House of the Virgin Mary

The House of the Virgin Mary is located on the slopes of the Bülbül ( Nightingale ) Mountain. It is only 9 km from the ancient city of Ephesus. Many people believe that this was the home and final resting place of the Virgin Mary. Referred to in Turkish as Meryem Ana Evi. The mother of Jesus is reputed to have travelled here with St John. It is of course possible because Ephesus was an important centre of worship and many pilgrims made there way here.

However, their is almost no actual evidence to back up this claim. Most of the references occur long after the event and in the 19th century a Roman Catholic Nun by the name of Anne Catherine Emmerich provided a description as to what the house looked like and its suggested location after she had seen it in a vision. This seems to be the basis for the belief by Catholic pilgrims that this was her home and final resting place. In reality it is more likely that her house was in Jerusalem where her tomb is.

To add further mystery and confusion to the authenticity of this site we can refer back to when it was found in 1881 by a French priest, the Abbe Julien Gouyet. At first he was not taken seriously but then it was later discovered that the ruined building was known by the villagers of Şirince who supported the legend that it had been the home of the Virgin Mary. The Roman Catholic Church has never confirmed the authenticity of the house.

The shrine has been visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1970. Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine in 2006. The House of the Virgin Mary is a popular destination for Muslim and Christian pilgrims.

Visitors will notice that the house resembles a chapel more than it does a home. A large statue of the Virgin Mary greets the visitor as they enter. There is a smaller room to the right of the altar that is reputed to be the room where the Virgin Mary slept.

Please note that when you arrive at the church you can expect to be kept waiting. Try and avoid weekends. It can take up to an hour sometimes to gain access and there is actually very little to see there. You literally only have around a minute inside the church. You are not allowed to take photographs or videos inside. Spiritually it may be a great experience for you but from a historic point of view it could be a big disappointment.

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