Temple of Aphrodite – The Heart of Ancient Aphrodisias

The Temple of Aphrodite Was Once The Heart of Ancient Aphrodisias:

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Temple of Aphrodite - Aphrodisias

From the Tetrapylon, we made our way to the Temple of Aphrodite which is located in the northern section of the ancient city of Aphrodisias. This Temple housed the cult image of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias and the sanctuary was the most important site in the city.

Unlike some of the other public buildings in Aphrodisias, the Temple of Aphrodite are just ruins today. The site is nevertheless still pretty impressive and some huge columns have been re-erected to give you an idea of its grand scale.

Temple of Aphrodite

Construction of the Temple of Aphrodite began in the late first century B.C. and is thought to have been completed during the reign of Emperor Augustus. The initial construction was paid for by Zoilos, a prominent citizen of Aphrodisias, and Zoilos also sponsored the construction of the Agora and the Aphrodisias Theatre. Clearly this guy was not short of a few drachmas to rub together!

In the 2nd century A.D., colonnades of Ionic columns were added around the Temple, creating an inner arcade and enclosing the main sanctuary. These columns were donated and on some of the columns were inscribed the names of the donors.

Converted to a Christian Church

As a pagan sanctuary, the Temple of Aphrodite was the central focus of the city, however this changed around A.D. 500 when the Temple was converted into a Christian church. The conversion was an enormous project in which the columns of the east and west ends of the temple were moved from their original positions and used to extend the north and south colonnades. The interior of the temple was also dismantled, and the stone was reused to build new walls enclosing the building on all sides. The end result was a church which was much larger than the pagan temple it replaced. The church remained in use until the Seljuk conquest of the region near Aphrodisias around A.D. 1200.

Temple of Aphrodite, Afrodisias Follow Me on Pinterest

Temple of Aphrodite, Aphrodisias

Of the over forty Ionic columns that once surrounded the Temple of Aphrodite, fourteen have been re-erected, as well as the foundations of the cellar section. Wandering round this area you can really begin to feel how busy and prosperous this city must have been, although now, of course, it’s quite overgrown and peaceful.

For more photos of Aphrodisias, see Travelsignposts Aphrodisias gallery.

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