Eskişehir Midas Yazılıkaya Archaeological Site

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It is located at the southern end of Yazılıkaya Valley, just west of Yazılıkaya Village of Han District of Eskişehir. It was founded on the Yazılıkaya Plateau, which is made up of tuff rocks. Its length is 650 meters and its width is 320 meters. The height of the valley is 60-70 m above ground level.

Research on the Mountainous Phrygian Region and Midas City began in 1800 with the discovery of the Midas Yazılıkaya monument by William Martin LEAKE and his friends. W. Ramsay was the first researcher to name Yazılıkaya as Midas City.  Between 1937 and 1939, Art Historian Albert Gabriel, Director of the Istanbul French Archeology Institute, started the first systematic archaeological excavations in Yazılıkaya together with the Dutch archaeologist C. H. Emilie Haspels.

Research and excavations show that Midas City was raised to a privileged position by the Phrygians by being equipped with many and the most monumental religious structures carved into the rocks. For the Phrygians, Gordion, the capital, was the most powerful political center of the state, and Midas City was the most important religious center from the beginning of the kingdom. According to the results of the excavations, the first settlement around the city goes back to 3 thousand years B.C. The earliest Phrygian settlement began in the last quarter of the 8th century B.C. The city was not abandoned after the political collapse of the Phrygian Kingdom, and the Phrygian rock structures continued to be used with some additions and changes in the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Periods. It is thought that the monuments and altars in the city were built between the 8th and 6th centuries B.C.

The monumental or small-scale religious monuments carved into the rocks in Midas City and Yazılıkaya Valley reflect the deep respect and devotion of the Phrygians to the Mother Goddess Matar Kubileya, who symbolizes nature with all its vitality. Although the architectural designs of these monuments, consisting of façades (facades), altars, and niches, are different from each other, they are all functionally open-air temples dedicated to the Mother Goddess Matar Kubileya culture. The facades (building facades) with triangular pediments and gable roofs represent the rock-cut facade of the Phrygian dwellings. The triangular pediment and facade are decorated with geometric and floral motifs. These facade decorations show a great similarity with the decorations in Phrygian woodwork. The most important part of this facade is the central rock niche in the form of a door, in which the goddess statue or relief is located. Thus, Phrygian people can see the Mother Goddess, whose presence they feel and dream of, behind the door opening to the depths of the rock, albeit symbolically, with the epiphany event. Altars are cult structures where prayers are made to God, sacrifices are made, and vows are made.

The round-headed, rectangular-bodied goddess idols, symbolizing the goddess, are reached by the steps in the front. The most beautiful examples of these altars are in the city of Midas. Niches are oval or rectangular shallow cavities, usually on steep faces of rocks, but at easily accessible heights. There are slots on the back walls of which a statuette or idol of the goddess is placed. There are good examples of this type of niche in Midas Yazılıkaya City.

Midas Yazılıkaya City, which was deemed worthy to be nominated for inclusion in the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, is the most valuable cultural treasure of the Mountainous Phrygian Region, with its unique monuments in the world.

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Eskişehir Midas Yazılıkaya Archaeological Site Han İlçesi Yazılıkaya Mah Yazılıkaya (MİDAS) Örenyeri
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