What a feeling of freedom invades the senses now that we have the option of self-determination as to our movements and actions once again. Naturally, there are guidelines to be adhered to if we are to be further free of this virulent Coronavirus, therefore, with freedoms come responsibilities. ‘Caution’ and ‘social distancing’ must be the bywords along this path to safety.
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.
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.
My feelings are probably dismissive of the gravity of this pandemic we continue to ease free from, though I certainly have sorely missed my usual visits to the Temple of Apollo. A small window of opportunity offered itself recently and was hungrily devoured. Nothing much has changed upon the archaeological site; the columns still stand proud as sentinels, the marble continues to dazzle beneath a sun-filled sky, the groundwater steadily dribbles into the southeast section, the reeds growing in abundance, and the Sacred Road remains firmly shut to any inquisitive mind.
Those of you who follow my articles, or have purchased my book, shall be acutely aware of my desire to once more open the Sacred Road at its conclusion at the Temple of Apollo in Didyma. It is a forlorn sight to be witness to countless foreign visitors peering through the metal railings, or over the stone wall, which impedes their imaginations. Some travel from the other side of the globe to see the ancient treasures of Turkey, but their efforts to experience this particularly interesting site is sadly and mysteriously out of bounds. It rather posits the question, “Why? For what earthly reason?”