February 2020 was a slow month for the archaeologists working in the area of Turkey. Perhaps the most thrilling news was the discovery announced by the archaeologists from the Oriental Institute in Chicago. They have discovered a lost ancient kingdom dating to 1400 BCE to 600 BCE which may have defeated Phrygia, the kingdom ruled by King Midas, in battle. Other projects concerned the renovations and reconstructions, for instance within a project titled the Roman Theater and Archaeology Park in Ankara. According to a written statement made by the municipality, works have been initiated to unearth the Roman Theater, which is one of the historical heritages in the Turkish capital.
On the 20th of February 2020, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hami Aksoy, revealed that the Turkish authorities have decided to provide visa exemption to the citizens of six European countries: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and the United Kingdom. This exemption will be valid starting from the 2nd of March 2020. It offers 90 days of visiting and travelling around Turkey without the necessity of purchasing a tourist visa within the period of 180 days. This step is aimed at increasing the tourism potential of Turkey and developing its commercial and cultural relations with Europe. This news is based on the information published on the official website of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Last week I received a most welcome correspondence from the hydrologist responsible for redirecting the water falling into the southeast section of the Temple of Apollo sanctuary in ancient Didyma, Turkey.
This pleased me immensely as there has been a deafening silence from this quarter for a number of months. Though after I sent a number of photographs as evidence for the waters now mingling within the archaeological remains of the Christian Basilica which once stood within the adyton (inner courtyard), Professor Helmut Brückner responded with admirable haste.
Darülhadis Mosque was initially intended to be a school of sacred tradition - darülhadis - that gave the building its name. However, the main sponsor, Sultan Murad II, changed his mind and had his architect Koçu Ahmet redesign it as a mosque. Apparently, Murad II was a person who enjoyed changing architectural plans as this story was repeated when Muradiye Mosque was converted from the dervish lodge.
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.