Sardis     Ephesus     Anemourion

Ephesus, an outstanding religious city
  The impressive remains of Ephesus bare witness to the prosperity of the city in the Early Byzantine times. Great buildings of all kinds were maintained, while new ones were built: the governor's palace, impressive porticoes, lavish baths and extensive houses. The 600 m long Arkadiane street (dating to the reign of Arkadios (395-408) connected the city centre and the port. The street was paved with blocks of limestone and marble and had mosaic sidewalks; at night, it was lighted by lamps. The roughly contemporary Embolos was a pedestrian colonnaded street graced with statues and dedications. The Street of Eutropius, also lined by a colonnade, connected the Theatre Square with the Embolos. The Arkadiane was rebuilt in the late fifth or early sixth century, and adorned by Justinian with statues of the four Evangelists on tall columns. Justinian also built a fountain near the stadium and probably the aqueduct on the hill of Ayasuluk.
  Early on, church building on a large scale gave Ephesus the appearance of a Christian city. Former public buildings were converted into churches, while several basilicas and chapels were erected. In the sixth century, Justinian added a mausoleum to the complex of the Seven Sleepers, and commissionned the construction of the basilica of St John on the site of an earlier cruciform timber-roof church. The huge fourth-century basilica of the Virgin was also rebuilt twice on a smaller scale after the sixth century.
  The church of St John, the greatest monument of imperial munificence in Ephesus, was centered on the martyrion erected over the evangelist's tomb in the fourth century on the barren hill of Ayasoluk outside the city walls. The Justinianic building (begun in 535/536) was a transept basilica with domes over the central crossing, the sanctuary, the transept wings and the nave, six in all. The decision to cover the building with domes occured once the eastern part of the church (sanctuary and transept) had already been started. Consequently, massive ashlar pillars intended to carry the domes had to be added at the intersection of the nave and transept. The brick and stone walls were lined with arcades resting on columns, and strengthened from the ourside with buttresses. The side aisles supported galleries and the narthex gave access to a large colonnaded atrium overhanging the plain of Ephesus. The bema and high synthronon occupied the centre of the transept, just under the central dome and over the presumed tomb of the evangelist. The latter was reached by a flight of steps from the altar. A fifth-century octagonal baptistery flanks the church, and a domed sacristy was added next to it in the late sixth or early seventh century. The church was paved with mosaics of geometric design and opus sectile, and adorned with mosaic and frescoes. Much of the marble carving was executed by Constantinopolitan workers, either in the capital or in Ephesus. The bases, columns and capitals of the nave (the latter bearing the monograms of Justinian and Theodora) were imported from the quarries of Proconessus, near Constantinople. The capitals of the eastern part of the church were made by local craftsmen according to Constantinopolitan models. Justinian's church became a major attraction for pilgrims. The pilgrimage facilities that sprung up around it were supplied in water by the acqueduct built by the same emperor.

See also: Urban Planning; Church architecture