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Dick Osseman | all galleries >> Aphrodisias - classical city in Turkey > Aphrodisias March 2011 4460.jpg
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Aphrodisias March 2011 4460.jpg
16-MAR-2011

Aphrodisias March 2011 4460.jpg

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The southern Agora, between the North Agora and the Theater, was developed as a secondary public square between the 1st and mid 2nd century AD. The earliest building in the South Agora was its north portico, dedicated to the emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37). The frieze of this portico was carved with a chain of garlands hanging from carved masks depicting a variety of Greek theatrical characters. The west and south sides of the South Agora were later also enclosed by colonnaded porticos. Behind these lay important civic buildings: the Hadrianic Baths on the west and the Civil Basilica (a large public hall) and Theatre on the south. Direct access from the South Agora to the theatre was provided by a covered passageway still visible in the massive retaining wall in the southeast corner of the area. The east side of the South Agora was closed off by a tall columnar fašade, richly decorated with statues. The most remarkable feature of the South Agora was along ornamental pool, which runs down the center of the area. The east and west ends of this pool were revealed in excavations in the 1980s, while the middle portion remains unexcavated.

The big chunks of stone you see behind the columns are the baths. The largest public bath building at Aphrodisias was built in the early 2nd century AD and dedicated to the emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138). The baths were constructed on the Roman model, with a series of parallel vaulted halls, each serving a different function (for example as cold room, hot room, changing room). The lower walls of these halls, which are still standing, were built out of huge limestone blocks once faced in marble. The vaults, which no longer survive, were made out of mortared rubble, plastered on the underside. The whole building was probably covered with a series of pitched tile roofs. In front of the building was a colonnaded forecourt. To the north was an elaborate fountain. The baths were richly decorated with sculpture, some are in the museum now.

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