17 masks depicting mythological gods were unearthed as part of excavation works at the 3,000 year old Stratonikeia Ancient City ruins, located in the Yatağan province of Muğla and listed on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
A rare example of a site where Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Republic era works can be seen together, Stratonikeia was throughout history one of the most important cities of Karia Region.
Excavation chief Prof. Dr. Bilal Söğüt said “We work 12 months of the year and this year we are working on the theater. After the expropriation problem was quickly resolved by order of Mr. Minister of Tourism and Culture, we expanded our excavation area.”
“We’ve found some embossing in the stage part of the theater. Most important of these are the masks. We had found 16 before and now we have found 17 more. With these, we have found almost all of the masks covering the entrances and exterior of the stage. These masks are quite extraordinary because they depict many gods and goddesses belonging to different cultures and beliefs. Plus, quality of craftsmanship is better than other known examples”.
Blocks containing the masks will be taken to the stone preservation center in Muğla where they will be cleaned and returned to their original locations at the site for visitors to see.
Stratonikeia mosque reopens after 40 years
World’s largest known ancient marble city, Stratonikeia was visited by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month. Erdoğan toured the ruins extensively and ordered the restoration of the Şaban Ağa Mosque at the entrance, as well as the agora area.
Restoration of the mosque, which had been closed for 40 years, was recently completed and first Friday prayer was observed last week after the appointment of an Imam by Erdoğan. Local public will also be able to sell their produce and handiwork at the agora once its restoration is complete. Locals are already happy about the increase in number of visitors Erdoğan’s visit generated.