Priene Houses

PRIENE

Priene Houses

The simple form buildings from the Hellenistic period come up to until present day. Priene houses most of which have been revealed in the excavations, have been used for centuries but still has great value from the point view of civil architecture.

Entrance to the houses with doors on the main street was provided by long and narrow corridors. On the street sides there are generally no doors or windows. The walls are made of mud and rubble which have carefully squared stone blocks on their street sides. The lower parts of some walls were given the appearance of marble by plastering with stucco. The beautiful examples of polychrome mosaics and frescoes are in the houses in Ephesus and Pompei.

There was a courtyard in the central part of the houses onto which doors and windows of rooms different dimensions opened. Through these doors and windows, light and air circulation was provided. The largest room is the guest room (oecus) which is always faced to south and an entrance hall separates it from courtyard. Next to the guest room were generally two bedrooms (cubicula). In the courtyard were divisions which changed in number according to needs and which constituted the other elements of the house such as bath, kitchen etc. 

During the excavations numerous house articles such as fragments of bronze bedsteads, marble tables, hearths bronze and iron utensils, oil lamps, coins, terra-cotta pottery, a bathtub of normal measurements, statues have been found. Most of these dated back to the 4th century B.C. of which have been turned into peri style houses in later periods by the application of certain alterations as an example to this; the house occupying the block on the north-western corner of the Athena Temple on the a Theatre Street. This building is the largest and best preserved house in Priene. It is believed that the house must have belonged to an important person. The altar of the house is dedicated to Zeus Olympus so it shows that the first owner was Stephanephorus who was very wealthy, because all the expenses of the ceremonies and festivities were paid by this person.