Anatolia is one of the best examples of a land which cherishes the diversity of different belief systems and cultures, despite all the efforts to destroy it.
As the birthplace of almost all religions, Anatolia, the land where Turkey resides on, deserved to be called as “Land of Thousand Gods” by Hitites.
Unlike the Egyptian civilization which is single-rooted, Anatolia has multi-rooted, multi-layered civilisation. This fascinating land not only has Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Aegean roots, but has the touch of the Balkan and the Meditterenean. The land has nurtured many beliefs including Judaism, Christianity and Islam not to mention the myths that rooted in this magical land.
What is this magic about Anatolia? Why almost all belief systems, or religions have the roots in this magical land? Just like a gigantic plane tree, why did Middle Easterns, Central Asians, Ageans, Balkans and Mediterreneans settled in this magical land? Is it simply because of being the bridge of east and west?
The land is the answer.
Anatolia has every esssential element needed for t he prosperity of mankind; being a peninsula it has the perfect climate which is accompanied by a beautiful nature. The land carries the best of every product the mother nature creates; the fruits, plants and the animals. Hence the productivity, fertility and the prosperity creates the very nature of mythology: The land was the creator of the notion of God . Almost all the myths have taken place in Anatolia; the most powerful Gods like Zeus- The God of Gods, Athena, Cybele have lived in this land of prosperity. Thus each immigrant on the land carried with himself new beliefs. New beliefs formed the religions, each new comer added new things to the existing belief system.
In Bilici, for example, it is told that rabbis were converted to Christianity and became priests, which were converted to imams afterwards.
Taking a closer look to Christian-Jewish or Muslim-Christian relations reveals the fact that successor shared everything with the previous belief system. In Bilici, for example, it is told that rabbis were converted to Christianity and became priests, which were to imams afterwards. The magical point in all these historical facts is that each new comer to the land have gained something from the previous system. Thus the beliefs enriched, brick over brick each owner of the land contributed something new to the existing belief system. Hence the pagan temples were changed to magnificent synagogues; later on they were enriched by churches and then mosques. Interestingly, the stones and columns of a temple were used to build the temples of the following religions. Sometimes, congregations changed their religions and the temples were left idle. In such cases, the temples were amazingly renewed by the congregation of another belief system. Thus the temples were turned into synagogues; synagogues were converted into churhces , which later became mosques or sufist lodges which all show the splendid diversity of the land. We see the the most beautiful examples of every religion in these lands; Artemis Altar in Ephesus and the Zeus Altar in Pergamon are but two impostant examples of pagan art. Like wise, the most impressive synagogues of the world are built on this land in 3rd Century BC in Sardis, Salihli.
Anatolia stil continues to live and cherish the diversity of various religions and cultures. Thus the prosperity and the wealth of the land give high sense of toleration to its inhabitants which in return change the diversity into richness.
Despite all the efforts of fundamentalism and reactionary tendencies imposed on the inhabitants, they are almost always tolerated by the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants, who have no idea about the wealth they live on. The day when the real owners on the land understand the richness around them, they will be able to tell the world about this hidden treasure. And consequently the world will start looking for the clues to take them to the roots of their beliefs.