Aphrodisias Ancient City Turkey
Aphrodisias remained a small settlement and shrine for many centuries, becoming a town in the 2nd century BC due to the main trade routes there helping it to flourish. It was renowned for its school of sculpture, which took advantage of the nearby quarries of high grade marble, and its works could be seen throughout the empire including Rome. After the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD, the shrine was converted to a basilica, and although changed its name to Stavropolis (City of the Cross) was not successful in converting the Aphrodisians religious life styles and to stop their devotion to the Goddess and their pagan heritage. After earthquakes and various raids and general decline during the Byzantine times the town was abandoned during the 13th century.
Small excavations were carried out by the French and Italians early last century that only scratched the surface and until very recently the city's remains were buried amidst the houses and fields of Geyre (a corruption of Caria). Although some of the most interesting areas remain off-limits, a path loops around the site passing all the major monuments; the stadium, theatre, odeion, council houses and the Temple of Aphrodite all with unrestricted access to the public.
The magnificent theatre is virtually intact, built in the 1st century BC and was extensively modified by the Romans for their blood sports three centuries later. At the back of the stage are inscriptions with imperial decrees that would have affected the status of the town and just beyond here the tetrastoön, one of the several meeting places, and was originally surrounded by colonnades on all sides.
South of here is a large bath complex. There is the Sebasteion, two parallel porticoes erected in the 1st century AD honouring deified Roman emperors, and the double agora ringed by Ionic and Corinthian stoas. Also the Portico of Tiberius, which separates the Baths of Hadrian (currently off limits), having preserved floor tiles and an odd mosaic. North of the baths is the Bishop’s Palace which from the ground plan it was probably a Roman governor’s residence. East of here is the Roman odeion with 9 rows of seats. Only 14 of the 40 columns of The Temple of Aphrodite remain, the construction of the temple began in the 1st century BC and continued until the end of 1st century AD.
Excavations have uncovered several ceramic fragments, statues of the Goddess, a mosaic depiction, some of which date back to the 7th century BC and there is evidence of an earlier structure relating to the worship of the Goddess. There is a School of Philosophy just north of the temple and the 30,000 seat Stadium on the northernmost part of the site is said to be the largest and best preserved in all Anatolia. The monumental gateway tetrapylon, recently re-erected, with two doubles rows of four columns, some fluted, supporting pediments with intricate reliefs.
The Museum Opening HoursAt the site is the attractive, well arranged museum exhibiting a collection of sculptures, statues and archaeological remains from the site. The opening hours are 08:00 am until 19:00 pm during summer months and 17:00 pm during winter months.
Entrance FeeThe entrance fee is 10 Turkish Lira.
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