Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

View of the front of the Temple of Apollo - looking southwest.

The temple is built on a platform of seven "levels" - technically, an 11 ft. [3.5 m] high crepidoma.  Because the rise of each of these levels was too great for a normal approach, a series of 14 steps was constructed on the northeastern side of the temple (visible in the left portion of the image).

Clearly visible in the image is the "forest" of columns that surround the temple.  There actually was a double row of columns surrounding the whole temple!  On the long sides, there were 21 columns in each row, and on the narrow side there were 10 in each row.  There were 12 additional columns at the entrance to the temple.  All totaled, there were 120 massive columns on the exterior of this structure!

Didyma was the site of the world-famous oracle of Apollo (compare Delphi! in Greece). The oldest temple at Didyma was completed about 560 B.C. but destroyed in 494 B.C. by Darius I, the Persian. About 300 B.C. Seleucus I Nicator began building the well-preserved Hellenistic Temple that still stands today. For the next 500(!) years it was under construction. It went out of use during the fourth century A.D. as Christianity grew stronger in this region.

People from all over the world would come to Didyma to consult the prophetess here. In addition, every fourth year a festival — including music, oratory, drama, and athletic events — was held here. Technically, Didyma was not a city, but a religious site.