Hadrian’s Temple, along with Celsus Library and the Great Theatre, is one of the best known and most recognised structures in Ephesus. This small but beautiful building in Curetes Street was built around 118 AD by the otherwise unknown Publius Quinctilius as a monument to The Emperor Hadrian (who had not then been deified) and dedicated to Artemis and the citizens of Ephesus. The site was excavated between 1956 and 1958 and rebuilt using both the original materials and modern additions. During the next 50 years the condition of the building, particularly the relief panels, deteriorated until 2011 when the Austrian Archaeological Institute, funded by a grant from the JM Kaplan Fund, started restoration.
The building was partly built of stone blocks, reinforced by iron bars and partly of, the then new material, reinforced concrete clad with sheets of marble. Like many modern buildings the temple is affected by ‘’ concrete cancer’’. The iron rods expand and contract with changes in temperature creating small fissures in the concrete which, along with any other imperfections, allow water to penetrate. The water causes the iron to corrode and expand outwards and eventually pieces of the surface flake off. Chemical reactions on the surface and erosion by running water have also caused damage, particularly to the carved panels.
The conservation work has involved the replacement of the iron reinforcing bars with either stainless steel or glass fibre rods, improving drainage, cleaning the surfaces and sealing all joints and fissures to prevent future water penetration. The restoration is due to be completed by July 2014 when the temple will once again be open to the public.