The excavation of Gordion, the capital of the Phrygian Civilization, was conducted by Gustav Körte and Alfred Körte in 1900, and subsequently by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, under the guidance of Rodney S. Young, from 1950 to 1973. The excavations continued at the site under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Museum with an international team, directed by Keith DeVries (1977–1987), G. Kenneth Sams and Mary M. Voigt (1988–2006), G. Kenneth Sams and C. Brian Rose (2006–2012), and C. Brian Rose (2012–present). The most fascinating finds from Gordion are on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Some finds from Gordion are also in the Istanbul Archaeological Museums and the Gordion Museum, located in the village Yassıhöyük near Gordion itself.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations was founded in 1921, initially as the Ankara Archaeological Museum. The museum has numerous exhibits of Anatolian archaeology. They start with the Palaeolithic era, and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods. There is also an extensive collection of artefacts, including the ones from the excavations at Gordion.
The second entry to the Turkish World Heritage Sites made in 2023, after the ancient site of Gordion, are the wooden mosques of medieval Anatolia. The property consists of five mosques built in Anatolia between the late 13th and mid-14th centuries. They are located in five different provinces of present-day Turkey. These mosques have an exterior built of masonry and multiple rows of wooden interior columns that support a flat wooden ceiling and roof. The masterful woodcarving and handiwork used in these mosques' architectural fittings and furnishings are also noteworthy.
The latest announcement by the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee brought the great news for Turkey, as the ancient site of Gordion has just entered the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the 20th site from this country on the prestigious List that marks the locations designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance.
The remains of the ancient settlement, which is now referred to as Kaleköy, or Castle Village, are situated in close proximity to the town of Kiraz in the Izmir Province of Turkey. A ruined gymnasium is the best preserved structure, which is incorrectly referred to as the castle by some residents.
Text by our correspondent from Didyma, Glenn Maffia. All photos by Graeme Patrick Houlden.
The eminently laudable desire in restoring ancient architecture is an endeavour that seeks to preserve our human cultural heritage while exhibiting the architectural grandeur of previous civilizations.
Nonetheless, extreme caution in the use of modern materials in this restoration process must be of paramount attention in this aspiration. For, inevitably, this use of contemporary materials raises concerns about the potential perils faced by these historic structures.