An ancient world condominium project

by Monica Newman

I was surprised to discover a condominium project while touring some ancient Roman ruins in Ephesus, Turkey, a city which was originally founded by the Ionian Greeks during the Bronze Age.

I call it a condo project, although I don’t know how the titles were registered.

It did, however, have all the makings of a high-end condo. There were a number of common rooms, many more then we see today, but all served a common purpose which was to serve the community that lived in the building.

Perhaps, the common room of most interest  was the one that housed the animals, complete with eating troughs built into the walls.

I was impressed by the common room which had loads of light, very high ceilings and thousands of square feet of space.

Can’t imagine what the common fees would have been? Possibly a cow or goat every month?

One of the smaller units boasted a rich embellishment in three rooms and decorative wall paintings in the room of the Muses.

The utility rooms of unit five were reduced for the installation of the basilica. I am not sure if I would have been happy giving up space in the utility room. Seems to me there was a lot of extra space in the common area that  could have been  used.

We may not have a room for the Muses, but we have common rooms  that can invite the Muses, politicians, religious figures or just our friends, as long as we book in advance and let management know.

The security measures in the early ages took up more room than our current system of alarms and security personnel. The use of large round stone wheels to roll in front of the entrance to the condo project was a bit more cumbersome.

However, it accomplished the same purpose — keep the bad guys out!

Several wall paintings featured drawings and graffiti, which offer an insight into the everyday life of the inhabitants The drawings mainly show caricatures, gladiators and animals.

The graffiti includes names, poems and declarations of love.

There are 30 price lists describing the goods and necessities of every day life. I suppose common fees could include maintenance of the stone roads, as well as food for the animals that were kept inside the condos. That should qualify for “pet-friendly.”

It didn’t occurred to me that I would see the ruins of a condo project from 10 BC to AD 15, however, it certainly made a lot of sense and allowed many people to live in a location close to the important amenities, such as shopping and colosseums.

(Monica Newman is a Winnipeg-based REALTOR®)