Conny Waters – AncientPages.com – Aigai, located in the Yunusemre district, is one of the 12 Aiol cities in Western Anatolia and has a long and fascinating history of 2,800 years.
Mentioned by both Herodotus and Strabo, it was an ancient Greek, and later Roman city and bishopric in Aeolis. Initially, the city was in a possession of the Lydian Empire and later the Achaemenid Empire when it conquered the former.
The discovery of thousands of artifacts and ancient roads during the excavations in the ancient city of Aigai, one of the 12 Aeolian cities in the western province of Manisa, the history of which dates back to the eighth century BC is drawing the attention of visitors.
During long-lasting archaeological excavations that began in 2004, many artifacts and structures of the ancient city of Aigai have been found and analyze
The 2017 excavations that revealed the headteacher’s sarcophagus, are continuously conducted in the ancient city of Aigai in the western province of Manisa. Archaeologists successfully reunited the sarcophagus, of which the first pieces were unearthed in 2004. and announced that it belonged to a school principal.
Only a few months later, the archaeologist discovered a 2000-years old road located in Manisa Province, Turkey. It served as a war route at first and was then used by caravans.
In 2018, diggings in the area of Aigai exposed ancient meat and fish market, and two years ago, the team led by Yusuf Sezgin, an associate professor at Manisa Celal Bayar University’s (MCBU) Archaeology Department, found 2500-year-old objects made from goat bones.
Naturally, we must not forget an important discovery made in 2016, when archaeologists discovered a mosaic depicting the god Poseidon. The mosaic was found in the frigidarium part (a large cold pool at the Roman baths).
Mosaic depicting the Greek god Poseidon from the ancient Greek city of Aigai. Image credit: Anadolu Agency
The bottom part of the mosaic has a partly ruined inscription in Greek: “Greetings to all of you bathing.” Archaeologists believe that it dates back to the 3rd or 4th century BC.
Sezgin said that when excavations started in 2004, the number of visitors to the city, which was 1,000 on average, increased day by day and approached 15,000 over the last year.
“We have had a pandemic for a long time. We were all very bored in our homes. As a result, we have seen a great increase in the number of visitors since last year,” stated the archaeologist.
“The 2022 excavation works will start as of May, Sezgin said: Due to its geography and nature, it is a very green area. Streams flow on both sides. In this respect, it is a pleasant place to visit. For this reason, we see that the number of visitors increased drastically, especially in the spring months. Excavations began in 2004 and are continuing.”
Sezgin stated they have two basic visions, one is archaeological excavations and the other is to help visitors easily visit the ancient city.
“We have seen that our efforts to uncover ancient roads, which we have been working on since 2004, had an impact on the number of visitors. When visitors come to the city, they walk the 2,000-year-old roads, and we see that they really enjoy it,” he added.
Sezgin stated that the artifacts unearthed from the ancient city would be exhibited at the Manisa Archaeology Museum, which is under construction and is planned to open soon.
“We have many artifacts because we have been working there for long years. Most of them are in the Manisa Archaeology Museum. The new museum, which is under construction, will serve in accordance with the modern age. It will open soon. There will be two specially designed halls for Aigai in the museum. One will display Aigai parliament sculptures, and the second hall will display other works.