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Ephesus, Turkey – Europe

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Date of Submission: 01/02/1994
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(v)
Category: Cultural
Coordinates: District-centre of Selçuk, province of Izmir. Long. 27°20′ East Lat. 37°07′ North
Ref.: 665


The Temple of Artemis, which was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is situated on the edge of this small town.

The city which was situated at the beginning of the Persian Royal Road has survived sufficiently enough to enable us to understand the ancient way of life in Ephesus.

It is one of the cities which played an impressive role in the beginnings of Christianity and during the period of its proliferation (St.John Church and the shrine of the Virgin Mary). It contains one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture of the Seljuk Period.

Library of Celsus , Ephesus

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Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Kusadasi

Library of Celsus , Ephesus

The Library of Celsus in Ephesus was built in Trajanic, in honor of Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeno, an illustrious personage who held them all the charges laid by the Roman cursus honorum (he was even awarded the post of proconsul of Asia in 106 and died just before of 117).

It was built by the son of Celsus, Julius Aquila, which he bequeathed to the city of Ephesus the money to purchase books.

The library, which is also the tomb of the same Celso (his grave was in fact under the same building) is located in a nerve-center of the city, close to the large commercial agora (agora tetragona).

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The facade of the library

The building technique used is the brickwork, using rocks. There is a fine decoration of the facade (which was completely reconstructed by Austrian archaeologists), which provides for the use of different qualities of marble, including the pavonazzetto: the typical pattern is repeated here for the fifth stage sets, or the overlap of columns of various order, which create a particular perspective game with their jut out from the back wall.

The decoration of this monument is a great example of what is usually referred to as “baroque Asia.”

To remember, in particular, the four niches in the same facade, which house the statues celebrating the virtues of Celsus: Sophia, Areta, èunoia and epistemic (wisdom, virtue, benevolence and wisdom).
Areti Celso

We finally note the presence of double walls with air gap, to safeguard the rolls of papyrus from the danger of fire.