Holidaymakers staying at CLC Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort have a lovely day-trip option, just an hour or so away, to the delightful seaside town of Didim.
With a pretty beach sheltered by sloping, pine-clad hills, Didim is a quiet, peaceful place in which to spend a day on the sand, without the hustle and bustle normally associated with the beaches near to Kusadasi.
However, culture vultures can also get more than a little excited about a visit to Didim, as it is also the home of one of Turkey’s foremost antiquities – the ancient Temple of Apollo – which is an oracle second only to Delphi in terms of its historical and archaeological importance.
Didim – or Didyma as it is sometimes known – means ‘twin’, and the name is widely considered to have its derivation from the birth of Apollo and his sister Artemis, whose father was Zeus, the greatest of all the Greek gods.
Archaeologists believe that building work on the temple started as early as 300BC and was not concluded for some 500 years. Not too surprising, as the massive temple – easily the third largest in all of ancient Greece – had 122 impressive columns holding up the enormous roof that covered the central space. Only two of these giant columns have been able to withstand the test of time and they can still be seen from miles around.
Oracular predictions were made at the temple on behalf of King Croesus as well as Alexander The Great and other notable leaders, while some early Christian records attest that St Paul preached sermons in the temple grounds. In 101AD, the building was linked to the Temple of Artemis, in nearby Miletus, by a stone road known as The Sacred Way, built by the Emperor Trajan.
The passage of time has ravaged the wonderful temple, which was ruined and ransacked by the Persian king, Xerxes, in 480 BC and was then partially rebuilt by Alexander the Great upon his conquest of the Persians. Sadly, the work was never finished and what was left of the original edifice was to be hit on an all too regular basis by the region’s fearsome earthquakes.
The Temple of Apollo may be in ruins, yet it retains much of its original aura and prevails as an awesome example of Turkey’s rich and ancient culture. It is easy to reach from Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort – just 57km by car or you can join one of the regular excursions, which can be booked via Reception.