Roman temple in Mersin waits to serve tourism
MERSİN – Demirören News Agency
The Donuktaş Roman Temple, believed to have been built in the 2nd century A.D. in the Tarsus district of the southern province of Mersin, is waiting to serve tourism.
“Donuktaş Roman Temple was destroyed during a great earthquake in the 4th century A.D., and the ruins have survived,” said the Tarsus Municipality City History and Promotion Manager Nadir Durgun.
Donuktaş Roman Temple, one of the great temples of the ancient world, draws attention with its magnificent structure. Known by the locals by names such as Donuktaş and Dönüktaş, the structure resembles a large rock mass at first glance.
It is not exactly known to whom the structure, which was built using Roman concrete and is the largest temple in the region, was attributed, but is known that it started being built towards the end of the 2nd century, but according to some scientists, it was not completed.
The temple, which has attracted the attention of many researchers since the 18th century, was largely destroyed in 1836 due to the use of dynamite in the discoveries made by the French Consul Gillet.
It is reported that the 19th-century French traveler Victor Langlois used the analogy of “the Tomb of Sardanapalus” (the last king of Assyria) for the temple.
The most serious research about the temple until today was conducted between 1982 and 1992 by Istanbul University Professor Nezahat Baydur under the presidency of the Tarsus Museum. As a result of the scientific data obtained during the excavations, it was determined that the structure was a temple.
Tourist guide Azmi Erdoğan noted that the Donuktaş Roman Temple should be made a tourism site.
[HH] Serving tourism
Speaking about the temple, Durgun said: “Tarsus, which became a capital three times in history and dates back to the Neolithic Age, is also the center of various religions and beliefs. There are many temples of these religions and beliefs in Tarsus. One of them is this Roman Temple located in the Tekke district of Tarsus, which is called ‘Donuktaş’ or ‘Dönüktaş’ among the people.”
“The temple was built in the 2nd century A.D. during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Many studies were carried out about the temple until today. The most recent research was in 2012, made by German Marburg University Professor Winfried Held. In the studies it was revealed that Donuktaş Roman Temple, which is 60 meters wide and 130 meters long, was one of the largest temples in the world built in ancient times,” he added.
“On the walls of the eight-meter-high temple, there were columns, which were 2.10 meters in diameter and 20 meters in length. There was a huge roof over the temple. The temple was destroyed during a great earthquake in the 4th century A.D. and the ruins have survived until today.”