Hadrian Temple

Hadrian Temple: Premier Temple of Ephesus

The Hadrian Temple is one of the highlights of Ephesus of the ancient city and the cultures that once lived there. Built-in the 2nd century AD, the Temple was built in honour of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117-138 AD, as well as Artemis and the people of Ephesus. Hadrian was one of the truly great Roman Emperors, renowned for his achievements in the military as well as perhaps his most well-known achievement: building a wall between England and Scotland, marking the northernmost extent of the Empire.

Located on the northern side of Curetes Street, across from the Terrace Houses the Temple was built with Corinthian arches in the prostyle, with a set of freestanding columns in front of the main part of the structure, the cella. Four bare pedestals stand in front of the Temple, having once held statues of the Roman Emperors: Diocletian, Maximian, and Galerius, much like the Memmius Monument. The keystone (centre stone) of the forward arch has a relief depicting Tyche, the Greek goddess of fortune and destiny.

The inner archway features a relief of Medusa, a very popular figure found throughout Greek and Roman cultures. Medusa is a mythological creature with hair made of snakes and who turned all those who looked upon her to stone. Her image was used on many buildings to guard the building from evil.

The facade of the cella is decorated with recreations of four friezes that depicting the legendary founding of Ephesus; the originals are currently held in the Ephesus museum. These friezes were not part of the original construction but instead were added during a 4th-century restoration following years of damage from earthquakes.

Related Destinations

State Agora Terrace Houses Domitian Temple Magnesia Gate Scholastic Baths Hadrian Temple Latrines Harbor Street Library of Celsus East Gymnasium The Great Theater