The Library was built by Gaius Julius Aquila to honor his father Julius Celsus Polemaenus, General Governor of the roman province of Asia, in 135 AD, designed by the architect Vitruoya. It was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world and it could host more than 12,000 scrolls. Celsus died when he was 70 years old and hw was buried in a marble sarcophagus in a cellar under an arched ceiling under the ground floor of the Library. It can be accessed through some stairs and then a narrow corridor which leads to the sarcophagus that has been adorned with nice sculptures.

There were nine steps leading to the entrance of the library which consisted of three large doors. The thick columns between the doors had been adorned with statues depicting the Wisdom, the Knowledge, the Intelligence and the Fortune. Large windows had been constructed above the doors and the second floor in order to let light enter the library. Even though the façade of Celsus Library consisted of two levels, the reading area, inside it, was surrounded by three floors. There was a second wall inside the library which protected its atmosphere from humidity and temperature variations that could damage the manuscripts.

Excavations at the library brought to light a statue of Celsus which is on display at the Museum of Istanbul.
The library was burnt during the 3rd century by the Goths who attacked Ephesus. Fortunately, a great part of its façade was not damaged seriously, so it has survived nowadays in a pretty good condition.


The Library of Celsus in Ephesus

Celsus Library - Ephesus