The next time you visit Turkey, you should get out of Istanbul for a little while and visit Cavdarhisar in the Kutahya Province. It might seem that there’s nothing remarkable about this location, but here you’ll get a glimpse into history few ever see.
On top of a high plateau stands an ancient temple that was once part of the ancient city of Aizanoi.
If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with ancient history while taking in the natural beauty of Turkey, read on for five things you need to know about Aizanoi.
1. Rome’s Emperor Held The Temple In High Regard
Upon entering the temple, you’ll notice an inscription on the wall. The inscription reads:
“(I) Avidius Quietus, greet the senators, city councilors and the citizens of Aizanoi. Contention lasting many years over the holy lands dedicated so along ago to Zeus was finally brought to an end by the authoritative judgment of his majesty the Emperor…”
Avidius Quietus was the provincial governor of the area. There was a dispute over the land where they wanted to build the temple, with taxpayers refusing to pay because of unclear boundaries.
The situation got worse until the Emperor of Rome Hadrian intervened. Intervention by the Roman Emporer in an outlying province was a rare thing at the time, but Hadrian had a special place in his heart for Asia Minor and Aizanoi. Hadrian settled the dispute and the temple stands to this day.
2. The Ancient City Features Rare Architecture
There are two architectural features that stand out. The first is the capitals on the site of the temple.
The capitals combined the Ionic and Corinthian styles of Roman architecture. Iron clamps fixed the capitals to the summit. 48 columns were completed, and stone sections of the architrave, five meters in length, set over them. This is the first time in history builders used such long single-piece sections.
The theater and stadium is another example of rare architecture. Both were side by side, with the stage building the only thing between them. This was a rare design in the ancient world.
Some believe that this set-up was due to the influence of Greek, Roman, and Asian architecture meeting.
3. There Were Problems With Inflation In The City
There is evidence that points to inflation concerns within the city. In the round structure believed to be the market, builders inscribed a copy of the Price Edict of Diocletian, which sought to reverse the debasement of Rome’s monetary standard.
The city minted its own coin, and one of the concerns was that the city would make money to cover expenses. If there was a famine, the city would “print money” to pay for supplies from other cities. Before long, the coin began to lose value, causing Rome an economic problem.
4. The Romans Allowed A Dedication To An Anatolian Goddess
Inside of a collapsed cave, there was a deep tunnel dedicated to Meter Steunene, an Anatolian goddess of Earth. Excavations found clay figurines dedicated to Meter Steunene along with a pit for animal sacrifice.
We know that the Romans placed a high value on the city. Did the empire allow it’s residents to continue practicing cult beliefs to keep the peace?
5. The City Later Became A Center Of Christian Worship
Later, after the fall of the empire, the temple of Aizaoni became a site of Christian worship. In the 13th century. At one point, there was a giant statue of Zeus standing watch over the temple.
Was this statue removed by the Christians that first worshipped at the temple? Did they view it as a false idol? Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know, as they didn’t acknowledge their actions back then out of fear that it could spread the word of a pagan religion.
Make Your Next Vacation Memorable
If you’re looking for your next vacation spot, there isn’t a better place in the world to visit than Turkey.
Whether you want to see the ancient city of Aizanoi or enjoy the history and culture of Istanbul, there’s something for everyone. Turkey is the crossroads of Asia and Europe, creating a unique opportunity for world travelers.
If you would like more information about setting up travel plans, contact us today!