THE TEMPLE OF APOLLON (Didyma)


The origins of the temple goes back to the archaic times, much earlier than the Ionian settlement. The archaic Didyma was built towards the end of the 8th century B.C. The temple gained much importance during the 6th century B.C., especially as the city of Miletus became a prominent Ionian center. The temple was expanded and the local cults were replaced by Hellenistic ones during this period. It still seems to be appropriate to say that god Apollon existed before the first Ionian colonies settled here.

According to Homeros' Iliad, Apollon existed here much earlier than Ionian colonization started. Even the statue of "Apollocapturing a stag" found in the temple can be related to religious motifs of an explicit Hittite and Anatolian extraction.

The temple is 60m wide,120m long and 24m. high and consists of 122 Ionic columns. It was surrounded by two rows of these columns. The pronaos (forecourt) had 12 columns over a base structure of 7 steps all around. Adyton (cella) is reached through an arched tunnel. The cella was open at the top. At the center of the courtyard, a temple called Naiskos was situated. This little temple was the sacred place where the cult statue of Apollon kept.

The temple is still standing in a well preserved shape. Most of the statues, sphinxes and statues are on exhibition at the various museums in Turkey and some in British Museum.




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