On the slopes of Ayasuluk Hill above the town of Selcuk (the modern descendant of nearby Ephesus) stand the remains of what was once one of the greatest churches in Christendom, the 6th century Basilica of St John, built over the tomb of the Apostle John, one of the four Evangelists, who died in Ephesus in the 1st century AD.
In the 2nd century a chapel was built over his grave, but this in turn was replaced by the enormous basilica in the 6th crentury on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, as a more fitting burial place and shrine for the Saint.
Many of the building's materials were plundered from abandoned classical structures nearby, particularly the magnificent Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, which stood at the base of the hill.
The church was abandoned after the Ottoman conquest of the territory and itself largely plundered to build the nearby fortress and mosque of Isa Bey (one of the oldest and most important Islamic structures in the area).
The site has been excavated and restored in the 20th century with some columns re-erected to give an impession of the former grandeur of the lost basilica. St John's grave is still marked by the four columns that originally surrounded it.
The Basilica of St. John was a great church in Ephesus constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of Revelation).
The remnants of this large basilica built by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century are not as well preserved as the ancient city of Ephesus, but are a worthwhile visit, nonetheless.