The ancient site of Pessinus is found fifteen kilometers south af Sivrihisar, near Balhisar village. This is on the highway that runs from Ankara to Eskişehir, about 130 kilometers’jt of Ankara, it was famous for its great Sanctuary to the Mother of the Gods and was a Phrygian-controlled area, run in the form of a kind of temple-state.
HISTORY OF PESSINUS
Pessinus wets established as a major sanctuary to Cybel, the Anatolian fertility goddess by the Phrygians at the beginning of the first millennium B.C. Here they built a large temple in the honor of Cybel. This mother goddess had been worshipped in Anatolia from the very beginnings of man’s habitation in this region The town was taken over by the kings of Pergamum and later was incorporated into the kingdom of Galatia. At this time, Pessinus was the capital of the Galatian state. The town prospered because of the sanctuary. Pilgrims flocked into the sanctuary to pay homage to the goddess Cybel, bringing money into Pessinus. The town gradually grew in size and became very rich. When pagan religious practices were banned in this area hy the Emperor Theodosius near the end of the 4th century, Pessinus started its decline and was gradually abandoned and let fall to ruins. The town reached its greatest period of renown when the Roman Senate, in 204 B.C., sent envoys to Pessinus to bring the cult statue of Cybeie back to Rome. A temple was erected on the Palatine Hill to accomodate the statue, which was an unshaped stone, supposedly fallen from heaven.
RUINS OF PESSINUS
The temple has been completely excavated at the site. It Is a modification of a Greek temple with a peristasis of six columns on one side and eleven on the others, dated not before the.Hellenlstic period. Also found at the site are-some excellent examples of late Roman tombs with door facades. An ancient dam and canal with steps loading down to the water has been uncovered at ancient Pessinus.