Glenn Maffia

I CONTINUE to read of archaeological finds from all over Turkey being reported, in some considerable depth, by the national press, though little or nothing of Didyma.

Wealth of finds

I am not disputing these finds have been mightily impressive, they have been, though they hold no more significance than the finds which the archaeologists have uncovered here over the past decade or more. Especially when taken as a whole.

The German team has been meticulous and methodical in their approach to the entire site, and have creatively peeled back so many layers that it is clear to see the whole area was once a vibrant and living town. Though only the Temple of Apollo peeks through the millennia to see the light of this new day.

So much more

Even with all this evidence, as illustrated upon our map, the people who de facto ‘rule’ and influence the direction of this town have persistently ignored this pertinent information.

I am sorry, though it appears plain to conclude that the ‘closed shop’ which controls this town has no vision outside of their own short-sighted interests.

I have heard calls from all quarters, for over a decade, calling for Didim to improve on its image of a vain hedonistic holiday town, frequented by rather poorly educated visitors.

Didim could be so much more than that, for we have a fine cache of educated people residing herein already.

Precedents set

Naturally, as it is the only intellectual centre of attention in the town, the Temple must be pivotal in bringing about this change; though it shall require people possessing vision, a stubborn resolve and a strength to make controversial decisions.

Two key examples immediately spring to mind when considering the Temple and its impressive environment, the first is Delphi on mainland Greece and the second is Aphrodisias not far from Nazilli here in Turkey.

During the excavations in Delphi, by a French team of archaeologists in 1892, the village which stood atop of the ever enlarging site was moved 1km to the west to facilitate the uncovering of the rich culture of Classical Greece.

It was, after all, the fabled ‘Centre of the World’ and the most important oracular shrine of the entire ancient world. Didyma is acknowledged as being second in importance and therefore the most paramount venue for receiving the wisdom of Apollo in Asia Minor.

No doubt the motivation for the village inhabitants was their newly found patriotism after departing from the Ottoman Empire after 350 years.

While, as Natalie enjoyably reported in last week’s edition of ‘ Voices’, during the excavations of the re-found city of Aphrodisias the village which lay on top of the ruins was removed 2km from the archaeological site. The villager’s motivation there was probably the vast amounts of American Dollars flowing in.

Pitiful state around the Temple

I am sure that every single tourist visiting the Temple cannot have failed to notice the squalor that people live within along its perimeter.

This is hardly a gleaming picture of the country being portrayed to foreign eyes. They should really be re-housed, off-site, in better conditions and given land for their chickens and goats to wander.

Personally I would be happy to see the cafés and bars also moved off-site, though these are the people I alluded to earlier and have a tentative link to history by being the descendants of the subsistence farmers who moved here during the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1924.

Really, can 93 years be considered as history when it is sitting upon 3,000 years worth of accumulated accomplishments from previous civilisations?