Forgotten sect’s secrets waiting for excavations
UŞAK - Anatolia News Agency
Clandras bridge, part of the area, is a historic work of art. Although it dates back 2,500 years ago, it is standing and waiting to be restored again. AA photos
A region that features the remains of a church from a lost Christian sect, the Montanists, could become critical in drawing faith tourists to the Aegean province of Uşak’s Karahallı district, according to officials.
Karahallı Mayor Nihat Süzek said the Montanist Church and the second-century ancient cities of Tymion and Pepuza, which were discovered by German Professor Peter Lampe and U.S. Professor William Tabbernee, were very important for Turkish tourism.
He said the region, the Phrygia of antiquity, was also home to the world’s second biggest canyon, Ulubey, adding that the region should be handled as a whole and added to Turkey’s tourist map.
Süzek said the 2,500-year-old Clandras Bridge, which is located at a point that opens up onto a region featuring ancient cities, was a significant touristic gem on its own and that restoration of the bridge would begin in 2013.
The bridge, which was built by the Lydian King Gyges between 670 and 652 B.C. as part of a royal road, was located at the narrowest point of the Ulubey Canyon, which is two kilometers long.
“The region is a kind of gate opening to the place of the Montanism sect,” Süzek said.
“Clandras is a very important historic work of art. Although it dates back 2,500 years ago, it is still standing. This bridge and the natural beauties of the region must be taken advantage of. We hope that the Culture and Tourism Ministry will work for the promotion of the bridge after its restoration. The region could be one of a significant place for faith tourism.”
Investors invited to join project
Süzek called for investors to help open the region to tourism, saying Christians were newly learning about the past presence of Montanism in the region and that the area would increase in importance with the construction of new facilities and a walking route around the Clandras Bridge.
“Excavations should begin as soon as possible at the ancient cities of Tymion and Pepuza. They are completely underground. Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay has given instructions about the issue,” he said.
Montanism is a sect that appeared in 165 A.D. and belongs to the earliest period of Christianity.
The sect was known for its focus on prophecy and the leading position of two women in the movement. Though
ultimately declared heretical and suppressed by church authorities, Montanism flourished for a period in the area.