Nassau Marines and Sailors visit Biblical landmarks, relive history: Photo Essay

20 Oct 2002 | Gunnery Sgt. Mike Dougherty

During a port visit to Marmaris, Turkey, several Marines and Sailors from the USS Nassau took a 14-hour bus trip across the mountains to see the house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her twighlight years, Ephesus, the Roman Empire's capitol of Asia Minor, and the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the original seven wonders of the world. The Virgin Mary's house rests near the summit of Mt. Koressos, near Ephesus. Records support the account of Mary's move to the dwelling at the behest of St. John, 4 to 5 years after the death of Jesus Christ. It is believed that her grave is nearby, and that the house and nearby springs possess healing qualities for members of all faiths. Ephesus, which was established around the time of Christ, was home to more than 200,000 residents. Like Rome and Athens, it provided streetlights, a sewage system, water delivery and an advanced library to its citizens. Over it history which spans more than two and a half centuries, Ephesus was ruled by the Persians, the Spartans, the Romans and Alexander the Great before being destroyed by the Goths in 262 A.D. Currently, archeologists estimate that 83 percent of the city has yet to be unearthed. The tour of Ephesus culminated in a stop at the Grand Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater which seats 24,500. It was here where the Apostle Paul addressed the Ephesians. Artemision, or the Temple of Artemis is now only visible as a single column surrounded by some pieces of marble. During its days of prominence throughout the region, which covered nearly six centuries, the structure was approximately 20 percent larger than a football field and could accommodate thousands of worshippers.