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Ephesus Stadium

Ephesus Stadium

In earlier times, the stadium, with its various sports activities, was one of the most important centers of daily life.

The stadium is located east of the akropolis, built into the hill Panayır Dağı. It has the shape of a horseshoe, 230 meters in length and 30 meters in width.

The customary triumphal gate, with its two rows of columns, stands on the north side. Reliefs of a vase, a rabbit, and other such things decorate the entrance on the Street side. These reliefs come from another structure.

The rows of seating on the slope are wedged into the bedrock. On the other side, there is a vaulted gallery, the walls of which provided seating. Long rooms extended lengthvvise along the vaulted galleries; entrances led into them at intervals of 7 to 8 meters.
The stadium was first laid out in Hellenistic times. It was renovated and repaired under Nero (54-64 CE), and then received its present form. In the third and fourth centuries CE, alterations were undertaken on the vaulting of the north entrance.

In the third and fourth centuries CE, the entire Roman populace was wild about gladiatorial contests and wild beasts fights. These chiefly took place in stadiums and theaters, before a large audience. During these fights, the bloodbaths involving the earliest Christians took place. As soon as Christianity was declared the official religion, the Christians in Ephesus took their revenge by destroying the stadium. For this reason, not a single row of seating is stili preserved intact.

The rows of seating, made of high-quallty marble and containing inscriptions, were reused in the fourth and fifth centuries in the repair of other buildings in Ephesus.
At certain times, camel fights stili take place here today.