‘King’s Daughter’ in Yozgat to open to tourism
YOZGAT – Anadolu AgencyThe Basilica Therma, a Roman-era bath in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat’s Sarıkaya district, known as the “King’s Daughter” among locals, is set to open to tourism within a few years once excavations have ended.
Sarıkaya Mayor Ömer Açıkel said the bath depicted the artistic and historical features of the Roman Empire.
He also said some business places were expropriated as part of the excavation works.
“After the expropriation, the bottom of the columns and a half-Olympic pool were unearthed. Inside this pool is an early Christian-era baptism stone that was used since the Roman era. Two small pools in the back side were also unearthed and the expropriations are continuing,” Açıkel added.
He said the Roman bath in Sarıkaya was a very significant item of world cultural heritage, being one of the world’s two hot geothermal waters.
Similar baths can be seen everywhere settled by the Romans, Açıkel stated. “But only two of them have geothermal water. The water inside the pool is 48-49 centigrade degrees. One of the two surviving pool structures with hot water is in Sarıkaya and the other is in Britain,” he said.
2,000-year-old source for healing
“You see the bull figure in all structures built by Romans, but in Sarıkaya’s Roman bath there is a snake figure sticking its tongue out. We found the statues of the goddesses of health and hygiene during the excavation works here, as well as a coin of the Roman emperor from 140 A.D. So we believe that it is the oldest thermal treatment center in the world. Maybe there is an older one but this is the oldest one discovered so far. We think this place was a religious center at the same time. Scholars think there are ruins of a church in the back side. There is a big baptism stone with the cross sign proving all these things indicate this place served as a religious center,” Açıkel added.
Water inside the half-Olympic pool was from an artesian well and the pool was filled with water naturally and not through a channel, he noted.
Local authorities are currently carrying out serious works to open the historical pool to tourism, as well as to promote other work with projects prepared by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Yozgat Governor’s Office, with financial support from development agencies.
“Excavations are still ongoing, which is why we are not yet taking in tourists. We do not know when the works will finish. Christians in particular want to visit this place. We are accelerating our works to bring it to tourism and I hope we will open it to visitors in the next few years,” Mayor Açıkel said.