Friday, August 27, 2010
So the other day we were taken on a tour of the Roman parts of Ankara. Our guide was a local historian and archeologist. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to listen to a person who studies this stuff talk about it while taking is around. I learned a lot and my inner history nerd was fed. The picture above is some of the column tops that they've found. The columns cannot be found anywhere and it's assumed that they were broken down and used for other things once the Christians took over the city as Rome lost control of the area.
This is a picture of part of the Roman baths in Ankara. These baths were in use for over 500 years and were on and functioning for the entire time. The area being seen in this picture is where the hot water would have flowed under a marble floor in the heated rooms. Slaves were sent down a level below this one to stoke the fires that kept the water hot... 500 years of that... the baths were never shut down until they were permanently shut down... 500 years of slaves and trees being chopped down and what not. The effects of this deforestation are still being seen and the people of Ankara are working hard to correct it.
This column is topped by the nest of a stork. The column was placed there to commemorate the visit of someone important (the details escape me now), but it was around this time that the Ecumenical Counsel met in Ankara to discuss what books would be included in the Bible that we know and read today!
This is the Roman temple that was built to honour Augustus. Originally it was surrounded by columns that supported a wooden roof and there were no windows. History has it that the Christians took down the columns to use the marble for other uses and then added the three windows you now see. Also, one of the most famous and historical mosques in Ankara is built adjacent to this site. Finally, this temple is the ONLY one in all of history that carried the engravings that Augustus commissioned to detail his life's works and his funeral wishes before he died. All other copies that were sent to EVERY temple in the Roman Empire were destroyed or lost... only the ones in Anatolia survive and the one at this temple is written both in Latin and the people's language of the times... SO COOL!
This is the castle in Ankara. It is at the heart of the old city and the Roman road leads out from here. Along the road you can find the theatre, which is just below the castle itself and is still being excavated and preserved. We are viewing it from the temple area in this picture. The castle as three retaining walls around it that were added by each Empire that governed the area over time. I haven't had the chance to go inside and have a look yet, but am very excited to do so.