The Sacred Road

DIDYMA

The Sacred Road

As the starting point of the Sacred Road connecting Miletus and Didyma, the Delphinion is accepted. The road ran from the Sacret Gate of Miletus southwards in the direction of the coast to Panarmos Harbor (above Akkoy) and bending south-east from the port, reached the Didymaion. The Sacred Road is located within the boundaries of Yenihisar and it is close along the side of the asphalt road. 

In recent years, during the excavations and explorations, a portion of the Sacred Road has been revealed. However the connection of the road to the temple hasn’t been established due to certain bureaucratic obstacles.

There were statues of Branchids (priests and priestesses attached to the temple), crouching lions and sphinxes on the other side of the road. All these gave the road an impressive appearance. Sarcophagi and monumental tombs of important people were also situated along the road dispersedly. Some fragments of the statues are in the storeroom of the excavations in Didyma. 

Four of the Branchid statues are on display in the museum in Miletus, in which Hittite influence is apparent and which have been dated back to the 6th century BC. Emperor Trajan had the Sacred Road renovated in the years 100 and 101 AD. The restoration work completed in a very short time including the parts of the road that had fallen down was raised to a higher level and the other parts were repaired.

According to a milestone which was revealed during the excavations revealed that the road was 16.5 kilometers long. It is understood from the portions uncovered the width of the road changed between 5 and 7 meters which was made of stone blocks. 

There are shops, monumental tombs, baths, votive fountains and the area for the cult of the Artemis on the both sides of the road. Every spring, from Miletus the group of people join the annual celebrations and the festivities which were held in the Didymaion reached the temple after a long walk, there were therefore, resting places on the Sacred Road.

The Terrace with the Sphinx, uncovered during excavations carried out in 1985 about 4 kilometers to the south of Akköy, was a halting place built for rest purposes.

The Sacred Road