Private Full Day Biblical Ephesus Tours with Expert Local Tour Guides
For the faithful travelers who are interested to know the biblical history of Ephesus, we offer private Full Day Biblical Ephesus Tours with expert local tour guides. Ephesus has a major importance in biblical history. Numerous names mentioned in the New Testament lived in Ephesus such as: St. Paul, St. John, Timothy, Epaphras, Demetrius the silversmith, possibly Virgin Mary... and many more.
During the tour you will be taken to the Biblical Highlights of the area such as Ancient City of Ephesus, The Grand Theater of Ephesus, Basilica of St. John, Temple of Artemis, House of Virgin Mary, Church of Mary in Ephesus ...
We offer Private Full Day Biblical Ephesus Tours from
Full Day Biblical Tour Program:
After reaching Selcuk. Your first stop on this fascinating tour is at the House of Virgin Mary where Virgin Mary is believed to spent hear last 9 years. Afterwards, you will continue on to visit ancient city of Ephesus, one of the most magnificent and best-preserved ancient sites in the world. See the Odeon, the Market Basilica, Curetes Street, Bath, Celsus Library, Marble Street and visit the Great Theater of Ephesus where a mentioned in Acts Chapter 19 where a riot started against St. Paul by the merchants of Ephesus. The Grand Theater of Ephesus had a seating capacity of 25,000 people. Enjoy a traditional Turkish Lunch. After lunch visit the Basilica of St. John and see the Temple of Artemis, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
(At House of Virgin Mary, Holy Mass is held every day, from Monday to Saturday at 5:15 pm (November to March) and 6:15 pm (April to October). The Sunday Mass is held at 10:30 am. Our guests have the option to attend the Holy Mass.)
For more information about our biblical study tours, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Izmir to Pamukkale by train
Pamukkale by Train from/to Izmir Airport, Izmir City Center and Selcuk (Ephesus)
Train is the cheapest way to travel from Izmir Airport and Izmir City Center and Selcuk (Ephesus) to Pamukkale though not the fastest way to travel. Trains run between İzmir (Basmane station), İzmir’s Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB), Selçuk (Ephesus), and Denizli (Pamukkale).
Turkish Railways (TCDD) operates a train from Izmir Basmane Train Station and Izmir Airport (ADB) and Selcuk (Ephesus) to Pamukkale 6 times a day. Tickets cost approximately 5 Euros. The journey takes approximately 3.5 hours from Selcuk, 4.5 hours from Izmir Airport and 5 Hours from Izmir City Center.
Travellers who would like to go to Pamukkale by train from Izmir Airport and Izmir City Center on the way can visit Ephesus Ancient City, Temple of Artemis, House of Virgin Mary and Basilica of St. John. We do operate private tours starting and end at Selcuk Train Station.
For travellers who will be staying at Izmir City Center hotels, we recommend them to take the 8.53am train from Basmane train station and for those arriving to Izmir AIrport, can take this train at 9.18am. This train will arrive to Selcuk (Ephesus) at 10.15am. Our tour guide and vehicle can meet you at Selcuk train startion. After the tour you will be dropped back to Selcuk train station for your journey to Pamukkale which leaves Selcuk Train Station at 16.55. The train will arrive to Pamukkale (Denizli) at 8.15pm. After reaching Denizli Train Station, you can board a shared minibus or a taxi to Pamukkale.
Similar program can be made for travellers who stay in Pamukkale.
Travellers can take the 8.25am train from Denizli Train Station which will arrive to Selcuk (Ephesus) at 11.50. Our tour guide and vehicle can meet you at Selcuk train startion. After the tour you will be dropped back to Selcuk train station for your journey to Izmir Airport or Izmir City Center which leaves Selcuk Train Station at 17.57. The train will arrive to Izmir AIrport at 18.55pm and Izmir Basmane Train Station at 19.16.
For more information about our tours starting and ending at Selcuk (Ephesus) Train Station, please visit the following link:
Private Ephesus Tours from Selcuk Hotels and Selcuk Train Station
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1 - I wish to ask about the tour from Izmir city Centre to Pamukkale via Ephesus. When the guide picks you up at Selcuk, does he take our suitcases as well, and keep them until we go back to the station? How much is this tour please? We wish to travel in April 2022. Thank you.
> As I understand, you would like to take the train from Izmir Train Station to Selcuk (Ephesus) Train Station. After the tour of Ephesus. We will drop you back to Selcuk (Ephesus) Train Station for your journey to Denizli (Pamukkale)
The tour will be conducted with a Mercedes MPV. Your luggages will be kept in the vehicle during your private tour of Ephesus. There will be a seperate driver and a tour guide. While you will be touring with the tour guide, our driver will keep an eye on your belongings.
Cost of private tour of Ephesus starting and ending at Selcuk Train Station: 100 Euro (Total to be paid for your party of 2)
* Above rate is NOT a per person rate. It is total to be paid for your group.
Rates Do Not Cover:
2021 Entrance Fees and Opening Hours
Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary and the nearby attracions
How much is the entrance fee for Ephesus ?
Except Terrace Houses, there is no admission fee for children under 8 years old. For the proof of age, please bring passport copies with you. For Terrace Houses under 6 year old is free of charge.
* If you are going to visit other sites besides Ephesus in Western Turkey. There is a Museum Pass which provides multi visits to many sites without waiting in lines and you can make great savings. Valid for Ancient city of Ephesus, Basilica of St. John, Terrace Houses in Ephesus, Archaelogical Museum of Ephesus, Ancient city of Aphrodisias, Temple of Didyma, Ancient city of Smyrna, Ancient City of Miletus, Ancient City of Priene, Ancient City of Sardis, Ancient City of Pergamon, Asklepion of Pergamon and many others. For more information visit the following link: Museum Pass the Aegean - Multi visit pass for West Turkey
Ephesus Ancient City - Basilica of St. John - Archaeogical Museum of Ephesus
Tour Guide Only Services for Ephesus and the Surrounding Area
For travelers who are travelling Turkey with a rent a car, we offer tour guide only services. Your expert Ephesus tour guide can meet you in front of Basilica of St. John or at your hotel in Selcuk or Kusadasi. Seeing the sights with your own private guide is the best way to fully appreciate the richness of Ephesus.
Best Tour Guide in Ephesus
Ephesus Tour Guide Recommendation
Hire a local private tour guide in Ephesus !
Suggested Tour Program (Duration: 5-6 Hours)
Meet with your guide in front of Basilica of St. John in Selcuk town. Visit the remains of the Basilica of St. John, see the tomb of St. John, Selcuk Castle and the remains of the Temple of Artemis. Afterwards drive to Bulbul Mountain to visit the House of Virgin Mary. It is believed that Virgin Mary and John the Apostle came to the Ancient City of Ephesus, after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mary possibly spent her last years on top of a mountain near Ephesus. Then, you will continue on to visit ancient Ephesus, one of the most magnificent and best-preserved ancient sites in the world. See the Odeon, the Market Basilica, Curetes Street, Bath, Celsus Library, Marble Street and the Great Theater with a seating capacity of 25,000 people.
Driving from Izmir and Izmir Airport to Ephesus (Selcuk)
The western region of Turkey is an easy place to drive a rental car. If you are planning to rent a car at Izmir Airport, make sure that your rental car has a toll sticker or a toll transponder to pay the highway tolls. You cannot pay the tolls any other way Note that you can not pay tolls with cash! As you exit from Izmir airport, follow the green signs for Aydın (not Izmir). Green sign is for toll road. The toll for the drive from the Izmir airport to Selcuk (Ephesus) is about 3 Turkish Liras. In the toll road there are no signs here for Selcuk or Ephesus, so follow the signs for Aydın. After 30 minutes drive from Izmir airport is the Selcuk turn, Leave the toll road by this exit, following signs to Selcuk and Efes (Ephesus). After passing the tollgates in 10 minutes you will reach Selcuk (Ephesus). If you are going to use our tour guide only service, you will meet your tour guide in front of Basilica of St. John, therefore look for a brown sign as ''Basilica of St. John''
* If you do not have a rental car and staying in Selcuk or getting to Selcuk with train. We offer private walking tours of the Basilica of St. John, Temple of Artemis and Ancient City of Ephesus. For more information, please contact us.
History of Ancient Miletus
Miletus, in the archaic period known as the ruler of the Aegean, birthplace of science and philosophy. Owed its importance to its position on trade routes and developed seamanship.
According to Homer Miletus was the exceptional Ionian city fought against the Greeks with the Trojans. Miletus is one of the 12 ionian cities located at the Western Turkey. Visited by St. Paul and mentioned in Acts Chapter 20.
It was one of the largest cities in Anatolia with a population of between 80,000 and 100,000. Highly prosperous, it founded many colonies and was the home of the 6th century BC philosophers Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Thales, the town planner Hippodamus and architect Isidorus. Miletus seems to have produced geniuses the way Aphrodisias produced sculptors. Anaximander known as the father of geography by drawing the first map of the world. Thales, was the most important among them. He was considered to be one of the 7 geniuses of the Ancient World as well as Bias of Priene and Solon of Athens. In 585 BC by calculating the solar eclipse, he became very famous. He believed that the source of life and live creations is out of water. He also calculated the height of the pyramids. Furthermore, he managed this checking up with help of the length of a persons shadow. In the day time when persons shadow was equal to his height, he made the calculations with the Pyramids.
First settlement dates back to 1600 BC by Minoans and Mycenaeans. According to the legend, the city was founded by Neleus, son of King Codrus of Athens. The residents were Carians and Cretans which moved here from a city having the same name. Neleus came to settle with his men and killed the resident males compelling the women to marry the newcomers. After this took place the women swore not to sit at the same table with their husbands and also not to call them by their names and this became a tradition for the next generations.
In the 11th century BC Ionians came to Miletus, and by 7th century BC Miletus was at its peak which was to last for more than two centuries. Miletus colonized over 90 cities such as Sinope, Amissos, Trapezos... located at the Black Sea shores of Anatolia.
With other cities of Ionia in 499 BC, Miletus rebelled against the Persians, who had captured, burned it to the ground and enslaved its surviving population. This last battle was that of Lade (Island of Lade) in 494 BC, just outside the harbor of Miletus where the Persian fleet of 600 warships defeated the Ionian force. The role of Miletus was significant in the defeat of the Persians at the Mycale battle in 479 BC. Shortly after the battle, Miletus joined the Delian Confederacy with a contribution larger than that of Ephesus. Miletus joined this alliance with 80 ships while Priene was joining with 12 ships. Upon an agreement between the Persian Satrap and Athens, Miletus and other Ionian cities of Anatolia came under the rule of the Persians again. At the end of the 5the century BC Miletus, was ruled by the Carian satraps. Captured by Alexander the Great after a siege in 334 BC. Miletus were among the cities who fought with Persians against Alexanders Army and defended their land. Afterwards ruled by the Seleucid Dynasty in the following years, Miletus remained an important trade center in the Roman times.
How far is Miletus from Ephesus?
Miletus is 50 miles away from Ephesus. After the riot took place in the theater of Ephesus. St, Paul was kicked out from the city of Ephesus. He travelled to north to Troas, Assos, Mitylene. Chios. Samos, St. Paul stopped in Miletus in 57 AD on his way back to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey. In Miletus Paul sent sends a message to the leaders of the church in Ephesus to join him in Miletus, and after speaking with them for the last time he bade them an emotional farewell. Paul warned them that he faces persecution and imprisonment when he returns to Jerusalem. Paul, boarded his ship in Miletus and sailed off via Cos, Rhodes, Patara to Jerusalem.
The Roman period was followed by Byzantine and Turkish periods. Miletus was a major port city located on a peninsula with four harbors. With the silting of the Meander River the ruins of the ancient city today are a few kilometers away from the sea. The city had a grid plan which was developed by Hippodamus when it was rebuilt in the 3rd century BC after the Persians had sacked it.
The Theater was a small Hellenistic theater with a seating capacity of 5,300, but in the beginning of the 2nd century AD it was modified to a Roman theater and held about 15,000 people. The lower section was built onto a natural hillside, and the upper is supported by vaulted substructures up to a height of 131 ft. The facade facing the harbor was 460 ft long. During the Roman period the stage building had three stories and was 111 ft wide. In front of the stage building it is still possible to see pieces depicting gladiators fighting against wild animals. From the 3rd row till the 6th, carvings show that some seats were reserved for some persons and groups. 5th row was reserved for the Jews and Theosebes (God-fearers) who are afraid of God and the 3rd row for the Jewelers. The Theosebes were Jewish sympathizing pagans with beliefs and rituals of their own. The Theosebes were one of the key groups that received attention of St. Paul and his mission.
At the top of the theater hill was a Byzantine fortress which is thought to have been built mostly with the stones of the theater in the 7th century AD but restored later by a Turkish tribe called Metesogullari.
Harbor monuments stood in front of the Lions’ Harbor. There were two of them; different in size but similar in style. The large piece was 25 ft high, mounted on a three-cornered base built on a round foundation with a diameter of 36 ft. The smaller one was only 17.5 ft.
The Delphinium was a Hellenistic open air shrine surrounded by stoas on four sides with a 6th century BC altar in the center. Together with Apollo, the dolphin was sacred for the Milesians as they believed that when the first settlers sailed they were guided by Apollo in the form of a dolphin. The annual festival and celebrations of Didyma were started here. An Ionic Stoa lay parallel to the processional road on the south of the Delphinium. It is a 1st century AD structure which had 35 Ionic columns and 19 shops behind the columns. Delphinios name meaning Dolphin in Greek is also correlated with Delphoi of Greece. According to the legend Apollo who needed priests for his temple, saw a Cretan ship at the horizon. He turned himself to dolphin and leaded the seamen where the temple was located.
The Bouleterion was a 2nd century BC building which consisted of a pro pylon, a courtyard and an auditorium. The pro pylon had three Corinthian columns and friezes depicting war scenes. It opened into a courtyard with a monumental tomb in the middle. There were four gates that opened into the main hall. The auditorium seated 1,500 people and had a wooden roof.
The Nymphaeum was first built in the 2nd century AD and rebuilt in the following century. It faced the bouleterion across the processional road and had three stories with statues of gods placed in niches and water spouting from the mouths of bronze fish.
The South Agora lay behind the bouleterion. It was a Hellenistic structure which was later remodeled in the Roman period. Today the North Gate is unfortunately another of the gems from Anatolia currently housed in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin. The South Gate was destroyed during the construction of Ilyas Bey mosque.
The Temple of Serapis lay between the south Agora and the Faustina baths. It consisted of a pronaos and a naos with Corinthian columns and a relief of Serapis on the pediment. The temple was a 3rd century BC building which was rebuilt in the 3rd century AD with a donation by Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The Baths of Faustina were 2nd century AD Roman baths which were built by Faustina, Marcus Aurelius’ wife, daughter of Antonius Pius who usually accompanied her husband on his journeys through the Empire. Faustina was famous as a waster of money belonging to others. The frigidarium had a reclining statue of the river god probably personifying the Meander River. The baths are a complex structure with Gymnasium and Stadion located next to it. Caldarium was heated by hypocaust system underground heating was practiced. Ground was over 2 feet high legs. The hot air was going through which was gathered by boiling water in the furnaces.
The Ilyas Bey Mosque was part of a complex which consisted of a mosque, medrese, cemetery and an imaret. It was built in the early 15th century by Ilyas Bey, the regional Ottoman military commander. The dome of the mosque was made of bricks. At the entrance are three arched partitions separated by two columns. The entrance is through the center arch. The mosque was destroyed in 1955.
The Caravansary is a 15th century building built by the Mentese Principality which had a lower floor for animals and an upper for people.
History of Ancient Smyrna
Smyrna is the ancient name of Izmir which the third largest city of Modern Turkey. Located 600km south of Istanbul, the largest city of Modern Turkey. The ancient name Smyrna was believed to be the name of an Amazon woman warrior like many other cities in the Aegean coastline.
For some historians, Phyrigian King Tantalos and his family were the legendary founders of the city. The daughter of Tantalos; Niobe had 7 sons and 7 daughters. Leto who had only 2 children got embarrassed by Niobe. The twins of Leto; Artemis and Apollo killed 14 children of Niobe. Niobe was so upset that she want over to Mt. Spylos and turned into a stone.
Tantalos was very much liked by the gods. One day he invited them to a feast. To check their power he had his son Pelops cooked and served to the gods. Demeter who was upset with loss of her daughter; Persephone was the only one who ate. After this event the gods punished Tantalos and sent him to Hades. His punishment was to be thirsty in the middle of a lake. While he tried to drink water, the lake became dry. Gods gave Pelops his life back. After a while Pelops sacked from Spylos and founded Pelopenessos.
First settlement of the area goes back to 3rd millennium BC in Bayrakli today. It was an Aiolian settlement during the 10th century BC migrations from Greece. Later it became an Ionian city. The Ionian refugees took the control while the Ailoian inhabitants were away for celebrations of a feast. Aiolians of Smyrna were welcomed by other Aiolian cities. The city was attacked and ruined by Alyattes of Lydia and was under the Lydian rule till the Persians came to the area in 546 BC. In 334 BC Alexander defeated the Persians in the Battle of Granikos near today's Canakkale. Alexander stayed in the city for a few days. While he was hunting in Mt. Pagos, he fell a sleep and in his dream, saw 2 goddesses saying him to move the city to where he is now. Like before the founders of the all ancient cities, inhabitants consulted to an Apollo Temple. They went to Claros for approval. According to Strabon the new city was built by Antigonos and Lysimachos following him. Lysimachos named the city of his daughter "Eurydike". However, this name did not last long. Strabon also mentioned that Smyrna was the most beautiful among the cities. Homer, the author of the earliest and finest epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey lived in Smyrna in the 8th century BC. He made his living as a court singer and storyteller.. According to Strabon there was a temple constructed after the death of Homeros, named as "Homerion".
Today from the remains of Ancient Smyrna, travelers can only see the remains of the Roman Agora. Agora was built after the earthquake in 178AD by the Roman Emperror Marcus Aerelius and was dedicated to his wife Faustina. It was one of the largest agoras of the Roman World. Romans named Agora as Forum. The basement of the Agora is quite impressive. The basement was used as shops and their storages. There is also a cistern which was able to provide water for 7.000 people. Grafittis in Ancient Greek can be seen by the travelers.
Church of Smyrna
Smyrna is among the 7 churches of Asia Minor mentioned in the book of Revelations. It is the second church mentioned in the Book of Revelation after Ephesus. Among the 7 churches, Like Philadelphia Smyrna was among the two churches which was not criticized of their faith. In the letter to Smyrna. The message speaks of false Jews and impending persecution, but encourages perseverance which will be rewarded.
The strong allegiance to Rome plus a large Jewish population which was actively hostile to the Christians made it exceptionally difficult to live as a Christian in Smyrna. The most famous martyrdom of the early church fathers was of the elderly Polycarp, the 'twelfth martyr in Smyrna', St. Polycarp was one of the diciples of John the Apostle. He is considered to be the first bishop of S,yrna. In 155AD St. Polycarp refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord, was placed upon a pyre to be burned at the ancient theater of Smyrna by the Romans. First he was thrown to the lions. But since the lions were full, they did not eat him. Afterwards the Roman prosecutors tried to burn St. Polycarp, but that did not work out too. Last he was killed by a Roman soldier.
Smyrna, the physically persecuted church. The Christian community in Smyrna was considered as a poor community and without prestige and political power. While in contrast richly adorned temples to the pagan deities. There is no Christian commonwealth; they were a tiny minority in the community devoted to a multitude of gods. The Contrast between the city and the church is marked. The Church in Smyrna had suffered but had been faithful. Physically the church in Smyrna suffered from persecution from the Jews, and they were poor, they had few luxuries and possessions, yet spiritually they were rich in the sight of Christ. Jesus sees their affliction, he knows about it, this must be of comfort to this persecuted church. The Jewish community outside the church spoke of evil of the Christian community. John promised the Christians as a result of faithfulness even unto death, they would receive a crown of life.
In the ancient times Smyrna was famous with its wine called "Pramnos". This wine was mixed with cheese, flour and honey. They used honey to sweeten the wine and added water before drinking. Drinking wine without adding water considered as a barbaric behavior. Pramnos wine of Smyrna was mentioned by Homer.
The name Smyrna may also have been taken from the ancient Greek word for myrrh, which was the chief export of the city in ancient times. Myrrh is a gum-resin extracted from a tree. Myrrh resin was used as a perfume, incense, medicine and embalming body. Myrrh is mentioned in the New Testament as one of the three gifts that the Wise Men "from the East" presented to the Christ Child. Myrrh was also present at Jesus' death and burial. Jesus was offered wine and myrrh at his crucifixion. According to John's Gospel, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus' body The Gospel of Matthew relates that as Jesus went to the cross, he was given vinegar to drink mingled with myrrh. The Romans often added the myrrh to wine to prevent it from vinegarizing (turning sour), which also provided a narcotic to deaden pain.
by TransBalkan Tours is a fully licenced tour operator since 1963 and a member of TURSAB.
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