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AIZANOI                page 2

Temple of Zeus in Aizanoi

It is built on a podium in the middle of an area surrounded by galleries with columns around the west coast of the river. It was constructed as a dipteras plan with 120 Ion and 4 Corinthian style columns. There is a staircase leading down to the underground bunker like room, dedicated to the Phrygian goddess Meter Steunene. The western pediment is adorned with the bust of the goddess Kybele. In the eastern pediment there is a bust of Zeus. With the Dor columned courtyard and the agora, M.S. Between the years of 117-138 in the walls of the gallery of the temple; There are inscriptions praising Apuleius who had important services for the emperor Hadrian and Aızanoı. Recent excavations have shown that layers of remains from the early years of the area were displaced to build the Temple of Zeus. Ceramic pieces dated to the Early Bronze Age were found at the level of the temple courtyard. The construction of the temple began in the second quarter of the second century. The fund needed for its construction was met by renting out fields. However, the people who rented these fields haven't paid for many years. The construction could start  only when the rents were paid under the instruction of the Emperor Hadrian. The correspondence between the city and the emperor on this subject was so important for Aizanoi that it rests in the northern side of the pronaos  of the temple. On the outside of the same wall, there are long inscriptions. This inscription talks about M. Apuleius Eurycles, who is known from the inscription on the bridge. 

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On the cut stones of the temple, there are war scenes, horsemen and horses. These drawings depict scenes from the lives of Çavdars, who were looking for shelter in the city walls surrounding the temple in the 13th century.  The temple is built on a podium with the dimensions 53 metres by 35 metres and the base is covered with vaults, the combination of which makes for an unusual model in the Roman architecture in Anatolia. It is believed that the underground chamber under this whole area covered with cella, opisthodomos and pronaos was the staging ground for ceremonies in the cult of the Anatolian goddess Cybele, who was worshipped under the name Metre Steunene in Aizanoai. On the north-west pediment of the temple, on the middle acroter, there is a portrait-sculpture of a woman. This demonstrates that the temple was also devoted to the Phrygian goddess Cybele. However, recent research shows that the temple cannot have been devoted to both Zeus and Cybele. This underground place is thought to be a prophecy centre or the storage room of the temple. The acroter in the shape of a woman’s head has now been placed near other discovered pieces. 

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Columns of Zeus Temple

The Temple of Zeus was the first of the magnificent structures built in Aizanoi’s new city centre on the west bank of the Penkalas river. Most of these magnificent structures came to be under village houses and schoolsthe structures of the modern willage that are on the south-eastern side of the temple’s flat area. You can see the remains of a flight of stairs on the southwest wall of the heroon that stands on the marble-covered podium. This structure is believed to be the tomb of a leading figure of the city. Between the stadium and the temple, there used to be a Turkish-style bath with rich decorations and a courtyard with columns in the front that was built in the second half of the second century A.D. The south-eastern half of this symmetrical structure was excavated in 1978-81. The rich marble covering of the Turkish bath, water and water heating channels can still be seen today. The main bathing rooms like the frigidarium and calidarium are in the middle of this building. There are many side rooms opening to this room. In the largest room, there is a marble sculpture of the goddess Hygenia (the word Hygen in English comes from this Goddess who is the daughter of Ancient Greek God of health)in an apse. In front of the northeast part of the Turkish-style bath, there used to be a large square courtyard (palaestra) for sports activities. The large stone blocks found in the fields north of the palaestra show that there could have been a splendid tomb here, round inside but polygonal on the outside. 

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Columnated Street

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Zeus Temple

 
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