An essential element of the Hittite religious beliefs were the practices of the so-called sympathetic magic. The rituals were performed by the priests called 'soothsayers,' and the priestesses known as the 'old women.' Their actions were aimed at reversing the imminent danger, from impotence to abandonment of the sanctuary by a deity inhabiting it. Most of the practices associated with these activities took place outdoors, and a particular importance was attached to water sources. Many of these places of worship, often in the form of a simple 'sacred sources,' have been preserved to our times. Eflatun Pınar is an excellent example of elaborate stone shrines adorning eternal sources of water. It is situated on the south-eastern side of Beyşehir Lake and called Eflatun Pınar.
In this location Hittite craftsmen created an artificial body of water supplied from a nearby source, and erected a powerful sacred monument. Trachyte blocks were decorated with carved figures of mountain and water deities, and mythological creatures that are a combination of human and animals figures. Some researchers speculate that this structure was actually a base for a monumental statue, similar to the famous unfinished monument from the quarries in Fasıllar.
The importance of Eflatun Pınar to the researchers of ancient history stems from its location. According to the present state of knowledge, it designates the most south-westerly point of the Hittite expansion. The uniqueness of this place is also demonstrated by the fact that this is one of the few discovered places where the Hittites presented human figures from the front. No inscriptions were found on the monument, but on the basis of its proximity to other Hittite sites, it has been dated to the second half of the 13th century BC.
The existence of Eflatun Pınar monument has been known to researchers since the early 19th century, but no systematical studies have been conducted there so far by archaeologists. Some excavations, made in 1996 under the management of the Museum in Konya, led to the discovery of the lower part of the monument which shows underground and mountain deities. The ancient water reservoir was also discovered then.
The most prominent feature of Eflatun Pınar is a stone monument, about 7 meters high and 7 meters wide. It was erected of 19 stone blocks. The Storm God and the Goddess of the Sun are depicted in its central part, and there are so-called sun-discs with wings over them. These deities are surrounded by ten hybrid creatures holding these discs, most likely representing the souls. The base of the monument is decorated with images of five mountain and underground deities. The reliefs depicting the underworld gods have openings that once served the function of a fountain. The whole composition on the monument can be interpreted as a scene illustrating the cosmos: the heavens at the top, the earth below, and between them - the gods and the souls supporting the sky.
The water reservoir has a rectangular shape with the sides about 30 and 34 meters long. It is surrounded by low brickwork. On this brickwork, on both sides of the central monument, the reliefs depicting the Goddess of the Streams were placed symmetrically. More bas-reliefs, symbolizing an unidentified couple of seated deities, are located on the southern side of the wall, opposite the central monument. They are visible in the place where a rectangular platform is protruding into the waters of the reservoir. Unfortunately, these sculptures have been preserved in very poor condition.
Other statues or their fragments can be found around the reservoir. The largest sculpture stands on its southern side called. These are busts and front body parts of three bulls. This decorative element is not in its original position, as it was used to fill the dam built on the south-western side of the tank in the Roman times.
Currently, the area around the Eflatun Pınar has been developed in a way that is going to make it more attractive for tourists. Marked paths and footbridges have been erected around the reservoir, but the methods used for the realization of this goal has been questioned among scholars. During our visit in spring 2012, we had the opportunity to observe some families who came there for a picnic and used the water for the reservoir for washing dishes. Without a doubt, such situations disturb the atmosphere of this ancient and mysterious place.
There are no entrance fees at Eflatun Pınar. Watch out for the cows frequently passing by and be prepared to haggle over a pair of woolen socks with some elderly ladies.
No public transport options are available so the best idea is to come by car. Turn off the D695 road from Isparta to Konya at the crossroads situated on the eastern shore of Beyşehir Lake. There is a clearly visible brown signpost at the crossroads, and more signposts along the secondary, but well-kept roads. After 2 km along these roads, you will reach Eflatun Pınar.