Midas Sehri & Yazilikaya Tourist Attractions
Central AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceThe small village of Yaziliaya or "inscribed rock" and the ancient site of Midas Sehri (Midas Town) and Midas Tomb are situated 100km/62mi south of Eskisehir at the northern foot of the Oluk Dagi (1,713m/5,618ft) in the headwaters of the Sakarya Nehri. It can be reached either from the regional centers of Çifteler or Seyitgazi in the north or Afyon and Kümbet. The region contains many interesting rock monuments from the last Phrygian period which date from the sixth century B.C. but some believe them to be even older. The houses only rarely have flat roofs but have been carved to create facades which were combined with the usual wooden constructions. The Phrygian monuments are characterized by a flat geometrical design around the edging or else cover larger surfaces like a carpet. Only rarely are figured motifs found. Frequently occupying a central position is a door which leads either to a burial chamber or to a niche where an image of a deity would be placed during devotions.
The so-called Midas' Tomb in the ancient site of Midas Sehri discovered in the 19th century is not in fact a tomb at all but a sacred site with a niche and some ancient Phrygian inscriptions which have as yet to be fully deciphered but include the name "Mida", hence the belief that the site contains Midas' tomb. The 16m/52ft wide and 17m/55ft tall facade with elaborate geometrical patterns is situated on the northwest side of the acropolis in Midas Sehri. The shrine which is dedicated to the earth and mother goddess Cybele bears the name "Mida". Her statue would be placed on a niche during ceremonies. Some 200m/215yd to the southwest stands another incomplete facade and in the east below the acropolis some more smaller tombs. On the northwest slope of the acropolis stands an impressive 10m/32ft wide and 7m/23ft tall Küçük Yazilikaya sacred monument with some splendid decorations.
The original name for this Phrygian metropolis at Yazilikaya is not known so it was named after its one-time ruler Midas. "Midas Town" dates from 1000 B.C. and the 600x200m/1975x650ft acropolis, which is linked in the north to a lower town, probably from around the seventh century B.C. The once-walled plateau contained houses and larger public buildings with sacred altars and terracotta friezes. Of special interest are the cisterns which can be reached by a number of stairways. At the summit of the acropolis stands a stone throne with a large Phrygian inscription. The local people believe it to be Midas' seat, but it was probably for a deity to be displayed during sacred devotions. On the northern side some Hittite relief carvings can be found from which it can be ascertained that the site was occupied in pre-Phrygian times. The most recent building is a third century B.C. Hellenistic shrine on the northwest side of the acropolis. A number of indications including a Latin inscription in one of the tombs point to the occupation of the site well into Roman times. It was destroyed and finally abandoned in the A.D. third century.
South of Kirka at the end of a rough track about 12km/7mi southwest of Yazilikaya lies the Caucasian village of Gökbahçe (Bahsayis or Bahsis). In a gorge behind the village school a shrine has been carved out of the rock.
The village of Cukurca (Gügürça or Burhaniye) is situated 2km/1.25mi north of Yazilikaya. Alongside a number of burial caves is a typical cave tomb in the shape of a temple with pediment and columns - what the local Turks call "gerdekkaya" (bridal chamber rock). A magnificent coffered ceiling with beams has been faithfully carved from the rock. Some 500m/540yds south of the village stands a simple 8m/26ft high pedimented Arezastis shrine with lines of inscriptions and rectangular ornaments.
In the tiny village of Kümbet 15km/9mi east of Yazilikaya stands a pedimented monument from Roman times with carved lions in front of an urn and other smaller animals. Two more shrines can also be seen close to the mosque. The one at the rear has a pointed canopy above a rock throne. The Seljuk türbe opposite, like many of the village houses, incorporates some ancient stones (old cemetery).