Phyrgia was an ancient civilization that ruled mainly in the west of Central Anatolia in Turkey between 1200- 700 BC. It was divided into two regions in ancient times. The area between the Red River and the Lydian region was called ”Phyrigia Megale” while the region covering the provinces of Eskişehir, Afyonkarahisar, and Kütahya was called ”Phyrigia Micra” or Phyrigian Valley. This region is an old volcanic area with tuff rock and deep valleys. Phyrigians believed that Mother Goddess Cybele lived in high places like cliffs and valleys, therefore, they built their sacred monuments in such places. As a result, the area known as Phyrigian Valley became culturally and politically more dominant. The Phrygian remains are more prominent within this region for that reason. The ancient site is on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Here are some of the most impressive Phrygian remains in Anatolia.
Yazılıkaya, meaning ”Inscribed Rock” in Turkish, is a religious rock-cut monument dedicated to King Midas of Phrygia. It is located in Eskişehir province.
The area is also known as Midas City due to the monument.
The scenery of the Midas City
Little Yazılıkaya (Unfinished Monument)
This rock-cut facade was planned but never finished due to the disproportionality of the architectural elements as researchers suggest, hence the name Unfinished Monument. It is locally known as Küçük (Little) Yazılıkaya since it was planned to be the smaller version of Yazılıkaya. It dates back to 7th or 8th century and it is 7 meters high.
It dates back to the 6th century BC. Because of the inscription of ”Areyastin” on the surface, it is known as Areyastis Monument. The word is believed to be another name for Cybele. It is the best preserved Phrygian monumental facade. The absence of the niche and the lack of decoration on the left side suggests that the monument was left unfinished. While the writings on the monument can be read, the meanings are not clear.
It is located in Seyitgazi, Eskişehir, and was built between the 3rd and 1st century BC. This tomb monument was carved into a rock and it was also used during the Roman and Byzantine periods with additional changings.
Kırkgöz Rocks (Rock of the Forty Eyes)
The tomb monument dates back to the 8th century BC and it was used during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. During the Byzantine period, a multi-storied settlement was carved in the rocks, with multiple passages, chambers, and stairways. It also draws attention for the human face silhouette that can be seen from the side.
Aslankaya (Lion’s Rock)
The monument is dedicated to Cybele as well and is located in Afyonkarahisar and dates back to the 6th century BC. In the gables, there are two reliefs that might be sphinx. Although researchers suggest that they might also be lions or griffins. The facade is carved with geometrical patterns, and there is a small niche in the middle that is surrounded by two lion figures and it is used to house Cybele’s statue. As she was associated with them, Cybele was usually accompanied by lions in her representations.
Unfortunately, the right side of the monument, part of a niche, and the relief of the mother goddess were damaged by an explosion in 1993. In 1994, the Cybele statue in the niche was destroyed. The monument suffered more damage from the treasure hunters than from the harsh weather conditions.
The fortress was built in the 7th or 8th century. It resembles a typical Byzantine castle but it is believed that the site was already in use during the Phrygian period to guard the valley.