It is located at the southern end of Yazılıkaya Valley, just west of Yazılıkaya village. It was built on a plateau, which consists of high and steep tuff rocks. The four fortresses, Akpara Kale, Pişmiş Kale, Gökgöz Kale and Kocabaş Kale, which are located at northern and eastern hills, protect the Phrygian settlement by controlling the roads reaching the valley from the east and north. The Midas City plateau is about 650 m long and 320 m wide. The height from the ground level of the valley is about 6070 m. The plateau is surrounded by rocks like a natural wall. In the Phrygian period, it is suspected that there were walls on top and between the gaps of the rocks that surrounded plateau, but today there are almost no remnants of the walls. The main entrance of the city is in the east direction. The ramped road that ascends the plateau is carved on the bedrock and is referred to as King's Road. There are some reliefs carved on rock walls alongside the road. The most important structures on the plateau are the monumental rock-cut stepped altars, two rock tunnels covered with vaults, and cisterns carved into the rock on the lower terrace in the southwest direction. In the steep volcanic rocks surrounding the settlement, there are many chamber tombs and cult structures consisting of monumental scale façades, stepped altars, and niches. The settlement had been upgraded to a privileged location in Phrygia, equipped with religious monuments, many of which are the largest of their counterparts in the region. This shows that Midas City was almost a religious metropolis of the region and was a sacred location. For the Phrygians, the capital city Gordion was the most powerful political center of the state, and Midas City was probably the most important cultic center. After the political collapse of the kingdom, Midas City was not abandoned, and Phrygian rock structures continued to be used with some additions and changes during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Click on the pictures for larger images.
|Midas Monument (Yazılıkaya)|
It is the most magnificent example of Phrygian rock façades. The monument is located on the rock mass protruding forward on the northeastern slope of the Midas City plateau. It was first examined by W. M. Leake and a sketchy drawing was made. In 1834, Texier drew a more detailed and realistic engraving.|
It was named due to the word 'Midai' in the Old‑Phrygian inscription on the upper left part of the monument. Local people named the monument as Yazılıkaya ('inscribed rock'). The east-facing monument is 17 m high and 16.5 m wide. Its height from the ground is 1.20-1.80 m. The top akroterion consists of two circular pieces. The pediment and façade wall has rich decorations consisting of geometric motifs. In the center of the monument, there is a large niche symbolizing the door. This is the most sacred part in which the statue of goddess Matar was placed during religious ceremonies.
There are Old Phrygian inscriptions (M-01) on the monument. The first inscription (M-01a) is engraved on the upper left part. The name of king Midas is read here. The second inscription (M-01b) is on the right side of the frame of the monument. Apart from these two inscriptions, there are some barely visible graffiti like inscriptions (M-01c, M-01d, and M-01e) near the second frame surrounding the niche and at the lower part of the decoration to the right of the niche. The graffiti probably postdate the monument; the mother goddess 'Matar' can be read among them. Another inscription (M-01f) is located on a separate niche built on the rock wall on the left side of the façade.
In the excavations carried out in front of the monument, a courtyard with a northward slope, a flat floor of a columned gallery (a stoa) carved into the bedrock to the south, and 4 column bases were unearthed. The gallery extending in the east-west direction is bordered by the large niche which includes the inscription mentioned above. Although different views have been put forward on the details of these building remains, all researchers agree that there was a large open-air cult complex here.
The middle part of the akroterion has been destroyed. A repair work was carried out in 2015 in order to prevent damage caused by a crack on the rock. The walls and floor of the niche section were also highly damaged due to the destruction by treasure hunters.
The monument is estimated to date to the second quarter of the 6th century BCE.
|The Unfinished Monument|
It is located on the western slopes of the Midas City plateau, about 200 m southwest of the Midas Monument. According to the researchers, the façade was left unfinished due to the disproportionality of the architectural elements. Thus, it is called Unfinished Monument. The locals call it Küçük Yazılıkaya (Small Yazılıkaya). It is 7 m high and 10 m wide. The upper rafters are decorated with rows of lozenges. On each side of the king post are rectangular shapes surrounded by plain frames in high relief. The tie-beam has a frieze of lotus buds and palmettes, although highly weathered. The akroterion and moldings are in relatively better condition. It is estimated to have been built around 550 BCE.|
It is located 50 m south of the ancient road leading to the plateau on the eastern side. Haspels named it the Hyacinth Monument, because of its naturalistic floral akroterion. It is the only monument among all known façades that has such an akroterion. During the excavations made in 1938, a high platform in front of the façade, a two-stage bench to the right, and some pits on the flattened rock floor below have been unearthed. Since the front of the monument is filled with dirt and debris again, only the façade and platform can be seen today. The monument is highly weathered and eroded. Most of the pediment and the side frames are broken. The akroterion and the decorations in the right frame, which can be clearly seen in the old photographs, are hardly visible today. The rectangular niche covers the entire façade between the side walls. Unlike any other example, the interior of the façade is decorated like a checkerboard with carved squares and crosses. It is believed that the hollows on the ceiling and floor of the niche were used to attach a goddess statue. It is estimated that this monument was built in the second quarter of the 6th century BCE, at a later date than the Midas Monument.|
It is located about 100 m south of the Hyacinth Monument on the eastern slope of the Midas City plateau. It is a small façade approximately 2 m high. Especially the right side and the bottom of the façade wall are very worn. There is a Roman period arched tomb carved into the lower right side of the same rock.|
It is located 2 m below the Unfinished Monument and was built on the south face of the rock. The upper left part does not exist anymore. Only the right half of the wing shaped akroterion is visible. The principle rafters and the tie-beam are decorated with rows of lozenges. The façade wall appears to be left undecorated. The niche was built not on the usual lower part of the façade, but on a spot close to the roof. For its date, D. Berndt suggests that the monument was built earlier than the Unfinished Monument. The left wing and a third of the gable were chipped or smoothed most probably when the materials were pulled up to work on the Unfinished Monument or chipped fragments were lowered.|
|The Broken Monument|
It is located approximately 160 m south of the Hyacinth Monument on the southeastern slopes of the Midas City plateau. Almost the entire monument is missing. Only some traces of the principal rafters, king post, and akroterion are visible. Some researchers suggest that the monument was not finished. There is a two-word Old Phrygian inscription (M-05) written from right to left above the gable field. It has been dated to the first half of the 6th century BCE.|
|A1 (Berndt-Ersöz No:80; Tamsü Kat.No: 1; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:1)|
It is located 100 m south of the Unfinished Monument, on the northwest end of the plateau. A double idol was engraved on one side of a relatively small rock outcrop. It might date to a time before the 6th century BCE.|
|A2 (Berndt-Ersöz No:81-82-83; Tamsü Kat.No:2; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:2)|
The monument is located on the northwest end of the plateau, about 100 m south of the Unfinished Monument, on the edge of the slope. It has a rectangular niche and a single step. Inside the niche, there is a single idol relief with a round head and a square body, about 14 cm in height. There are two other reliefs on both sides of the niche, each measuring about 15x7 cm. There are also two rock idols on the same rock to the left and right (Berndt-Ersöz describes this monument as 3 separate idols.)|
|A3 (Berndt-Ersöz No:84; Tamsü Kat.No:3; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:3)|
It is located 20 m northeast of the monument A2 on the northwestern end of the plateau. There is one idol with five steps. Unlike other monuments, the steps reaching the idol are on the right side, not in front. There are three bosses (hemispherical reliefs) on the left side of the platform. These are positioned to form the corners of a triangle. Some researchers suggest that this symbolism may have something to do with cult of the mother goddess. On the lower side of the monument, behind a 2 m-wide leveled platform is a small rectangular niche. The position of the niche is slightly angled with the idol.|
|A4 (Berndt-Ersöz No:85; Tamsü Kat.No:5; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:13)|
It is located 5.5 m south of the Unfinished Monument. It has four highly eroded steps, left part of which has almost completely disappeared. At the back of the top step, there is a rectangular hole which may have served as a socket for an item. The rock surrounding the socket has been levelled into a small platform. Dated to earlier than 550 BCE.|
|A5 (Berndt-Ersöz No:86-87; Tamsü Kat.No:4; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:4)|
It is situated on the rocks over the Unfinished Monument. It has double idols and a single step which may also be called a platform. The idols have a round head and a rectangular body. In the flattened slope area in front, there is a trio of bosses, a feature also seen at Altars A3, A11, and A25. There is a group of four idols on the right front side of the step/platform. They are lined up side by side. Three of the idols have round heads and rectangular bodies. The leftmost figure is in the form of a stylized idol, perhaps left unfinished.|
|A7 (Berndt-Ersöz No:88)|
This is a 13 cm high stylized idol in the shape of a semicircular disc. It is on top of a protruding rock among the rocks bordering the western edge of the plateau. According to Berndt-Ersöz, it was a stepped monument but the highly-weathered four 'steps' appear more like marked ridges. |
|A8 (Berndt-Ersöz No:89)|
It is located on the east side of the plateau, to the west of the rock stairs. It is the leftmost of the group of 4 monuments (Altars 8, 9, 10, and 11). It has a single step. About 2 m to the left of this monument, there are three cup holes, which may have served for ritualistic libation purposes.|
|A9 (Berndt-Ersöz No:90)|
It is located a few meters away on the right side of the Altar 8. It is carved on rocks at the edge of the slope. The platform just in front of it seems to be natural. Five projecting semicircular-shaped discs cut next to each other are lined up at the upper part with irregular distances between them.|
|A10 (Berndt-Ersöz No:91; Tamsü Kat.No:6; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:5)|
It is located on the right side of the Altar 9, just under the edge of the slope. It has two steps.|
|A11 (Berndt-Ersöz No:92; Tamsü Kat.No:7; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:6)|
This single-step monument is located on the right side of Altar 10, just under the edge of the slope. There is a triple boss feature (see Altars 3, 5, and 25) on the lower right side of the monument. To the north of these signs, there are some cuts in the rock just before the steep rock slope. These may be traces of another altar.|
|A14 & A15 (Berndt-Ersöz No:95 & 96; Tamsü Kat.No:8 & 9; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:7)|
The Altar 14 lies to the northeast of the plateau, about 50 m southwest of the Midas Monument. It has a single step that forms a platform in front of the double idols. There is no visible line separating the idol bodies. They probably share a single body. There is a two-line Old Phrygian inscription (M‑06).|
The Altar 15 is located on the right side of the Altar 14. The 46 cm high semi-circular stylized idol is supported by smaller quarter circles on both sides. In front of the idol, there is a 0.5 m wide single step which forms a platform.
D. Berndt and Berndt-Ersöz mention two additional small monuments (single idols) near Altar 14. (A12 and A13 on the map, D. Berndt p.34, Berndt-Ersöz No:93 and No:94)
|A16 (Berndt-Ersöz No:97; D. Berndt p.62)|
It is a small idol at the top of a rather large outcrop at the north of the Kırkgöz Rocks. The upper part of the rock is cut in a cylindrical shape. The semi circular stylized idol is barely visible at the east face of this part. Just below the idol is a later panel with a Greek inscription, probably dating to the Roman period. Next to the panel is the entrance to a Roman chamber tomb, today occupied by the villagers.|
|A17 - A18 - A19 (Berndt-Ersöz No:98-99; Tamsü Kat.No:10-11-12; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:18-19)|
The altars 17, 18 and 19 are situated on the same rock, about 200 m north of the Midas Monument. The leftmost one, Altar 17, has 8 steps. The top two steps are well-preserved, while the others have only traces left. The height of the round topped stylized idol is about 80 cm. Berndt-Ersöz notes that the traces of the heads of two idols are still visible.|
The altar 18 is located 2.5 m below the monument 17 and has a stylized idol with a single step. The upper part of the idol has been destroyed. The surviving part is about 20 cm high. The front step is arranged as a wide platform.
The altar 19 is situated about 9 m to the right of the monuments 17 and 18 on the same rock block. The upper part of the altar is broken but as seen in the picture taken by Haspels before 1960, there once was a double idol figure. All three steps of the altar are also somewhat eroded. At the top step, there are armrest like protrusions on both sides.
D. Berndt and Berndt-Ersöz mention about another small idol close to Kırkgöz rocks. (A16 on the map, D. Berndt p.62, Berndt-Ersöz No:97)
|A20 (Berndt-Ersöz No:62; Tamsü Kat.No:13; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:8)|
It is located on top of the rock outcrops bordering the plateau at the northeast, 70 m southeast of the Midas Monument. It consists of a single idol and a platform in front of it. The idol is about 50 cm high, with a round head and a rectangular body. At the lower left part of the idol, there is a square shaped pit which goes deeper than the platform. Although the monument was first published and catalogued by T. Tüfekçi-Sivas, it was named 'Veysel-Idol' by D. Berndt after Veysel Gündoğdu, the longtime guard and guide of Midas City, who was the first to find it. According to D. Berndt, it is the most impressive idol in Midas City with its simplicity and plainness. It might date to the first half of the 6th century BCE.|
|A21 (Berndt-Ersöz No:63)|
It is a single idol on the northeast slope of the plateau, on the same rock with the Pyramid Tomb. It is 76 cm tall and carved on the rock a few meters above the ground level. In front of it, there is a platform about 1.25 m below.|
|A22 (Berndt-Ersöz No:64; Tamsü Kat.No:14; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:9)|
It is at the eastern end of the plateau, just above the steep road leading from the east to the plateau. It has a stylized idol and three steps. The rock at the top of the curve is flattened and turned into a platform. About 2.2 m to the left of this monument, there is a single idol on the same rock (A23). Dated to Early Phrygian Period.|
|A23 (Berndt-Ersöz No:65)|
It is a single idol located a few meters to the left of the Altar 22. The part of the left shoulder is broken. On the left side the outline continues at a 90 degree angle, perhaps indicating an arm, and on the right side the outline continues in a diagonal descending line, perhaps indicating a slightly raised arm. With a flat platform in front, it looks like a seated human figure. Thus, Ramsay and Haspels have described this relief as the 'sitting woman figure'. Tüfekçi-Sivas, on the other hand, regarded it as an altar with single idol. A date in Early to Middle Phrygian Period has been suggested.|
|A24 (Berndt-Ersöz No:66)|
It is a single idol located on one of the rocks under the slopes on the east side of the plateau. Idol has a rectangular body with slightly sloping shoulders. Immediately below the idol is a rock-cut shelf or step, about same width as the idol. Below the step is a roughly cut small platform of the same width as the idol.|
|A25 (Berndt-Ersöz No:67; Tamsü Kat.No:15; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:14)|
It is at the northeast of the eastern entrance of the plateau. There are 4 steps but no idol. Behind the top step, there is a rock-cut depression, like a seat. To the left of the steps, the rock block was cut to the lowest level of steps and a high platform was created. The rock surface in front of the steps has also been flattened. The triangular arrangement of hemispherical boss trio seen in the monuments A3, A5, A11 is also present here (one of the bosses is partially damaged). A date in Early to Middle Phrygian Period has been suggested.|
|A26 (Berndt-Ersöz No:68; Tamsü Kat.No:17; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:15)|
It is located at the top of the ramp road leading to the plateau from the east direction, almost next to the rock relief no 1. It has 3 steps, but no idol. The first step that surrounds the altar in three directions is the base of the monument. A rectangular depression is carved in the middle of the third step. To the left of it, there are three circular cup-marks arranged as an equilateral triangle.|
|A27 (Berndt-Ersöz No:69; Tamsü Kat.No:18; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:16)|
It is located in the excavation area on the eastern skirt of the plateau, south of the ramp road leading to the top, about 15 m north of the Hyacinth Monument. It has 5 steps. The top step is arranged as a wide platform. In the middle of this platform, there is a small niche with a curved top. A wide panel was obtained by leveling the vertical rock surface around the niche. Above that surface is engraved a single line Old Phrygian inscription (M‑03).|
|A28 (The Throne Monument) (Berndt-Ersöz No:70; Tamsü Kat.No:16; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:10)|
It is located on the highest part of the Midas City plateau, 30 m west of the east ramp. It is the largest Phrygian altar and much better preserved than others. The monolith rock mass was carved and turned into a three dimensional altar. There are twin idols and three steps. Round headed idols share the same body. The double-line embossing tape that surround the contour and curve outwards on both sides of the heads represent the curls of hair. On the flat extension on the left side of the idols is a Old Phrygian inscription (M‑04). It may date to around 600 BCE.|
|A29 (Berndt-Ersöz No:71-72; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:17)|
It is an idol group located on the rock wall on the eastern slope of the plateau, 15 m northeast of the Façade 1 monument. The idols, which are 25 cm long, are single idols on the left and twin idols on the right. Right above the twin idols, there is a small niche with an arched top, about 35 cm in height. Probably dates to the 6th century BCE.|
|A30 (Berndt-Ersöz No:73)|
It is among the rocks on the steep slope south of the plateau, about 15 m southeast of the monument A31. There is a rather small stylized idol with a height of 15 cm and a single step. Berndt-Ersöz notes that there might have been a defensive wall around the natural looking steep rock on which the monument was located.|
|A31 (Berndt-Ersöz No:74; Tamsü Kat.No:19)|
It is located 15 m northwest of the monument A30 on the steep slope south of the plateau. It has a stylized idol and one step. The platform in front of the idol descends with a step towards both sides. Dietrich Berndt calls it as 'Fox Idol' since Veysel Gündoğdu, the guard, discovered the altar in the winter of 1997 while chasing a fox in the snow below the Kale. There is a small niche with an arched top about 2 m west of this altar. The monument is well preserved.|
|A32 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 76; Tamsü Kat.No:25; Tüfekçi-Sivas No: 12)|
It lies on the southwestern side of the plateau. It has four steps and a platform at the top. The rectangular platform and the left side of the steps have been destroyed. There is a single semi-cylindrical boss situated at ground level at the south corner of the monument.|
|A33 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 77; Tamsü Kat.No:24; Tüfekçi-Sivas No: 11)|
It is located about 10 m east-southeast of Altar 32, on the southwestern side of the plateau. It has three steps. The first step forms the base. There are two other pedestals in the middle of the second and third steps. A platform was created by leveling the upper part of the altar. There are three rectangular shaped libation pits(?) on this platform. Tüfekçi-Sivas notes that the pedestal on the third step may be the remnant of a destroyed idol. Another rectangular pit in the left corner of the first step might have been built in the later (Hellenistic and Roman) periods, per Berndt-Ersöz. She suggests a date around 800 BCE or later, making it one of the oldest monuments in Midas City.|
|Niche 1 (D.Berndt No:10; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:1)|
It is on the western slope of the plateau, about 80 m south of the Unfinished Monument. It is a large niche (1.45 m x 1.55 x 0.20). Upper part is arch-shaped. The hole in the back wall is most probably used to keep a statue or idol of god/goddess. Above it, there are four small square holes arranged in a horizontal line. There are also two big holes carved above them up near the arch. There is no scholarly agreement whether this niche belongs to the Phrygian period or not.|
|Niche 2 (D.Berndt No:37)|
It is carved on the rocks on the slope, about 30 meters west of Hayvankaya. It is a rather small semicircular niche.|
|Niche 3 (D.Berndt Fig:111; Berndt-Ersöz No:36; Tüfekçi-Sivas No:2)|
It is located approximately 200 m northeast of the Midas Monument, near the Kırkgöz Rock, and to the east of the Monument 17. The upper part of the niche has eroded and disappeared. Only the base and partly the sidewalls remain.|
|Niche 4 (D.Berndt No:74)|
It is on the left side of the Hyacinth Monument, about 2 m above the ground level. It is a circular niche with 30 cm diameter and 32 cm depth, which is not noticeable among the shrubs. The upper part is engraved by carving a simple frame in the form of a semicircle.|
It is on the western slope of the plateau. There is a dromos entrance carved into the bedrock in the form of a well. It was discovered in 1970 after a landslide. The base of the dromos is reached with five rock steps. The chamber has a square gate. This tomb chamber is one of the best examples reflecting the fact that Phrygian rock-cut tombs are imitations of megaron planned Phrygian houses. The chamber has a rectangular plan and a pitched roof. All wooden roof elements such as triangular pediments on the entrance and rear walls, ridgepoles, and rafters are carved in relief on the rock ceiling of the tomb. There are two klinai carved from the bedrock in front of the back wall and northern side wall. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Group II tombs (see Descriptions) with its meticulous workmanship, architectural details and klinai. Unfortunately, the klinai in the burial chamber were destroyed by treasure hunters in 2019.|
It lies to the right of the slope rising towards the plateau, about 100 m southeast of the Midas Monument. It is called by this name because it has three klinai. The entrance was enlarged in the late periods. There is a small landing at the gate entrance before moving on to the tomb chamber. The chamber, which has been carefully carved and worked, has a pitched roof. Roof beams are carved in relief. On the right, there is another room with two klinai that was added in later periods. The workmanship of this second room is less detailed. Classified by Haspels as a Group II tomb (see Descriptions).|
It is located about 70 m south of the Triclinium Tomb. There is a quite deformed lion relief on the left side, facing the entrance. The tomb chamber has a pitched roof. The workmanship is not as attentive as in the Triclinium Tomb. The original tomb was built with two klinai. In the later periods, the right side of the room was enlarged for a third kline with much less detailed workmanship. The Pyramid Tomb takes its name because of its pyramid like appearance formed by shaving the top of the rock. On the shaved top, there are some other high relief figures that depict a hunting scene with horseback hunters and animals. Most of the researchers believe that this shaved top with the reliefs were probably done much later in the Roman period. Haspels classifies it as a Group II tomb (see Descriptions).|
On the right side of the ramp that leads to the plateau from the east side, there are reliefs engraved on the flattened surfaces. The details are difficult to understand because they are highly eroded.|
The first figure, to the right of the Altar 26, is a bearded man with a knee length outfit holding a staff. The second figure standing in front of this is a semicircular object and possibly a bird perched on it. The reliefs are surrounded by a frame.|
It is located 25 steps below the first relief. There is a male figure with a raised right (or both) hand(s) as if praying or offering respect, hence called "the Prayer". It is larger than the first relief and has no frame. He wears a long robe that extends to his feet.|
It is located 20 steps below the Prayer relief. There is a single male figure shown from the front. The belly of the man has come forward significantly. It is called 'the Lion Man' since E. Akurgal likens the figure's head to a lion's head. For the same figure, earlier researchers suggest that the man is carrying something on his shoulder.|
|Relief 4 & 5|
It is located seven steps below the Lion Man. There are three bodies without heads. This relief may be associated with another one located just 1 m to the right where only two legs are visible. It is uncertain whether these two legs belong to an animal or a sitting person.|
It is located 5 steps below the Relief 5. There are three human figures (two according to Haspels) carved in a very large size, about 3 m in height. The figures have cloak like dresses with wide shoulders. Only the middle figure's head is visible, and his hand is raised as if praying, similar to that of the Relief 2.|
There is a three-line Old Phrygian inscription (M‑02) engraved on a flattened rock surface, approximately 2.5 m wide and 1.8 m high. It is written in boustrophedon. It is located on the left side of the King Road, the ramp leads to the plateau on the eastern side.|
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