Roman Baths

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Thanks to the support of Mr. and Mrs. L. Lamberts Van Assche the largest building of Sagalassos, the Roman Baths, could and can be excavated. Building activities started around 120 AD by the construction of an artificial terrace containing at least five vaulted rooms made of brick-faced concrete on the west side of a hill located immediately east of the Lower Agora. Probably in AD 165 AD, the upper floor of the colossal structure was completed and dedicated to the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. At that time the complex contained a large central hall dedicated to the emperor cult and accessible through the two arched corridors made of ashlars visible in the background. To the east of it (left) an enormous cross-shaped hall is being excavated. Most probably it contains a cold-water pool. The central part of this hall contains the four well-preserved ashlar piers that were ca 11 m high, originally carrying an arch made of ashlars, spanning more than 12 m. These arches served as support for an enormous vault made of brick-faced concrete. To the north and south, this central hall is continuing into two symmetrically placed rectangular rooms with a row of three smaller piers on either side. The total surface of this space is ca 1150 sq. meters, still covered with black and white mosaics forming different geometric patterns. In the late 4th and early 5th century, the whole building underwent a thorough refurbishment. A hot-water room facing the Agora was covered again with nearly 40 tons of marble from Dokimeion (near Afyon). The hall dedicated to the Imperial family was transformed into a second caldarium with four hot-water tubs and two hot-water pools. To its north a long room of 32 x 12 m became a second cold water room with a nice pool. Walls and floors were covered with marble veneer and opus sectile (tiles in geometric or plant forms) containing over twenty different coloured marbles.

After an earthquake around AD 500, the building was still repaired, but the 7th century AD earthquake caused such damage that the vaults and the upper parts of the walls collapsed. Yet, several finds indicate that this occurred only gradually, perhaps taking several centuries.