Sanctuary of the Mother Goddess Cybele


Excavations on the northern slope of Panayır Dağı (Mt Pion) overlooking the so-called Grotto of the Seven Sleepers have revealed stelae or sepulchral monuments representing the Anatolian fertility goddess Cybele with a lion at her feet. Legend has it that a group of Christian youths hid in the cave around 250 AD to escape religious persecution and miraculously emerged 200 years later. Other versions of the legend have them being walled up by soldiers or being Muslim rather than Christian.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ephesus attractions

1. Stadium

0.22 MILES

Outside the Lower Gate, the stadium dates from the 2nd century AD. The Byzantines removed most of its finely cut stones to build the fortress and the…

2. Gymnasium of Vedius

0.27 MILES

On a side road between the Lower Gate car park and the Selçuk road, this ruined 2nd-century-AD structure has exercise fields, baths, a lavatory, covered…

3. Grotto of the Seven Sleepers

0.31 MILES

The road to/from Ephesus' Lower Gate passes this cave tomb on Panayır Dağı (Mt Pion), where seven young legendary Christians, persecuted by Emperor Decius…

4. Theatre Gymnasium

0.49 MILES

You can pick out the foundations of this once-colossal structure, which was used for physical training and dates from around AD 125. A lot of excavation…

5. Lower Gate

0.49 MILES

This is the second, less frequented entrance to the ruins at Ephesus.

6. Great Theatre

0.51 MILES

Originally built under Hellenistic King Lysimachus, the Great Theatre was reconstructed by the Romans between AD 41 and 117 and it is thought St Paul…

7. Ephesus

0.52 MILES

Of Turkey's hundreds of ancient cities and classical ruins, Ephesus is the grandest and best preserved. A Unesco-listed World Heritage Site, it's the best…

8. Church of St Mary

0.57 MILES

Northwest of the Lower Gate, a signposted path leads to the ruins of the Church of St Mary, also called the Double Church. The original building was a…