Ephesus: Ancient and Modern

As an ancient city Ephesus was preferred by many Romans as the dwelling place of choice, even above Rome. Today Selcuk-Ephesus is a retirement city for Turks and has a farming community.

Ancient Ephesus was the largest city in Roman Asia and one of the largest in that era. Today Selcuk-Ephesus is smaller than the many neighboring seaside resorts, but more frequented by tourists.

Ancient Ephesus had the greatest wonder of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Temple of Diana/Artemis. Today Selcuk-Ephesus has the house of the Virgin Mary according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Ancient Ephesus had the Apostle John’s Tomb and St. John’s Basilica. Modern Selcuk-Ephesus continues to be a pilgrimage site for Christians.

Ancient Ephesus was a center for learning. Today Selcuk-Ephesus is a center for historical-archeological studies.

Ancient Ephesus was a cosmopolitan port town where new ideas were exchanged. Modern Selcuk-Ephesus is a popular destination for cruise ships and tourists from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Ancient Ephesus was noted for gladiatorial combat and sports. Today Selcuk-Ephesus has water sports, beach, camel wrestling, and is near to the yet to be opened international golf course.

Ancient Ephesus was at the crossroads of both land and sea

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New Testament History

Just as ancient Anatolia plays a role in the Old Testament, it figures more in the New Testament. This region is sigificant for both Judaism and Christianity and is an important location regarding historical events.

Even the ancient language Aramaic, which Jesus spoke and is rooted in Old Testament times, is spoken in Turkey today.

Ancient regions that bleed over into New Testament times and found in Turkey are: Cilicia, Lycaonia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Pisidia, Galatia, Pamphylia, Phrygia, Bithynia, Lydia, Lycia, Mysia, and Thrace.

The Apostle Paul traveled zealously through these regions. He was a native of Anatolia in Tarsus and frequently visited Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Perge, Alexandria Troas, Ephesus, Miletus, Antioch of Pisidia, Attalia, and Assos. And these are only the major centers mentioned.

Tradition says that the Apostle John and Mary both lived in Ephesus and that John’s tomb is situated there now among the old church ruins. Although this cannot be proven, John’s address to the seven church congregations of Revelation (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) indicates he had first hand knowledge of this area.

Tradition also has it that many of Jesus’ early followers were dispersed throughout the Anatolia region. Barnabas was from

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