Village sits atop ancient Hellenistic city
Forty residents of the Hisar village in the Aegean province of Denizli’s Sarayköy district live in what was once the ancient Hellenistic city of Attouda.
“On top of Hisar, a new generation lives. Beneath Hisar, there are traces of ancient people. We have a village under our village,” said Aşkın Şen, the 55-year-old muhtar (head) of the village.
“There are caves everywhere and ancient stones behind the mosque. But they are not sufficient for the tourists. They ask for a museum, but we don’t have one,” added the muhtar, stressing that they hope an archeological excavation is done to boost tourism in the village
Attouda, built in the Hellenistic period, was a border city of Phrygia and Caria region. Having been a boomtown in the Kingdom of Pergamon, life in Attouda continued until the 6th century.
Declared as an archeological site, an official decision was made in 2010 to move its residents elsewhere to protect the habitat.
Some 327 locals moved, but 40 people, mostly pensioners, chose to stay.
The 80-year-old Mustafa Ören is one them. “It is great to live amongst an ancient city,” he said.
Another local, İsmail Pala, however, complained about the lack of knowledge on the village’s history.
“If we were told about the value of the ancient city before, we would have protected it better,” said the 63-year-old Pala.