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The Stadium

The stadium is located south of Vedius Gymasium. The seats of the spectators in the south were built on the slopes of Mount Pion and in the northern part over the vaulted galleries.

The stadium had a monumental gateway, on its west side. The form that we recognize today, enlarged and restored then, was acquired during the reign of Emperor Nero in the first century A.D. Like all Roman stadiums of the classical period, it was U-shaped.

But at that period’s restyling the original parts of the terraces and seats were no kept and used in the restoration of other buildings of Ephesus, like the Basilica of St. John.

The Stadium dates back to the Hellenistic period and there took place the ceremonies and sports activities, that later, especially in the Roman period, also comprised gladiator fights and wild animals. It is known that some Christians were persecuted, captured and thrown to the lions here. Thus, when Christianity became the official religion, Christians destroyed the stadium and built there the so called Gate of Persecution, as a symbol of the suffering experienced by the faithful.

 

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