The Eastern Gymnasium of Ephesus is situated north of the Magnesia Gate (Upper Gate of Ephesus Ancient City). It was planned in accordance with the sacred road which passed in front of it and was built in the 2nd century by the sophist Flavius Damianus during the repairing of the sacred road.
During antiquity, gymnasiums were centers for education and sport, similar to the boarding schools of our time. Generally, children between the ages of 6 to 16 attended the gymnasiums to study mathematics, music, oratory, and physical education. The talented ones continued their education beyond the age of sixteen.
The Eastern Gymnasium which is one of the monumental structures in Ephesus is a large complex consisting of a bath, a paleistra (sports arena), a courtyard, classrooms, and imperial rooms. The propylon (entrance gate building) at the entrance on the eastern facade has four columns and a triangular pediment. Stores with a row of columns in the front were located on both sides of the propylon. The statues of Damianus and his wife Vedia Phaedrina were discovered in the course of excavations carried on here. They are exhibited in the Izmir Archaeological Museum.
Before reaching the parking lot, on the left of the road from the gymnasium, there are the remains of a circular structure 16 meters in diameter.
Because of the sins of the Cross seen on the marble plates that cover this well-preserved structure. it was erroneously called the Tomb of St. Luke, whereas, the signs were carved on the plates long after the construction of the structure which had been built in the 1st century B. C., almost one hundred years before St. Luke.
If you would like to explore the Ancient City of Ephesus on-site with us, you can reach us at the links below.
Ephesus Shore Excursions from Kusadasi Port
Ephesus Shore Excursions from Izmir Port