Cult statues of ancient Claros will be restored in western Turkey

Excavations at Claros, the oldest center of prophecy in the world according to archaeological data, will continue for 12 months with the support of the presidency of the Turkish Historical Society in the district of Menderes, in the western province of Izmir. As part of the latest excavation work, the cult statues of the archaeological site will be restored with the exhumed pieces.

Claros Excavation’s scientific advisor Onur Zunal said the site will reveal important information about its period and added: “There are three important oracular centers that we know of from the ancient period. , the second is the temple of Apollo in Greece, and the third is Claros. According to archaeological studies and scientific data, Claros is the oldest of these three centers of prophecy.

The inscriptions unearthed at Claros as a result of the research also prove Zunal’s words. According to these inscriptions, many prophecies were made on this site in antiquity. Zunal gave more information about the tradition of prophecy to Claros. “The oracle communicated with the gods and asked them questions on behalf of the people. He sent the answers to the secretariat. Then the answers were written on the stones found here. Many actions like establishing a city and entering at war were made with the permission of the gods, noble and wealthy people came here for their personal problems.

Explaining that the temple of Claros, believed to have been founded in the 13th century BC, was considered the home of the gods, the counselor continued, “The greatest prophecy regarding Claros relates to the founding of Izmir . After taking over the city of Smyrna, Alexander the Great is said to have fallen asleep in the hilltop castle of Kadifekale here. In his dream, the goddesses tell Alexander to found a new city and apply to the oracle of Apollo in Claros. The city was built in accordance with the response received from here. “

Being the oldest known center of prophecy contributes to the development of religious tourism in Claros. Despite being 80 kilometers (50 miles) from downtown Izmir, Claros has intense tourism potential and hosts an average of 2,500 to 3,000 people during the summer months.

Traces in the ground

Mentioning the excavation and restoration work at the ancient site, Zunal also said that replicas of the artifacts unearthed at Claros are on display in the arkeopark area of ​​the archaeological site. “In the temples of the site, we found numerous cult statues of 13-14 meters (42-46 feet) belonging to the deity Apollo, his sister Artemis and their mother Leto. As part of the last work in Claro, we will restore these cult statues and present them to history buffs.

Replicas of the statues unearthed in Claros in the site's arkeopark, Izmir, western Turkey on June 15, 2021 (Photo DHA)
Replicas of the statues unearthed in Claros in the site’s arkeopark, Izmir, western Turkey on June 15, 2021 (Photo DHA)

Noting that they also discovered altars in the center of the temples, he said that people coming to worship during this time made various offerings to the gods, including animals, terracotta artifacts and metal finds in these places. According to Zunal, some ceremonies also took place in the prophecy center. “Sports, competitions and dance performances were organized during the ceremonies. As the ancient peoples wanted to please the gods for fear of being punished by them, they also held bloody sacrificial ceremonies. Therefore, they expected the protection of the gods by making offerings to them.

He added that they have also discovered statues honoring important people in Claros. These statues were different from the deity statues on the site. “For example, there is also a statue of honor belonging to one of the rulers of the time. Therefore, we understand that these statues were made for propaganda purposes. Through these sculptures, it was demonstrated that public support was received. “

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