This week’s travel theme from Ailsa is PALE and what is paler than sun bleached ruins? I explored Ephesus while traveling through Turkey a couple of years ago, it was amazing!!
The library of Celsus is definitely the most recognizable ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Turkey. It was built in honor of the Roman Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus in 177 AD.
The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. Celsus is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the library, in the main entrance. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits, so this was a special honor for Celsus. The interior of the library and all its books were destroyed by fire in the devastating earthquake that struck the city in 262. Only the facade survived, which is quite sad. I think it might have been a magnificent building as a whole.
The building is important as one of the few remaining examples of an ancient Roman-influenced library. It also shows that public libraries were built not only in Rome itself but throughout the Roman Empire.
The building’s facade was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001-2005 and of the 20 new lira banknote of 2005-2009.
Walking along the paved walkway between all these thousands of years old ruins was magnificent.