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Ephesus Latrines

Marble Toilets in Ephesus

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One of the more odd attractions of the city of Ephesus, the Latrines are quite impressive for the architecture, design, and technology they employed. Built-in the 1st century as an addition to the Scholastica Baths, the Latrines were a public toilet that all citizens (only men could be citizens at the time) could pay a small fee to use. They also weren’t just for answering nature’s call, men would often sit and socialize for a while, especially during the summer when the Latrine offered a welcome escape from the heat.

The Latrine was built as a square room with 3 marble benches lining the walls, with 16 holes cut into each. In the centre of the room there was an open courtyard with a small pool and fountain; this served to not only to help remove bad smells but also cool the room in the summer. Columns surrounding the courtyard held up a wooden ceiling. Running around the room, in front of the benches, is a small gutter which would have constantly flowed with cold water. In this trough, men would have washed and soaked a small sponge at the end of a stick (a tersorium), the ancient version of toilet paper. Buckets of vinegar would have also been available to sanitize the sponges. Meanwhile, a deep trough ran under the benches, where flowing water would carry waste out of the Latrine to the city’s sewers, clay pipes running underneath Curetes Street.

Other remarkable landmarks nearby include the Basilica of Ephesus and the Celsus Library.

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Acarlar, Efes Harabeleri, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir

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