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|This has to be
one of the most
attractive ruins in Turkey. It lies in the north-eastern
what was Caria. This once splendid city is situated on a high plateau
at the foot of the Baba Dag range of mountains. It became gradually
depopulated and finally deserted in the 13th century and unlike many
other sites was not so extensively robbed of its stone. It
was at it's
height of fame and prosperity between the first centuries B.C. and
A.D., flourishing not only as an important religious site, the cult of
Aphrodite, but also as a cultural and artistic centre,.
Much of the important excavations that have revealed the magnificence of the site and especially it's sculpture was accomplished under the auspices of Professor Kenan Erim.
|Tetrapylon - monumental gateway|
|To the east of the Aphrodite temple the remains of an imposing monumental entrance way or Tetrapylon was discovered in the early 1970s and has subsequently been reconstructed. It was probably built in the second century under Hadrian (A.D. 117-138). It consists of four rows of columns. On each side these form up a very impressive facade with spirally fluted columns and wonderfully detailed pedimental relief decoration.|
|The Sebasteion, excavated in 1979-81, was a grandiose temple complex dedicated to Aphrodite and the Julio-Claudian emperors and was decorated with a lavish sculptural program of which much survives. Inside, in the street-like sanctuary space, on each side the buildings rose with three-storeyed engaged marble facades to a height of twelve meters. These facades consisted of superimposed Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, with relief decoration in the upper two storeys, and each thus presented a closed marble "picture wall" to the sanctuary street.|
|Its construction stretched
over two generations, from ca. A.D. 20 to 60, from the reign of
Tiberius to that of Nero. The complex was paid for by two of the
leading Aphrodisian families. More than 70 of the 190 reliefs that the
project required were recovered in the excavation. They feature Roman
emperors, Greek myths, and a series of personified ethne or 'nations'
of Augustus' world empire, from the Ethiopians of Africa to the
Callaeci of western Spain. This remarkable series of reliefs is unique
in content, preservation, and extent.
agora, located between the temple of Aphrodite and the acropolis was
planned in the 1st. century B.C. for use as a market and popular
meeting place. The North Agora, the main and earliest public square of
the town, conforms both in its location and layout to the model of an
Ionian agora. It is composed of two Ionic porticoes over 200 m long and
running from east to west.
The city's second main public square lies back to back with the North Agora. It is a long colonnaded piazza, whose earliest part, the north portico, was dedicated by a local aristocrat named Diogenes to the emperor Tiberius.
|An extraordinary monumental water-basin lies in the center of the square (175 x 25 m). This basin has a sophisticated system of water circulation within its double wall-casing and connects with theHadrianic Baths to the west. It probably functioned as an ornamental public amenity, partly as a resevoir. The southern portico is known as the portico of Tiberius.|
|North-eastern entrance to South Agora||Monumental basin in South Agora|
|Excavations here have yielded extremely valuable friezes together with inscriptions written in praise of the Emperor Tiberius and a large number of very fine specimens of the skill of the Aphrodisian sculptors and stone-carvers. Most of the reliefs consist of sacred or individual portraits surrounded by wreaths or garlands, masks and mythological scenes.The monumental gate of the agora is located at the eastern end of the Portico of Tiberius. This ornamental entrance was erected in the middle of the 2nd century but in order to prevent the flooding that followed the 4th century earthquake it was converted into a nymphaeum and connected to a water supply system to be used in controlling the water flow.|
|Portico of Tiberius and north stoa in South Agora||Portico of Tiberius|
|Built in the 2nd century B.D, the remains of the baths are facing the Agora gate to the west end of the Portico of Tiberius. The Baths of Hadrian had two large galleries on either on both sides of a central, with underground service corridors and water channels. The core of the baths was light sandstone covered with marble plaques. Currently not accessible to public.|
|The original theatre dates from the Late Hellenistic period, but it was extensively renovated between 38 and 28 B.C. An architrave inscription records that the remodeled theater was dedicated to Aphrodite and to the Demos (people) by G. Iulius Zoilos, during the reign of Octavian. Zoilos was an Aphrodisian slave freed by Octavian. By the 30s Zoilos had become wealthy and influential in his hometown. Historical data on Zoilos and Octavian places the renovation between 38 and 28 BC. It included a three story stage building with a logeion, proskenion, and decorated scaenae front. There may have been no stone cavea at this point; the seating may have been made of wood except for marble prohedria (seats for wealthy and aristocratic guests) in the front row. In the 2nd century A.D. certain structural changes were made to make the theatre suitable for gladiatorial combats. The stage building was enlarged and connected to the cavea, a room for the wild animals was opened in the rear and some corridors were added.|
Bouleuterion (Council House)
|The Bouleuterion is on the north side of the North Agora. It comprises a semicircular auditorium fronted by a shallow stage about 46 m wide. The lower seating survives intact, with nine rows of marble seats divided into five wedges by radial stairways. The upper part, amounting to an additional twelve rows, has collapsed together with its supporting vaults. Massive parallel buttresses shows that the building was originally roofed and would have been lighted by a series of tall, arched windows in the curved outer wall. Seating capacity was about 1750. It was built late second or early third century A.D.).|
|Temple of Aphrodite|
|The chief sanctuary of the city is this temple. Aphrodisias is probably a Greek version of Ninoe. The cult of the goddess of Aphrodisias is of great antiquity, not dissimilar to the cults of Kybele, Artemis of Ephesus and other Anatolian mother-goddesses. At that time she was an ancient idol-like figure, a nature goddess sovereign on earth, in heaven, the seas and the underworld, a symbol of life and fertility..|
|The Roman dictator Sulla sent a golden crown and a double Axe to Aphrodite in 82 B.C. in response to a delphic oracle and both Julius Caesar and Tiberius confirmed the priveleges of the sanctuary.|
The Stadium is one of Aphrodisias' most remarkable surviving buildings. Located at the northern edge of the site, at some distance from the ancient civic center, its imposing marble auditorium is 270 meters in length and had 30 tiers of seating with space for 30,000 people, making it the single best preserved ancient stadium and also one of the largest. It is both grand and austere. The seats of the Stadium which are covered with cuttings for awnings, masons' marks, as well as inscriptions which reserve space in the building for particular groups and individuals. These seating inscriptions are thus an important source of information about the composition of the stadium-attending populace and social stratification at Aphrodisias. Most notably, the presence of women's names on some of the seats indicates that the Stadium was used not only for Greek-style athletic festivals (which involved male nudity and from which women were therefore barred) but for the yearly imperial cult festival, which comprised Roman-style gladiatorial games and venationes. Some gravestones of celebrated gladiators are seen below.
The Stadium has a peculiar architectural form in that it has two curved ends rather than one curved and one flat end (the standard type of stadium). The Stadium at Aphrodisias is one of a small group of such stadia in the Greek world which epigraphical evidence suggests had a specific name: "amphitheatral stadium". The Stadium was part of the monumental building program undertaken in Aphrodisias in the first century of the Empire. In Late Antiquity the west, north, and part of the east sides of the Stadium were enveloped by the northern circuit of the Late Antique fortification walls (mid-fourth century). In addition, the eastern sphendone of the Stadium was converted into a small oval amphitheatre.
|Aphrodisias Museum and Sculpture|
Museum of Aphrodisias is one of
the most outstanding museums of western Anatolia. Monuments of
unsurpassed value have been found at the excavations and are displayed
here. The unprecedented quantity and quality of the finds has led to
the belief that a school of sculpture flourished here. The presence of
local excellent blue-grey and white marble quarries only 2kms
city would have been an encouragement. Many Aphrodisian sculptor
signatures have been found on fragments, bases, statues and reliefs in
Rome, Italy Greece and elsewhere.
|The Blue Horse
statue is the only example among ancient sculptures that depicts a
galloping horse in marble.
Just the upper part of the young rider’s left leg remains but it is clear that he has been depicted falling of his horse.
|Bellerophon and winged horse Pegasus||Achilles and Amazon Queen, Penthesilea|
|Head of boy||Flavius Palmatus, Governor, AD500|