Visiting the Temple of Apollo in Didim – Turkey

posted in: Aegean Coast, History 6

The Temple of Apollo in Didim is a major Aegean landmark for surrounding touristic resorts. The temple receives thousands of travellers and tourists every year, and in historical times was referred to as Didyma. Even today, signs of Greek history are everywhere.

Temple of Apollo Didyma Altinkum

This is not the only Apollo Temple. There are four ruined temples dedicated to Apollo in Greece, three in Italy and five in Turkey. I saw the temple in Side in Mediterranean Turkey about six years ago and, to be honest, ended up in a nearby bar admiring their artwork.

Temple of Apollo Didyma Turkey

The Temple of Apollo in Didim

The Didyma Apollo temple dates from Ancient Greek times and marks the entrance to the resort. You don’t need a full day to explore but visit early morning or evening when temperatures are lower. Didyma Temple pales in comparison if you have already seen the Greek-Roman Ephesus city ruins in Selcuk; however, it still has a certain charm.

Temple of Apollo Didyma

Excavation work on Apollo Temple in Didyma first started in 1904. Historians say that before Ionians ruled the area, the temple was a cult worshipping oracle centre to sacrifice animals. Connected to Miletus ancient city via a long-paved road known as the sacred route, construction of Didyma temple was never finished. Some historians say if it had been, Apollo Temple would have rivalled the Delhi in Greece.

Temple of Apollo Didim Altinkum

Over time, the area fell under the rule of the Persians, then Alexander the Great, and he attempted to finish building the Didyma Apollo temple. Eventually, by 385 A.D, no one worshipped the gods anymore, and when Christianity came to the area, locals built a church within the boundary walls.

Head of Medusa

Do not forget to take a picture of the famous head of Medusa that is the Apollo temple’s mascot. After walking around the temple, head across to the souvenir shops situated around the entrance to pick up worthy and tacky souvenirs for people back home. There are also three places serving a wide range of local and international cuisine or head into the Didim resort for more exploration.

Column at Temple of Apollo

I recommend exploring in the late afternoon, then sit on a restaurant terrace to watch the sunset. Alternatively, if you do not come to Didim in Turkey, head to the British history museum, where some temples and column heads from the Apollo temple are on show.

Temple of Apollo

Also Read

Priene Remains: You can visit the temple of Apollo on your own, but many tour agencies located through Didim sell a trio tour of Aegean Turkey. That travel tour includes the Priene ruins, which are a must-visit city.

Miletus: The Didim tour also includes a visit to Milieus, an important sea trading port in its prime. Visited by Alexander the great, the theatre stands out.

Temple of Apollo Altinkum

Follow Natalie:
Hi. I'm Natalie, a freelance travel blogger and writer specializing in the country of Turkey. I love hot summer days, historical sites and coffee.

6 Responses

  1. Irene B.
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    I actually went to Didim for the first time last summer……my husband’s sister bought a condo there to stay during summer out of the ‘hot’ Izmir City….it was a 3 min. car ride to the Apollo temple from her condo….they said you could walk but ‘uh no’ not in that heat……..I have to go back again…because it was so hot….and everybody just wanted to sit under a tree on the bench with that iron man and drink ice cold water…but the ruins were amazing.

  2. Some great light in these photos.

  3. Hendro Liu
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    I know.it took me about 2-3 hours to reach Didyma but it was worth the ride.i love Turkey and will be back again next year.

  4. Deb
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    I really want to come back and explore more of Turkey. The temple of Apollo looks amazing. We were in Greece for the first time this year and loved visiting the ruins, now it’s time to expand and see more!

  5. I was here in June 2015. I rent a scooter from Selcuk and went all the way to Miletus and Didim. Too bad i missed the Sacred Way.

  6. Nice write up, reminded me of the Roman Forums I recently saw 2 weeks ago. These ruins are amazing.