The Basilica of Saint John According to tradition, it is believed that St. John spent his final years in Ephesus and was buried near Ayasuluk Hill. It is said that a small chapel was built over his grave three hundred years after his death in the 4th century. Under the rule of Justinian the Great (circa 527-565 AD), the small chapel was converted into a magnificent basilica. St. John was one of the closest disciples of Jesus Christ and followed him from the time he was with his brother at Lake Galilee. St. John was present at many significant events in the life of Jesus, including the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and other occasions. He authored the Fourth Gospel and the Book of Revelation. When Jesus was on the cross, he entrusted his mother to St. John, who is believed by scholars to be the beloved disciple mentioned in the Gospel of John (John 19:26-27). During the first century, many Christians were persecuted and killed for their faith. Apostle James and Stephen were both martyred in Jerusalem in the second half of the century, and Paul was executed in Rome. According to tradition, St. John took Mary, the mother of Jesus, with him to Ephesus, where he is said to have written his Gospel. The Book of Revelation was written on Patmos Island near Greece in 96 AD. The basilica was built with an unusual design of stone and brick in the shape of a cross, featuring six domes. The central dome is located above the tomb of St. John, while four columns once adorned each corner. The entrance of the basilica is now elevated by two steps, which were originally used before the marble floor was installed. Similar steps can still be found at the entrances of churches dedicated by Justinian I to his wife, Theodora. The baptistery, which dates back to the 5th century AD, is located north of the nave. Surrounding rampart walls were constructed in the 7th-8th centuries as a defense against Arabian invaders. Inside the basilica, impressive 10th-century frescoes depict St. John, Jesus, and a saint. After an earthquake made the chapel unusable, it was repurposed as a mosque in the 14th century.