Sunday, 9 December 2012

Turkish Delight - one of the 7 wonders of the world. The Artemision

As you may have gathered from the previous instalment, Ephesus was far from my favourite site this trip.

However leaving Ephesus we stopped at the Artemision. This temple, dedicated to Artemis, was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It was also much less busy, Most of the cruises don't seem to bother with it. They have no idea what they are missing!

 The site is right on the outskirts of Selcuk and easily accessible. I wasn't complaining about the lack of crowds though!

The site is mostly rubble now but there are tantalising hints of what it must once have been like. This model in the Selcuk museum gives an idea of the sheer scale of the place. 

The original temple here dates back to the Bronze age and was destroyed by flood.

The temple had a tempestuous life, destroyed by arson. rebuilt, destroyed again....

Like many of the sites in Turkey, the columns seem to have been randomly reconstructed with odds and ends of masonry. I suppose this travesty does give an idea of the height of the original column but still.....

Much of the site slumbers buried under the scrub grassland, deserted apart from a few tortoises exploring the boulder strewn ground. 

The heart of the temple is now quite swampy so it looks a lot greener.

This gives an indication of the location of the columns.

Most of the contents or the temple are now in the British Museum but the local one in Selcuk has the two main temple statues. This one is known as the beautiful one and it is not misnamed.

The quality of the carving is breathtaking and the whole piece just radiates beauty and serenity. Even better, it is not fenced off so you can get close enough to appreciate the quality of the workmanship that went into this statue.

A close up of the detail down the side panels of the skirt - bees yes but the Tudor Rose? Some symbols recur in the most unlikely places....

The Ephesus Artemis is distinctly different from the Greek goddess and her cult shares more similarities with that of Cybele, the mother goddess of the region.


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