The Library of Celsus
Ephesus was the metropolis of Asia Minor and archaeologists have revealed a treasure trove of ancient streets once walked by Alexander the Great and St. Paul. The houses, theaters, temples, toilets, even a brothel, and the columned facade of the Library of Celsus are in remarkably good condition.
The Library of Celsus is the best known of the many restorations at Ephesus; along with the statue of Artemis, it has become one of the principal symbols of the site (Fig. 17). Even though it was originally excavated in 1903, the decision to restore the library was not taken until 1970. The restorers used The Venice Charter as their philosophical guide and referred to their intervention as an anastylosis (see Schmidt, herein, for a discussion of the Library of Celsus). From the outset the intention was to
restore only the highly ornamented facade, leaving the interior walls as excavated. The restoration was predicated on the assumption that to day’s visitors do not want to see romantic ruins-as exemplified, for instance, in the Temple of Serapis-but prefer to see the monument as it looked in ancient times. The restoration was further rationalized on the basis of its research value for scholars. In 1978 the project was extended to include the adjacent Gate of Mazaus and Mithridates, with the intention of creating
an architectural ensemble around the central court of the Celsus Library. The other major intervention project during this period was the construction of a permanent shelter to protect the Terrace Houses
For a glimpse into the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods, take a walk through the ruins of Ephesus, lined with the remains of temples, houses, shops, and the famed Library of Celsus.
Look for the floor mosaics of four women representing the four seasons. To the right along the street are the terrace houses, the multistoried houses of the nobility, with terraces and courtyards—there is a separate entrance fee (15 TL), but the elaborate housing complexes of the Ephesian bourgeoisie are veryinteresting and definitely worth a look for history buffs.