classicalmonuments: Lower Gymnasium Priene…


Lower Gymnasium

Priene, Ionia, Turkey

130 BCE

The lower gymnasium was built in the year 130 BCE together with the stadium. This well-preserved building constituting a complex with the stadium. The square central palaestra is surrounded by colonnades; double colonnade in the north, leading to a row of at least five rooms; in the west, an additional row of four rooms and the monumental entrance to the complex. The colonnade in the north was two-storied.

The largest room of the building was the schoolroom or Ephebeum. It was situated in the middle of the north side. It had two Ionic columns at the entrance to the north; within the Ephebeum, engaged Corinthian half-columns decorated the upper portion of the rear wall. It had 4 Ionic columns, and inside were rows of seats along the walls. The other rooms were reserved for practicing in various branches of sports. 

The lower gymnasium combines the characteristics of a simple, square palaestra surrounded by Doric colonnades, with characteristics reminiscent of agora architecture, here represented by the double colonnade in the north leading to the Ionic facade of the Ephebeum.

The lower gymnasium forms part of a complex together with the adjacent stadium, although there are differences in their level and orientation. In some respects, the gymnasium at Priene accords with Vitruvius’ description of a typical Greek palaestra, surrounded by colonnades to provide shelter from inclement weather, and with rooms for instruction, washing and philosophical discussion behind the colonnades