Main Attractions in Aphrodisias
The ruins at Aphrodisias is basically a galore of ancient relics and a visit to this place may give you a glimpse into the world that you have so far encountered in only history books.
The city walls in Aphrodisias were built around 260 A.D. during the Gothic invasion. However, the walls presently seen at Aphrodisias were built in the 4th century. Soon after the devastating earthquake in the 7th century a fortress was built at this site. Further ruins found here prove Iron and Bronze Age settlements. Whereas, mud brick walls on stone bases and other architectural specimens indicate existence of civilization of the Megaron type.
The Temple of Aphrodite is situated in the northern section and was the hub of social and religious life in ancient Aphrodisias. There used to be forty ionic columns surrounding the temple of which only fourteen remain. The temple was constructed in the 1st century B.C. and was finished during Augustus` reign. However, the temenos (temple precinct) was concluded in the 2nd century during Hadrians` reign. Some columns of the temple have the inscriptions of different donor`s name and there is evidence of an earlier temple at the same site.
The Tetrapylon attracts the greatest number of visitors to Aphrodisias and is actually an ornamental gate built in the 2nd century B.C. Its name is derived from its four columns clustered into four groups. The row right in the front consists Corinthian pilasters decorated with coiled fluting, but the second and third columns have relief figures of Nike and Erotes positioned on the top.
The Odeon was a theater like building used for concerts and lectures. Constructed in the 2nd century B.C. the Odeon was situated in the south of the temple. Later this building was used in the Byzantine era as the residence of the Bishop.
The Agora was a public meeting place situated between the temple and the acropolis. It has two Ionic porticoes measuring 200 meters and runs from east to west. Beautiful reliefs adorn the porticos and say much about the expertise of Aphrodisian sculptors. There is a monumental gate that was constructed to check floods but was later converted to a Nymphaeum to control the water flow.
The Baths of Hadrian are truly an ancient wonder. How else would you explain the presence of a warm room, a sweating room (equivalent to our modern sauna), a cold room and a dressing room? It also has intricate underground service passages, water canals and furnaces.
The Stadium was the venue of entertainment for the inhabitants of Aphrodisias and the amusement options varied from athletic contests to gladiatorial combats. The athletic meets were designed according to the Greek Pythian games and the stadium seated an incredible 30000 spectators at one go.
The Sebastion was a temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus and is an important archaeological find in Aphrodisias. The base of the temple remains at present together with a few column foundations, architrave blocks and Corinthian capitals.
The Museum of Aphrodisias consists of all the excavated monuments of Aphrodisias and makes for a spectacular spread. In fact it is one of the most exceptional museums in Western Anatolia.