Photo Feature: Apollo Temple, Didim, Turkey

Photo Feature: Apollo Temple, Didim, Turkey

Our home town in Turkey is very much a package tourism destination. Young families and the retired from the UK come to lie on the beach in the mornings and afternoons and drink in the bars and clubs in the evening.

Turks from nearby towns and villages daytrip in Altinkum, the beach area of Didim, and residents of Ankara or Germany spend some of the season in their summer homes.

The vast majority go nowhere near the Temple of Apollo, Didim’s only notable attraction aside from the beach. It is the same story for the Turks who staff the bars for six months each year before returning to their homes dotted around the rest of Anatolia.

Didim is both a new and an ancient place. Other than on the main thoroughfares we walk down the middle of the road, a consequence of only having pavements laid in the past year or two. Our apartment, and those of most of our neighbours, didn’t exist six or seven years ago. Stubborn shepherds refusing to accept the recent loss of grazing land to development occasionally wander past our balcony with their herds. Though the recession has slowed things down the empty shells of new builds are common throughout the town.

Didim’s unfinished business started in antiquity. The Apollo Temple is one of the greatest and lengthiest building sites in history. A spiritual site centred around a sacred spring existed from the eighth century BC until its destruction by Artaphernes’s Persians in 493 BC at the end of the Ionian Revolt.

Alexander the Great commissioned a new temple in 334 BC that, had it ever been completed, would have been the largest in the Greek world and a contender for being regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World – overshadowing the Temple of Artemis at nearby Ephesus.

Instead construction continued for 700 years. Never completed, the grandeur of the project eluded the temple’s builders before its abandonment in the Christian era.

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Suzy

    It’s funny how beach bums can forget there might be a major historical site beyond the sand. These photographs show a temple certainly worth seeing. While not completed, the site seems so grand to me.

    1. There is such a wealth of antiquity in Turkey that sites like this can get overlooked. Anywhere else the Temple would be a must see.

  2. Natalie

    Great photos. I too am amazed at the amount of people in Altinkum who have not seen the Apollo temple or been anywhere near it. The problem is, if they don’t have the interest then it is much use trying to persuade them to go.

    1. True. I can be as guilty at times. On our last day in Cusco we ran around the place catching up on everything we had ignored in the previous 4 months.

  3. Alan

    Reminds me of the Temple of Zeus, Aezani near Cavdarhisar; probably the best preserved of its kind yet devoid of visitors. The guardian was so pleased to see us he unlocked the underground vaults that are usually off limits and took us down. Then escorted us to a nearby village with an amazing mosaic floor, sarcophagi used for animal troughs and old houses with an abundance of recycled Roman bits and pieces. The weather was awful so I’m going back this year to spend time in the village with my camera.
    Great to find your blog.

    1. I’ve just googled that Temple of Zeus. Wow. As a shade hopper that largely avoids the beach I sometimes wonder why we live in Turkey. Then I see pictures like that and remember.

      That village sounds amazing too. I hope when you make a return visit I can see your pictures on your site.

      1. Alan

        I’ll do that for sure.

  4. Ephesus Tours

    a place to be seen with the historical beauty of Ephesus….

    1. I’m a fan of Ephesus too. We should have a post up on Ephesus in the next week or so as part of our Turkey month.

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