Located at the end of Curetes Street, this magnificent Roman-style building served as a public library during Ephesus’s Roman era. To its left is the Mazeus Gate, one of the entrances to the Commercial Agora.
The Celsus Library building was also the mausoleum of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, who was the Roman Proconsul of the Asian province of Rome between 105 and 107 CE. He was buried in a crypt under the library. The building was commissioned by his son Gaius in 114 CE and was completed in 117 CE.
Celsus was a Greek who rose to become a Roman Senator and in the process accumulated a lot of wealth, which was used by his son to build this library. At its peak, the Celsus Library held 12,000 scrolls and manuscripts and was one of the biggest libraries of ancient times.
In 262 CE, an earthquake destroyed the building except for the facade. Many centuries later (most likely in the 10th century), another earthquake destroyed the facade.
What we see now is the two-story facade restored in the 1970s. The restoration made use of the fragments of the original structure found in the site as well as the copies of related artifacts available in various museums.
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