House of The Virgin Mary
House of The Virgin Mary is located on the Bülbül Mountain, which 5.5 miles (9 km) away from the Ephesus Ancient City. As well as being an important historical structure for all humanity, it is especially important for the Catholic Christians. According to the Catholic belief, this house is the one that the Virgin Mary spent her last days. It is one of the holy places in the Catholic Christian belief, and lots of Christians visit this house every year because it is accepted as a pilgrimage site.
In the house area, you will also see fountains where you can take a sip, it is believed that this water has curative effects. There are also some stores where you can buy souvenirs in the area.
The House of The Virgin Mary is also an important place for Muslims. Islamic belief accepts Jesus as a prophet, and Virgin Mary is a significant figure for Muslims because she is the mother of a prophet. Giving birth to a prophet as a virgin is especially important for Islamic belief and it is accepted as a great miracle of God. The Virgin Mary is also the only woman in the Quran whose name is directly mentioned. Because of those reasons, Muslims also visit the House of The Virgin Mary. There is also a room in the house, which is allocated for Muslim visitors and this room is called the Quran Room. There are verses from the Quran on the walls. Muslims visit this house and pray for the Virgin Mary.
Visiting the House of Virgin Mary
Getting to the house of the Virgin Mary
If you are in the Ephesus Ancient City area, or at least located in İzmir, visiting the House of the Virgin Mart will be easier for you. It is 5.5 miles (9.5 km) away from Ephesus Ancient City, and 54 miles (87 km) away from the city center of İzmir. You can get to the house of the Virgin Mary by car or taxi.
Unfortunately, there are no public buses to reach the House of the Virgin Mary. However, you can take the minibusses from the Selçuk bus terminal. Taxis are another option when you reach the center of the Selçuk district because Selçuk is not a big district and getting the House of Virgin Mary from the Selçuk center would not be expensive for you. The average cost of a taxi trip is about 35,5 Turkis Liras (about 5 US dollars) from the center of Selçuk district to the house of the Virgin Mary.
If you are in shape, and want to explore the nature of the region & feel the historical atmosphere, you can also walk to the House of the Virgin Mary from the Ephesus Ancient City. It would take about 1 hour, and you need to climb the hill. However, it would be worth it if you ask my opinion !
House of the Virgin Mary is open to visitors on weekdays and the weekend. However, it is only open at certain hours. In the summer season, you can visit the House of the Virgin Mary between 08:00-17:00 in the winter season, and between 08:00-18:00 in the Summer season. The night season starts in November and ends with the last day of February. The summer season starts in March and ends on the first day of November.
The entrance fee is 45 TL (6 US Dollars) for non-Turkish citizens. You should also keep in mind that you need to pay 15 Turkish Liras (2 US Dollars) for the parking fee.
Do not forget that this place is not only a tourist attraction but also a place of worship for millions of people. Because the House of the Virgin Mary is a Church, you need to follow a dress code which is proper for churches. While walking towards the house, you will see a signboard which says this place is a place of worship and you should dress properly. You should not wear following clothes in the House of the Virgin Mary;
- Short dresses or skirts
- Low-cut shirts
- Sleeveless shirts
- Crop tops
- Spaghetti strap shirts
- Slit dresses
The most appropriate clothes for the visit are below;
- Skirts or dresses which cover the knees
- Dresses or tops that cover the shoulders
- Clothes which are not tight
You should keep in mind that dress codes are not only for women. Men should also wear appropriate clothes to visit the House of the Virgin Mary. Shorts above the knee, jersey shorts, sandals are not appropriate for the men who want to visit the House of the Virgin Mary.
How long to spend
You can explore the House of The Virgin Mary in 1 hour. Before coming to the House of The Virgin Mary, you can see some stores that you can buy souvenirs and cafes that you can sit and drink your tea or coffee. In the graveyard, rituals take place. You can see information about the history of the House of the Virgin Mary on signboards. When you enter the house, you will see a little room and a statue of the Virgin Mary. Keep in mind that taking photos is forbidden in the house. Before leaving the house, you can take some candles and donate them to the church. Then, you can light them in the area which is specified for lighting candles. You can drink water from the fountain, near the fountain, you can see the wishing wall. All of those activities could be easily completed in 1 hour.
History of the House of Virgin Mary
The House of The Virgin Mary is one of the most important places in the world for the Catholic Christians. In this part of the article, you will see some information about the history of the House of the Virgin Mary and why it is so important for the Christians.
According to Catholic Christian belief, Virgin Mary spent the last days of her life in this house. Orthodox Christians also believe that Virgin Mary lived in this house, but did not spend her last days there. She only stayed in this house for a few years. According to the Orthodox Christian belief, the Virgin Mary died in Jerusalem. However, Catholic Christians believe that this house is a sacred place and it is accepted as a place of pilgrimage by the Roman Catholic Church. Now, let’s move on with the interesting story of the House of the Virgin Mary.
According to the traditional Christian narrative, St. John was responsible for the protection of the Virgin Mary after the death of Jesus Christ. John the Apostle thought that Jerusalem is no longer a safe place for the Virgin Mary and took her to the Ephesus. They settled in the house on the top of Bülbül Mountain, Virgin Mary spends her last days in this house and dies.
The most interesting part about the history of the House of The Virgin Mary is about the discovery of the house. In the 19th Century, a German nun saw visions about Ephesus and the house. She never visited Ephesus but she gave detailed information about the place, events, and the people. After what she tells about the place became widespread, the church visited Ephesus. Then, a house on the top of the Bülbül Mountain was discovered.
In the 1950s, Roman Catholic Church declared this place as a sacred place for the Christians. After that, some Papal visits were organized to the Ephesus. In 1967, Pope John Paul II declared the House of the Vİrgin Mary as a place of pilgrimage for the Catholic Christians.
Catholic Christians visit the House of the Virgin Mary on the 15 of August for the pilgrimage.
Further Information and Tips
My biggest advice to the people who want to visit the House of Virgin Mary is about transportation. As I said before, you can go to the House of The Virgin Mary by your own car or by a rental car. However, I do not recommend you to get the House of the Virgin Mary by car because you need to pay for the parking. Moreover, the parking area would be almost full especially during the peak season, and you need to walk to climb the hill anyway.
Therefore, if you do not want to walk to the House of the Virgin Mary, I advise you to take a taxi to reach the site. For the people who are in good shape, I recommend walking from the Ephesus Ancient City. If you walk from Ephesus Ancient City to the House of the Virgin Mary, you will explore other historical structures in the Ephesus Ancient City as well as the House of the Virgin Mary. Moreover, it would be a good hiking activity for you.