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Temple of Zeus at ancient Latmos gets protection

Environmental campaigners are celebrating after an ancient temple on Mount Beşparmak (Latmos) in western Turkey was taken under protection, while noting that more needs to be done to save the area as a whole.

Temple of Zeus at ancient Latmos gets protection
Mount Latmos: Altar of Zeus Agoraios. This altar built between 4th-5th AD – is situated 
north west to the Heroon. Made of white marble, and the base is ca. 9 m. deep, 
and ca. 5.5 m. width. Constructed between the fifth to the fourth century BC 
[Credit: Diadrastika]
The holy temple at the ancient site of Latmos in Turkey’s Aydın province was recently registered by the Aydın Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board and officials from the Aydın Archaeology Museum.

Association of Nature Lovers and the Protection of Ecosystems (EKODOSD) head Bahattin Sürücü expressed his happiness with the decision while saying Latmos should be protected as a whole.

“One of the most impressive places in Latmos is the field of the holy temple of Dikilitaş. It is in a place in which life continued until 6,000 B.C. It is a field in which one can travel through history among historical artifacts. Recently, the field of Dikilitaş was set alight by people who have not been captured. As a result of the works carried out by the officials of the Aydın Archaeology Museum and the Aydın Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board, the holy temple, dedicated to Zeus Agoraios, was registered. The board also filed a suit against those who set the fire. It was reported that the color changes in the temple after the fire would be examined by stone experts of the Culture and Tourism Ministry Restoration and Conservation Directorate and that the necessary works would be done,” he said.

Latmos is one of the most important places in Turkey to enter the UNESCO world heritage list and one of the most sensitive places in the region in terms of nature and history, Sürücü said.

Despite the progress in protection, the area has not yet been designated as a natural park area, he said.

In addition to the holy temple, Latmos is also known for rock paintings that date back to the Neolithic era, but the early works of art have come under threat from the opening of rock quarries in the area, according to Professor Havva İşkan Işık, an archaeologist.

Rock paintings being registered

“The registration of Bağarcık region, which is home to very significant findings, Stylos Monastery and many other pre-historic rock paintings have been finished,” Sürücü said.

“A new settlement was found during work [by cultural authorities in Muğla and Aydın]. The Muğla preservation board and museum officials made the map application of all cultural assets. All urgent works have been finished. The areas of the prehistoric paintings, rock frescoes, ancient road, remains of a chapel and church were registered,” he said.

Sürücü said it was essential that the different preservation boards work together in unison for the protection of Latmos. “These works will create a protection shield, and they are being conducted under very hard circumstances. The Forestry Ministry and the Environment Ministry should contribute to the works.”

German archaeologist Anneliese Peshlow-Bindokat discovered the rock paintings in Latmos in 1949. They are considered the most important prehistoric archaeological findings discovered in recent years in Anatolia and date back to the late Neolithic Age and the Chalcolithic Age.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [March 22, 2016]

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