2023 Turkey – Day 12 – Around Didim

The history of Didim, also known as Didyma, is deeply rooted in ancient times, dating back to the ancient Greek civilization. The town’s historical significance is primarily tied to the ancient city of Didyma, which was one of the most renowned sanctuaries in the ancient world.

Didyma was situated about 15 kilometers from the modern town of Didim and served as the location of the famous Temple of Apollo, one of the most significant oracles in ancient Anatolia. The sanctuary at Didyma was dedicated to the god Apollo, and it attracted pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean region who sought advice and guidance from the oracle.

The construction of the Temple of Apollo began in the 8th century BC, and it continued to undergo expansions and renovations over the centuries. The temple was an impressive architectural feat, featuring a vast courtyard and an imposing structure adorned with massive Ionic columns. The most distinctive feature of the temple was its imposing size, with some of the columns reaching up to 20 meters in height.

The Oracle of Didyma was considered one of the most authoritative oracles in ancient Greece, alongside the Oracle of Delphi. Pilgrims would come to consult the oracle seeking answers to important questions, prophecies, and guidance for various matters, including matters of state, personal life, and military campaigns.

During its heyday, Didyma became a major religious, cultural, and economic center in the region. The wealth and influence of the temple attracted the attention of various ancient powers, and it was often subject to plunder and destruction during conflicts and invasions.

Over time, with the spread of Christianity and the decline of the ancient world, the sanctuary of Didyma lost its importance, and the temple eventually fell into ruin. Much of the marble from the temple was repurposed in the construction of other buildings, leaving behind a few standing columns as a reminder of its former grandeur.

In the modern era, the town of Didim began to develop around the ancient ruins, and it has since grown into a popular tourist destination, particularly for those interested in exploring ancient history. Today, the Temple of Apollo at Didyma remains an important archaeological site, attracting visitors from around the world who come to marvel at its ancient splendor and learn about its significance in ancient Greek culture and religion.