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.

by: Scoat A. Woodham
Virgin Mary’s home in Selçuk is visited by thousands of Christian pilgrims throughout the year.

The extremely complex Hittite pantheon, dominated by Teshub, the storm God, recognised the Goddess Hebat as the partner of Teshub. by: Izzet KeribarShe 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. by: Izzet KeribarThis 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.


Originally published by:
The Ministry of Tourism, Turkey

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