Turkey, Culture

Turkey: Ancient 'Sacred Road' unearthed

UNESCO-listed, 3,000-year-old path shines through history

Durmus Genc   | 09.07.2019
Turkey: Ancient 'Sacred Road' unearthed

MUGLA, Turkey

The "Sacred Road" between two ancient Greek cities in what is today western Turkey have been unearthed.

The 3,000-year-old pathway in Turkey’s Aegean Mugla province listed as tentative World Heritage site by UNESCO runs between Stratonikeia and Lagina.

The towns have remained inhabited throughout the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Turkish Republic periods.

The Northern City Gate and columns on the Sacred Road as well as the tombs in the regions were unearthed during excavations this year.

"The Sacred Road was used as a ceremonial path for the Lagina Hecate sanctuary from antiquity to the present," dig site head Bilal Sogut, who is also a lecturer in Turkey’s Pamukkale University, told Anadolu Agency.

"It is the most important sacred road that connects the political center Stratonikeia with religious center Lagina," Sogut said, adding: "In ancient times, priests from Lagina would participate in ceremonies with a girl carrying the key in front and a choir in the back, walking the Holy Road and passing through the Northern City Gate into Stratonikeia.”

Sogut said one of the highlights of the ancient city were its tombs, adding: "We want to exhibit the most important of the tombs in their original locations, to keep the burial traditions of the Sacred Road alive."

"We aim to bring the Sacred Road to the surface with the original materials of the periods and to open the area to tourism," he said.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

Turkey: Ancient 'Sacred Road' unearthed

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