Aizanoi Ancient City, also known as Second Ephesus, is approximately 55 km away from Kutahya city center. The first known inhabitants of Aizanoi, located on the borders of Phrygia, are Aizanists. This name is thought to come from the mythological hero of Phrygia, Azan.
Legendary King Arkas falls in love with the nymph Erato, according to mythology. Erato is one of the daughters of God Zeus. Erato, regarded as the pioneer of romantic and erotic poetry, falls in love with King Arkas. King Arkas wants to found a city for Erato. It is said that this city is Aizanoi. In short, we can say that Aizanoi is the city born from the love of King Arkas and Erato.
The first settlements in this region date back to 3000 BC. Aizanoi Ancient City, which has the only Temple of Zeus in Anatolia; It is home to the world’s first trade stock market (macellum), the colonnaded road, ancient bridges and the mosaic roman bath.
Approximately 80,000 people lived in this region during the Roman period. A 15,000-seat theater and a 13,500-seat stadium were also built during this period.
Temple of Zeus /Aizanoi
Temple of Zeus has been the symbol of Aizanoi. It is one of the Roman Imperial period temples that have survived in the best condition in Anatolia. Aizanoi Ancient City, located in Cavdarhisar district of modern city Kutahya, was annexed by Eumenes II to the Kingdom of Pergamon in 184 BC. Roman Empire took the control of Aizanoi in 133 BC.
Thanks to the letter on the wall of the Temple of Zeus, which includes the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s order to collect the rents of the sacred areas to build the temple, the structure dates back to the Roman period, to the 2nd century. The area, where the Zeus temple is located, today is an open-air museum and tombstones from various periods are exhibited here.
The most interesting part of the Temple of Zeus is the section under the temple. This place, which has no other similar examples in Anatolia, also makes the Temple of Zeus different. This part of the temple could be a warehouse, and gifts offered to the gods and items required for the temple were probably stored here. The fact that this sub-section has survived until today in its original form is a great wealth for Aizanoi. Now It is a museum .
Bath and Palaestra Complex
This complex, located right across the temple, was built in the 2nd century A.D. Remains of water heating channels can be seen in the bath in the front part. There are cold and warm rooms in the bath. Some of the rich marble coverings can be seen inside and outside the bath. The square-shaped building called the palaestra is also a part of Roman bath .
Ancient Theater and Stadium
The stadium theater complex in the ancient city of Aizanoi is unique in the world. The stadium with a capacity of 13500 people and the theater with a capacity of 15000 people, which is constructed in the 2nd century A.D, are connected to each other by 2 main gates. It is the first and only combination that is unique in the world.
Stadium Section: The stadium, which is 200 meters long and 50 meters wide, was built on the slopes of a hill. City Olympics were held every four years in antiquity. Since the Aizanoi Olympics were held here, we call it a stadium. There is a bench of honor just east of the stadium entrance gate, and the names of the champions are written here. And also you can see an arena section at the stadium. At that time, 3 kinds of sports are done in the arenas.
- Gladiator fights against gladiator.
- Gladiator fights against wild animals.
- Gladiator fights against criminals.
Theater Section: It is a classical Greek theater with a capacity of 15000 people. Entrances to the theater are provided through 3 main gates. The wall separating the theater and the stadium is 30 m high and it has 3 floors,but now about 10 meters of the wall managed to survive. The most striking feature of the theater, which has a strong acoustic system, is the presence of wide-ranging decorations.
Stock Market Structure (Macellum)
In 1970 with an earthquake, Cavdarhisar central mosque was demolished and the stock market structure was uncovered during excavations in 1971. The original of the building is the market place where fresh meat and fish were sold in the Roman period, as it was called macellum.
It was used as a meat and fish market until 301 AD. However, in 301 AD, the Roman emperor Dioclatianus began to struggle with inflation. The method of struggle is simple but precise. Emperor Dioclatianus sets maximum prices for all products sold in the imperial market and forbids selling products at more expensive than these prices. The emperor issues a decree of prices and sends it to the city-states of the Roman empire. When the price decree comes to Aizanoi, it is announced by writing on the macellum walls. As of 301 AD, the building is called stock market. It is the world’s first known stock market structure.
Cavdarhisar Primary School collapsed in 1970 with an earthquake. An area as big as the garden of the school was restored and revived with the excavations carried out between 1980-1984. This street was the main street of Aizanoi Ancient City, especially on the return of the war, the Roman soldiers greet the people with their spoils and there is a magnificent parade. For this reason, it was called the royal road among the people. It is also where the markets were. The most important building on the colonnaded street, where spolia stones were used extensively to decorate the street, was the Temple of Artemis, built during the reign of Emperor Cladius. Since all the stones belonging to the temple were collected, it is not possible to answer the question of where was the temple. The deer relief, which is the symbol of the Artemis temples, awaits its visitors inside the colonnaded street.
Ancient Dams and Bridges
The ancient city of Aizanoi was established on the 2 banks of the Pankalas River. The Pankalas River, which had a very high flow, caused constant floods and caused deaths. To prevent this, the Romans built a dam. However, the dam is insufficient in periods of heavy rainfall or melting snow. Thereupon, the Romans collected stones from other structures and raised the dam structure 4 meters more. After this process, the water was taken to the city in a controlled manner, but it was still insufficient. They had to rehabilitate the river’s flood . Reclamation walls of 6 meters high and sometimes up to 25 meters in width were built. When the rehabilitation works were completed, even the transportation on the Pankalas river became possible. Reclamation walls and docks are visible even now.
So now It is your turn. After this post you may want to discover this magnificient ancient city. Experience the world’s first trade stock market Aizanoi. Travel is a therapy.