Temple of Augustus and Rome

Haci Bayram Mosque and Augustus Temple

The Temple of Augustus and Rome is one of the oldest gorgeous historical landmarks which is located in the capital of Turkey; Ankara. The Temple of Augustus and Rome was built in the Phrygian period and dedicated to Kybele the goddess and Manes the god of Phrygians. However, it is ruined by the time and residues left by the temple was dedicated to Augustus the emperor of Galatia State after it is joined to the Rome Empire which is in the center of state Ankyra as you recall Ankara.

In the period of Byzantium, Byzantines have modified the temple as a church by making several additions and opening windows in the structure. The temple is formed with four walls and is surrounded by four columns. Only the two side walls and the door with handiwork could be kept as their old version. You can see the tablet that the testament of Augustus with all the things he has done is written in Greek and Latin which is shown on the wall of the tomb that adjacent to the temple.

Where is the Temple of Augustus and Rome?

The Temple of Augustus and Rome is located in the Ulus area of the Altındağ district in Ankara.

Getting to the Temple of Augustus and Rome

Reaching the Temple of Augustus and Rome is quite easy by public transportation and a couple of minutes of walking. Since the temple is located around the Ulus area, it is very easy to get from there. You can walk there for just a couple of minutes. From Çankaya it is quite far. However, there are lots of bus lines to Ulus. After you get off you can just walk for 5-10 minutes; it takes 40-45 minutes in total. 

From Oran, also there is a couple of bus lines to get to Ulus than 7-8 minutes of walking to the temple which takes 45-50 minutes in total. You can also use the Kızılay-Batıkent metro line if it is available where you stay and get off at Ulus station. Then you can either walk for 10 minutes or take a taxi and take a 2-minute trip. Also, if you rent a car or have a private car; the temple will be under your feet anytime. 

History of the Temple of Augustus and Rome

The Temple of Augustus and Rome is a temple that was built in the Phrygians’ period then re-built in BC 25-20 as it is predicted in the time of the Rome Empire. Thunderstorms, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the rest of the natural disaster ruined the original structure of the Phrygians. In the time of the Rome Empire, Pilamenes who is the son of Aminta’s last emperor of Galati dedicates this structure to the emperor Augustus as a sign of loyalty. 

Until the 21st century, this unique and special structure was exposed to lots of natural and human disasters. These misfortunes lead to the demolition of the walls in big amounts, and the tablets were damaged. Thanks to World Monuments Found, the destroying of the structure was taken seriously and started the restoration. 

Also, Middle East Technical University and the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism were gathered and researched damage assessment studies with the donation from a charitable from the USA. On the 14th of October 1972, the Temple of Augustus and Rome was registered as first-degree cultural assets officially. It would be wrong to do otherwise. 

The losses to the temple and the importance of the war were addressed in 2007 at a meeting arranged by the Kress Foundation under the European Conservation Program.  Also, the ministry established a significant group in that year. Later on, in 2008 the area’s zoning plan was developed with the help of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. 

Architecture

A very small part of the original architecture of the structure can be saved from back in time, and make you feel the architecture of Rome. Before all the damage, it is predicted that the structure used to have a rectangular plan surrounded by the columns. These predictions can be done by the engraving and deception of foreign travelers. They wouldn’t have even guessed how important thing they have done. It is determined that the columns were aligned as parallel with 15 in long walls and 6 with short walls. Also, four columns in front and five in the back were determined.

The temple is in the south-west and north-east direction in 36×54.82 m in Corinthian order, with a pseudo-dipteral plan, and it is approximately 2 m high, with eight steps sited on the podium

In the 6th of the century, Byzantines changes the temple into a church by modifying the temple. The bottom of the sanctuary was leveled up, and also the wall between the sanctuary and opisthodomos was broken down. Then to the back of the structure, an apse was added and three windows were opened from the sanctuary facing the South-East. 

In between the years 1427-1428, Hacı Bayram Mosque was build right next to the temple by adjacent of it from the North-West corner. The first files written about the Temple of Augustus and Rome, the iwan added to the opisthodomos part, and the writings on the temple of the road are giving hints that the temple is used as a madrasa after the Hacı Bayram Mosque was built. Even though several changes happened the mosque and the tomb next to it still one of the most important worship places.

Today, you can only see the two side walls and a door with handiwork from the first original version of the temple. Also, pronaos, the great door, and sanctuary parts are partial could be saved to the present. In the period of Suleiman, the Magnificent, Emperor I. Ferdinand sent to Istanbul a diplomatic representative. The diplomatic representative is called Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq and he is one of the first foreign travelers that visited Ankara. As he visited the Temple of Augustus and Rome he has realized the testament of Augustus on the wall of the structure. All the tablets were saved by him and Janos Belsius.

As Busbecq stated, the temple was in ruins, and the walls and the ceiling were broken down as he visited. He also mentioned that half of the testament was stated on the right wall the other half on the left wall; he added that the top parts could be written perfectly but the bottom part was completely destructed. 

Surroundings

On the wall of the Temple of Augustus and Rome, there is the Queen of Inscriptions also known as Temple of Augustus Inscriptions. After Augustus, the Emperor of Rome has died, “Res Gestae Divi Augusti” with the meaning of “The Works that Deified Augustus Has Done” instruction was written in two languages on the walls of the temple with red paint. The inscription in Latin was written on the anta walls that faced pronaos (front room) and the inscription in old Greek was written on the wall of South-East cella (holy section) that faced the outside.

These inscriptions are brought to the present and almost perfectly preserved. The inscription with the word “The Works that Deified Augustus Has Done” was discovered in Anatolia on the other two copies. The emperor priests are located North-West o the temple’s anta walls, at the end of the anta wall, and the things they have done during their priesthood are narrated in the List of Priests. South-West of the anta at the end of the wall a little later a description about a priest from that time was written on an inscription. 

The original inscription was lost in Rome, and this is the only copy of it that has survived. Furthermore, it is one of the most important writing that archeologically explains the epoch. W.J. Hamilton, T. Mommsen, O. Puchstein, and C. Human were among the first to study the inscription in the 1800s. Besides, T. Mommsen, a linguist and historian who called that inscription the name of “Queen of Inscriptions”. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Temple of Augustus and Rome

If you still have questions on your mind about the Temple of Augusts and Rome, here are some faqs and answers. We hope that will clear for you.

How much it costs to enter the Temple of Augustus and Rome?

Nothing at all. The entrance is free to everyone.

When the Temple of Augustus and Rome is opened?

The Temple of Augustus and Rome is opened at 09.00 in the summer season and 08.00 in the winter season.

When the Temple of Augustus and Rome is closed?

The Temple of Augustus and Rome is closed at 19.00 in the summer season and at 17.00 in the winter season.

Which museums I can visit around the Temple of Augustus and Rome?

You can visit the Ankara Republic Museum, Ankara The War of Independence Museum, and Ankara Ethnography Museum around the temple. 

What is Monumentum Ancyranum?

Monumentum Ancyranum is the original and complete copy of the inscription written on the walls of the temple and named “Res Gestae Divi Augusti”.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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