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Ephesus, The Ancient Library of Celsus

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Optical Illusions at the Library of Celsus
Ancient Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey

Ancient Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey

Photo © Karl Weatherly/Getty Images
The Library of Celsus in Ephesus was built on a narrow lot between existing buildings. Yet, the design of the library creates the effect of monumental size.

At the entrance to the library is a 21-meter wide courtyard paved in marble. Nine wide marble steps lead up to a two-story gallery. Curved and triangular pediments are supported by a double-decker layer of paired columns. The center columns have larger capitals and rafters than those on the end. This gives the illusion that the columns are farther apart than they really are. Adding to the illusion, the podium beneath the columns slopes slightly down at the edges.

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