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This was not its original name; it had three others before that. Excavations began here in the early 1960s and are ongoing. The site is in an earthquake zone and has suffered a great deal of damage at various times, especially in the 4th and 7th centuries. An added complication was that one of the 4th century earthquakes altered the water table, making parts of the town prone to flooding.
Evidence can be seen of emergency plumbing installed to combat this problem. Aphrodisias never fully recovered from the 7th century earthquake, and fell into disrepair. Part of the town was covered by the modern village of Geyre ; some of the cottages were removed in the 20th century to reveal the older city. A new Geyre has been built a short distance away.
Temple of Aphrodite
The Temple of Aphrodite was and still is a focal point of the town, but the character of the building was altered when it became a Christian basilica. The Aphrodisian sculptors became renowned and the school of sculpture was very productive; a lot of their work can be seen around the site and in the museum. Many full-length statues were discovered in the region of the agora, and trial and unfinished pieces pointing to a true school are in evidence. Sarcophagi were recovered in various locations, most frequently decorated with designs consisting of garland and columns. Pilasters have been, found showing what are described as "peopled scrolls" with figures of people, birds and animals entwined in acanthus leaves. The sculptors benefitted from a plentiful supply of marble close at hand.
There are many other notable buildings, including the stadium which is said to be probably the best preserved of its kind in the Mediterranean. It measured 262 by 59 m and was used for athletic events until the theatre was badly damaged by a 7th century earthquake, requiring part of the stadium to be converted for events previously staged in the theatre.
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