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Seven Sleepers in Ephesus, Turkey

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Cave (grotto) of Seven Sleepers in Ephesus is a Byzantine necropolis where many rock-cut tombs can be seen.

Story of Seven Sleepers

Legend of Seven Sleepers has two versions: One of them is Christian, and the other one is Islamic.

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In the Christian version, legend has it that seven youths took shelter in this place. The “Seven Sleepers”  (in Turkish ‘Yedi Uyurlar’ or ‘Ashab-ı Kehf) were seven young men who had been walled up in a cave during the persecutions under Roman Empire Trajan Decius, between 249 and 251. They were escaping from devotees of idol worshipping. While they were in the cave they began to pray. During the prayer, they became overcome by great sleepiness. In this cave, they fell asleep And they began to sleep…

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After many years (about two centuries later) when they awoke, Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. During the reign of Theodosius II (i.e. between 408 and 450), when a landowner who planned to use the cave as a cowshed, demolished walled up the entrance to the cave, he find seven men sleeping inside. But seven young men thought they slept for just one day.

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Sightseeing

Following this miraculous phenomenon, a giant monument was erected in the location where these seven youths were buried after their death. It is estimated that the structure was built in a period between the 5th and 6th centuries, and the location of the Seven Sleepers ruin is thought to possess the features of a religious center.

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The remains of rock carved tombs, two churches, and catacombs were unearthed and discovered in the excavations

 Today, it’s a ruined church carved into the rock.

Location

Cave of Seven Sleepers nearby Ephesus.

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