The ancient city of Aphrodisias is one of the most interesting
archaeological sites of the Greek and Roman periods in Turkey.
The city lies in the Meander River valley 200 km southeast of the port
of Izmir and was built near a marble quarry that was used extensively;
sculptors from Aphrodisias became famous. Aphrodisias enjoyed a long and
prosperous existence from the first century B.C. through the sixth
century A.D. when it was badly damaged in an earthquake.
The first systematic excavations at the site started in 1961. These
excavations concentrated on the city's central monuments, with spectacular
results. In addition to the Temple of Aphrodite, major areas of
investigation included the Bouleuterion or Council House, the Theatre,
and the Sebasteion or Sanctuary of the Emperors. Other important public
buildings are the Hadrianic Baths and the Stadium which is the best-preserved
of all ancient stadia and seated 30,000 people.