Eastern Gate

 

This used to be the widest and most improtant of Philippopolis's streets, the only one with broad side-walksThis used to be the widest and most improtant of Philippopolis's streets, the only one with broad side-walks

The Marcomannic invasion never happened and life around the Eastern Gate and the arch continued undisturbed. It was put to an end in 251, when the Goths ravaged the city. Philippopolis recovered from destruction, and in the 4th Centuries the area around the Eastern Gate changed yet again.

The old fortress wall was torn down. A new one, from stone and brick, was built a dozens meters north of it, this time including the remains of the arch. The arch was turned, often with reuse of older stones and decoration, into the new Eastern Gate of Philippopolis. Its old design was kept – the gate had one main entrance and two narrower ones. Two towers protected the entrances of the gate from attack.

The erstwhile memorial of a imperial visit became the biggest and most important of the city gates of Philippopolis. Its prominence rose even more after 330, when Emperor Constantine I (306-337) made Byzantium the capital and renamed it Constantinople.

Everything around the gate indicated its importance. The widest and the most elaborate of the city streets led to it. Covered with big syenite slabs and being more than 13 meters wide, the street was the only one in Philippopolis with proper sidewalks instead of the usual side stones. Buildings with elaborate porticoes in the Corinthian style were on its two sides. What their purpose was is still debatable – they might had been barracks or an infirmary, or something different.