St John’s Basilica, Selcuk

The Basilica of St John is located on Ayasuluk hill in the town of Selçuk and overlooks the site of the Temple of Artemis.

The church was once one of the largest of the Byzantine Empire. Early church tradition suggests John brought the Virgin Mary with him to Ephesus and that the Gospel of St John was written here. It is also said that the apostle was buried at this site and that a small chapel was constructed over the grave in the 4th century.

The church of St John was changed into a marvelous basilica in the 6th Century during the reign of Emperor Justinian. The columns in the courtyard carry the monograms of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora.

The chapel was used as a mosque in the 14th Century and destroyed by an earthquake in the same century. The ruins of St John’s Basilica give the visitor a good idea of the awesome size of the building that stood in the shape of a cross and was covered with six domes. Its scattered stones and low-lying walls only hint at the grandeur of the building that once stood here.

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