terrace houses ephesus

Talking Walls of Terrace Houses in Ephesus

Terrace houses in Ephesus, excavated between 1960 and 1985, were used for 600 years (AD 1st to 7th Centuries) and are called as Rich Houses or Hillside Houses. They belong to the Roman period and were used even in the early Byzantine period. 
So far 2 blocks have been unearthed. The 1st Block covers a total area of 3000 m2 and consists of 6 houses and is currently open. Terrace houses 2nd Block covers a total area of 4000 m2 and consists of 7 separate houses. Restoration and excavations are done at Terrace Houses 2nd Block.
One of the most important discoveries made in Terrace Houses 2 in Ephesus is Antique Graffiti. Epigraphs are working on these graffiti and inscriptions. Up to 500 graffiti and pictures were found here. They allow us to take a unique look at the emotions and daily life of the people who lived in that period. From love relationships to commercial transcripts and hidden secrets, we have a lot of knowledge. Unlike the corrected and revised texts of poets and writers, these graffiti were drawn spontaneously from instant feelings, emotions and needs. Contrary to the inscriptions on the stones, these graffiti were not written to stay there for a long time. But what makes them valuable is that it introduces us to the instant feelings of antique times.
30 of them give information about different days. For example; in one graffiti, the house owner sent the slave of the house for shopping with a list and when he turns is calculating his exchange on the wall. The shopping list also provides a list of things that is bought for the rich houses of that day; such as wine, bread, meat, sausage, olive oil, detergent and wood. One thing that is interesting is the mention of the entrance tickets to the Baths in the lists. This is a proof that every day in ancient Rome, the people went to the baths.
Knight C. Vibius Salutaris, in 104, had founded a foundation for 20,000 Dinars who also had a house in Terrace Houses 2 in Ephesus. He wanted the golden statue of the Trajan Emperor and his wife Plotina to be exhibited in the public meetings, and in the remaining days, to be respected in his own home.
Again in this period, in order to show the importance of Rome for Ephesians, this inscription was found in one of the houses: 'Rome, having everything, your power never run out'. Again, there are 5 love confessions in the graffiti here. They are given as an encrypted schema. For example; 'I love you 865'. In the Greek alphabet, each letter also has a number. The letter equivalents of these numbers also reveal the beloved person in the sentence.

Terrace Houses can be seen by the visitors and you can visit it during your Ephesus Tours. Your Ephesus tour guide will show you all the walls stated in this text, give you lot of information and you will see much more of Ephesus history.

Don't forget to check out our Ephesus Map page before you visit Ephesus. 


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