The Hattis, Hittites,
Hourrites, Urartus, Ionians, Lydians and Phrygians all
had rich mythologies. Greek mythology began with the
Iliad, that epic poem of Homer who was himself a child
of Anatolia. Homer was deeply influenced by the cultural
environment of his motherland, in particular by the
legacy of the Mesopotamian civilisations.
Virgin Marys home in Selçuk
is visited by thousands of Christian pilgrims throughout
The extremely complex
Hittite pantheon, dominated by Teshub, the storm God,
recognised the Goddess Hebat as the partner of Teshub.
was generally shown standing above a lion, her favourite
animal. Hebat was the supreme matron of the State, the
one person to whom the King resorted in times of danger.
She is from the lineage of the great Mother Goddess
of Anatolia who gave birth to a bull and took, in later
times, the name of Artemis, Aphrodite or Kylebe.
Turkey is the land where the first
Christian State, Byzantium, was founded-a state that
lasted for one thousand years. This land was also were
a great Islamic Empire emerged, encompassing not only
Turks, but also almost all Arabs. Anatolia was also
the first home of Christianity. It is here that Christianity
ceased to be considered a Jewish religion. Virgin Mary
and the apostle John are believed to have died in Ephesus.
And it is in Antakya that the Disciples of Christ were
called Christians for the firs time. This
is the land of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse
and was the venue for the first seven Councils. Christianity
took root and thrived in Anatolia, where it found a
historically intense religious and spiritual lifestyle.
The population easily adopted the new religion preached
by St Paul, St Barnaby, St Silas and St Timothy. The
Church of Ephesus was founded in 54 BC. By the second
century, two dioceses had already come into existence,
one in Kayseri and the other in Malatya. Cappodaci was
christianised long before King Constantine accepted
Christianity as legal religion. In the fourth century,
monasticism started to expand rapidly and all those
who longed for solitude or were escaping persecution
found solace in the fantastic landscape of this region,
where they could settle in natural grottoes.