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Temple of Zeus
Kutahya is a small province in the midst of hill country in Turkey, clustering about the walls of an impressive hilltop fortress. It is the hometown of the world famous Yagcibedir Carpets, and Kutahya tiles which you can see everywhere in the country. But the best and the cheapest are in Kutahya, where you may visit the workshops our factory outlets and see these tiles produced with designs from the 16th and 17th centuries. They are especially famous for their cobalt blue on a milky white background.
The old wood and stucco houses of Kutahya are picturesque. The Hungarian House (Kossouth Museum) and those on the Germian Street are the most interesting ones. Kutahya is also a thermal springs center with Harlek - ilica, Muratdagi - Gediz and Eynal - Simav, among the most famous. At Murat Mountain there are camping facilities including hot springs in the midst of a delightful scenery.
To the southwest of Kutahya an ancient city awaits you for an eccentric archaeological excursion, Cavdarhisar (Aizanoi) has one of the best preserved Roman temples in Anatolia; the Temple of Zeus. Dating back to the time of Hadrian, it was built for the worship of Zeus and also the Anatolian fertility goddess Kybele. Not to miss also a beautiful Roman stadium and a theater at a short walk from this temple. A Byzantine fortress, the Seljuk Hidirlik Mosque, Balikli Bath, the Ottoman Bedesten, Saadettin Mosque, Sengul Bath are just some of the important historical Islamic remains in Kutahya. And there is a beautiful museum full of findings from Aizanoi as well.
This city is in the Çavdarhisar town, 57 kilometers from Kütahyas city center. The city experienced its golden age in the second and third centuries A.D. and became the center of episcopacy in the Byzantine era. The city has a temple built for Zeus which is the best-preserved temple in all of Anatolia. There is also a large theater and a stadium adjacent to theater. There are two Turkish-style baths, one of them decorated with mosaics, plus a gymnasium, five bridges on Kocaçay river which are still used today, an old dam, a trading building, avenues with columns on both sides, necropolis (cemetary) areas and the sacred cave of Meter Steunene. The German Institute is still carrying out excavations in the city.
At the upper part of the Penkalas (Kocaçay) River, there were Phrygians who lived around the sacred cave of the goddess Meter Steunene, who was the born through the union of the water nymph Erato and the mythological hero Azan. The city Aizanoi might have taken its name from Azan. Aizanoi was the main settlement of the Aizanitisians, who lived under the rule of the ancient Phrygians.
Recent excavations done around the Temple of Zeus built on the high plateau of the city revealed several levels of settlements dating from as far back as 3000 B.C. In the Hellenistic era, this region was ruled by, alternately, Pergamon and Bithynia, and in 133 B.C. it entered the dominion of the Roman Empire. Aizanoi printed its first coins in the second and first centuries. During the days of the Roman Empire, the town became rich from its production of grains, wine and wool. By the end of the first century, the town had started to turn into a city. It was the center of the episcopacy in the early Byzantine period but it lost its influence in the 7th century. During the time of the Seljuk Principality, Çavdar Tatars used this area as a military base in the 13th century. This is why this area was called Çavdarhisar (hisar means city walls in Turkish).
Aizanoi was rediscovered by European travelers in 1824 and studied in the 1830s and 40s. In 1926, M. Schede and D. Krecker started excavations under the auspices of the German Archaeology Institute. In 1970, R. Naumann began these studies anew, and they have continued to the present day.
Most of the structural remains that have come down to our day from Aizanoi that are located on both sides of the Kocaçay River (Penkalas) were built during the Roman era. On both banks of the river, there were protective walls made out of large cut stones to protect the city against the rising waters of the Kocaçay, waters which still rise today. Two out of the four bridges on the river are still in use today. The low wooden bridge on the north was used as a pedestrian crossing.
The stone bridge with five arches that follows this wooden one is still in good shape. There is another one with three arches which has fallen into ruins. This one is followed by the citys main bridge, which today supports all of the traffic with its five arches.
The inscriptions on the pedestal of the bridges railing tells us that the opening ceremony of the bridge took place in September 157 A.D. The inscription and two relief-decorated railings are today displayed in front of the fourth bridge. The relief shows the sea voyage of M. Apuleius Eurycles, who financed the bridges construction. Eurycles represented Aizanoi in Athens from 153 to 157 A.D. in the Hellenic Union called Panhellion which was established by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Eurycles returned to Aizanoi in the fall of 157 A.D. In 1990, the bridge was fortified with new railings.
This is pretty interesting:First Stockexchange building of the world
Famous Kutahya Ceramics
The Temple of Zeus was the first of the magnificent structures built in Aizanois new city center on the west bank of the Penkalas river (todays Kocaçay). Recent excavations have shown that layers of remains from the early years of the area were displaced to build the Temple of Zeus. Ceramic pieces dated to the Early Bronze Age were found at the level of the temple courtyard. The rubble from the removed layers was used to the fill temple area. The construction of the temple began in the second quarter of the second century. The money needed for the temples construction was met by renting out large temple fields. However, the people who rented these fields resisted paying any money for many years. The construction started only when the rents were paid under the instruction of Emperor Hadrian. The correspondence between the city and the emperor on this subject was so important for Aizanoi that it rests in the northern side of the pronaos (front gallery) of the temple. On the outside of the same wall, there are long inscriptions. This inscription talks about M. Apuleius Eurycles, whom we know from the bridge inscription. The inscription praises Eurycles virtues and his contributions to the city.
On the cut stones of the temple, there are war scenes, horsemen and horses. These drawings depict scenes from the lives of Çavdars, who were looking for shelter in the city walls surrounding the temple in the 13th century. In the peristasis, there are eight Ionic columns on the short and 15 on the long sides. The distance between the interior structures of the temple (pronaos, cella and opisthodomos) is twice as large as the distance between the columns. Therefore this is a temple based on a pseudodipteros plan. The temple is built on a podium with the dimensions 53 meters by 35 meters and the base is covered with vaults, the combination of which makes for an unusual model in Roman architecture in Anatolia; no similar example has been found. It is believed that the underground chamber under this whole area covered with cella, opisthodomos and pronaos was the staging ground for ceremonies in the cult of the Anatolian goddess Cybele, who was worshipped under the name Meter Steunene in Aizanoai. On the northwest pediment of the temple, on the middle acroter, there is a portrait-sculpture of a woman. This demonstrates that the temple was also devoted to the Phrygian goddess Cybele. However, recent research shows that the temple cannot have been devoted to both Zeus and Cybele. This underground place is thought to be a prophecy center or the storage room of the temple. The acroter in the shape of a womans head has now been placed near other discovered pieces
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Last edited by icy; February 11th, 2005 at 05:29 AM.