Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Das Apollon Archegetes Heiligtum – The Sanctuary of Apollo Archegetes

Professor Mustafa Şahin has posted an off print, in German, from Cityscapes and Monuments of Western Asia Minor - Memories and Identities titled “Das Apollon Archegetes Heiligtum auf der Asar Insel bei Myndos” on


“Recent excavations on Asar Island, located by the harbour entrance of Myndos, have brought to light some interesting finds. These indicate that it was originally the site of a cult of Apollo Archegetes – a cult site dominated by a large altar. The altar, the nature of Apollo Archegetes, and Asar Island as an ever-present part of the cityscape for the inhabitants of  Myndos are discussed in this article. In addition, some of the interesting small finds from the excavations are highlighted to further illustrate the development of the site.”

Although there is no definitive date for the altar it is believed to have been erected during the mid 4th century B.C. during, or after, Mausolus’ synoecism of the Lelegian settlements, and that it was later refurbished or supplemented during the Roman Period.

During the later Christian development of the island, one side of the altar was incorporated into the construction of a water cistern.

A dedication discovered in 2013 identifies the altar as being dedicated to Apollo Archegetes with the suffix Archegetes suggesting that Apollo was seen as the founder or protector of the city.

The absence of any other buildings, on the island, dating from this period has led Prof Şahin to propose that the whole of the island may have been a sanctuary and the monumental, marble, architectural masonry found during the excavations may have been part of the propylon at the entrance to the sanctuary.

The paper also catalogues a number of architectural components, ceramic and figurative fragments found during the excavations, including pot sherds which pre-date the altar.

For details of the book see Cityscapes and Monuments of Western Asia Minor


  1. It seems an insult to have called this important site "Rabbit Island" for so long.

    1. I agree, but it could be an uphill struggle to educate the tourist trade.

      This is presently on the Jet2 Villa site titled Rabbit Island, with a photograph of Çavuş Island front and centre and a section of Asar just visible on the edge of the shot.

      “This little island separates the two beaches of Gumusluk and Bodrum. You can reach it via a sunken walkway built by the King of Halicarnassus Mousolos and his wife. You can walk the same path he did and climb to the top of the small island, spotting the rabbits along the way.”

      Meanwhile on Trip Advisor there are visitors complaining about the lack of rabbits

      “Not really much to see here - aloads of seagulls etc but no rabbits. A bit dissapointing compared to other trips.”

      “...But unfortunately we never so a single rabbit, cause the island was closed! And we still dont know why”

      “King of Halicarnassus Mousolos build a causeway in the 4th century BC, so that they could go and feed the rabbits on the island while watching the sunset.”.

      “Our boat passed by rabbit island and it was pretty boring, to be honest. The island looks just like any other, except there were a few rabbits running around on it. That's it.”