Klaros on way to becoming faith tourism center
İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
AA photoFindings obtained during archaeological excavations in Klaros, one of the world’s oldest oracle centers in the Menderes district of the western Turkish province of İzmir, are contributing to the development of faith tourism.
The head of the Klaros excavations, Professor Nurdan Şahin, said excavations had been continuing with intervals in Klaros since its discovery in 1907.
Şahin noted that Klaros was also one of the centers of pagan belief in the 13th century B.C.
“The center is believed to have been established in the 13th century B.C. at the time of the Mycenae civilization. After Christianity became widespread before the 4th century, Klaros became the most important center of this religion. Along with the ones in Delphi and Didyma in Greece, Klaros is one of three most important oracle centers in the world. It is known that Klaros was established upon the order of Delphi prophecy center, but nothing related to the Mycenae civilization era has been found in Greece. We found artifacts from this civilization during the latest excavations in Klaros, which revealed that Klaros was the oldest prophecy center in the world,” she said.
Şahin added that the oracle center was dedicated to Apollo, the god of prophecy.
“Representatives from delegations that governed the cities asked questions. When oracles came out of the room where they had fasted for 24 or 48 hours and where water was consistently boiling, the clergyman whispered the question in one oracle’s ear. The oracle then reentered the room, broke the fast, washed his hands and face, and asked the question to God. He later told the answer, which he received through inspiration or revelation, to the clergyman. The answers that were about cities and countries were inscribed on tablets and the tablets were erected in front of the temples,” she said.
Şahin said Klaros had many visitors until the 4th century A.D. The center was established on top of a fountain of boiling water and in the middle of an area surrounded by laurels but it lost its effect after the spread of Christianity.
She said that due to its importance in history, thousands of tourists visited Klaros every year and some people also come there for their religious beliefs, particularly from the U.S.
“There is a U.S. group called the New Apollonians and they come with their priests. They believe in Apollo’s oracles here and this place has magnetic energy. People with quantum beliefs also come here. Those visitors are mainly women, who touch the water in the temple and believe they benefit from the energy here,” Şahin said.