This Roman building is dated to the 2nd century A.D as the ‘Hall of the Muses’. It was used as an education and cultural center. After the Christianity became the official religion of Rome, they converted this building into a basilica. It was the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
It was 260 m. in length, and was built with columns in the form of a fine basilica with baptistry. After it was partly destroyed, the western part formed a domed basilica, and when this too was ruined, the eastern part of the old basilica was turned into a church. So it is also called as the Double Churches. The baptistry of this church is the best preserved in Asia Minor.
The Third Ecumenical Council was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor, in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great. It is also known as the Council of Ephesus. Approximately 200 bishops attended. Here, the divine character of Christ and the Virgin Mary was discussed. Nestorius (380-451), the founder of the school of Antioch and the Patriarchate of Istanbul, rejected the divine nature of Christ and regarding Mary not as the mother of God but as the mother of a human being. The Alexandrian school, on the other hand, claimed the more mystical, more traditional view that Mary was the mother of God and in the end Nestorius was sent exile. So at this council it was decided that Christ had a double nature as God and man, and the Virgin Mary was theotokos, god-bearer.
It was the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Also the house of Mary is over Panaya-Kapulu mountain, is the most beautiful natural residence in this region.