Seven Sleepers Cave

The Seven Sleepers is the mythical story of seven men who fell asleep in a cave for over 200 years because they feared being sacrificed to the pagan beliefs of the time, or because they refused to believe in idols or people claiming to be gods. While the causes and length of the sleeping period differ, what is common is that the seven men slept in a cave for one or more centuries. There are two places in Turkey where seven sleepers are believed to have slept. In Ephesus, it is believed that the cave was located at the foot of Panayir Mountain, and a church was built on top of this cave. The church was unearthed during an excavation carried out between 1927 and 1928. The second cave is located in the Tarsus district of Mersin. In this version of the legend, the seven men refuse to return to idolatry and fear that the Greek Emperor Dakyanus will kill them. They escaped and slept in the cave for 300 years. These sites are visited by many travelers throughout the year.