‘Ephesus of the Med’ in Kibyra to open to visitors
BURDUR – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe ancient city of Kibyra in the southern province of Burdur’s Gölhisar district will be opened to visitors next year.
The ancient city, dubbed by some as the “Ephesus of the Mediterranean,” will be opened next year as part of a project by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums.
“We walked around this place when we started the excavations. After we found out a little bit about the place, we said ‘this place will be the Ephesus of the Mediterranean,’” said the head of the Kibyra excavations, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University (MAKÜ) Archaeology Department lecturer Şükrü Özüdoğru.
“Kibyra has not contradicted us at this point. I can say that the second Ephesus has been born with the resulting works. Many of the monumental buildings have survived intact,” he added.
Teams started the excavations under the leadership of the Directorate of Bursa Archaeology Museum in 2006, said Özüdoğru, adding that they had been conducting excavations since 2010 on behalf of the Culture Ministry.
Stating that the ancient city was located in a difficult and large place in terms of excavation technique, Özüdoğru said their primary goals were to unearth the monumental structures of the Roman Empire and keep them for future generations in an appropriate fashion.
“The city had a monumental stadium that could house a thousand people. When we found it, the entire area was under the surface. It could be seen partially. We finished the excavations in the stadium and made it ready for restoration. We sent the information to our ministry for the preparation of surveying and a restoration project,” Özüdoğru said.
Known for Medusa
Özüdoğru said the ancient city’s odeon, a rectangular and roofed place where concerts were given, poems were read and plays were performed in ancient Greece, had been the most monumental building covered with a roof in the ancient period.
“There is a similar sort of building known as the Herodes Atticus Odeon in Athens. In the odeon of Kibyra, a Medusa installation made with colorful marbles was found. I can say that Kibyra made its name heard with this structure,” he said.
“It was good luck for us that the odeon has survived in this condition. Hopefully as excavations continue, Kibyra will be in a much better place in terms of tourism and science in the next five to 10 years,” he said.
Özüdoğru said a monumental Roman bath had also been found previously in Kibyra.
“In the agora, we have also uncovered a 115-meter-long street where Roman and Byzantine shops were located,” he said.
Özüdoğru said the ancient city was now in a condition that would allow visitors to easily travel around.
Open to tourism next year
Özüdoğru said the Culture and Tourism Ministry and General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums had given them the go-ahead to allow visitors into the site in the near future.
With this project, Kibyra will gain the status of “reorganized ambulatory archaeological site” Özüdoğru said.
“With the project, which is set to be finished next year, there will be a reception center for tours, a parking lot and small shopping structures at the entrance of the district. There will be halls in which we can show our visitors the three-dimensional model of the ancient city. Walking trails, terraces and visitor information boards will be at the service of visitors.”