Turkey, a very famous tourist spot, is the home of many different monuments and temples mainly dedicated to various Greek gods and goddesses and is also the home to a very well-known Greek temple known as the temple of Artemis.
From the different archaic temples known to man, there is the Temple of Artemis. This is at Ephesus, an ancient Greek city located in the western part of Asia Minor, also known as modern Turkey. This temple is also known as ‘Artemesium.’
This temple comes under one of the seven wonders from the ancient world.
Some Facts About the Temple of Artemis
1. The Temple of Artemis was dedicated to Goddess Artemis
The temple is dedicated to Artemis, who, according to Greek mythology, is a Greek goddess who was the twin sister of Apollo and a daughter to Zeus and Leto. She was known as the goddess of the moon and the hunt.
She associated with the Roman goddess Diana which led to the temple of Artemis, also known to be the temple of Diana.
2. The Temple of Artemis was Built Three Times.
i)First Version of the temple of Artemis – The first version of this temple of the Greek goddess was built during the 8th century B.C. This temple was exclusively known for its unique design and structure as it was enclosed by columns throughout.
The first Destruction of the temple of Artemis – The flood which came in destroyed the temple, and the remains was just there for almost 150 years before the reconstruction began.
ii) Second Version of the temple of Artemis – The second version was more unique because this temple was the first to be ever built with marble. This version started in 550 BC, and it took almost 10 years to complete.
This version completely overpowered the first version, especially in size, with the columns being 40 feet high in double rows. The structure of this version was 46 m wide and 115 m long. This is almost 4 times bigger than what was built of the first version.
The second Destruction of the temple of Artemis – During 356 B.C. (the 4th century), the temple was destroyed by a man named Herostratus, who set the temple on fire by lighting up the wooden roofs of the temple.
iii)Final Version of the temple of Artemis – The people weren’t ready to give up on this beautiful masterpiece and decided to fund the temple to be rebuilt in 323 B.C. The great temple rose to be even greater than the before versions, with the width being 69 m and 137 m. And the columns went up to 60 feet, and there were more than 127 columns.
3. The Final End of the Temple of Artemis
It is known that in 268 B.C., a Germanic tribe(Goths) decided to destroy the temple of Artemis by setting it to fire. The temple was not reconstructed mainly because of the cost being an issue, but it was still used till it got permanently shut down by the Christians around the fifth century.
What made the Christians close down and destroy the temple of Artemis in Turkey is unknown to date.
It is known that the remains of the temple were used to build different buildings and monuments in Istanbul, so once where there was this huge, famous temple is now just a swamp with whatever remains were left of it.
Hagia Sophia, which is a church in Istanbul, is known to have the original columns of the temple of Artemis.
4. Excavation of the Temple of Artemis
In 1869, 6 years of excavation took place under the guidance of John Turtle Wood and with the sponsorship of the British Museum of London to find the remnants.
Between 1904 and 1906, David George Hogarth excavated another excavation to find more of the remains and was then displayed at the British museum for the people to view.
The traces of the 4th century and Croesus’s temple were also seen during the excavation.
When the place where the original temple was built is visited, one can only find remains of the sculpture and a single column standing upright.
Other Interesting Facts One Can Know
- The temple of Artemis was termed as the most mesmerizing one among the other seven wonders of the ancient world as described by a Greek poet, the Antipater of Sidon, living in the second half of the second century B.C., who created the list of the seven wonders.
- When the temple was destroyed for the second time, it was on the same day as the birth of Alexander the Great.
- Alexander the great even offered to pay for the reconstruction of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, but the people there could not accept that and instead paid for it themselves, as we know.
- The original statue of Artemis was made with gold, ebony, silver, and black stone. And currently, there are copies of this statue as the original one was destroyed.
- The temple of Artemis was already prone to flooding. So, between the 8th and 6th centuries, silt was formed to raise the temple but was destroyed before the process could be completed.
- The Roman historian Pliny the Elder, a traveler in the 3rd century B.C., was the person behind the descriptions of the original temple of Artemis.
- The land and the remnants where the temple of Artemis once stood are clearly visible from the nearby church, the Basilica of St John.
There are times you come across a page and read something which makes you more curious, and you find out more and more about it. These facts are just like that, it is not something that helps you every day, but once you find out about it, it makes you eager to learn.
These are the facts that the temple of Artemis stands on and will definitely shock you and give you more knowledge, especially when visiting the amazing place because, despite the place being destroyed, it is one of the most visited places in Turkey.