Midas Şehri

Western Anatolia

The major site of the Phrygian Valley is in the village of Yazılıkaya, 32km south of Seyitgazi. Archaeologists call this important section Midas Şehri (Midas City). The monuments are clustered around a huge rock. Carved into the soft tufa, the so-called Midas Türbe (Midas Tomb) is a 17m-high relief covered in geometric patterns and resembling the facade of a temple. Inscriptions in the Phrygian alphabet – one bearing Midas' name – encircle the tomb.

At the bottom of the tomb is a niche where an effigy of Cybele would be displayed during festivals. The Phrygians prayed here for centuries and lived in the floodplains below.

Behind the Midas Tomb a path leads down to a tunnel, then passes a second smaller tomb, unfinished and high up in the rock. The path continues upwards to the top of a high mound, which was an acropolis. Here you will find a stepped stone, labelled an altar, which may have been used for sacrifices, and traces of walls and roads. Even with a map, following the paths can be confusing, but the main features are easy to spot. Note that it was here at the acropolis that the first evidence of water collecting was discovered – carved holes with slatted steps were used to trap rainwater for the dry season.

The friendly local custodian will meet you and give you the excellent Highlands of Phrygia brochure (he usually keeps them in the back of his car). A second Eskişehir brochure has good maps of the entire Phrygian Valley, and is an essential guide to exploring Yazılıkaya.