How the Wealthy Lived in Ancient Ephesus

Part 11 of series:
Ancient Ephesus and the New Testament

How the Wealthy Lived in Ancient Ephesus

During my last visit to Ephesus, I had the opportunity to tour the so-called “Terrace Houses,” which are stacked in three terraces on Bulbul Mountain in the center of Ephesus. Centuries ago, they were buried by landslides that were likely caused by earthquakes. The Terrace Houses are currently being excavated, with the promise of many more similar excavations yet to come.

Here are some pictures I took of the Terrace Houses (except for the first photo, which I found on WikiCommons).

View of the location of the Terrace Houses (under those white protective roofs).
Side view of the Terraces Houses from Curetes Street
Some elements of the Terraces Houses have been well preserved. But many of the mosaics that covered the walls and floors have to be reassembled. The German headline refers to this as "The Biggest Puzzle in the World."
Another view of the a small part of the puzzle, with results pictured on the wall
A view showing at least two of the houses being excavated
This close-up gives you a sense of the elaborate and beautiful frescoes that once covered the walls of these houses.
Using terra cotta pipes, the houses had indoor running hot and cold water, as well as heat.
A mosaic of a lion on one of the floors of the Terraces houses.

If you visit Ephesus, I recommend a tour of the Terrace Houses. This requires, I believe, reservations made in advance.

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  • Mel Krewall

    That’s really amazing. This is a very interesting series.

  • Nan Munn-Fess

    My friend and I were in Ephesus about 25 years ago and were told that only a fourth of the town had been recovered thus far.  I’m wondering how much more remains to be excavated now?  In addition to the plumbing and heating systems, the library is what impressed us most.  Just think how much work was invested in providing a million papyrus “books” for the library!  But then, perhaps the labor was  slave-driven??

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure about the percentages, but there are still many buildings that have yet to be uncovered. The work moves ahead, though rather slowly. I’ll bet they’ll be digging at Ephesus in a hundred years, literally.

  • Ephesus was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for adding this.