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Turkey - Aydin - Didyma

Today Didyma is a small village close to the sea and praised by tourists and Turks on holiday for its goldensandy beaches. The sea however is not the only attraction for tourists, more so the ruins of the famous Temple of Apollo, a superb example of architecture dating from the Graeco-Roman period, and a sign of the grandeur of this area, outstanding for culture and art. Even before the arrival of the Jonians, Didyma was a holy place and its oracle was much feared and much attended. The Persian King Xerxes destroyed the temple in 480 B.C., and looted many of the statues and also removed its vast treasury, which owed its magnitude to the generosity of Croesus,
King of Lydia. Alexander the Great decided to rebuild the temple after his victory over the Persians which had never been completely finished, and was still uncompleted under the Romans, probably on account of its enormous dimensions (one hundred and twenty metres long and twenty-four wide). Christianity put an end to pagan rites and festivals and prevented the temple from being completed. Indeed, in one atrium of the temple a basilica was built.

Traces remain of the temple’s base and three Ionian columns standing twenty-five metres high are still upright, out of the original one hundred and twenty. There are also stones from the sacrificial altar and an antique fountain. The interior court, the pronaos and the steps leading to the sacrarium can all be identified. All around there are fragments of statuary such as the head of the Medusa, with snakes for hair and fangs for teeth, as she was transformed by Athena. Facing the temple there are a few steps from a second-century B.C. stadium, where games were held on Apollo’s feast days. A long Sacred Way, with colonnaded porticoes, lead from Miletus to the sanctuary.

Turkey - Aydin - Didyma Turkey - Aydin - Didyma Turkey - Aydin - Didyma


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