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Trekking the Phrygian Highlands (the people of King Midas) – Day 2: more tombs and Midas City

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On our second day of trekking through the Phrygian Highlands we were rewarded with bright skies and warmer weather, which made climbing to see even more tombs and ruins/rocks a lot easier.

We started with Doğal Kale, which means Hawk Castle.  We climbed through it, but it’s mostly empty rooms and broken ladders.  Not much is known, except that it’s really old and people used to live here.  The area surrounding it is absolutely breathtaking and nearly free of people.  The sun was shining, trees were budding, bees were buzzing and the birds were chirping – I didn’t want to leave!

 

 

Doğal Kale (Hawk Castle)

Doğal Kale (Hawk Castle)

 

Next up was the Ariastes Monument, which was likely a dedication and not a tomb.  It was another example of the Phrygian Monument style.  The writing around the monument probably says that it is a dedication from a priest to Mater, or the mother goddess, commonly known as Kibele.  It probably dates to the 5th century and is unfinished (look at how the work at the bottom just stops).

Ariastes Monument

Ariastes Monument

 

Going back to tombs, we stopped at late Hellenistic or Persian tomb that was likely modified by the Romans at some point.  There was original red paint in a pattern.  Like most of the historic tombs dotting the landscape, these were raided long ago, and now inside you just see crevices where the corpse and its things were.

The highlight of the trip was Midas City, which is named for a huge wall monument that shines bright over the whole valley in the morning sun.  At least that’s what I imagine, as we got there in the  afternoon.  Regardless of its natural lighting, the monument is truly impressive.  I couldn’t believe that it hasn’t been restored since the 5th century B.C.

The Midas Monument

The Midas Monument

You can see how tall it is with the person scale.

It’s called the Midas Monument because the name is mentioned on the inscription at the top, although the archaeologists thinks that it was more likely built by the conquering Persians as a way to legitimize the new ruler by appeasing their new subjects with mention of the subjects’ hero (Midas) and gods (Ates and Matar).  Matar statues were found inside but are now displayed at the Afyon museum.  Midas probably became a name for King, the way Caesar became a noun after Julius’s illustrious career.  Moreover, there were at least 2 other Phrygian King Midases.

Of course, there’s more to the city than just the wall, although spotting most of the ruins really required the archaeologist to point them out to us.  I thought we were just walking by rocks and enjoying the fresh air!

Earlier in the trip, we waited out some of the rain by visiting the Eskisehir Archaeology Museum.  Here are some of the Phrygian items that have been found:

The scenery was just amazing! Here are a few parting shots:

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the village on the way to Midas City

the village on the way to Midas City

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another old rock dwelling

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Patrick Redmon #

    Dear Sarah: As you can see, I have finally got myself a personal laptop (post retirement) and have been able to link back up with your blog (at least I hope this message posts…) I enjoyed going back through the months of updates and photos and am glad to see that you are still traveling/exploring/learning while living abroad. Keep them coming and I’ll stay in touch.

    Redbone

    April 23, 2014
    • Redbone! I love it! Well, glad you’re reading again – I was wondering what happened to you, as you’re definitely the highest commenter on this thing.
      I’ve got tons of trips that I haven’t written about yet, going all the way back to my summer road trip. Italy, France and Spain are still on the queue, as well as several other trips in and around Turkey.
      The major distraction right now is my thesis, but I hope to finish with that thing in a couple of months.
      How’s retirement?

      April 23, 2014
      • Patrick Redmon #

        Retirement is very nice. Plenty of baseball, volleyball and softball games for the past 8 months, sprinkled in with a few days of substitute teaching during the week. I know… you can probably already guess some of the challenges I have with some of the more “wayward” students, but all it all it is good stuff. Amazingly, I have more than a few schools who expend quite a bit of effort to schedule me weeks in advance. “We don’t get too many substitute teachers who can cover such a wide range of classes and never seem to have any major issues with keeping control of the students.” I’ve worked in classes ranging from 5th grade math all the way to Calculus. 4th grade social studies through AP World History – and even some English classes! I’ve done some PE/Health classes but those leave me feeling like I’m brain dead. I figured I would “check it out” for a while before I decide whether I want to teach permanently for my second career. I guess I will have to decide one way or another within the next few months. Until then, I will enjoy my relaxed lifestyle! 🙂 Good luck with the thesis and I’ll try to go back and comment on some of the old posts. Be well, be safe and I look forward to the new adventures.

        April 24, 2014

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