Ancient Ephesus, Turkey

If you’re a seeker of sacred sites and find yourself in the Greek Islands, hop a ferry from Samos to Kuşadası (or fly from Samos into Adnan Menderes Airport), then grab a bus to Ephesus, Turkey.

There's so much to see, you’ll want to stay a few days. The picturesque village of Sirince, situated in the hills above Ephesus, offers the four-star, affordable Hotel Sirince Evleri, richly furnished with 19th-century antiques.

Ephesus is famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; the House of the Virgin Mary, where the mother of Jesus is said to have lived her last years; and the 6th-century Basilica of St. John, built over John the Evangelist’s tomb.

Ephesus was a center of wisdom for the ancient Greek mysteries. Artemis was the Greek goddess of the Moon, huntress, and Apollo’s twin. Although only one column is still standing, Antipater of Sidon said of the Temple of Artemis, “Apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.”

But there are countless other treasures in this sacred destination. If you visit, be sure to hire a good guide and bring a hat, walking shoes and lots of water.

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