The rather clement weather we appreciated in January (from the Roman god Janus, the two-faced god who looked both backward and forward; old year, new year) allowed myself and my equally historically inquisitive friend Jay Jean Jackson to venture out to Akköy. Our aim was to pick up the Sacred Road and then proceed in the direction of Didim.
May of 2020 was the month of many restoration projects. The restoration of the 800-year-old Obruk Han in Konya Province, built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I, was continued. Meanwhile, restoration work was resumed on the historical Sümela Monastery, in the northern Trabzon province. The restoration work had been suspended due to adverse weather conditions and as part of measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, Mor Kiryakus Monastery, built on a 2,500 square meter area in Batman in the 5th century, is planned to be restored in three stages. Finally, it was announced that a historical clock tower in Antalya, one of the landmarks of the touristic Mediterranean province, will return to its original state after undergoing restoration.
Şanliurfa, ancient Urfa and ancient Edessa, is a large town in Eastern Turkey of mixed Arab, Kurdish and Turkish inhabitants and is attractive to travellers for three main reasons. Firstly the famous Unesco World Heritage site of Göbekli Tepe, the oldest known temple complex in the world and fast becoming one of the ‘must-sees’ of Eastern Turkey, situated about 20 km from Şanliurfa; secondly the exceptionally fine, recently discovered mosaics in the Villa of the Amazons, and finally the town’s architectural reminders of Syria’s Aleppo, notably its Ulu Cami (Great Mosque).
Text & photos: Michel GYBELS for Turkish Archaeological News
It was at this time last year that I had first heard, from a Turkish friend who works alongside the archaeologists, the whisper that the ‘small finds’ house, next to the Temple of Apollo precinct, was to have its contents moved to the Miletus Museum or the Excavation House in Didyma.
Upon inquiring as to why this should be necessary he told me that the house was to be opened to the public. Intriguing, but no great revelation therein. Though when he expanded his reasoning to reveal that this would be a prelude to the Sacred Road being reopened to the public my happiness reached euphoric levels.
It might seem that everything erected in Constantinople in the 5th and the 6th centuries was of colossal proportions: mainly regarding its public buildings and fortifications, but also the water supply system. The city, founded in the prominent and admirable location and surrounded by water lacked one crucial resource - a local supply of fresh water. Wells and small water sources at first met this need, but soon they could not meet the growing needs of the city's population.