Turkey – Ephesus Commercial Agora and Theater
A stoa to the right of the marble road leading away from the theater was uncoformed, dating to the reign of the emperor Nero restoration of this building is still underway. The stoa fronts the agora of Ephesus. This has three monumental gates, the northern, western and southern gates, flanking the Celsus Library. The southern gate has been restored. The stoa contained a single row of shops of standard dimensions fronted by a row of columns. In the center of the court stand a water clock, which has been removed to the eastern gallery for restoration. Originally built in the Hellenistic period, the agora underwent considering changes during the reign of Augustus.
The great theater of the city framed by three walls on the left, right and in the front, is at the western foot of Panayir mountain at the beginning of Harbor Street The stage building, which is very valuable from the art historical point of view, is one of the best preserved constructions in Ephesus up to the present moment. It had three storeys; the second storey, decorated with pillows, statues and graceful carvings, was built by Nero in the first century, and the third storey was built by Septimus Severus at the end of the 2nd century AD
The monumental theater orchestra is the semi circular area between the auditorium and the skene in which classic choruses stand in one or two rows, chanting out their lines in unison. The orchestra of the theater of Ephesus is particularly well preserved. During excavations here tragedies were also found of a Hellenistic theater.
The great theater has been unearthed year by year continuously. The last building alterations were made by Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) and Emperor Trajanus (98-117 AD). It had a capacity of 25.000 spectators, with 22 flights of stairs, each set by three circular rows. The theater has a diameter of 50 m. A street on the upper side of the theater leads to Curetes Street. Most of the stone stair seats were transported away to be used in other constructions. This monumental masterpiece of Ephesus is important not only from the point of view of art, but also from the point of the conflict between Christianity and idolatry. In the early years of Christianity, one of the big combats between the followers of Artemis and of Christ had taken place in this theater, and as a result, St. Paulus was put into the prison on the hill named after him, and he was then obliged to leave Ephesus.