Aphrodisias

The beautiful ancient city of Aphrodisias, still partly excavated, is one of the most important archaeological sites of the late Hellenistic and Roman period in Turkey. The city was located in Caria on a plateau 600 meters above sea level. Today its ruins lies near the village of Geyre, about 80 kilometers west of Denizli. The city was founded in the 2nd century BC on the site of an earlier shrine. It was famous for its sanctuary of Aphrodite, the city’s patron goddess, as well as for its sculptural school which rose to prominence under the emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). 

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Coordinates: 37° 35′ 30″ N, 27° 59′ 8″ E

Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias enjoyed a long period of prosperity from the 1st century BC onwards when it came under the protection of Augustus. In the 5th century AD, it gradually faded into obscurity, later becoming the Turkish village of Geyre. The ruins that remain today reflect this wealthy past. Twentieth century excavations have unearthed most of the major public monuments of Aphrodisias: the Temple of Aphrodite, the theatre, the large Agora with its associated bouleuterion (council house), the bath complex, the stadium and the Sebasteion, a temple complex dedicated to Aphrodite, Augustus and the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Mosaic depicting Aphrodite, from the east Bouleuterion, 2nd century AD (Aphrodisias Museum)
Mosaic depicting Aphrodite (Aphrodisias Museum)

Many of the statues and sculptural elements that have been unearthed during the course of excavations bear the signatures of Aphrodisian sculptors. They are housed in the Museum of Aphrodisias. Opened to the public in 1979, a new hall was added in 2008 to display the fascinating works that once stood on the portico of the Sebasteion.

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The Tetrapylon, a monumental gateway leading from the main north-south street of the town into a large forecourt in front of the Temple of Aphrodite, built ca. 200 AD, Aphrodisias, Turkey
The Tetrapylon was a monumental gateway leading from the main north-south street of the town into a large forecourt in front of the Temple of Aphrodite. It was built ca. 200 AD.
 On the pediment over the west columns were decorated with relief figures of Eros and Nike hunting among the acanthus leaves.
The Tetrapylon, one of the jewels of Aphrodisias. It greeted pilgrims visiting the Sanctuary of Aphrodite.
The pediment of the Tetrapylon over the west columns was decorated with relief figures of Eros and Nike hunting among acanthus leaves.
The pediment of the Tetrapylon was decorated with relief figures of Eros and Nike hunting among acanthus leaves.
The Temple of Aphrodite, built in the Ionic order in stages during the Roman period (from 1st century BC to 2nd century AD) and later converted into a Christian basilica, Aphrodisias, Caria, Turkey
The ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite built in the Ionic order during the Roman period (from 1st century BC to 2nd century AD).
The Temple of Aphrodite, built in the Ionic order in stages during the Roman period (from 1st century BC to 2nd century AD) and later converted into a Christian basilica, Aphrodisias, Caria, Turkey
The ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite. Fourteen columns of the temple have been re-erected.
The Temple of Aphrodite was later converted into a Christian basilica.
The Roman theatre, built in the second half of the 1st century BC on the eastern slope of the acropolis, Aphrodisias, Caria, Turkey
The Roman theatre was built in the second half of the 1st century BC on the eastern slope of the acropolis. It was dedicated to Aphrodite and the people of the city by Julius Zoilos, a former slave of Octavian.
The ruins of the Roman theatre. Completed in 27 BC, structural changes were made in 200 AD to make it suitable for gladiatorial spectacles.
It was dedicated to Aphrodite and the people of the city by Julius Zoilos, a former slave of Octavian.
The theatre seated 7000 spectators and was used in Roman times for gladiatorial spectacles.
The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues, Hadrianic Baths, the largest public bath building in Aphrodisias built in the early 2nd century AD and dedicated to Hadrian, Aphrodisias, Turkey
The ruins of the Hadrianic Baths. The open-air pool was decorated with columns at its corners and marble statues. These baths were built in the early 2nd century AD and were dedicated to Hadrian.
The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues, Hadrianic Baths, the largest public bath building in Aphrodisias built in the early 2nd century AD and dedicated to Hadrian, Aphrodisias, Turkey
The open-air pool inside the Hadrianic Baths.
The open-air pool inside the Hadrianic Baths.
The Hadrianic Baths, the largest public bath building in Aphrodisias built in the early 2nd century AD and dedicated to Hadrian, Aphrodisias, Turkey
The Hadrianic Bath complex was paved with marble.
The Hadrianic Baths were constructed on the Roman model, with a series of parallel vaulted halls, each serving a different function such as cold room, changing room, hot room.
The Bishop's Palace built in the 5th and 6th centuries AD. It consisted of several rooms with blue-grey columns in its courtyard.
The Bishop’s Palace, built in the 5th and 6th centuries AD. It consisted of several rooms with blue-grey columns in its courtyard. It may have been the residence of a Roman governor or of the Christian bishop of Aphrodisias.
The Bishop's Palace.
The Bishop’s Palace with the Temple of Aphrodite in the background.
Overview of the South Agora and Portico of Tiberius with its 260 m long pool.
Overview of the South Agora and Portico of Tiberius with its 260 m long pool.
Overview of the South Agora and Portico of Tiberius with its 260 m long pool, Aphrodisias, Caria
In the centre of the Portico of Tiberius is a pool 260 metres in length and 25 metres in width. The exact function of this structure (gymnasium, promenade) is still debated among archaeologists.
The Portico of Tiberius and the eastern edge of the pool. On the right lie the ruins of the Agora Gate.
The Portico of Tiberius and the eastern edge of the pool. On the right lie the ruins of the Agora Gate.
Friezes with theatre masks and portrait heads of various gods and goddesses linked by garlands, they adorned the 1st century AD Portico of Tiberius.
Friezes with theatre masks and portrait heads of various gods and goddesses linked by garlands. They adorned the 1st century AD Portico of Tiberius.
The restored southern portico of the Sebasteion, a building complex dedicated to Aphrodite, Augustus (Sebastos) and the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Aphrodisias, Caria, Turkey
The restored southern portico of the Sebasteion, a building complex dedicated to Aphrodite, Augustus (Sebastos) and the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
The Sebasteion at Aphrodisias is a work without parallel in the ancient world. Built entirely of marble, the Sebasteion complex was lined on both sides by three-storey porticoes whose floors were also laid with marble.
The Sebasteion at Aphrodisias is a work without parallel in the ancient world. Built entirely of marble, the Sebasteion complex was lined on both sides by three-storey porticoes whose floors were also laid with marble.
The three storeys of the Sebasteion were built using Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles. The first floor was made of rooms containing a door and window, while the second and third storeys were decorated rich reliefs depicting mythological scenes and members of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty.
The three storeys of the Sebasteion were built using Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles. The first floor was made of rooms containing a door and window, while the second and third storeys were decorated rich reliefs depicting mythological scenes and members of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty.
The restored southern portico of the Sebasteion, a building complex dedicated to Aphrodite, Augustus (Sebastos) and the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Aphrodisias, Caria, Turkey
The restored southern portico of the Sebasteion.
The Bouleuterion (Council House) constructed in the 2nd century AD. A number of statues representing philosophers stood in the niches of the two-storey stage building.
The Bouleuterion (Council House) was constructed in the 2nd century AD was built on the north side of the Agora. A number of statues representing philosophers as well as portraits of leading citizens stood in the niches of the two-storey stage building.
The lower seating area and the orchestra of the Bouleuterion. It had a capacity of 1,750 spectators.
The lower seating area and the orchestra of the Bouleuterion. It had a capacity of 1,750 spectators.
The stadium, 262 m long and 59 m wide with 22 rows of seats, it had a capacity of 30,000 spectators, Aphrodisias, Turkey
Located in the north end of the city, the stadium is dated to the first half of the 1st century AD. It was 262 m long and 59 m wide.
with 22 rows of seats, it had a capacity of 30,000 spectators.
The marble seats of the stadium. With 22 rows of seats, it had a capacity of 30,000 spectators.
The stadium was specially designed for athletic contests, but after the theatre was damaged in the 7th century earthquake the eastern end of the arena began to be used for games, circuses, wild beast shows and gladiatorial combats.
The stadium was used until the 7th century. In the late 4th century, the east side was closed with a wall and was turned into an arena for animal fights.
Bull carvings in the stadium of Aphrodisias.
Bull carvings in the stadium of Aphrodisias.

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2 thoughts on “Aphrodisias

  1. Pingback: Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Furietti Centaurs | FOLLOWING HADRIAN

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