Located to the east of the Acropolis of Ephesus, at the foot of Panayir Dagi, the Stadium of Ephesus, measuring 230 metres long and 30 metres wide, is shaped like a horseshoe.
The Stadium had an important place in the lives of Ephesians since, antiquity, various sports competitions like boxing, wrestling etc… were held in the Stadium. The entrance of the Stadium is located in the west. The gate at the entrance with its double row of columns resembled a triumphal arch. The vase and the plaques, decorated with rabbit motifs, and seen in front of the entrance facing the street, were brought here from another location.
The seats located at the foot of the hill were carved out of natural rock in the form of steps. The other side was raised with vaulted galleries and the seats were placed on them. These vaulted galleries resemble long rooms and every seven to eight metres there are small holes which open into the rooms.
The Stadium of Ephesus was built during the Hellenistic era, and during the reign of Nero (54-68) it was restored to its present condition. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the arched entrances to the west of the seats were altered.
During the 3rd and 4th centuries, gladiators and wild animal fights were quite popular in the Roman world. These games were held in stadiums and theatres in front of a large audiences. Christians were murdered during these wild animal fights. This is why, after Christianity became the official religion, the Ephesus Stadium was destroyed unmercifully by religious fanatics, as though to take revenge.
Therefore today, there is not even one well-preserved row of seats to be found in the Stadium. Some of the exquisitely crafted rows of seats with inscriptions on them were used in the construction and restoration of other buildings during the 4th and 6th centuries.
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