Turkey, Phrygia Valley

The Phrygia Valley in Turkey, the land of King Midas, is in danger

Called the “Second Cappadocia of Turkey”, the lack of tourism investment and archaeological excavations seriously jeopardize the future of this UNESCO candidate site.

Nicknamed the “Second Cappadocia of Turkey“, the Phrygia Valley has a history dating back 3,000 years, and is a candidate for World Heritage Site; however, more and more voices are raising their concern about the abandonment of the place, where the lack of tourist investments and the absence of archaeological excavations endanger the future of this region that was home to the legendary King Midas.

Former home to the Phrygian civilization, which occupied central-western Anatolia around 1,200 BC, for years there have been attempts to boost tourism in this three-province region, and even balloon tours have been organised; however so far the number of visitors remains extremely low compared to other regions such as Cappadocia, and the promised investments have never come to fruition.

According to the Turkish press, in recent years there have been no new archaeological excavations in the region, and the Union for the Protection and Development of the Cultural Heritage of Phrygia (Frigküm), created by the provinces of Eskişehir, Afyonkarahisar and Kütahya in order to promote the cultural and tourist development of the Phrygia Valley, has therefore lost much of its influence and effectiveness.

Many tourists visiting the area find that road access is bad, and the indications to get to the main monuments and areas of interest are scarce, with a lack of signs that also present an evident state of neglect. It must be added the damage caused to the heritage of the region by unscrupulous people, that include from paintings to marks of bullets, as well as illegal excavations of treasure hunters.

Mysterious graves, undecipherable inscriptions, and underground cities to discover

One of the most interesting monuments in the Phrygia Valley is the tomb of what is known as the City of King Midas: Yazılıkaya, a monument carved out of the rock in 600 B.C. It contains several mysteries that have not yet been solved, including inscriptions and symbols that have not yet been deciphered by historians.

The Phrygians are known to have lived here as well, but little archaeological excavation has been done. In fact, everything points to the fact that under the impressive 17-meter high tomb that constitutes Yazılıkaya, an entire underground city hides, but it has never been unearthed.

The inhabitants of the region are aware of the problems that the Valley of Phrygia suffers and request that excavations be carried out, while regretting that a recent poorly done restoration on the tomb of King Midas has damaged the monument. “We demand the protection and restoration of the Phrygian monuments. This region should be a tourist place. We want Yazılıkaya to be protected and covered as Göbeklitepe. External agents are damaging it”, they denounce.