The south-western section of Curetes Street in Ephesus finished with the so-called Alytarches' Stoa, to the east of the Hellenistic Fountain. It was a 53-meter-long structure, 4 to 5 meters deep, and divided into two sections because of the variance in the ground level.
The stoa hid a row of twelve shops and workshops, and a narrow alley leading up Bülbüldağ Hill. This street was adapted to the steep slope of the hill with flights of steps overcoming the level differences. It led to the residential units arranged in pairs on terraces, currently known as the Terrace Houses. The alley only reached the Alytarches' Stoa that played the role of a foyer for these houses.
The original design of the Alytarches' Stoa is unclear, but we can safely presume that its excavated version of late antiquity was a project of reconstruction. It is hard to imagine that there had been no colonnades or shops along this stretch of Curetes Street earlier on.
The Alytarches' Stoa was renovated in the early 5th century CE by a city official bearing the title of Alytarches — responsible for the observance of rules during athletic contests. The restoration must have been finished by 440 CE as a letter to the proconsul of this year, Flavius Heliodorus, was carved on one of its columns.
The stoa's floor was covered at its full length with mosaics, composed of geometric patterns, with the addition of flowers and birds. This mosaic, comprised of many sections, covered an impressive area of 285 square meters.
This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Ephesus: "The Secrets of Ephesus".