If one walks down the Marble Street as far as where it turns to the left , there it is seen on the right : the Ephesus Library of Celsus, one of the most beautiful ruins in the city. This library was built in 135 A.D.
by Julius Aquila, in memory of his father Celsus Polemeanus of Sardis, Roman senator and governor-general of the province of Asia.
The main reading room is reached through a marble-paved yard 70 feet wide and a staircase with 9 steps with two bases for statues on the sides. The main floor of the reading room, which measures 36 feet by 55 feet, is built on raised substructures with the interior walls separated from the exterior walls by a corridor, making the library completely moisture-proof.
The facate, which was in two storeys and approximately 53 feet high, was richly adorned with columns, reliefs and statues. With the exception of the bases of columns, which are in their original site, most of these are now in museums in Vienna. The walls of the library were built of brick and rubble, but the interior parts and the floor were covered with coloured marble.
Across the main reading-room there was a round niche used for making offerings and on the wall, a picture of Celsus, after whom the library was named. In the square niches on the right and left of the round niche were placed boxes to keep rolls of manuscripts. There was a two-storeyed gallery in front of these niches. Underneath the round niche was a well-preserved and richly adorned marble sarcophagus in which C. Julius Celsus Polemeanus was buried. The life of Celsus was inscribed in Greek and Latin on the bases of the statues on both sides of the staircase leading on the library. Four statues of young women placed in the niches in the exterior walls of the lower storey symbolized the four main virtues : Wisdom, Character, Knowledge and Understanding. These statues are now in Vienna.
During excavations in 1903 a statue was a found here which represents a bearded and armoured man. This statue, which in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul, either represents Celsus or his son Aquila.