ANATOLIAN : THE CRADLE OF CIVIZILATIONS AND APHRODISIAS
NEW NAME- TİSAN TATİL KÖYÜ
By, Sadi BAYRAM
Sadi BAYRAM, Anatolia:The Cradle of Civilizations and Aphrodisiasn in Cilicia, Image, s.49, Yenidesen Matbaası, Ankara 1992, s.22-29
Anatolia has been the cracile for many cultures and is a country where various tribes lived in¬termingled. In Anatolia the four seasons can be found all at the same time. The Hit¬tite, Assyrian,' Phrygian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and its continuation, the Ottoman cultures were gathered together here and with war and trade rela¬tions, there were various dealings with the Egyptian, Thracian, Caucasian, Per¬sian and Arab cultures.
There are lots of Paleolith¬ic and Neolithic Period find¬ings in Anatolia where the first settled societal life start¬ed in 7500 B.C. Prof. Dr. İ. Kı¬lıç Kökten found the Karain Cave in Antalya Province that dates back to 50,000 B.C.; Prof. Dr. Braidwood and Prof. Halet Çambel found grain and grinding implements at çayönü in Diyarbakır Province thadate back to 7500 B.C. ac¬cording to carbon-14 dating. James Menaart, the famous English archaeologist, as a result of his excavationsfound village houses andwall paintings from 6500 B.C. at Çumra in Konya Province and informed the scientific community in the world in the books he wrote.
The subject that we will be examining is the archae¬ologic findings and the tem¬ple dedicated to St. Pantale¬on that was a health spa for patients in the Byzantine world. it is located to the south of the Taurus Moun¬tains on the Mediterranean coast where there is a hea¬venly holiday village and where yacht tourism has re¬centlv been revived, and was formerly known by the name of Aphrodisias and by the new name of Tisan Holi¬day Village.
It is known as Aphrodi¬sias in Cilicia by the world of archaeology and is located in İçel Province, Silifke County, and the Köserelik 10¬cality attached to the Taşu¬cu-Ovacık town. When Aphrodisias is mentioned, the Aphrodisias at Karacasul Geyre in Aydın Province comes to mind, ,where Prof. Dr, Kenan Erim undertook excavations for 26 years on be half of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Prof. Erim passed away in the fan of 1990, and with special permission, he was buried at the Aphrodisias in Geyre where he had exca¬vated for years and found the magnificent statues from the Henenistic Period.
Furthermore, there is another ancient city of Aphrodisias on the island of Cyprus that is described in the Assyrian cuneiform tablets dating from the eighth century B.C.
Our subject of Aphrodisias is differentiated from the Karacasu-Geyre Aphrodisias as the Aphrodisias in Cilicia.
Aphrodisias is at a distance of 48 km from Silifke and a distance of 7 km from the ancient Zephyrion and the Yeşil Ovacık town of today and is known among the people with the name of' Köserelik/Gökada. As of 1984 it started to make a name as the Tisan Holiday Village. To the east is the Akliman harbor and to the northwest is the Yeşil Ovacık harbor. The city is established on a broad peninsula and has two exquisite bays with a distance between them of approximately 400 meters. The people also can the Bays the Korsan (Pirate) Bay. There are two harbors, but when one looks from the open sea, neither the harbor nor the city can been seen because in front of them is a peninsula with a size of 3 km and 300 m. to the island is small island while to the east, Dana Island hinders seeing them from the open sea.
The ancient city was made known to the scientific community in 1891 by Rudolf Heberdey and between 1967-1970 the German scholar Ludwig Budde undertook research and he published a book called St. Pantaleon von in Kilikien in 1987.
In the Antique Eras, the East Bay was given the name of Limni Aphrodisias while the West Bay was called Limni Etheros and the two bays were conneded to each other by a cana!, thus ensuring that ships could pass from one bay to the other. In ancient historyand geography books the names of these harbors are mentioned frequently. In the ancient shipping source called Ps. Skylax, that was written in A.D. 101-102, the city is called Cape Aphrodisias while in the Middle Ages it was used as a place of settlement and was men¬tioned with the name of Porto Cavaliere. The proof of this is the 55 cm thick walls that are still at the West Bay and are accepted as being the Chevalier House.
The city of Aphrodisias came under Egyptian dominatian in 315 B. C. and the Egyptian Admiral Polykletios anchored his ships at this harbor. An indicatian of the Egyptian culture on the peninsula is a bronze ring 3.2 cm in size on which there is a relief that belonged to Ptolemy I's wife Berenice I and was found by Ahmet Selçuk, a former owner, in 1975 at Gökada and given to the Silifke Mueum.
The peninsula, located to the south of the East and West Bays is where the people of Aphrodisias lived and had their storehouses and in antiquity it was on a plateau in a calyciform shape thatwas high and could not be seen right away from the sea or from land in order to protect against pirates. The ramparts of the city are 10 cated at a height of 130-180 m on this calyciform plateau and are to the north and south of the plateau and somewhat parallel to the harbor. The south ramparts are 1,850 meters long and there are 10 crenelated towers at various intervals, while the north ramparts are about 2,000 meters long and have 10 crenelated towers qt equal intervals. The citadel / ramparts that were made from cyclopean stones with a good workmanship are at a height to day differing ootween 1.70¬3.60 meters. The thickness of the rampart walls is between 2.70-3.20 meters. Today there is a footpath road surrounding the ramparts over which motorized land vehicles can pass.
To the South-east of the East Bay of Aphrodisias and at a height of 7-8 meters from the sea and a distance of 3-4 meters from the shore is a temple that was built in the sixth century B.C. and that was transformed into a church in the fourth century A.D. Today, of the 13.52 x 26.57 meter church, some marble columns with cross reliefs, Corinthian column capitals, two sarcophagi and four each magnificent mosaic foundations with inscriptions have lasted in good condition until the present. The mosaies were made by three individuals and the churchwas dedicat¬ed to St. Pantaleon who was one of the Christian saints who had remedies for diseases.
First of all at the en trance to the temple in a rectangular area 16 x 6.5 meters, there is a passage one meter in width that resembles a Seljuk knot and is surround¬ed with a mosaic from colored stones. Later, within this area is a 4 x 9 meter mosaic made in conformity with natural colors and com¬posed of pictures with 9 types of bird figures (par¬tridge, wild duck, ete.) in various movements, a bread basket and a metal cup. In the 4 x 2 meter area in front of these, it is separated into corner cartridges and dia¬mond shaped motifs, while in the middle within a circle
an inscription has been placed. The text of the inscription is as follows: Shipowner Paulos has carried out the vows that he promised for his recovery. Consequently, we understand that Shipowner Paulos had this mosa¬ic made.
The second mosaic with inscription is in front of the chancel portion and takes up an area of 6.5 x 3.2 me¬ters. On the inscription is 10¬cated the expression, Once again Olympios's son Paulos (due to illness) has had this mosaic made at the temple for his own salvation and that of his son.
The third mosaic with in¬scription is located at the nave at the right of the chancel. The mosaics are made of black and white stones and occupy a space of 2.5 x 3 meters. 'fhe rectangular inscription is in the middle. The text is as fol¬lows: Religious Official Yahya Theodoros's son, Arch¬deacon Theodoros's son Yuhanna has had this mosa¬c made after a promise he made in the past. As can be understood from this inscription as well, all the mosaics at the church were not made by the same person. The mosaics were all votive offerings. Theyare marvelous from the aspect of color and canformity to reality.
The fourth mosaic with inscription is in the southem nave and covers an area of 16 x 3 meters. The mosaic is composed of three groups. The text of the inscription is as follows: As Serges Paulos Olympios's son recovered. from illness, he had this columned hall made for Saint Pantaleon as an ex¬pression of gratitude.
St. ,Pantaleon was asaint from the Marmara region and in his profession of med¬icine he was considered to be a master in the Christian community, while for the Turks, as it is known, Lok¬man Hekim was his counter¬part. He was depicted in frescoes with a lancet in his hand. He was murdered and buried at İzmit. In the fifth-sixth century A.D. the temple burned down and for unknown rea sons, it was not repaired. In future centuries the southem nave was transformed into a Turkish bath or cistem. it is understood by the traces of plaster.
In a tomb at the narthex of the temple was found a coin belonging to the dates between A. D. 510-545 and in the surroundings was found a coin with the date of A.D. 610-641. The coins are in the Silifke Museum.
Today the mosaics at the Aphrodisias temple have been covered with sand so that they will not be de¬stroyed. At the entrance to the temple there is a sign of the cross on the column cap¬ital found at the left and the apse portion of the church has been better preserved.
A museum guard is al¬ways at the temple. To the west of the temple, between the two bays, to the north and south of the old canal as a result of the excava¬tions made by the employees of the General Directo¬rate of Antiquities and Museums, the foundation traces of a house, a silo and a business firm (?) have been uncovered and in the area where the foundations were found, it was covered with soil with the objective of protecting it after the excavation and on top of it a soccer field and basketball court were made by the Ti¬san Holiday Village authorities. Some materials for
sculpture that were found by chance at the Holiday Village construction site were also handed over to the Silifke Museum.
if the location of Aphrodisias is taken into considera¬tion, traces of even older set¬tlements can be encountered. However, as the city of Silifke that was constructed with the name of Selefkios is not too far away and because the high¬way connection to the inner parts of Anatolia is not good, the economic condition of the city did not advance very much. Af ter leaving the Antalya-Adana main road, the 14 km gravel road that is full of curves and lined with pine trees, winds through the valley between two mountains. In the an¬cient period, from the mountain located to the north along a 7 km precipitous and steep road, Hacı İshaklı ( new name- Yeşilovacık, 1998 ) Village is reached with difficulty and from .there Ovacık is reached. Due to transportation problems commerce has not developed here. Liman Kale to the east and Silifke further to the east have prevented the commercial advancement of the city.
The Jupiter temple at Silif¬ke is of the 8 x 14 Corinthian column type. At Dana Island in the environs there are ruins, a church, a cemeteryand sarcophagL but no inscriptions were encountered.
Today at ancient Aphrodisias, along with the social facilities, there is the 500 house Tisan Holiday Village and in the surroundings the 70 house Böke Recreation Cooperative that has recently commenced construction and the preparatory activities are continuing for the Ziraat Bankası, Şekerbank and the Isparta Citizens Recreation Cooperatives.
Ancient Aphrodisias, which is far from the noise of vehides, that is covered with centuryold pine trees in the north and south, that is preparing for yacht tourism and with its dear and dean sea and beach, and ancient ruins, is looking for¬ward to accommodating both domestic and foreign tourists.