The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey
are adorned with works of art that are impressive
in their simplicity and warmth. Glass, metal,
clay and marble were worked by craftsmen into
abstract renderings of nature. A meander motif
on an Aeolian or Ionian column capital is an
expression of infinity. No element is exaggerated.
The marble decoration is like particles of sand
on a beach whose origin is unknown. These were
civilisations of wisdom and common sense. Herodotus
declared, 'The Ionians built their cities beneath
the most beautiful skies we know on the earth,
and in the most beautiful climes.'
These lands watered by the Hermos (today the
Gediz) and Meander (Büyük Menderes) rivers were
home to many city states, such as Smyrna (Izmir),
Erythrai, Teos, Priene and Didyma. The tall,
often fluted, columns of temples dedicated to
Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Zeus, Aphrodite and
Dionysus reach into the sky. The temples of
Athena in Priene and Apollo in Didyma were built
2300-2400 years ago.