Sunday, February 10, 2013



A famous Temple of Apollo that Hadrian is said to have visited only days after learning he had been named emperor is at last undergoing much-needed restoration work.

It was at Seleucia, modern-day Side in Turkey, that the body of Emperor Trajan was cremated in August 117 AD, paving the way for Hadrian to succeed him.

Hadrian, already in the east as governor of Syria at the time, was present at Trajan's cremation at Seleucia (the ashes were therafter shipped back to Rome). Though now he was there as emperor.

Seleucis on the southeast coast of Asia Minor (Turkey), was a major commercial center of 60,000 inhabitants at that time, an important olive oil hub.

Even today, it is famous for its many Trajan- and Hadrian-era monuments.

Because the 2,000 year-old Temple of Apollo is situated on the coast, its columns have been badly affected by moisture and saltwater, which is causing erosion. The columns of the temple will be strengthened as part of the project.

The general aim of the ministry in starting the project is to preserve the cultural and historic assets of the ancient city of Side, as Seleucia is now called, which has great importance as a tourist attraction in the country.

The project is being carried out by the department of archaeology of Anatolia University.

The project is being led by Assistant Professor Hüseyin Alanyalı and his wife, Assistant Professor Feriştah Alanyalı, who also launched a landscaping project last year around the restored sites in Seleucia -- the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Tyche, the Temple of Dionysus, the Temple of Athena and a basilica.

German sculptor Dietmar Frieze, who has been living in the seaside town of Side for the last 50 years, told the Turkish newspaper "Today's Zaman" that he appreciates the recent restoration project that has been launched by the ministry, saying that it was essential to conduct such a project for the temple as it was at great risk.

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