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x0x Ancient sites to host Izmir International Festival

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    x0x Ancient sites to host Izmir International Festival Seval Deniz Karahaliloglu The proud ancient sites of Izmir will host the 16th Izmir International
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2002
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      x0x Ancient sites to host Izmir International Festival

      Seval Deniz Karahaliloglu

      The proud ancient sites of Izmir will host the 16th Izmir International
      Festival. Every year, new historical and ancient sites take part in the
      festival program, hosting various artistic performances, reviving the
      city's cultural and artistic environment and regaining their prominence at
      the center of Izmir's social life. This year, the festival will begin with
      an artistic performance at Kadifekale. It is the first time Kadifekale
      will open to the public as an art centre, through this performance.
      Throughout the festival, audiences will enjoy the various performances in
      the magnificent historical atmosphere of such venues as the Ephesus
      Ancient Theatre and the Celsus Library.

      The Velvet Castle

      Kadifekale is called the "priceless tiara of Izmir," and throughout
      history, has witnessed the city's progress. Kadifekale was built by
      Lycimachos, one of Alexander the Great's generals in the 4th century B.C..
      According to Pausanians, who was one of the most important historians of
      the time, Alexander the Great went hunting one day on Mt. Pagos and,
      afterwards, fell asleep under a plane tree, which grew in front of the
      temple of the two Nemeses, situated near this spot.

      The goddess appeared to him in a dream and told him to set up a new city
      there and to have the inhabitants of the old city of Izmir move to it.
      That is why the people of Smyrna consulted the oracle of Apollo at Claros,
      as was customary when setting up a town, to inquire if the time was
      propitious. The answer they got was this: Three or four times happy will
      those men be, who are going to inhabit Pagos beyond the sacred Mels.
      Therefore, he ordered a new city to build on Mt. Pagos. The castle offers
      a magnificent view of the Gulf of Izmir and the city below.

      Magnificent queen of ancient times: Ephesus

      Ephesus was one of the most famous cities and most important commercial
      centres of the ancient world and, today, is a highlight of any visit to
      Turkey. The city was founded on the harbour where the Kaistros (Little
      Menderes River) flows into the sea. Ephesus was also wealthy, and
      patronage supported its splendid architectural program, dedicated to the
      goddess Artemis. Her enormous temple, once considered one of the Seven
      Wonders of the Ancient World, has been rebuilt several times; its latest
      form dates from the third century B.C..

      It was located at the centre of an important commercial crossroad with
      connections to the East, and was a significant religious centre, both in
      the polytheist period and in the Christian era. Many famous historical
      figures lived in Ephesus, such as Artemidorus, who wrote an important work
      on the interpretation of dreams, poets such as Kallinos and Hipponax, the
      physicians Soranus and Rufus, the philosopher Heracletius, the painter
      Parrhesius and the grammarian Zenodotos.

      The artifacts recently found at the huyuks (mounds) at Arvalya and
      Cukurici demonstrate that the history of Ephesus dates back to 6000 B.C.,
      the Chalcolithic Period. Excavations at Ayasuluk Hill brought to light a
      settlement from the Early Bronze Age.

      Thus, ancient Ephesus was first located on Ayasuluk Hill. It was first
      settled by the Hittite and Anatolian tribes, for Ephesus is mentioned in
      Hittite cuneiform tablets under the name, Apassas. The ancient
      geographers, Strabo and Pausanias, the poet Kallinos, and the historian
      Heredotus claim that Ephesus was founded by the Amazons, and that the
      native tribes of the area were the Carians and the Lelegians. Like
      colonists elsewhere in the Mediterranean basin, Androklos and his men
      arrived in Anatolia around 1050 B.C. and settled Ephesus and its vicinity.
      Destroying the Temple of Artemis, the Cimmerians attacked this colony in
      the seventh century B.C..

      In 560 B.C., under the sovereignty of Lydia, Ephesians began to inhabit
      the area around the Temple of Artemis. The ancient city of Ephesus, whose
      ruins are visible today, was established by Lysimachos, one of the
      generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 B.C.. The city of Ephesus moved
      back to Ayasuluk Hill, the site of its earliest settlement, during the
      Byzantine period.

      The Turks conquered the city in 1304 and it became thereafter a part of
      the Ottoman territories. The city name of Ayasumuk was changed to Selcuk
      in 1914. For a period after the Turkish War of Independence, the city was
      called Akyncilar, and in 1957, Selcuk became a city within the province of
      Izmir. The ruins of Ephesus include a theatre, gymnasium, agora and baths,
      as well as the Celsus Library. Today, the Ephesus Ancient Theatre and the
      Celsus Library are used for festival concerts and artistic performances.

      The Ephesus Ancient Theatre

      The Ephesus Ancient Theatre is situated on the slope of Mt. Panayir. It
      was first built in Hellenistic times and was renovated in the 1st and 2nd
      centuries A.D.. It seated 24,000 spectators. The stage building was three
      stories and rose to a height of 18 meters. The cavea, the seating area,
      consisted of three superimposed sections. The theatre was the scene of
      gladiatorial fights during the late Roman period.

      During the early years of Christianity, St. Paul, who came to Ephesus to
      spread Christianity, wanted to address the crowd at the theatre. The
      silversmith Demetrius provoked the people against St. Paul, because he
      earned a lot of money with his Artemis statues, and they shouted all
      together, "Artemis of Ephesus is great, the greatest is Artemis." So, St.
      Paul was forced to leave Ephesus and he continued his journey to
      Macedonia.

      The Celsus Library

      The Celsus Library was erected in 135 A.D. by Julius Aquila for his
      father, Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the consul of the Asia province of the
      Roman Empire. The library, measuring 60.90 by 16.7 meters had a
      two-storey facade and a large room inside. Its facade contains examples of
      architectural elements that are among the most beautiful of the period,
      such as doors, windows, gables, niches and columns.

      A gap of one meter between the inner and outer walls of the library
      protected the books from the extremes of temperature and humidity. Four
      female statues, standing between the columns, personify the virtues of
      Celsus : Sophia (wisdom), Arete (virtue), Ennoia (intelligence), Episteme
      (knowledge). Celsus himself is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the west
      side of the library.

      The excavation area: Bayrakli

      The excavation of Bayrakli opened to the public for the first time for
      artistic performances with the Izmir State Opera and Ballet's spring
      concert. It has continued to hold various concerts, such as the 15th
      International Izmir Festival last year. The excavations at Bayrakli have
      unearthed a temple dedicated to Athena and the wall of the Ionian city
      which flourished there between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C..

      The first excavations, carried out between 1948 and 1951, were undertaken
      jointly by Ankara University and the British School of Archaeology at
      Athens, under the direction of John Cook and Ekrem Akurgal. They were
      recommended in 1966 by the latter under the auspices of the Turkish
      Historical Society, the General Directorate of Turkish Museums, the Ege
      Universities, and Ankara.

      New information was gained concerning the history of the old city of Izmir
      as a result of this joint expedition. Excavations have revealed that the
      earliest settlement in Izmir was founded in the 3rd millennium B.C.,
      present day Bayrakli, on the site where vineyards managed by the State
      Monopoly are located.


      In antiquity, the plain of Bornova was covered by the sea and the
      abovementioned city was a small peninsula on the edge of the Bay of Izmir.
      The first inhabitants of Smyrna were Lelefians and Carians and they were
      both the native peoples of Anatolia. The first inhabitants, as was
      revealed by the excavations, built their houses on the rock. Their
      settlement was a contemporary of the Troy 1 and 2 civilizations. The
      second millennium strata of Bayrakli was a contemporary of the Troy 4 and
      Hittite civilizations.

      By 1500 B.C., the city was subject to the influence of the Hittite Empire
      of Central Anatolia and two important Hittite monuments, the Tudhaliya
      relief at Kemalpasa and the relief of a mother goddess at Manisa, testify
      to this influence. In the 11th century B.C. the coastal city of Smyrna was
      inhabited by Ionians and Aelonians. The one-room building made of sun
      dried brick, which was brought to light at Bayrakly, is the best and
      oldest house of this period. The megaron, built in the 7th century B.C.
      and restored in the 6th, is a unique example of this type of house dating
      from the archaic period. The temple dating from the end of the 7th century
      B.C., which is being unearthed at Bayrakli, is the earliest and finest
      religious building of the eastern Greek world in Asia Minor (Anatolia).

      According to the inscription on a bronze bar found during the excavations,
      the temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena. The capitals and the
      column bases are the oldest and most beautiful in the Hellenistic world
      known to us at the present time. The symbol of the ancient city of Izmir
      was a lion's head. Today, in the British Museum, we can see a lion's head
      on a coin which was minted at the beginning of the 6th century B.C.. Izmir
      was one of the important cities of the Ionic Federation, and this period
      was one of the city's most brilliant.

      Izmir - Turkish Daily News
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