Archaeological park opens in Izmir


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An archaeological park exhibiting exact replicas of excavated pieces opened on Monday at Klaros, the site of an important ancient Greek shrine to Apollo, in Menderes, Izmir province. 

In a speech given at the opening ceremony, Izmir Governor Cahit K?rac said Turkey and Izmir are a paradise for tourists, and that the historical artifacts left in the city by various civilizations should be viewed by the world. 

“I resent the fact that only 15 percent of the site has been excavated so far. I expect that this work will be completed as soon as possible. This project is important to our minister of culture and tourism. The Izmir Chamber of Commerce and Izmir Development Agency [IZKA] extends its full support to the Smyrna and Agora excavations. More than 210,000 archeological pieces are in storage [in Izmir]. I would like to express the need for a Museum of Aegean Civilizations,” Governor K?rac went on to say. 

Ege University Rector Candeger Y?lmaz said the park is a model project built jointly by the university and the local and national governments. Pointing out that archaeology is not as popular as it should be in Turkey, Y?lmaz said: “Archaeology is real science. It can teach the past and shape the future. It is important to exhibit archaeological finds in their original environment. I believe it is important to get tourists out of their hotel rooms and into every corner of Turkey.” 

The district governor of Menderes, Tahsin Kurtbeyoglu, said the archaeological park project was launched on July 17, 2010, and Klaros was chosen for its importance as an archaeological site. Significant improvements were made to the site, Kurtbeyoglu said, adding that exact plaster models of 13 pieces from the site will be exhibited in the park. 

Professor Nuran Sahin, who supervised the excavation, praised the Klaros Archeopark Project and noted that they have made replicas of pieces in museums and exhibited these replicas at the site.
Oracle of Claros 

Historical records show that the Oracle of Claros was founded about 1300 B.C. as a temple dedicated to Apollo, and it remained an important sacred site throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras, with the high point of its fame having been in the second century C.E. A sacred cave near the site points to the existence of a Cybele cult here in earlier periods. The first historical reference to the oracle involves Alexander the Great, who ordered the building of a new city at Smyrna based on the oracle’s interpretation of a dream. 

Located in the Ahmetbeyli Valley in modern-day Menderes, the Oracle of Claros is known as one of the oldest centers of prophecy in the world. The first excavation on the site began in 1904, and most recently excavation was resumed by a Turkish team in 2001. In 2010 a decision was made to transform the area into an archaeological park; the project was completed jointly by the Menderes District Governor’s Office, Ege University and IZKA 

Source: Todays Zaman [September 13, 2011]



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