Mount Sipylus

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Mount Spil (Mount Sipylus)
ManisaAglayanKayaWeepingStoneTurkey.jpg
The "Weeping Rock" associated with Niobe in Mount Sipylus
Elevation 1,513 m (4,964 ft)see section
Location
Location Manisa, Turkey
Coordinates 38°34′2″N 27°27′17″E / 38.56722°N 27.45472°E / 38.56722; 27.45472

Mount Spil (Turkish: Spil Dağı), the ancient Mount Sipylus (Ancient Greek: Σίπυλος) (elevation 1,513 m or 4,964 ft), is a mountain rich in legends and history in Manisa Province, Turkey, in what used to be the heartland of the Lydians and what is now Turkey's Aegean Region.

Its summit towers over the modern city of Manisa as well as over the road between İzmir and Manisa. The contiguous mass of Mount Yamanlar, also overlooking the Gulf of İzmir, has often been considered as an extension of Mount Sipylus massif with which it shares much history, although it is actually an extinct volcano and a distinct geographical formation.

History[edit]

A full faced statue of Cybele carved in rock, dated to the late-Hittite or Luwian period in late second millennium BCE, is found near Mount Sipylus, several kilometers east of Manisa. The sculpture is known as Taş Suret in Turkish (meaning "Stone Figure") and sometimes referred to as such also in international literature.

The mountain was considered a favorite haunt of the mother goddess. According to an old myth the sculpture was carved by Broteas, Tantalus' ugly son.

According to the Byzantine commentator John the Lydian, the unknown author of the 7th century BCE epic poem, the Titanomachy, placed the birth of Zeus, not in Crete, but in Lydia, which should signify Mount Sipylus.

The names "Sipylus" or "Sipylum" are mentioned by Pliny the Elder, supported by other sources, as the site of a very celebrated city called "Tantalis" [1] or "the city of Tantalus", by the name of its cited founder. Presumably located on or very near the mountain, the city's ruins were reportedly still visible around in the beginning of the Common Era.[2]

The same Tantalus is famed through Greek mythology by the accounts relating that he had cut up his son Pelops and served him up as food for the gods. His son Pelops is said to have migrated later to the Peloponnese, named after him, and to have founded a kingdom. Tantalus' daughter was the tragic Niobe, who is associated with the "Weeping Rock" (Ağlayan Kaya in Turkish), a natural formation facing the city of Manisa.

Later in ancient times, Mount Sipylus, located in Lydia, (Ancient Greek: Σίπυλος), rose above the site of Magnesia ad Sipylum (the southern portion of modern Manisa), whose existence is traced back as far as the 5th century BCE. Magnesia was located along the Hermus River (Gediz River) on the plain below and was the scene of the defeat of Antiochus III "the Great" by the Romans, at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BCE. Smyrna lay nearby.

Spil today[edit]

Especially since the 1960s when an importation reforestation effort was made covering thousands of hectares on and around the mountain,[3] Spil Dağı National Park attracts today both tourists and locals. The famous "Weeping Rock" is still widely visited.

The mountain as a whole presents an area of dense forests and beautiful scenery, known especially for its wild tulips. The mountain is also a favorite spot for camping, parachuting, hiking and other mountain sports.

The motorway connecting the two busy metropolitan centers that are İzmir and Manisa crosses between the two neighboring masses of Mount Sipylus and Mount Yamanlar, through Sabuncubeli Pass, much described by ancient travellers and writers and which descends from an altitude of 600 m to sea-level over a rather short distance in kilometers. The highest point of the pass corresponds to a point very near the boundary between İzmir Province and Manisa Province. To bypass the steep and twisted Sabuncubeli Pass, the Sabuncubeli Tunnel is under construction. The 6,480 metres (21,260 ft)-long tunnel is expected to be opened end 2016.[4][5]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ George Perrot (2007). History Of Art In Phrygia, Lydia, Caria And Lycia p. 62 ISBN 978-1-4067-0883-7 (in French, English). Marton Press. 
  2. ^ James George Frazer (1900-1913-1965). Pausanias, and other Greek sketches, later retitled Pausanias's Description of Greece ISBN 1-4286-4922-0, ISBN 978-1-4286-4922-4. Kessinger Publishing Company. 
  3. ^ George Maxim Anossov Hanfmann - Jane C. Waldba (1975). A survey of Sardis and the major monuments outside the city walls, p. 171, 978-0674857513. Harvard University Press. 
  4. ^ Kuşen, Mustafa (2013-07-17). "Sabuncubeli Tüneli uzatılınca açılışı 2016 sonuna kaldı". Zaman (in Turkish). Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  5. ^ "Sabuncubeli Tüneli Ranta mı Dönüşüyor?". Manisa Manşet (in Turkish). 2013-07-19. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]