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Didyma


Didyma, on the west coast of Turkey, was an important sacred site in the ancient Greek world. Its famous oracle and Temple of Apollo attracted crowds of pilgrims and was second in importance only to Delphi.

Today, the temple's magnificent ruins still attract thousands of visitors — Didyma is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. The village's modern name is Yenihisar.

 

What to See

 

The design of the Temple of Apollo was influenced by the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Temple of Hera at Samos, as it was designed by the renowned architects who worked on all of these temples, Paionius of Ephesus and Daphnis of Miletus.

Originally, 122 enormous Ionic columns surrounded the temple; today only three remain intact. Dating from the 2nd century BC, the columns are 60 feet tall (the height of a six-story building) and have a diameter of 6 feet at the base. Even the stumps of columns that fell are impressive in size and display beautiful carvings at their base.

The temple as a whole was 90 feet high and approached by 14 steps. The cella (roofed chamber) has two Ionic columns supporting the roof and opens on the north and south sides to small chambers containing staircases, which may have led to a terrace on the cella roof.

In the western end of the cella are three doors that lead to a great staircase to the adyton, to which only the priests and oracles had access. This sacred precinct was never roofed. Within the adyton is a small naiskos (chapel) that held the cult statue and the sacred spring. This is where the priestess of Apollo uttered her oracles (see above for procedure). [More Info]