30 May 18:33


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Claros (Greek: Κλάρος, Klaros; Latin: Clarus) was an ancient Greek sanctuary on the coast of Ionia. It contained a temple and oracle of Apollo, honored here as Apollo Clarius. It was located on the territory of Colophon, one of the twelve Ionic cities, twelve kilometers to the north. The coastal city Notion lay two kilometers to the south. The ruins of the sanctuary are now found north of the modern town Ahmetbeyli in the Menderes district of Izmir Province, Turkey.

The Temple of Apollo at Claros was a very important center of prophecy as in Delphi and Didyma.

The oldest information about this sacred site goes back to the sixth

and seventh centuries BC. through the Homeric Hymns. A sacred cave near

the Temple of Apollo, which was an important place both in the

Hellenistic and Roman eras, points to the existence of a Cybele cult in earlier periods here. Games called the Claria were held at Claros every fifth year in honor of Apollo.

It is unknown when the sanctuary was founded exactly and its origins are shrouded in mythology. Archaeological excavations revealed structures dating back to the 10th century BC. The high point for the fame of the sanctuary seems to have been the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and it had many visitors until the 4th century AD.
In the late Hellenistic period, a cargo ship carrying marble sank on its way to Claros off the southwest coast of modern-day Turkey near Kizilburun.

The ship was discovered in 1993, and has been under excavation since

2005. On this ship, an estimated fifty tons of marble columns were

recovered that matched the description of the columns found at Claros,

the temple of Apollo. Isotopic and meteorological

data indicate Proconnesus as the source of the marble. The marble was

being imported from Proconnesus Island to be used at the site, and was a

special type of marble with distinctive blue and white bands known as

Proconnesian Marble. The marble did not complete its 350 kilometer

journey from Proconnesus Island to the Izmir Province of Turkey. 

According to legend the oracle at Claros advised the citizens of Smyrna to move from Old Smyrna to the new Smyrna on Mount Pagos (modern Kadifekale), which was refounded there by Alexander the Great. The Smyrnaeans decided to follow up on the advice.

Old Smyrna had lost its importance at the time, but after its second

foundation it would become one of the most prosperous cities of Asia.

Many monuments were erected in the Roman period (Pompey, Lucullus, Quintus Tullius Cicero); several took place above Hellenistic foundations.

Pliny the Elder remarks that "At Colophon, in the cave of the Clarian

Apollo, there is a pool, by the drinking of which a power is acquired of

uttering wonderful oracles; but the lives of those who drink of it are


Iamblichus said that the oracle, during the ecstasy “... is not in

control of himself and does not follow what he is saying, or where he

is..." Germanicus

famously visited the oracle in 18 AD (a year before his death) and "It

was said that he prophesied to Germanicus, in dark hints, as oracles

usually do, an early doom".