HomeArchaeology2,400-Year-Old Statues of the Goddess of Hygiene Rescued from Rubble of Ancient...

2,400-Year-Old Statues of the Goddess of Hygiene Rescued from Rubble of Ancient Medicine City


Discovered in the Anavarza Antique City of the Kozan district of present-day Turkey, Hygieia is the symbol of health. As the daughter of Asclepius the god of medicine and Epione the goddess of healing, Hygieia is herself the goddess of cleanliness and hygiene. Finding her sculpture here embodies the city’s vision and ideals of health. Eros is the god of sexual desire.

Anavarza was a fine ancient Cilician city founded by the Assyrians over 2,000 years ago. During the early Roman Empire it was known as Caesarea and became the Metropolis of the late Roman province Cilicia Secunda. So it is a major historical site for researchers today. It dates back to over 2,000 years ago. It has a 5,000-foot wall with 20 bastions encompassing it, which seemed unable to hold back the forces that almost completely destroyed these antique statues.

Archaeologists first began excavating Anavarza in 2013 and found ruins of a church, bathhouse, and large double-lane road measuring 110 feet wide and about 9,000 feet long. These features indicate this was a well-established city where many people trafficked to spend time cleansing their bodies and their souls.

“The famous pharmacologist Dioskurides, who worked in the army during the Roman period and who attracted attention with the medicines he made, lived in Anavarza. In this sense, we can call Anavarza the city where medicine and pharmacology developed,” Dervişoğlu told Doğan News Agency.

The statue was made out of limestone about 2,400 years ago but unfortunately, Hygieia is broken into two parts and missing her hands and head. Dervişoğlu is working to find the statue’s missing parts to restore this ancient symbol of health for everyone who visits.

The director of the Adana Museum, Nedim Dervisoglu, is proud to have these statues because they prove the rich cultural heritage of the city’s ancient history. He cares about people learning not just about the local history but also inspiring them to learn about their own history.

To recognize and honor these symbolic statues, they were added to the UNESCO Temporary List of World Heritage Sites.


  1. https://www.dailysabah.com/history/2017/11/26/statue-of-hygieia-and-eros-uncovered-in-southern-turkey
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anazarbus
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