The brothel and public latrine of ancient Ephesus are located directly across Marble Street from the Library of Celsus. Both date from the 1st century AD. Of course neither of these are a sacred site, but these less glamorous structures help bring ancient Ephesus to life.
The brothel originally had two floors, with ground floor entrances on both Marble Street and on Curetes Street. On the latter, an etched footprint in the marble famously shows the way.
The rooms of the ground floor, one of which has a stone bed, were built around a small atrium. The floor of the main reception room was covered with a mosaic of the four seasons. The personified figures of Winter (with head covered) and Autumn (with a garland of flowers) are still well preserved. The cubicles used by the prostitutes to entertain their clients were on the upper floor.
The ithyphallic figurine of Priapus – Bes, now in the Ephesus Museum, was found in a well on the side of the brothel near Curetes Street. The well is still in use. Of Egyptian origin, Bes was not the god of the brothel, but the protector of everything associated with motherhood and childbearing.
The 1st-century Roman Latrine of Ephesus was rather advanced and civilized for its time. It was constructed over a channel with an uninterrupted flow of water and the toilet seats, formed by cutting holes into marble benches that line the walls, were covered by a roof.
The rest of the large room was open to the sky, and had an impluvium (a sunken pool for catching rainwater) in the center. The floor was covered with mosaics.