Central Agora

    The rectangular area measuring 112x60 m on the south side of the Syria Street opposite from the Nymphaeum of S. Severus is the Central Agora. It is integrated into the Syria Street and thus surrounded with porticoes rising on two steps on the remaining three sides. Behind the west and east porticoes are the entrances to the shops whereas behind the south portico lies the Central Baths. The columns of the porticoes rise on reused bases of the Roman Imperial period. On the steps of the porticoes are incised and carved game boards and cross motifs within circles. Beams of lean-to roofs covering the portico galleries rested on the shop walls on the east and west sides. On the south sides, the beams were fitted in the holes in the walls of the Central Baths. In the Roman Imperial period two doorways led into the Central Baths from the Central Agora. The gate built with reused marble elements at the extension of the western portico remained in use in later periods and has been restored. Small rectangular fountain in the middle of the southern portico was built in the Early Byzantine period and served the people in the agora. In this period a monument on a base of three steps was erected in the middle of the agora. Built with reused marble blocks this square monument (7.50x7.50 m) was topped with a column and a Corinthian capital, whose fragments were uncovered and restored to their former glory. Originally this column, or rather obelisk, should have carried the statue of an important person, or an emperor. This monumental column symbolised the unicity of the God and power of Christianity.
     The Central Agora was built in the Roman Imperial period and functioned as such also in the Early Byzantine period.



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