is believed that the evangelist St. John had spent his last years in
the region around Ephesus and buried in the southern slope of
Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after the death of Saint Paul, a
small chapel was constructed over the grave in the 4th century. The
church was changed into a marvelous basilica during the region of
Emperor Justinian ( 527 -565 AD). The monumental basilica was in the
shape of a cross and was covered with six domes.
being of stone and brick, is an extremely rare find amongst the
architecture of its time. Raised by two steps and covered with
marble, the tomb of St John was under the central dome, that was
once carried by the four columns at the corners. The columns in the
courtyard reveals the monograms of Emperor Justinian and his wife
Constructed in the 5th century AD , the baptistery is north of
the nave , with its key hole shape. Rampart walls around the church
were constructed for protection from the Arabian attracts in the 7th
- 8th centuries AD.
The impressive 10th cent. AD frescoes representing St. John,
Jesus and a Saint, ornament the chapel.
With the invasion of Turks, the chapel was used as a mosque in
the 14th century; unfortunately "Basilica of Saint John" became
unusable due to the serious earthquake in the same century. The excavations around the Basilica of Saint John has been
continuing under the supervision of Ekrem Akurgal since 1973, with
the financial supports of George B. Quatman.