This cave is located to the east of Mount Pion. It is one of the places in Ephesus most sacred to the world of Chistianity. The place called the cave is in fact an old quarry. This side of Mount Pion was used for centuries as a quarry to provide stones for the buildings in Ephesus, thus giving rise there to many unnatural caves.
The Cave of the Seven Sleepers is also one of these. In the 250s AD under the reign of the Emperor Decius seven Christian youths fled the city to avoid persecution and took refuge in one such cave. The youths who fell asleep a while later went on sleeping for two hundred years (three hundred and nine years for Moslems). When they awoke, without knowing what had gone on, they sent one of them to the city to buy bread and it became understood that they had slept for two hundred years. By that time Christianity had been the official religion. The Emperor Theodosius learning about the situation considered this to be an example of reincarnation.
When the youths died they were buried in the same cave and a church was built on that place. The remains of the church are erect today. In the hope of reincarnation many of the early Christians wished to be buried there. Graves seen all around the church are related to this.