January 2020 in Turkish archaeology

January was a rather quiet month for the archaeologists in Turkey. Some interesting discoveries were made, such as ancient baby bottles dating back to 2500 BCE found during excavations at Norik Mound in eastern Bingöl province or an intricate stone floor that indicates that Usakli Hoyuk may have been the lost Hittite city of Zippalanda. The real bomb was only dropped at the end of the month when an amazing find was published: a Polish researcher discovered a human-like figurine in one of the oldest cities in the world, Çatalhöyük in Turkey. This is the first such object made of bone known from this place.

 Çatalhöyük excavations
Çatalhöyük excavations

The Secrets of Pamukkale and Hierapolis - new guidebook

The Secrets of Pamukkale and Hierapolis

Lured by the glistening snow-white travertine terraces, thousands of tourists from all corners of the globe come to visit the famous World Heritage Site of Hierapolis-Pamukkale. For many of them, a walk along these terraces and a dip in the widely-advertised Ancient Pool are the highlights of the trip. However, the site has so much more to offer for all of the visitors who want to see and understand it more profoundly. The ruins of the ancient city known as Hierapolis are extensive, and their far-away corners are rarely seen by the tourists who hurry through the main sights. If you want to be sure that you did not overlook anything of interest during the time you spent at Hierapolis-Pamukkale site, this is the guidebook written for you.

By using this book as a handy travel guide, you will be able to tour the whole site and see all the spectacular sights, such as a grand Roman theatre, a splendid Gate of Domitian, and a spacious agora. Moreover, the book will take you to the less-known but equally fascinating structures related with the cult of St. Philip the Apostle, who, according to one legend was martyred by beheading in the city of Hierapolis. The other locations worth visiting are the old Greek theatre, overlooking the city from the slope of a hill, and the broad Frontinus Street. You will visit the extensive Northern Necropolis of the city and a smaller Eastern Necropolis that offers excellent views over the whole site. Finally, the tour will also lead you to the sacred complex of the Apollo Temple with the mysterious Plutonium.

Byzantine monastery of Ayasuluk in Selçuk

Ayasuluk Hill on the western outskirts of a small town called Selçuk is a remarkable location. The oldest traces of human settlement discovered there date back to the Early Bronze Age, i.e. the third millennium BCE. In that period, this free-standing mound, with rocky slopes on three sides, was located directly on the seashore, at the deep bay that extended to the chains of mountains to the north, south, and east.

Byzantine monastery of Ayasuluk in Selçuk
Byzantine monastery of Ayasuluk in Selçuk

The Secrets of Troy - new guidebook

The Secrets of Troy

The tale of mighty Troy has tempted the travellers for thousands of years. The tragic fate of the powerful city of King Priam, sung by the semi-legendary bard called Homer, has been one of the most frequently retold dramas of all times. Even in the ancient times, when Asia Minor was colonised by the Greeks and later controlled by the Romans, the site of Troy was a great tourist attraction. When visiting this World Heritage Site, you will be following in the footsteps of the Persian ruler Xerxes, Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Roman Emperor Hadrian, and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.

Even if it is difficult to say with certainty that the archaeological site first excavated in the 19th century is the location of the Trojan War, the visit here brings many emotions and evokes the scenes from the Homer's story. By following this guidebook, you will be able to imagine brave Achilles chasing the Trojan prince Hector around the mighty fortifications of Troy. The book will also help you to understand the geography of the site and the surrounding countryside. On a bright day, you will see the remote Aegean Islands where the Greek ships had been hidden before the fall of the city. Looking in another direction, you will glimpse the distant outlines of Mount Ida - the favourite location of the Olympian gods who had played with the mythical heroes' fates like a game of chess.

The Secrets of Ephesus - new guidebook to Ephesus

The Secrets of Ephesus

Many travellers dream of visiting an ancient city that has been preserved not only in the form of modest ruins. Would it not be so much more exciting the see such a city in its glory or at least in the state that would echo the magnificent past of the place? While many experienced tourists can point to Pompeii in Italy as such a city, there is also another great location where history is still alive. Ephesus, the pearl of eastern Mediterranean, is a perfect demonstration of the ostentatious wealth of the Greek settlements on the shores of Asia Minor. While Pompeii was erected mainly of bricks, Ephesus shocks the visitors even today with the generous application of the best and most expensive construction materials, including many variations of marble.

Naturally, such a splendid archaeological site as Ephesus receives thousands of visitors daily, and it may seem that it does not hold any secrets from them. Millions of photos are taken there every year and then appear in books, leaflets, websites, and social media channels. Can we hope to discover something not published on Facebook or Instagram there? Is it possible to find a peaceful and quiet corner or see the grand theatre and the lavishly decorated Library of Celsus without the crowds? This book has been prepared with the hope to assist all of the readers ready to find out more than can be learned about Ephesus from popular guidebooks and information boards.

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