CULTURE


Ancient City of Aphrodisias – Turkiye’s incredible UNESCO World Heritage list

Baku, April 5, AZERTAC

Located in the town of Karacasu, a part of the Western (Aegean) Turkish province of Aydın, Aphrodisias - one of the most well-preserved ancient cities in Turkiye, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017.

According to UNESCO, the serial property consists of two components. The first component encompasses the archaeological site of Aphrodisias following the city walls that encircle the city; and the second component includes the marble quarries located northeast of the city.

The temple of Aphrodite dates from the 3rd century BC and the city was built one century later.

The wealth of Aphrodisias came from the marble quarries and the art produced by its sculptors. The city streets are arranged around several large civic structures, which include temples, a theatre, an agora and two bath complexes.

The proximity of the marble quarries to the city was a major reason that Aphrodisias became an outstanding high-quality production centre for marble sculpture. Sculptors from the city were famous throughout the Roman Empire. They were well-known for virtuoso portrait sculpture and Hellenistic-style statues of gods and Dionysian figures.

In late antiquity (4th-6th centuries AD), Aphrodisian sculptors were in great demand for marble portrait busts and statues of emperors, governors and philosophers in the major centres of the empire – for example, at Sardis, Stratonikeia, Laodikeia, Constantinople and Rome.

In this period, they were the best carvers of marble statues of their day. The techniques used, the quality of local artistic design, and the production of advanced portrait sculpture gave Aphrodisias a unique place in the Roman world.

Another key aspect of Aphrodisias was its cosmopolitan social structure (Greek, Roman, Carian, pagan, Jewish, Christian) that is abundantly articulated in the site’s 2,000 surviving inscriptions.

Aphrodisias draws attention with its Sebastion Temple. Stadium, ancient theatre and bath as well as its museum where rich sculptures are displayed.

Aphrodisias is an exceptional example of the built environment of a Greco-Roman city in inland Asia Minor. Several of its monumental marble buildings have unique features in terms of architecture and design.

The Sebasteion, an elaborate cult complex for the worship of Augustus and the Julio-Claudian emperors, represents a distinctive integration of Hellenistic, Roman and Aphrodisian artistic traditions. The “Archive Wall” in the theatre is a well-preserved collection of official imperial documents regarding the status of the city under the Empire. The Theatre also features an early example of a stage building with an aediculated façade.

The Stadium has an unusual architectural form with two curved ends, known as “amphitheatral”, and is the best-preserved example of this type in the ancient world. The conversion of the Temple of Aphrodite into a cathedral, around AD 500, is unique among temple-to-church conversions in its engineering and transformative effect. The Tetrapylon, the conspicuous entrance to the outer Sanctuary of Aphrodite, is preserved with its elaborate and exquisitely carved architectural ornament.

The site was included on the world heritage list during the 41st UNESCO World Heritage Committee session in Krakow, Poland, in 2017.

 

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