Ionia is an ancient region on the central coast of what was known as Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, near the modern town of Izmir. What was ancient Greece reached this part of the world and some spectacular traces of this remain, such as the sanctuary of Didyma, which is in ruins, but maintains some historical details that make a visit an excellent plan.

In this sanctuary there was an oracle and the Temple of Apollo, which in its time attracted thousands of pilgrims and was the second in importance after Delphi, in Greece. Nowadays, also a good number of tourists come to this complex, as it is one of the major attractions of modern Turkey, and strolling around it while learning a little history, is like taking a trip to the past.

Didima 3

The name Didyma means “twins” and refers to the twins Apollo and Artemis, who were the children of Zeus and Leto, who had their temples there and in the nearby city of Miletus. At this site to this day you can see the Temple of Apollo, which was the most important, said to have been built in the tenth century BC, although the oldest pieces found there date back to the eighth century BC.

The design of the Temple of Apollo was inspired by the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and of Hera at Samos, and in fact was built by the same architects who did those works. Today in this place you can see three intact columns of the 122 Ionic style that surrounded the temple, being eighteen meters high and with a diameter of almost two meters at the base.

I also recommend you to see the bases of the other columns that are no longer in place, as well as pieces that are in the surroundings, and some marble carvings that show important characters such as Medusa. To finish you can go to the apyton, which was a space reserved for the priestesses of Apollo, who were the ones who gave the answers of the oracle in a ritual.

Photos by Panegyrics of Granovetter, Son of Groucho, Clara S.. CC.