The Cave of the Seven Sleepers, located on the skirts of Panayır Mountain, near the ancient city of Ephesus, can be reached by going by the asphalt road that turns east from the Vedius Gymnasium. This place is known as the cave where the seven young people in the story of the Seven Sleepers -or Seven Sleepers-, mentioned in both Islam and Christianity, slept.


While the Ahsab-ı Kehf Cave, which is mentioned by Muslims in the Qur'an in the chapter of Kehf, is considered to be the cave mostly located in Tarsus or Afşin, the Christian world has adopted this place in Ephesus.


Legend of the Seven Sleepers


According to the legend described in different details in different sources, seven Christian youths who lived in the time of Emperor Decius around 250 AD (These are Malta, Malchus, Martinianus, Dionysius, Yohannes, Serapion and Konstantinus, whose names are given differently in many sources. In Islam, Debernuş, Mesliha, Kafeştatayuş, Sazınuş, Mekselina, Mermuş, Yemliha and their dog Kıtmir) refuse to offer a sacrifice to the temple where the emperor was deified and take refuge in a cave when he receives death threats. The ruler orders a wall to be built at the entrance of the cave. Seven Sleepers falls asleep after a while. Young people wake up and go to the city to buy food, unaware of everything. When Yemliha, who wanted to buy bread from a bakery, gave the old money, it was no longer Decius (249-251) but II. He learns that they were in the time of Theodosius (408-450) and that they slept with their friends for 200 years, not just one night. Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire. When Yemliha returns to the cave and explains the situation, all the friends decide to go back to sleep and never wake up again.

It is said that after the death of seven young people, a great funeral was held and a church was built over the cave where they were buried.

A church and many tombs were found here during the excavations carried out in the past years. When the inscriptions written to address the Seven Sleepers, who were considered sacred, were seen in the tombs and on the walls of the church, it was accepted that this was a legendary church. There is one of the important cemetery areas of the Ancient City of Ephesus in its close vicinity.