Adding another place to our list of “Hidden Historical Gems of Anatolia”, we tell you about the Kazan Karalar Roman Temple and the ruins of Mariegordus Ancient City! This site is located in the suburbs of Karalar Village, in the Kahramankazan region of Ankara. The settlement was built around Asarkaya, a big rock hill close to Karalar Village.
Unfortunately, information regarding this site is limited to what archeologists found during an excavation back in 1993.
We were quite surprised by the fact that this settlement, spread over a wide area, was not excavated any further. This place could easily have become a major historical landmark and attraction.
The most convenient spot to park is shown below on Google Maps.
It is believed that the Mariegordus settlement was used primarily for military purposes during the Roman and Galatian times.
On the southeast side of the Roman temple, there is an entrance of a tunnel going deep inside the hill. It is not possible to go all the way down the tunnel because the ground is flooded. However, it is apparent that the tunnel does not end there and curves to the left. A local shepherd we encountered said that the tunnel network is very complex and there are many rooms that the tunnel leads to.
During the excavations in 1993, king tombs, as well as many pottery and tools dating back to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods were found in the region. However, the geographical structure of the region being deemed unsuitable for excavations at the time prevented the advancement of archaeological studies in the area.
It is possible to see many places around Asarkaya illegally excavated by treasure hunters. Comparing older photos of the site with the ones we took, it is possible to see the damage done to this historical place.
Ruins of the temple and a few other structures are shown below.
The safest way to reach the tunnel is to climbing down from the ruins of the temple (location shown above). The old stairs leading downwards are eroded but not perilious. When I climbed down the tunnel, the floor was flooded. The tunnel curves to the left and connects to a larger underground room network.