the original building in the 6-7th centuries.

The later structure can easily be identified, as shown in red. Entering the church via an arched Rortico with flanking niches, one reaches a vaulted narthex, from which a raised portal leads to the nave and apse. A statue of the Virgin Mary to be seen here was erected in the last century, and is fronted bya grey hearth area, known to have been used for burning coal, and traces of coal and wine were found there during excavations. The small room to the south was a bed chamber. The absidal niche in the eastern wall of this room is regarded as a shrine by Moslems, who believe in the saintliness of the Virgin Mary. Arabic inscriptions around the walls are quotations from the Koran relating to the Virgin Mary. To the west are a series of fountains springing from below the floor of the house. The water flowing from these fountains is considered curative. Visitors are free to drink the waters under the shade of the shrine.