Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ephesus. The Terrace Houses.


A
fter Lei and I walked the grounds of Ephesus, we back tracked to view the Terrace Houses. Protected from the elements by a permanent tent like structure, the Terrace Houses are a small complext of multi-level homes that are similar to today's modern town houses -- equipped with hot and cold running water, sanitation facilities, decorations and kitchen facilities. The rich decor and furnishings of these homes indicate that they were occupied by members of Ephesian upper class in Roman and Byzantine timeshe Terrace Houses were inhabited from the 1st to 7th century AD. They were then abandoned when devastating raids by the Arabs coupled with the continued silting up of the harbor forced the remaining inhabitants of Ephesus to move to Ayasoluk hill (near the Basilica of St. John).

After being abandoned, the Terrace Houses gradually fell into decay. However, a number of them were filled with soil from landslips, which preserved them and their contents. Excavation of the Terrace Houses began about 60 years ago and continues today.

Suspended glass walkways and stairs guide you through the complex and at the same time allow you to view the beautiful mosaic floors below.






















Each House is subdivided into several "dwelling units". Our path took us through Terrace House 2 which is subdivided into 6 dwelling units. At 4000 sq. meters, Terrace House 2 is huge....even by today's standards. From several vantage points, you can see the "townhouse" style layout of the units.







Ground level view into the interior space of one of the units of Terrace House 2.










Remains of pottery, these appear to be ones you would use in a kitchen, can be seen in several of the units.










Paintings of animals often adorned walls. I like to think of these as the precursors to our modern day concept of hanging up paintings to dress up what would otherwise be a very boring wall space!


















Terrace House 2, Dwelling Unit 6 is so large it has its own basilica....










....and large banquet hall. So called the "Marble Hall", this space was richly adorned with marble decorations on the floors and the walls - all of which were clearly intended to show off the social status and prosperity of its owner.












The mosaics in Terrace House 2 comprise the largest collection of mosaic floors from the Roman Imperial Period in Western Turkey. The artistry and workmanship of the mosaics is something to be truly admired - human hands created these beautiful pieces of art nearly 2000 years ago!!















The Terrace Houses of Ephesus. Absolutely amazing. A precious view into Turkey's centuries old heritage that I was so lucky to have been able to experience!