4/50.- Ephesus, Celsus Library


Our guide for Ephesus was an archeologist speaking an impeccable English. We did a walking sightseeing tour along the marble-paved arcadian road (over 2000 years old), leading to the Library of Celsus. We also visited the brothel, the roman baths, the amphiteater, the temple of Hadrian and Serapis, the Double Church, the gate of Magnesia, and the Temple of Artemis. We had a buffet lunch (included) in Selcuk and after lunch we visited Saint John Basilica and Ephesus Museum.)

With a capacity of 12,000 scrolls the Celsus Library at Ephesus is considered to be one of the largest libraries of Antiquity. Designed by the Roman architect Vitruoya, the library was built in memory of Celsus Polemeanus, who was a Roman senator, General Governor of the Province of Asia, and a great lover of books. Celsus' son, Julius Aquila, began the construction in 110 AD. The library was completed by Julius Aquila's successors in 135 AD. Celsus was buried beneath the ground floor in a lead container inside a marble tomb. A corridor behind the north wall leads to the vault. The building faces east so that the reading room benefit from the morning light. The façade carefully reconstructed from original pieces is impressive up to this day. In Christian times Ephesus became an important center of faith. Here is where the apostle Paul preached and wrote his famous letters between 65 and 68. In 431 the Third Ecumenical Council was held in Ephesus and Nestorius was condemned by the Church. In the 6th century, in times of Justinian I the Basilica of St. John was erected in what is now the town of Selcuk. In Byzantine times Ephesus remained the most important city after Constantinople, destroyed by the Arabs in the 7th century, then conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 11 century, the city was restored to its splendor by Byzantines and prospered in the 13th century. Ephesus was finally abandoned in the 15th century. On the way back to Izmir you can optionally pay a visit to a ceramic factory.

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