North (Sacred) Agora

    The rectangular North Agora is located in the level area between the West and North Theatres and covers an area of 265x128 m. This area served as a temenos during the Roman Imperial period and then as an agora as of the fourth century. The agora is accessed via three propylons, namely central, west and east propylons, from the Syria Street. The east and west propylons lead into the porticoes whereas the central one leads to the court. The back walls of the west and east porticoes each have a doorway providing access towards the West and North Theatres. The porticoes originally had Ionic columns and were covered with a pitched roof. There are two north-south oblong pools before the west and east porticoes. The courtyard with these pools houses a Corinthian temple to Athena, the goddess of weaving, and an Ionic temple to Zeus, the founder of the city, and altars. With Christianity getting more prominent both temples were dismantled and the architectural blocks of Athena Temple were used for renovating the colonnaded gallery of the east portico and those of Zeus Temple for renovating the west portico in the course of intensive constructions in the reign of Constantine the Great and thereafter. In the agora are scattered around marble pieces like bases, column drums, Corinthian and Ionic capitals, architraves, friezes (decorated with heads and garlands), geison-sima, anta cornices, and naos wall blocks, dating to a long time span from the reign of Augustus (27 BC – AD 14) to the end of the Severan period in the first half of the third century.

     A total of eight phases of use have been identified at the North Agora:

Phase I
: Early Roman Imperial period, first planning and religious buildings. Destruction by the earthquake of AD 60.

Phase II
: Constructions in the area between the Antonine and Severan periods (construction of temples continued, new religious buildings, etc.)

Phase III
: Reign of Diocletian (r. 284-305), repairs after the earthquake.

Phase IV
: Reign of Constantine the Great (r. 306-37), comprehensive renovations in the porticoes, dismantling of temples, and start of construction of Christian buildings.

Phase V
: Activities between the reign of Julian II Caesar (r. 335-60) and the earthquake of 494, cancellation of the east doorway of the East Propylon, building a wall between portico columns of the propylon, raising of the floor level and construction of new rooms.

Phase VI
: Partial collapse of the east portico after the earthquake of 494, the area abandoned to a great extent, architectural blocks reworked for building new religious buildings (churches), appearance of low quality buildings. Partial use of the area until the earthquake in the reign of Focas.

Phase VII
: Reign of Focas, the agora fell entirely together with the city due to an earthquake, and abandoned.

Phase VIII
: The area served as a quarry and limekiln as of the seventh century, seasonal settlements of nomadic Yörüks.



All Right Reserved.