One of the finest structures in Ephesus, the Celsus Library has recently been restored. Raised on a high plinth, the building is approached via a broad flight of steps.
It was built by the Consul Gaius Julius Aquila in 135 AD. as a heroon in honour of his father, Celsus Polemaeanus, the governor of Asia Minor. The facade is highly ornamented on two levels, and there are three main portals. Over the portals were columns and statues arranged in niches. These statues were female figures representing the virtues wisdom, fate and intellegence. Niches on the interior of the building were designeo to hold books. The tomb of Celsus was placed in a crypt below the central large niche.
According to the inscription on the architrave of the building, its patron, C.Aquila, died before it was completed, and the construction was carried on by his heirs. Aquila left 25 thousand dinar for the acquisition of books for the library.