Tetrapylon in Aphrodisias is the Grand Gateway to the Temple of Aphrodite:
The Tetrapylon is the first ancient public building that we see on entry to the Aphrodisias archaeological site. This awe-inspiring structure is the grand gateway to the Temple of Aphrodite, where pilgrims come to worship the cult image of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and procreation.
Weather-wise, we’ve been very lucky on our tour of Turkey. Against the clear blue skies of Aphrodisias, the gateway is a stunning sight, but imagine what it was like when Aphrodisias was a living city and there were people milling about and passing through the gateway. To get an idea of its size, see the people in the photo – they only reach the top of the base of the columns. No matter how many times I see structures like this, it never ceases to amaze me how such huge constructions take place without the aid of the heavy machinery that we have today.
The Tetrapylon was built around A.D. 200 and the gateway connects the main Aphrodisias north-south street to a large forecourt in front of the Temple of Aphrodite. Tetrapylon (meaning four gateways) gets its name from the four sets of four Corinthian columns which make up the gateway. The front row of Corinthian columns with diagonal fluting face the north-south street. Walk around to the western columns and on the pediment above are carved figures of Eros and Nike hunting.
Although the marble blocks are mostly original, the gateway itself has been reconstructed, with a total rebuild of the structure completed in 1991. This reconstruction was made possible by the extraordinary preservation of the gateway, with about 85% of its original marble blocks surviving through the ages.
To carry out the reconstruction, the existing standing ruins were dismantled and new foundations were laid. The gateway was then carefully reassembled, using steel reinforcements in the columns and other structural sections, and adding new cast-concrete elements where necessary.
If you are visiting Aphrodisias, this is a symbolic place to start your visit as you will indeed be following in the footsteps of the ancient visitors to the sanctuary of Aphrodite.