Celsus Library, Ephesus

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  • Library of Celsus  - Exterior
    Library of Celsus - Exterior
    by Mikebb
  • Library of Celsus - Inside
    Library of Celsus - Inside
    by Mikebb
  • Library of Celsus - Outside Decoration
    Library of Celsus - Outside Decoration
    by Mikebb
  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Final Apotheosis

    by solopes Updated Dec 14, 2013

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    Ephesus - Turkey
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    It's a long way down the main road, lined with the ruins of several buildings that your guide will describe in detail.

    Finnaly it all ends facing the library, whose facade is the best preserved of all, and the most harmonious. An excellent detail in the historical visit, that withdraws importance to everything that is next to it.

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  • snkempton's Profile Photo

    Spring for the private tour!

    by snkempton Updated Nov 20, 2013
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    We had an amazing experience at Ephesus! It was pretty crowded (especially because we came in on a cruise ship) but we had booked a private tour ahead of time and it was totally worth it. The Library reconstruction was incredible and we were able to walk right into it, touch it and sit on the steps! If you are traveling to Turkey you cannot miss Ephesus; just being in a city founded thousands of years ago is an experience you will never forget. Like I said, go with a private tour guide. We love history and felt we gained a lot more knowledge about the city than the large groups did and our guide was good about tailoring our experience to what we found interesting. (Plus you don't have to wait around on other group members!) Another tip: bring water. It's pretty warm in Ephesus and not a lot of shade to be found. We had a Camelbak hydration pack filled with ice water and were so glad we brought it!

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  • namidub's Profile Photo

    Grab a book at the library!

    by namidub Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    In front of the Celsus Library
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    Celsus Library of Ephesus represents the power of knowledge during the Roman times.
    It is the one of the finest structures in Ephesus ( and the most pictured i guess). The building is approached via a broad flight of steps.

    The library was probably built as a monumental tomb to Celsius by his son,Gaius Julius Aqua.
    But since during that time only building for public is allowed in the city center,so it doubles up as a library.

    You can see four statues symbolizing the characteristics of Celsus standing in between niches in the lower story of this two-storied facade.These are the Sophia (wisdom),Episteme (knowledge), Ennoia (thought) , Arete (virtue) of Celsus

    The statues are copies of original,which are now in the Ephesus Museum in VIENNA

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    The most famous and beautiful image of Ephesus

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 7, 2010

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    This is perhaps the most famous and beautiful image of Ephesus. It was started in 117 AD in honour of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus and completed in 135 AD by Celsus’ son, Gaius Julius Aquila. Celsus had been consul in 92 AD, governor of Asia in 115 AD, and a wealthy and popular local citizen. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within the city limits, so this was a special honour for Celsus. It was the third richest library in ancient times after those in Alexandra and Pergamum.

    Although heavily reconstructed, the library's facade is breathtaking. It has two-storeys with Corinthian style columns on the ground floor and three entrances. There are three window openings in the upper store and they used an optical trick that the columns at the sides of the facade are shorter than those at the centre, giving the illusion that the building was greater in size than it actually was. The statues in the niches of the columns today are copies of the originals. The statues symbolise wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valor (Arete). These are the virtues of Celsus.

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  • mvtouring's Profile Photo

    Library of Celcus

    by mvtouring Updated Oct 27, 2009

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    Library of Celcus
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    Now this is what everyone knows long before they even visit this site. The best known landmark of Turkey! C Julius had this library built in honour of his father C Celsus in the year 135 A.D. When you climb the nine stairs to the salon you will see four statues symbolizing Justice, Virtue, etc. The niches in the walls were used for books. The inscription at the northern end of the library is in Latin and another inscription at the southern end is in Greek and they are about Celsus and his son Aquila. Celsus grave can be found at the back.

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Celsus Library

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jan 19, 2009

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    Ephesus - Celsus Library
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    This library is one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus. It was built in the 2nd century A.D. It was a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus who was the governor of the province of Asia; from his son Aquila. The grave of Celsus was beneath the ground floor, across the entrance and there was a statue of Athena over it.

    The facade is highly ornamented on two levels, and there are three main portals. Over the portals were columns and statues arranged in niches. These statues were female figures representing the virtues wisdom, fate and intelligence. Niches on the interior of the building were designed to hold books. The tomb of Celsus was placed in a crypt below the central large niche.

    The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls. It was the third richest library in ancient times after the Alexandra and Pergamum. The library was restored with the aid of the Austrian Archaeological Institute.

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Celsus Library, the goddess

    by JLBG Updated Jan 2, 2009

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    Ar��ti, symbol of virtue
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    Man size statues of goddess stand in the four niches of the ground level of Celsus library.

    First from left (first photo): Arèti, symbol of virtue.

    Second from left (second photo): Sophia, symbol of wisdom

    Second from right: Episteme, symbol of knowledge

    First from right: Ennoia, symbol of faith

    The originals are on display in Vienna museum. Copies have been installed in the niches.

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Celsus Library

    by JLBG Written Jan 2, 2009

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    Celsus Library
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    Celsus library is the prominent and most beautiful building on the site of Ephesus. The Library was erected in110 AD by Consul Gaius Julius Aquila for his father Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, formerly Roman Consul and governor of the province Asia minor, now Turkey. The library was completed in 135 AD by his heirs and Celsus buried in a marble sarcophagus. During the first diggings, in 1904, it was found that it contained a lead sarcophagus with Celsus skeleton. The front of the library has been reconstructed and gives a unique example of what were libraries in the Roman Empire. It could house 12,000 scrolls. It was the third richest library of the Empire after Alexandria and Pergame

    For more on Celsus library, you can read the article in Wikipedia.
    The first photo shows Celsus library from the square in front.
    The second photo shows Celsus library from half way on Curetes Street.

    Note that the monument is often wrongly named “Celsius library”. This is most probably a confusion with the name of Magnus Nicolai Celsius (1621-1679), who established the Centigrade scale of temperature, also named Celsius scale.

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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    The Iconic Image of Ephesus

    by nicolaitan Updated Dec 4, 2008

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    The most beautiful facade in Ephesus is the Library of Celsius built between 117-135 AD as a tomb and monument for Celsius Polemaeanus the governor of Rome's Asian province between 107-114 AD by his son Galius Julius Aquila. Burial within city limits was only allowed as part of a public building, allowing Galius to honor his father as well as lend status to himself by private benefaction, a Roman prerequisite for public office and prestige. Celsius was buried in a white marble tomb within the lower level of the building.

    The architect is not known, but his work lends him credit. The Library was built in a narrow space between two other buildings. To give the impression of greater size and majesty, the central columns are larger than the side columns and the entire building was built on a slope downward, an optical illusion. The columns for the second level are shorter than those for the first. Many of these contrivances can be seen on the accompanying images.
    The library faces east to allow for greater light within as recommended by Vitruvius, Rome's most famous early architect. Nine steps lead to the facade which features four statues said to reflect the virtues of Celsius (goodness - Arete, Ennoia - thought, Episteme - knowledge, and Sophia - wisdom ). The original statues were removed by early Austrian architects to Vienna and only copies remain.
    While only the facade remains today, excavations suggest an interesting inner architecture, two outside walls separated by a meter wide space designed to protect the scrolls from moisture, mildew, and insects. The Library is said to have upwards of 12,000 scrolls making it the third largest library of its time.

    The library would be burned and destroyed by the Goth invasion of 262 AD, leaving the facade alone undamaged. It was restored around 400 but totally destroyed including the famed facade in a 10th C earthquake. Restoration began in the 1970's by a Turkish team of architects funded by Austria. The facade is held together today by a hidden steel and concrete structure said to be earthquake resistant. One need not pass through the three famed doors to knowledge - there is only the front of the building.

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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Celcus Library

    by aukahkay Written Nov 21, 2008
    Celcus library
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    The Library of Celsus, whose façade has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces, was built in AD 125 by Gaius Julius Aquila in memory of his father, and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.

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  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    The Library of Celsus

    by mikelisaanna Written Sep 9, 2008

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    The facade of the Library of Celsus
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    The facade of the Library of Celsus is one of the best-known images of Ephesus. The library was built in the second century by Gaius Julius Aquila in honor of his father, Tiberius Julius Celsus, who had been the Roman governor of Asia Minor. It housed not only a large library of scrolls, but also the tomb of Celsus. The library was destroyed by earthquakes and invading armies, but its facade was restored during the past century by archaeologists. The library's interior consisted of a large single room, whose roof was destroyed long ago and is now open to the sky.

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  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    Celsius Library

    by apbeaches Written Jul 17, 2008

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    The Celsius Library was constructed by the Consul Gaius Julius Aquila beginning in 117 AD as a tomb for the Governor Celsius Polemaenus of the Roman province of Asia. The building was completed in 135 AD. Papyrus rolls were arranged in the niches on the inside walls of the library. In the front of the two-story building stand four female statues, personifying Wisdom, Knowledge, Destiny and Intelligence. Its façade was two-tiered; the interior consisted of a single large hall, measuring 10 × 16 m, comprising the Celsius library itself. The burial chamber under the floor contains the marble sarcophagus of Celsius in an excellent state of preservation.
    work begun in the 1970s, completed and the whole opened to the public in 1978.

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  • fachd's Profile Photo

    Library for the Roman

    by fachd Written Dec 21, 2007

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    Approaching the Celcus library from Curetes street
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    In ancient time the Celcus Library is the second largest to the library in Alexandria in Egypt.

    It was built in the 2nd century by Julius Aquila for his father Celsus Polemaeanus as a monumental tomb. Almost the whole remnant is built from marble.

    The library contained 12,000 hand written scrolls probably from papyrus paper rolls, which most likely they imported from Egypt.

    Looking from the front is a two storey buildings. Inside the building I can only see a single large hall.

    Outside between the two marble columns is a fake statue of Sophia who is the goddess of wisdom, the statue of Arete who represents virtue and two others Episteme and Ennoia represent destiny and knowledge respectively. They say the original is in Vienna or the British museum.

    The photos is taken from the front and inside the library

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  • Luchonda's Profile Photo

    Must see - the Library

    by Luchonda Updated Dec 9, 2007

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    The Library
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    The Library - builded 2nd century B.C.
    The most famous building in Efeze.
    Tiberius Aquila - son of the gouvernor Julius Celsus Ploemaeanius - ordered to this monumental Library in that century..
    Austrian archeologics found it in 1904 - the restauration started only in 1970.
    First impreesive view arriving at this Library are the four statues at the base !
    But older paintings are showing also four statues at the first floor !
    Pic 2 shows the teather in Sabratha/Libya : When i was visiting this historical site, i always had a remembrance at Efeze

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  • Lyndra's Profile Photo

    Hillside Houses, Ephesus

    by Lyndra Updated Nov 21, 2007

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    Interior of a hillside house
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    There is a current excavation in Ephesus that has brought to light a group of houses built into the hillside along the main street of Ephesus. The site is easily found by the tents that cover it to protect the dig from the elements. There is an extra cost to get into this part of the site but is worth it to see the houses that are the most important discovery for many years. They are the houses of upper class Ephesians from sometime betwen the 1st and 7th Century when Ephesus was at it's heyday. When the site was abandoned so were these great houses, luckily they were preserved by the mudslides on the hill where they are built.
    It costs about 10YTL to see this part of the excavation. The level of preservation in this part of the site is magnificent and well worth the extra 10YTL - in particular the mosaics are a delight.

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