Pictures from Ephesus

The Marble Street is crowded with visitors today.
If you are in a hurry, you should probably move along. On the other hand, the scenes might be worth the wait.

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The remains of Ephesus, which are situated between Mount Coressos and Mount Pion, represent the Ephesus of Lysimachos (306-281 BC). It was the third site of the city. He persuaded the reluctant Ephesians to leave the area near the Temple of Artemis and to move to the nearby valley by closing their sewer system and the roads leading to the Artemision. The new city was constructed after the city plan of the urban planner Hippodomos of Miletos.

In 133 BC, the last king of Pergamum left his entire kingdom to the Roman Empire, and the Roman era began for Ephesus. The city enjoyed its most illustrious period during the Roman times. It was the second most populated city in the world after Alexandria. Within the city walls, which were nine kilometers long, lived a population amounting to 250,000 people.

Map of EphesusHere is a map of Ephesus to show the general layout of the ruins.

a. Gymnasium
b. Varius baths
c. Odeum
d. Prytaneum
e. Basilica
f. State (upper) agora
g. Temple of Domitian
h. Hillside houses
i. Celsus library
j. Market (lower) agora
k. Theater
l. Verulanus hall
m. Stadium

The usual route through the ruins begins at the eastern edge of the city and proceeds down to the former harbor. The first stop is the so-called girls' gymnasium. It was on the wide processional road connecting the Artemision to the Magnesia Gate, the starting point of the road connecting Ephesus to the city of Magnesia-on-the-Meander.

A large cistern on the right side of the road accumulated and cleared water from the Marnas River. The numerous water pipes extending from the cistern were capable of delivering about 10,000 cubic meters of water to the city per day.

The first area encountered upon entering Ephesus is one of two agoras that most large cities had in ancient times. The State agora was the center of political discussions and social negotiations. (Its location in the high part of the city accounts for it being called the "upper" agora.) Various buildings are situated within the complex. A Roman bath is found on the northeast side of the rectangle. A basilica extends along the north side of the agora (160 meters in length). Behind the basilica can be seen the Odeon and the Prytaneum beside it. On the south side of the agora was a monumental fountain called the "Water Palace".

The Odeon had a seating capacity of 1,400 people and was used as a concert hall, lecture hall, and council chamber (bouleterion). The lack of a drainage system in the theater suggests that it was roofed and likely with wood. It was erected by Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia Papiana in the first century AD.

The Prytaneum, or town hall, was the site of important ceremonies, banquets, and receptions. It also served as the location of the altar of Hestia Boulaia (Vesta).

Curetes streetCuretes Street looking toward the library of Celsus from the Prytaneum

The street is named for the priests who tended the eternal flame of Hestia Boulaia (Vesta), whose altar was located in the Prytaneum. This street stretches west from the Prytaneum through Domitian Square, where it joins Domitian Street, to the Celsus Library, where it meets the Marble Street.

Entrances of important buildings faced this street, and many shops lined the area behind the porticos. Statues of famous Ephesians stood on bases along the porticos on both sides of the street. A number of small alleys connected various districts of Mount Pion and Mount Coressos to this important street.

Temple of Domitian
Temple of Hadrian
Public Forica
Bath of Scolasticia

Marble StreetMarble Street looking toward the great theater from the library of Celsus

This street runs northward from the library of Celsus, passes the theater and stadium, and continues up to the Artemision. Its name comes from the marble slabs with which it was paved when the road was restored by a man named Eutropias in the 4th or 5th century AD.

The street was used by vehicles and pedestrians alike. The high platform that runs along the western edge of the lower agora probably served pedestrian traffic. It was constructed in Nero's time and was likely roofed with wood.

Simple carvings can be found on the western sidewalk, and many architectural remains with reliefs lie along both sides of the street.

Library of Celsus
Gate of Mazeus and Mithridates
Relief of Gladiator

Harbor StreetHarbor Street looking toward the ancient harbor from the top of the theater

Also known as Arcadian Street after Emperor Arcadius (395-408 AD), it extends from the north gate of the theater to the former harbor. It was the most important street of the city. The colonnaded road had an underground drainage system, and it was lighted at night with street lamps.

The road measures 11 meters in width and was paved with marble. The galleries on either side of the road measure 5 meters each in width, and behind them stretched numerous shops and buildings for harbor activities. The road measures 530 meters in length and ends with a gate where it once came to the sea.


The Environs of Ephesus contain several other places of interest which may be visited.

During the Byzantine era, Ephesus had a fourth location on Ayasuluk Hill. The south gate of this city is called the Pursuit Gate. It was named for the friezes which originally adorned the arch of the gate, but are now at Wobburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, England. They show Achilles chasing Hector during the Trojan War. The Pursuit Gate leads to the Basilica of St. John, built by Emperor Justinian (533-564 AD) and his wife Theodora. During the Middle Ages, the tomb of St. John was one of the most holy sites of Christanity and revered as a place of pilgrimage.

From the top of Ayasuluk Hill, the site of the Temple of Diana, or the Artemision, can be seen, although a lone column is all that remains of the temple. (It is faintly visible in the upper left quadrant of the photo.) Many of the columns were taken to Constantinople for use at various construction sites there.

The Ephesus Museum houses many of the artifacts discovered at the ruins of the third city. For example, two statues of Artemis (Diana) were discovered in the Prytaneum there. A photofrieze forms the background of a display of statues, frescoes, mosaics, and furniture from one of the peristyle houses on the hillside.

bust of Marcus Aurelius
fresco of Socrates
game board

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