Ephesus Ruins



This semi-circular structure, known also as the Small Theatre. According to an inscription unearthed, it was built as a bouleuterion (council chamber) around 150 A.D. by Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife FlaviaPapiana. They were member of a distinguished family in Ephesus. The original structure was provided with coverings and with a capacity of 1400 seated spectators, alternatively served as bouleuterion and as a small covered theatre. The structure consist of three main sections which are found in all other theatres: the cavea (auditorium), the orchestra (place of action for the actors) and the skene (the stage building). The semi,circular cavea is divided in two by a diazoma (horizontal passage separating the rows of seats) in the center. The marble seats exhibit quality craftsmanship. Most probably, the skene was two-storeyed. There is a narrow marble podium just in front of the skene where five doors open onto the pedium. The door in the middle is taller and wider than the others. The orchestra is semi-circular. The fact that there are no gutters for rain water in the center of the orchestra indicates that the Odeion was roofed.

The structure was used as an Odeon during concerts and as a bouleterion during the meetings of the boule.

Temples of the Goddess Rome and Divine Caesar

In the Augustan era, the spread of Imperial-Roman cults was by then a fact in many provinces of Asia Minor. The cult of the Emperor was alive in Nicomedia and in Pergamum, together with that of the Goddess Rome. The idea for the building of a temple which could celebrate the Goddess Rome, the Roman divinty by antonomasia, together with Julius Caesar, whose divine attributes were venerated, occurred to his adoptive son, Octavius. The later - who was become Emperor with the name of Augustus - authorized the construction of the sanctuary on the occasion of a visit made to the Asiatic province in 29 B.C.

Its erection in the vicinity of the Prytaneion, constituted an aggregation point for the Romans resident in the province and a unquestionable testimony to the important role played by Ephesus within the political and administrative organization of this important part of the Roman Empire.

The architectural conformations of the buildings, usual in Ancient Rome, was in fact very atypical for the territories of Greece and Asia Minor. The remains of theses temples have in our day been located in the immediate vicinity of Odeion.


The prytaneion was constructed in the 3rd century B.C. and attained its final shape during the reign of Emperor Augustus. After it was destroyed for various reasons, its columns and some of its other architectural elements were used in the construction of the Scholastika Baths. In the course of excavations they were brought back to the Prytaneion. On each side of the road which runs between the Prytaneion and Domitian Square, there is a statue base with figures on it.

Its function in antiquity was comparable to that of our town hall: in addition to public functions, it housed important events, receptions and banquets. In the annexed Temple of Hestia Boulaia there burned perennially the sacred fire which the Pritanei -the priests who attended to the citizens' workship and to the sacrifical practice - had to feed.

In the immediate vicinity of this peculiar structure has been set up a triangular-shaped architectural element coming from the Door of Heracles which rises at the start of Kuretes Street. The sculptural figuration which is prominent there represents Winged Nike, the Goddess of Victory, while she holds a plaited crown in her left hand.

The Pollio Fountain

This is located to the east of Domitian Square, next to the western side of the Agora. With its wide and high arch which supports the triangular pediment and its small pool, it is quite an appealing structure. Water fell into the pool through the semi-circular apsidal wall on the side of the Agora. The Polyphemus group statue, which today is exhibited in the Ephesus Museum, was found in the pool on a pedestal built to fit the apsidal wall. These statues were originally on the pediment of the Temple of Isis in the middle of the Agora, but after the collapse of that structure, they were brought here. The theme of the group statue is one of the adventures of Odysseus in the Aegean following the Trojan wars, specifically, his adventure with Polyphemus, son of Posseidon. According to an inscription, the fountain was constructed by Sextilius Pollia in 97 A.D.

Temple of Domitian

Ephesus was granted the temple wardenship for the first time by Emperor Domitian (81-96). The temple dedicated to him was built on a terrace measuring 50 by 100 meters on the south side of Domitian Square. Not much is left of the temple. Our information on the structure comes from remains of its foundation. The podium on which the temple was erected measured 24 by 34 meters, and it was a small prostyle ( a temple preceded by a porch with columns) and had eight columns on the short sides and thirteen columns on the long sides. Also, in front of the cella which measured 9 by 17 meters, there were four columns.

There was a row storerooms to the west of the terrace on which the temple was situated and on the side facing the square. There is a parapet consisting of two tiers of columns. There are reliefs on the columns were discovered in another part of the city and brought back to their original location.

The Gate of Heracles

The gate is located at the beginning of Curetes Street. It is a two-storeyed edifice. In the lower storey there is a wide arched passageway, and in the upper storey there are six columns in a row. Reliefs of flying Nikes that are found today in Domitian Square used to be situated at the corners where the arch joins the pillars with Corinthian capitals. One of these reliefs and most of the construction fragments have not yet been found.

The two centrally located columns at the upper level resemble the lintels of the gate. On these two columns, there are two reliefs of Heracles depicted wrapped in a Nemea lion skin. They are like the caryatids supporting Corinthian capitals and exhibit 2nd century craftsmanship. They were moved here in the 5th century from another location.

Curetes Street

In mythology, the Curetes were known as semi-deities. Later "Curetes" referred to a class of priests in Ephesus. Mary inscriptions about the Curetes were discovered in different locations in Ephesus, especially at the Prytaneion. First there were six of them, but later their number was increased to nine. The aim of this group was recreate the birth of Artemis Ephesia in Ortygia, near Ephesus. According to mythology, while Leto, impregnated by Zeus, was giving birth to the twins, Artemis and Apollo, Curetes made a lot of noise with their weapons so that Zeus's wife Hera who jealous of Leto, would be confused and not see the birth of the twins.

In the beginning, the Curetes were affiliated only with the Artemision, but during the Roman Empire they acquire a place in the Prytaneion also. They were chosen every year.

The street named after the Curetes stretches from the Heracles Gate to the Celcus Library and since it is located in the center of the city, there are monumental structures facing the street.

Trajan Fountain

Along the Curetes Street, in a wonderful succession of ancient ruins, sculpted pillars decorated with sculptural figurations, we can see reconstruction on a reduced scale ( the original reached a height of 12 meters) of one of the most remarkable Ephesian monuments. The fountain was erected between 102 and 104 A.D. and as the attached inscription reads, was consecrated to the Emperor Trajan. The tympanum which dominates the upper line is supported by Corinthian columns, in the central niche was one located an enormous statue of Trajan, of which only the base with the feet and the globe remain. The many sculptured figurations which once populated this fountain (members of the Imperial Family, Dionysus, Aphrodite, Satry) have been carried to the Museum.

Temple of Hadrian

This is the one of the most attractive edifices on the Curetes Street, and it must have been built at the latest by the year 138. The temple is consist of a monumental pronaos (porch in front of cella) and a small, bare cella (main chamber). In front of the facade of the pronaos, there are four columns with Corinthian capitals supporting a triangular pediment. Above the two columns in the middle, there is an arch which curves down from the pediment, and the bust of Tyche, the goddess of the city, which adorns the center of the arch.

The lintel over the doors is richly decorated with classic motifs such as eggs or strands of pearls. On the second semi-circular frontal over the door, the figure of a maiden resembling Medusa is depicted among flowers and acanthus leaves.

In front of the columns there are four bases with inscription, and the statues of the four emperors who shared the throne of the Roman Empire between 293-305. They are Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius, as indicated by the inscriptions on the bases.


The latrina built in the first century A.D. are the public toilets of Ephesus. The toilets were ranged side by side with no partition between them. In the middle was a square pool. The floor was paved with mosaics.

Marble Street

This street, which practically constitutes the entrance to the theatre for anyone coming from the Library of Celsus, goes along the western slopes of Mount Panayir, in a zone of considerable architectural interest. Its origins date from the 1st century A.D. but a rebuilding which took place in the 5th century is definite, when a certain Eutropius provided for its paving, using uneven marble blocks which won for it its name. This street served the carriage traffic: the deep grooves of the wheels are still visible in the parts that were subject to restoration during the High Medieval period.

On the sides of the street are visible the ruins of a Roman columned portico and a podium on which a covered stoa stood, built during the reign of Nero and used mostly for Pedestrian traffic.

Harbour Street

Harbour street is 500 meters long and 11 metes wide. On both side of the street there were covered particos. These particos, which were reserved for pedestrians, had the function of protecting them from the bad weather and hosted shops in the inner part. The roadway completely covered with marble, was enriched - towards the middle part - by four columns culminating in Corinthian capitals which upheld statues of the Four Evangelists.

The shafts of the columns, still in existence, denote ornamental patterns of clearly Christian imprints. There is reason to believe that this latter decorative elements is the result of an addition made under Justinian ( 6th century), shortly before the inexorable decline of the city.

Learn More About Ephesus


Ephesus is considered one of the greatest outdoor museums of Turkey, in fact perhaps of the world.

Ephesus Ruins

Learn more about Odeion, Temples of the Goddess Rome, Prytaneion, The Gate of Heracles, Curetes Street and more.

Terrace Houses

The Terrace Houses in Ephesus consists of luxurious residential houses, next to Curetes Street and opposite the Temple of Hadrian.

Ephesus Library

The building is made of very good marble and decorated with figures of Eros, Nike, rosettes and garlands in relief.

Ephesus Theatre

The auditorium still used today for seating the public during the performances in the theatre.

Terrace Houses

The Museum of Ephesus is in the district of Selcuk, and displays works of art found in the excavations in Ephesus since 1964.

Goddess Artemis

Known as a fierce hunter as well as protector, Artemis is one of the major Greek goddesses.

Ephesus Ruins

A column and scanty fragments strewn on the ground are all that remains of the Seventh Wonder of the World.

The Cave of the Seven Sleepers

The place is also known as the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers and it is now a ruined.

Goddess Artemis

The belief that the Virgin Mary had spent her last days in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there.

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