Basilica of St John

sights / Historic

Basilica of St John information

Location
Selçuk , Turkey
Address
St Jean Caddesi
Prices
admission TL5
Opening hours
8.30am-6.30pm summer, to 4.30pm winter
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Even despite a century of restoration, this once-great basilica of Byzantine Emperor Justinian (r 527–65) is still but a skeleton of its former self. Nevertheless, it makes for a pleasant stroll and warm-up to Ayasuluk Fortress, and the hilltop views are excellent.

The on-site information panel's plan and drawing highlight the building's original grandeur, as do the marble steps and monumental gate. Over time, earthquakes and attackers ruined Justinian's church, which was inspired by the local connection with St John, who reportedly visited Ephesus twice. The first (between AD 37 and AD 48) was with the Virgin Mary; the second (in AD 95) was when he wrote his gospel, on this very hill. These legends, and the existence of a 4th-century tomb supposedly housing John's relics, inspired Justinian to build the basilica here. In Byzantine times, the site drew thousands of pilgrims, and tourists still flock to it today.