Grotto of the Seven Sleepers in Ephesus

Grotto of the Seven Sleepers in Ephesus is situated inside a valley on the slope, 800 meters far from the Magnesia gate, on the east of the mount Pion. This is a Christian necropolis. 

Entrance of the Seven Sleepers Cave of Ephesus
Entrance of the Seven Sleepers Cave of Ephesus

Expanding around the grave of “Seven Sleepers” of Ephesus, this necropolis houses many single floored graves, and also two or three floored big grave structures made of bricks having extended archways, with niches and rooms opened on their walls for the dead.

Outside of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers in Ephesus
Outside of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers in Ephesus

The Myth of Seven Sleepers

According to “the myth of Seven sleepers”: Around the year A.D. 250, in the period of Emperor Decius, seven young Christians left the city, and reached and hid in the cave here, in order to avoid sacrificing in the temple of the emperor’s cult. The pursuers discovered the cave and closed its opening by putting up a wall. God gave the young men, who also had their dogs with them, a sleep to last for two hundred years. They woke up two hundred years after, that is in the period of Emperor Theodosius II. They realized that everything in the city they lived had undergone change.

Seven Sleepers in Christianity

Emperor Theodosius II. put forward that “the doctrine of the body’s salvation”, which created an important problem for the church those days, was proven with this event. These young men, who had now reached the degree of sainthood, died when their time came. A magnificent funeral ceremony was held. A church was erected on the place where they were buried. This church became in the later years a place of visit; drawing the attention of many visitors.

Church of Seven Sleepers in Ephesus
Church of Seven Sleepers in Ephesus

In fact, the excavations made here revealed the presence of a church and a gallery carved in the rocks below this church. On the walls of the rooms opening to the gallery, requiems made for the seven sleepers were scraped. The will of the people to be buried as close as possible to these saints led the necropolis to expand around this church.


If you would like to explore Ephesus Ancient City and Cave of the Seven Sleepers with Best Ephesus Tours, you can reach us from the links below.

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Ephesus Day Trip From Istanbul

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