Suitcase and World: Efes. Curetes Way.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Efes. Curetes Way.

Walking up Curetes Way.

The Library of Celcus sits at the point where Marble Way ends and Curetes Way end.  It's also at this point that the site continues up hill.  It was hot day today, not humid but just hot.  It was the same when I was here in May 2008.  I was sucking down water to keep hydrated and thankfully, my hat kept my head cool.

Looking back at the Library of Celcus.  He really built the structure in a prime location!

Walking up Curetes Way, you cannot miss the ruins of Hadrian's Temple as it's undeniably one of the most beautiful and well preserved structures on the street.  It was built by P. Quintilius to honor Emperor Hadrian, who came to visit the city in 128 AD.

The facade of the temple has four Corinthian columns supporting a curved arch.

In the middle of the arch is a relief of Tyche, the Goddess of Vctory.

Above the inner door is another relief, of a half nude woman surrounded by acanthus leaves.  This is believed to be an image of Medusa, placed to symbolically ward off evil spirits.

On both sides there are friezes depicting the mythological founding of Ephesus.  These are plaster replicas; the originals are housed in the Ephesus Museum.

I believe this frieze portrays Emperor Theodosius (who outlawed paganism) and his family surrounded by Athena, Apollo, Androklos, Heracles, Artemis of Ephesus, and several other historical and mythological figures.

I think this frieze is of Androklos shooting a boar.

It's only as you walk up Curetes Way and look back at where you've come from that you realize just how big this site is. 

The ruins, alongside Curetes Way, tell of just how grand this city was back in the day.  I remember when I was here in 2008, we even walked by sewers and public toilets - very innovative facilities for those days.

One of the structures that for me, epitomizes the grandeur of Efes, is the Fountain of Trajan or as it's known in Latin, the *Nymphaeuem Traiani*.  You don't see too many fountains in a Greco Roman site.  The Trajan Fountain which was erected between 102 and 104 AD was dedicated to the Emperor Trajan. The pool itself was adorned with statues of Aphrodite, Dionysus, Satyr and the family of the Emperor.

A colossal statue of Trajan had been placed over the pool. Today, only the feet of that statue have survived as well as a part of its facade which had been adorned with Corinthian columns.

Another view down Curetes Way.

Located near the top of the hill, where Curetes Way begins, we came upon the ruins of Hercules Gate, so named because of the relief of Hercules on it. It was relocated from another place in the 4thcentury AD to its current place, but the relief on it dates back to the 2nd century AD.

The Heracles Gate narrowed the access to Curetes Way, preventing the passage of vehicles so the street effectively became a pedestrian only thoroughfare.

In one of the gate's reliefs, a carving depicts the mythical legend of Heracles and a Nemean lion. The story is that a lion had been terrorizing the area around Nemea, and had a skin so thick that it was impossible to kill it. Hercules was able to wrestle the lion to the ground, eventually killing it by thrusting his arm down its throat and choking it to death.

Heracles with the head of a Nemean lion.  If you ask me, Hercules looks more boyish than *tough* in this relief.

Yours truly standing in front of the Hercules Gate.

Statue of the physician, Alexandros, stands near Hercules Gate.

By the time we made it to Hercules Gate, I was overwhelmed by all the ruins and there was still much more to see.  I think Bro shared my sentiment.  We decided on walk on a bit more but we really didn't have it in us to see everything that was left, especially since most of what was left really was ruins.  We had pretty much covered the highlights of this amazing ancient city.  Well, with one exception and that we would see on our way back to the entrance we had come in from.

Near Hercules Gate stands this fig tree.  I stood under it for shade.  Bro had his eyes on fruit....there were none.  Behind Bro
is a relief of Nike, the winged goddess victory. She holds a wreath made from laurel leaves, an emblem of victory, in her left hand, and a stalk of wheat in her right hand.

Standing near the relief of Nike is this one of Hermes, messenger of the gods,
with wings on his ankles..  In his left hand, he holds his winged staff or caduceus.
His right hand holds on to a ram, symbolizing sacrifice.

Another view down Curetes Way.  You can see just how popular this place is with tourists!

Ruins of the temples of Dea Roma and Divus Julius Caesar (Temenos)

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the upper part of Curetes Way is the Odeon, a small theater-like structure which served dual purposes - as a meeting place for the meetings of the Boulea or the Senate and as a performance venue. It was constructed in the 2nd century AD by the order of Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia Paiana, two wealthy citizens in Ephesus.

Looking up at the tiers of the Odeon.

If I remember correctly, the Odeon as 22 tiers of seats of which the lowest 3 are original.  As you walk between the tiers, you can see and feel the difference between old and old seats  - the former were very uneven in surface but very smooth to the touch.

No too many places for a nap in the shade :-)

From the upper rows of seats at the Odeon, you can see the remains of the columns that belonged to a stoa that was converted to a Basilica during the reign of Emperor Augustus.  The Basilica Stoa was originally a 160 meter long building with a wood covered roof.  The original stoa on which the basilica was built was found to be buried approximately 1.4 meters underground. There was another stoa next to the basilica giving access to the building through three separate gates.  Back in the day as a stoa, this was where the stock exchange, commercial business, and meetings of the law courts conducted.   After its conversion to a basilica, it also served as a small performance theatre.

Across Curetes Way, from the Odeon, are the ruins of other structures including the Prytaneum (Prytaneion or city hall) and Temple of Hestia Boulaea.  Curetes Way ends at the Magnesia Gate. 

Looking back at the Odeon from across Curetes Way.

View down Curetes Way, to the Library of Celcus, from the Odeon.

Although we had taken as many opportunities to rest between sights, we decided to call it quits.  You can only see so many ruins before it all starts to blur. I told Bro, I had saved the best of Efes for last and that's where we headed next before we truly ran out of steam. 

Walking back down Curetes Way.

Back down Curetes Way to the Terrace Houses!