Ephesus Latrines

Ancient Toilets of Ephesus

Ephesus is famous for many world-known buildings like Celsus library and grand theater but if you ask me, this is what most people will remember after visiting Ephesus Ancient City in Turkey. Ephesus Latrines were public toilets which very much resembled our modern toilets today.

How did Ephesus latrines work?

The toilet facility was mainly used by men. It was completely free of charge since people were leaving their ammonia-rich urine behind. Latrine’s channels underneath were not connected to the city’s main sewage system. When a man urinated, his urine was kept in the channel. A slave used to shovel all the urine and other material collected into the channel and he used to carry it to a facility where ammonia was distilled out of the mix. Ammonia was used in clothes and home hygiene. It might sound disgusting but you should understand that ammonia is a strong cleaner even today.

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A clean and modern facility for its time

Ephesus Latrines

Latrines used to have a pool in the middle which supplied fresh and clean water for the people using the facility. People were dipping sponges into this pool and cleaning their private parts in a manner that is close to using toilet paper today. Sponges were cleaned and reused. Even today natural sponge can be easily found in the Mediterranean part of the world. Toilets were intentionally built next to bathhouses. People could stop by the toilets before they head to the bathhouse which is located on the north face of the latrines.

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I hope one day you will have the most memorable photo in the ancient toilets of Ephesus, Turkey. You can write to me if you have any questions or you can book a professional tour guide to Ephesus to see Ancient Toilets of Ephesus, aka Latrines yourself. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Fast facts about Ephesus toilets

  • Free of charge
  • Used only by the man
  • Preheated by slaves
  • Fully covered with a roof

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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