Author(s): Akın TEMÜR

Open-air temple sites are monuments that have not attracted as much attention as other architectural finds in the literature of Archeology. However, it goes without saying that they are one the earliest monuments of human history. Composed of libation ditches, canals and stone stairs, these structures appear as reflections of the understanding of people of that time as regards to death and fertility. Having been observed long before human beings did reach a more architectural understanding of building, these stone monuments appeared in very distinct periods in various forms. Within this context, sometimes they were used as a tool to comfort souls of the dead, to beg for fertility from a god or goddess or to gain his/her love through avoiding his/her wrath. Therefore, sacrifices were performed with the blood of the sacrificed animal, sometimes with wine or rain water in these sites. The earliest examples of these sites where offerings and sacrifices, which have traditionally been observed until today in many cultures, are performed date back to the Neolithic period in Anatolia. Extending in later periods from Hittites to Urartians, from Phrygians to Ionians and later to Romans, these structures became an essential part of the dead and fertility/rain cult. The Yass?kaya Open-air Temple Site is one of the rarest complete examples with its libation ditches, stone stairs used as a tool to reach God and surrounding stone graves.


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