ROMAN TERRACE HOUSES / EPHESUS ANCIENT SITE / TURKEY
Next to the hadrian Temple in Ephesus on the foots of Bülbülgağı hill, there is a luxurious ancient Roman houses complex named as ''Terrace houses''. So far, only two housing complexes have been excavated & the excavations are going on. The complex and the houses were built according to the Hippodamian plan, which means the roads transect each other at right angles. The excavation work of the Terrace Houses started in 1960 & the restoration of the houses is an ongoing process.
It is understood that the area was being used as a graveyard between the dates 6th to the 4th century BC, which are called as the classical period. Three new terraces were built at around 200 BC on the slope of the previousTerrace Houses, by using massive stone walls. During the building process of Roman Luxurious houses, the Hellenistic constructions were demolished or removed. The latest ones which were built have the similar concepts of the roman houses that can be seen in Pompei.
Poseidon with sea horse Hippokampos abducting Amphitrite - Roman mosaic in Terrace House at Ephesus,
On the walls of the terrace houses, plenty of decorative paintings or frescos were found which were able to give the archeologists the idea about the daily social life of the inhabitants of the houses & the city. They mainly show gladiators, inhabitants, and animals. The the frescos and graphs are about names of persons, poems, love words etc. An interesting founding was a group of lists referring to goods and necessities of everyday life, including their prices . you can have an idea about the wall paintings & frescos by looking at the slideshow above.
The Eastern Complex, occupies 2500 square meters on which there are private houses, built on three terraces. The best preserved building is called a domus that is a villa inhabited by wealthy individuals and some houses of the middle-class citizens. It is known that the houses were inhabited until the 7th century AD. During this period they had been reapaired and restored a couple of times. All of the houses are accessed through a separate entrance from the street and were equipped with running water.
Several rooms of this house (Domus) have been preserved, including a courtyard, a hall, a dining room, and a private basilica.
Five luxury villas with peristyles or inner courtyards in the western complex, were perfectly preserved. Many of the rooms are still decorated with frescoes and works of art. Also in this section, all the houses had running water, and the traces of bathrooms sre equipped with bathtubs.
The largest collection of ancient mosaic floors from the Roman period in Western Turkey are in this complex. The mentioned multicolored and figurative mosaics depict Triton, Nereids, Dionysos, Eros, Medusa, and a lion.
One of the largest villas of the Western Complex is a two-storey peristyle house. There are 12 rooms on its ground floor, and the total habitable space was 900 square meters. Among the preserved rooms, there are a vestibule, a hall, a kitchen, and a bathroom with a bathtub. In this villa, there are ornamental floor mosaics and beautiful wall frescoes, depicting Herakles, Ariadne, Eros, a peacock, and floral motives.
The second villa has two Eros figures and representations of birds, as well as a mosaic with Nereide. This villa was also decorated with a glass mosaic that adorned the vaulting of a niche.
Currently, reconstruction works continue in the villas. The whole area is covered with a roof, to protect interiors from harmful effects of the weather.
To visit the Terrace Houses in Ephesus, visitors are asked to pay an extra fee of 5 Euros. If you visit Ephesus, it is definitely worthy to bear this expense. it is a must for a full idea about Ephesos.
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Click on the links below for other pages of Ephesus
Ephesus/Terrace Houses, Ephesus/Celcus Library Ephesus/Temple of Hadrian Ephesus/Temple of Artemis The Church of St. Mary
Ephesus/Other Historical Attractions Ephesus / Fountain of Trajan
Ephesus & Christianity