Temple of Apollo – Didyma

Temple of Apollo in Didyma - TURKEY

Temple of Apollo

Didyma was a famous oracle center dedicated to the god Apollo serving similarly to the Delphi in ancient Greece. It was a worshipping cult city connected to the Miletus city by Milesians through the 19 km sacred road. The name of the city “Didyma” meant twins and was associated with Zeus and Leto, having their twins Apollo and Artemis. The temple of Apollo was located at Didyma while the Temple of Artemis was in Ephesus. Because there are still ruins of the “Sacred Way” connecting both cities, the distance between the two temples is still visible today.

The Temple of Apollo also known as Didyma, one of the largest and most significant sanctuaries of the Greek world after the Temple of Artemis, the Heraion of Samos and the Olympieion at Sicily, was so grand that it was comparable to the Artemision. It was built to reflect the traditional features of Didyma as a Hellenistic structure, dating back to the Hellenistic period. The name of the city Didyma is correlated to the mother goddess Cybele. According to what the localities have, Cybele, the earliest-known mother cult of Anatolia, had a variety of names. The most common one of these was “Dindymus” from which “Didyma” is thought to have derived and notable for the month “Dindymus”.

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Along with the belief that there was already a sanctuary before the Ionians came in 1 BC, a temple of Apollo was found to be built at the same site around 6 BC, later destroyed during the Persian invasions in 494 BC. In 4 BC the residents of the city Miletus rebuilt the temple but were not able to complete it due to the financial issues. Particular Roman emperors made efforts to complete the temple of Apollo in 1 ADs, but they could not succeed, either. Emperor Teodosius II, later in the Byzantine era, had a church built in the open air courtyard which was collapsed after an earthquake in 15 AD. Today, it is still in an unfinished condition; yet, the Temple of Apollo is accepted to be one of the largest temples of the Hellenistic world, even comparable to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. To explain their relative differences, also regarded as a respect for Artemis; there were 122 columns at the Temple of Apollo whereas Temple of Artemis had 127 columns.

Not the massive size of the edifice only, but its antechamber with two Corinthian columns and two tunnels leading into the naos made the temple of Apollo unusual also. In the middle of the temple is an open air courtyard with another Ionic shrine which housed the cult statue of Apollo. The priests of the temple of Apollo, Didyma in other words, immersed their feet or inhaled the vapors of the water for inspiration before giving the oracle words by a few hot springs outside the sanctuary.

Temple of Apollo Picture Gallery

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