The sacred road in Ephesus which encircles Panayir Dagi is called Marble Road and runs between the Celsus Library and the Theatre. It is paved with large and regular marble slabs. There is a columned portico along its eastern side, just like Curetes Street. Its western side was raised 2 metres and turned into a covered stoa during the reign of Emperor Nero (54-65). The entrance of the stoa is in the direction of the Great Theatre and has steps. Restoration of the stoa has not been completed yet. Originally, steel and lead clamps were used to hold the blocks of the wall together, but these were removed during the Byzantine era when Ephesus was economically quite weak. The holes seen in the walls today were made when these clamps were removed.
There is a narrow pavement on the side of the Marble Street by the stoa. The figures of a woman’s head, a left foot and supposedly a heart are seen on this pavement. These date back to the Byzantine era and were made to advertise the Brothel in a facetious manner. The reliefs of gladiators also found on this side of the street, were brought here from different locations in the city.
The Marble Road originates at Celsus Library in Ephesus, and passes through the Koressos Gate between the Vedius Gymnasium and the Stadium, and continues further. In the 5th century, an Ephesian named Eutropis repaired this section of the road, and in gratitude, the Ephesians erected his bust onthe street. The sections of the road which were not repaired during antiquity, bear the impressions of the wheels of the Roman carriages. These impressions are 10 to 15 centimetres long.
The excavation and restoration of the road beyond the Theatre Gymnasium are being carried out by the Ephesus Museum. A well-preserved section of an arch made of regular bricks, indicates that there were arches made of brick between the columns, and that the porticos were roofed with wood. During restorations in the 4th century, rows of seats were brought here from the Stadium and used as parapets. Also, the granite columns were brought here from the Agora.
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