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Didyma

Didyma

Didyma is located near the village of Yenihisar (Yoran) near the town of Söke in the province of Aydin in the Aegean region. Here one finds an important sanctuary that housed one of the oracles of Apollo. It was connected to Miletus by sea, and those arriving by ship would land at the harbour of Panormus and thence follow the Sacred way to Didyma. Until its destruction by thePersians in 494 B.C. it was administered by the family of the Branchidae, the descendants of Bronchos, a youth beloved of Apollo. For the last two kilometers the Sacred Way was lined with seated statues of the male and female members of the Branchidae family. After his capture of Miletus in 334 B. C. Alexander the Great placed the administration of the oracle in the hands of the city of Miletus. In 331 B.C. the oracle proclaimed Alexander "the son of Zeus". In 300 B.C. the Milesians embarked on the construction of the largest temple in the Greek world. Although work continued until the middle of the 2nd century A.D. the temple was never finished. Later, a church and other buildings were constructed, while the Byzantines built a barracks in which troops were garrisoned...

The buildings were damaged by fire and in the 15th century further damage was caused by a great earthquake. The Temple of Apollo (Didymaion) was the largest and wealthiest Ionic temple in Anatolia and was renowned for its holy relics, its treasury, its sacred spring and sacred laurel grove. Investigations in the Temple of Apollo were first undertaken in 1834 by the French traveller Charles Texier and the English archaeologist Charles T. Newton, who had conducted the excavations at Halicarnassus..

The first Temple of Apollo was built in the Archaic period and the Hellenistic temple which succeeded this was built on the foundations of the earlier building, materials from which were used in the construction. The temple we see today is an Ionic structure measuring 60 x 118 m, with a dipteral arrangement of two rows of columns with 21 on each side and 10 at each end. The columns are of various styles with pedestals adorned with reliefs. These columns support an architrave surmounted by a frieze decorated with acanthus leaves and Gorgon (Medusa) heads. The high pronaos at the top of a monumental flight of steps leads into a naos with two columns, which gives access to the sacred area or cella in the form of an open courtyard surrounded by high walls with columns and containing a small Ionic temple which housed the statue of the god. Didyma was never a large city and its fame was closely connected with the.

The pronaos, or forecourt, to which access is given by thirteen steps, contains twelve columns. The ceiling decorations were of great magnificence, and the columns of quite exceptional height. It was here that the suppliants waited for the oracle of Apollo.