Visiting Aphrodisias, an ancient city devoted to the Goddess of Love, beauty and eternal youth, and home to some amazing marble sculptures, Turkey
Visiting Aphrodisias, an ancient city devoted to the Goddess of Love, beauty and eternal youth, and home to some amazing marble sculptures
The ancient city of Aphrodisias is located about an hour and a half’s drive southwest of Pamukkale.
To get there, we hired a taxi for the day (for about $70).
It wasn’t on our mind to visit Aphrodisias, but the taxi driver we met the night before convinced us to go.
Since it is now late December and the low season for tourism in Pamukkale, our taxi driver, Murad, was hoping to get some work.
He negotiated with us and quoted a good rate for the whole day, which included visiting the ancient ruins of the church in Leodikia, and a longer trip to see Aphrodisias.
We were very glad he did.
It was a misty morning when he picked us up at our hotel.
We drove through misty mountains with trees covered in frost, to the upper valley of the Morsynus River.
Aphrodisas is located in a valley surrounded with tall mountains, most of whose peaks are now covered in snow.
The location ensured that the ancient city had plenty of clear spring water all year round.
There were no buses and no tourists in the parking lot for the archaeological site of Aphrodisias, despite its World Heritage Status.
It looked like even in the high season, this amazing city does not get as many visitors as Ephesus.
Aphrodite was the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, and eternal youth.
In Roman Mythology, she is known as Venus.
According to Greek mythology, she arose from the sea foam in the waters of Paphos, on the island of Cyprus.
The area of the city of Aphrodisias has been inhabited since the early Bronze Age.
Many ancient fragments of pottery and tools have been found in the hills.
The temple of Aphrodite was built in the 3rd century BC, and the city of Aphrodisias was built one century later.
Aphrodisias started as a small ancient Greek Hellenistic city, in the district of Caria, and became a culturally rich part of western Anatolia.
The wealth of Aphrodisias came from the marble quarries on the outskirts of the city, and from the elaborate art produced by its artisans and sculptors.
The city streets were arranged around several large fountains with a large Agora, civic structures including temples, a theatre, and two lavish bath complexes with sophisticated underfloor heating and pipes that filled the marble rooms with hot air.
There is also a huge stadium, and the very best marble carvings of mythological gods, deities, philosophers, people, animals and rulers found in the ancient world.
The number of magnificent sculptures from the Roman period took my breath away.
At one point, these beautiful sculptures decorated the exteriors of the buildings, but today many of them are held in a large display room inside the museum on site.
Being built near a marble quarry, the city became an important center of culture, famous not only for its sculpture schools, but also as a hometown for renowned scholars and philosophers.
The philosopher Xenocrates, who was a student of Plato, is believed to have lived in Aphrodisias.
At the entrance to the city, there is a wall full of marble carvings of faces, connected to one another by their hair, which becomes a horn of abundance.
Strolling around the ancient city, we were awed by the high dome ceilinged design of the baths, the Hammam, and the huge stadium that once hosted Olympic style games and even vicious gladiator fights.
From the city of Aphrodisias, I send you blessings full of love, beauty and eternal youth…
May all those fill your mind and heart, and manifest in your daily life….