Scholastica Baths in Ephesus

The three-storeyed Scholastica Baths (including the basement) is one of the largest buildings of its kind in Ephesus, and it is located on the north side of Curetes Street between the Trajan Fountain and the Temple of Hadrian.

Scholastica Baths in Ephesus
Scholastica Baths in Ephesus

Sections of a Roman Bath

During the Roman Empire, the baths had their own regulations, and they were quite popular among both the poor and the rich. Certain baths were free to the poor so that they could enjoy them too. The rich preferred to visit the baths in the afternoon with their servants and stayed long. In the apodyterium, they used to disrobe; in the sudatorium, they used to sweat; and in the caldarium, the servants used to massage and wash their masters. After bathing, they would talk about the affairs of the day and discuss politics and philosophy in the tepidarium. Before leaving the baths, they would swim and refresh themselves in the pool of the frigidarium. 

Sections of a Roman Bath
Sections of a Roman Bath

The baths lost their popularity after the Romans, and although they were completely forgotten by the Middle Ages, they were popularized again by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks. The Scholastikia Baths had two entrances; one from Curetes Street and the other from a street to the east. Both doors opened into the apodyterium which was a very large hall with columns and niches. The wall on the side of the “L” shaped street is apsidal.

Scholastica Baths Repaired in 400

Statue of the Lady Scholastikia
Statue of the Lady Scholastikia

The statue of Christian Scholastikia who had the baths repaired in 400, is in one of the niches. The frigidarium was to the west of the apodyterium, and in the middle of it, there was an elliptical cold water pool. The entrance of the tepidarium was through an arched door on the northern side of the apodyterium. Hot air circulated through earthenware pipes placed in the walls and under the floor. Right by the wall in the east, there is a small area paved with colored marble mosaic, and it is a few centimeters lower than the surface. This area is the original floor covering of the baths.

Inside of the Scholastica Baths in Ephesus
Inside of the Scholastica Baths in Ephesus

In the course of renovations around 400, the original floor was recovered with marble slabs. A small, narrow door from the tepidarium led into the caldarium which is in an excellent state of preservation today. During renovations at different periods, its walls were covered with marble and brick plaques. Baked clay supports placed under the floor covering of the caldarium formed channels through which hot air circulated. The furnace (hypocaust) which supplied the hot air, is to the west of the caldarium. The Scholastikia Baths were built in the 1st century and repaired many times until the end of the 4th century.


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