Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seven Sleepers

The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus was a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD, to escape a persecution of Christians being conducted during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius. Another version is that Decius ordered them imprisoned in a closed cave to die there as punishment for being Christians. Having fallen asleep inside the cave, they purportedly awoke approximately 180 years later during the reign of Theodosius II, following which they were reportedly seen by the people of the now-Christian city before dying.
The cave of the Seven Sleepers is on the outskirts of the old city of Ephesus.  We parked at the bottom of the city and so we had to make it to the top somehow; either walking up and then walking back down OR riding up and walking down!
As you can see we opted for the ride up to the top and then we would later enjoy the downhill walk through the old town!  The nice thing about the carriage ride was that it stopped at the cave of the Seven Sleepers for us to get out and enjoy and then we hopped back in to finish our ride to the top of the hillside!
Walking up to the cave way an amazing feeling.  You know it is going to be breath taking to see but as you walk up you are just trying hard to navigate all of the rocks and hoping that the nondescript outside is nothing like what you are about to see!
The entrance
Wow, can you even imagine what it must have been like back in the day preparing such a cave system underground?!?!
More of the story of the cave and Seven Sleepers- It is stated that they slept 300 solar years (equivalent to 309 lunar years). Unlike the Christian story, the Islamic version includes mention of a dog who accompanied the youths into the cave, and was also asleep, but when people passed by the cave it looked as if the dog was just keeping watch at the entrance, making them afraid of seeing what is in the cave once they saw the dog. (see Islamic interpretation). In Islam, these youths are referred to as "The People of the Cave".
From the cave we had a view of Selcuk Castle
Not only was the cave amazing to see, our surroundings were breath taking!!!
It was moments like this that I was glad we decided to take the flight from Istanbul and drive the 2.5 hours to this area!!  Our kids are experiencing an amazing part of history and our day was just starting!!!!  There was SO much more to come!!!
Happy kids experiencing the world!
*** You know you are an expat kid when- after returning back to Saudi we heard Owen and his friends playing "Seven Sleepers" a few weeks later!!!  The things they are able to pretend play is amazing and it is so fun to listen to them and their friends and see what each person adds to the fun and we like to guess where the other child's recent travels have been!!!

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