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Didyma
Didymaion - Temple of Apollo
Didymaion
          The first temple to occupy this site was built about the 8th Century B.C.. The greater part of the original 'Archaic' Didymaeon was completed in the 6th century B.C. but most of this structure lies beneath the later Hellenistic structure that one sees today. It bore many similarities with the temples at Ephesus and Samos, built at about the same time. It was substantial,  a double row of columns 21by 8 surrounding a solid cella. After the Ionian rebellion the Persians, having won the battle of Lade devastated the Didymaion and Miletos.

The rebuilding of the 'Hellenistic' Didymaion that is seen today was started by Alexander the Great at the end of  the 4th century B.C. and Seleukos 1, King of Syria,  helped with the construction and brought back a cult statue of Apollo from Ekbatana. The architects were Paionios and Daphnis, the latter being the architect of the artemision in Ephesus. It was bigger than the earlier temple and almost as big as the Artemision. It was third in size in the ancient world to this and the Heraion on Samos. It was now 21 by 11 columns. Construction continued throughout the third and second centuries B.C. and was only finished in Roman times. Didymaion

Adyton or Sacred courtyard in Didymaion
Steps to chresmographeon - oracle room
Didymaion A naiskos lies within a sunken unroofed cella within the temple. Only the foundations of the naiskos remain but it was within this that the bronze statue of Apollo resided. The surrounding walls of the sekos , built towards the end of the construction were 25m in height. The pilasters of this wall were capped with a frieze of griffins  many of which still lie scattered around. It was open to the sky. At the top of the steps at the eastern end was a room where the oracle of Apollo was delivered and written. The supporting pillar on the south of this doorway is the largest monolith in antiquity. It weighs 70tons.

Medusa head portion of frieze
The busts of deities (Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, and Leto) on the two corners of the outer row of columns and the associated capitals were decorated with also with the heads of griffins and bulls. The medusa heads forming the frieze over the architrave of the outer row of columns were completed in 2nd century A.D. and are most likely to have been figured by craftsmen in Aphrodisias. Medusa head