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Ephesus The scholastika baths

Ephesus The scholastika baths

The Scholastikia Baths are located on Kouretes Street between the Fountain of Trajan and the Temple of Hadrian. Including the ground floor, the baths had three stories; they number among the structures at Ephesus most worth seeing. The baths underwent restorations several times before the end of the fourth century CE. They form a complex of buildings together with the latrine and the brothel. Some of the rooms in the ground floor of the baths were shops or depots. They had entrances opening onto Kouretes Street and onto a street that turned off it and led up the slope; this smaller street probably had a roof. The Ephesus Museum restored one of these shops and reopened it as a spice shop for visitors. In the Roman period, baths served purposes other than bathing.

People played sports here, read books, took massages, or conversed. After that, they would go the hot, cold, and warm rooms to enjoy the baths. Relaxation in the baths could last for hours, during which people could hold serious political conversations over hot or cold spiced wine. For important meetings, people usually met in the baths. One would first undress in the apodyterium, then go to sweat in the sudotorium, and finally wash off in the calidarium. After the bath, people would meet in the tepidarium for light conversation or political discussions. Before leaving the baths, they would swim in the frigidarium a bit to freshen up. The Scholastikia Baths had two entrances, one from Kourates Street, and one from the smaller roofed street. Both of them led into the apodyterium, an impressive hall decorated with columns and niches. In one of these niches, there was a statue of a rich Ephesian woman named Scholastikia, who renovated the baths in the fourth century CE for the final time. The frigidarium and apodyterium are in the west. The oval pool of cold water is exactly in the center.

On the north side of the apodyterium, an arched door leads in to the tepidarium, the walls and floor of which were heated by hot air through pipes of kiln-fired clay. A small part of the original mosaic floor is visible against the eastern wall. In the final renovation, the mosaic floor was paved over with slabs of marble. A small door leads from the tepidarium into the calidarium. This part of the bath is still preserved to its original height. During various repairs, these walls were patched up with slabs of marble or tiles. Supports of kiln-fired bricks lay beneath the slabs that covered the floor and served as channels for the hot air. The heating room for the hot air (hypocaust) is in the western area. After the Roman period, these baths lost their importance in public life. Only in the Selçuk and Ottoman periods did the custom of going to the baths revive again.