Ephesus has had a long tradition of being a centre of religious pilgrimage. The earliest pilgrims arrived to worship the Anatolian goddess known as Kybele. Later, this deity merged with the Greek goddess Artemis and was venerated at the great Artemision, attracting the pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean region. These ancient cults of female deities were later echoed in the worship of St. Mary, mother of Jesus, that supposedly spent the last years of her life in Ephesus. According to this tradition, Mary arrived at Ephesus together with St. John and lived there until her Assumption (according to the Catholic doctrine) or Dormition (according to the Orthodox beliefs). The House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi in Turkish) which can be still visited today, is a place where, according to the beliefs of many people, Mary, the mother of Jesus, spent the last years of her life. However, similarly to the history of St. John, there are many questions and uncertainties regarding this location.
The Church of the Virgin Mary was the first of churches dedicated to the mother of Christ. It is also the most significant building from Christian times in Ephesus. It was erected in the 3rd century within an earlier building. Architecturally, the structure can be described as a basilica with a nave and two aisles. The aisles were divided into shorter parts, which could serve as shops. Today, the best-preserved section of the structure is a cylindrical baptistery, located in the northern part of the atrium. In the central part of the baptistery, there was a pool, where the baptised people could be fully immersed in water.
The most significant archaeological discovery in the area of Turkey in November 2019 was a 3,500-year-old fragmented skull and femur thought to belong to the Hittite period. It was unearthed in Sapinuwa, nowadays Çorum, an important military and religious center of its time. This discovery will help to shed light on the human typology and anatomy of the Hittites.
When the Ottoman army conquered Hadrianopolis around 1361, there were two main districts of the city, on two banks of the Tunca River. Kaleiçi was situated on the eastern bank, while Aina - on the western bank of the river. Not surprisingly, shortly after the capture of the city, Sultan Murat I ordered the construction of the first mosque in Edirne, as the settlement was to be called from that time. This is a short story of the first imperial mosque of the city - Hüdavendigâr Mosque, situated in Aina District.
In October 2019, some important archaeological discoveries were made in the area of Turkey, including the finds in the sites of Arslantepe and Parion. However, the most astonishing news was the unearthing of an 11,300-year-old Neolithic-era temple in Mardin Province. The archaeologists found this temple with three mostly-intact steles and dated it to the same era as the Göbeklitepe excavation site in southeastern Şanlıurfa province.