The Hercules Gate: Hallmark of Ephesus
The Hercules Gate is a highlight of Ephesus, both in the ancient city and today. Today, the two remaining columns of feature reliefs of the Greek hero Hercules, draped in the skin of the Nemean lion, which he strangled in the first of his 10 labours. Sculpted in the 2nd century AD, these reliefs were repurposed for the gate in the 4th century; small pieces of a once-grand structure.
The Gate once stood two stories tall, each floor lined with 6 columns. Though many pieces of the full structure are still buried, a few pieces are on display in Domitian Square just beyond the Gate, including the relief of Nike.
At the head of Curetes Street, the Hercules Gate served to halt horse and chariot traffic in the 4th century. This has left this grand avenue with a marvellous marble walkway, worn only by the foot traffic of ancient Ephesians and modern tourists. While the easier route through Ephesus starts at the top of this street, on any tour of Ephesus be sure to take a moment to look up Curetes Street to put yourself in the footsteps of the Roman citizens who lived, shopped, and socialized in the heart of ancient Ephesus.
Other nearby interesting sites include; the Commercial Agora and the Church of Mary.