Didyma's ancient ruins are 20 kilometres (32 miles) from Miletos, in Didim town within Aydin Province. Didyma, is not however an ancient city. It was an oracle center. Didyma's fame rests on the magnificent Temple of Apollo, a building of awesome scale and in very good condition today. For a hundred years during the Archaic period the Temple was controlled by the Branchids, a powerful family of priests, and it was under their direction that the Temple rose to fame.
In the 6th century BC, under the Branchids, in the first half of the Ionian period, the Temple at Didyma enjoyed golden age and was greatly expanded in size. But then came the Persians who attacked the area in 494 BC and destroyed the Temple. Alexander the Great helped in the rebuilding and the remains we see today are Hellenistic, dating from his times. In the temple's reconstruction the original foundations were used but the size of the building was greatly increased. The decline of Didyma began in the third century BC.
In the year 395 AD the Emperor Theodosius decreed that all soothsayers and their work were prohibited. This was a great blow to the Temple. Nature also played its part. In the second century BC, an earthquake struck destroying some of the Sacred Road and the area of worship to Apollo. Christianity was first introduced to Didyma in the fourth century AD. During the 5th and 6th centuries AD the Temple area was converted into a church.
The final plan for the Temple was never fully accomplished. The whole area was devastated by another earthquake, that of the year 1493, and the site was abondoned.
Today the magnificent Temple of Apollo can be visited near the Didim town.
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