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Posts from the ‘afar’ Category

Head Stones and Fresh Air on Mount Nemrut


Mt. Nemrut is one of those places that’s all about the journey, not the destination.  Sure, it’s pretty cool to stumble upon some 2000 year old mausoleum at the top of the mountain, where an assembly of throned figures with their stone heads laying at their feet await you. But the truth is that you would never stumble across this place, or the top of any other mountain, without actually trying to get there.

For my sister and me, the trip started in Cappadochia, and Mt. Nemrut was a pit stop on our track to head further east into Turkey.  At some point on this leg, Emily remarked that most of Turkey is mountainous, and I think that my posts for the next week or so will definitely demonstrate this.  So, for all of you friends that still think I live in a desesrt full of camels,  get ready to see some big green mountains!



the view!

the view!

Because our ultimate destination was northwest Turkey, we decided to stay on the northern side of Mt. Nemrut.  The national park is still pretty new.  You approach it from the north or south face of the mountain but can’t drive between as there is no accessible road to pass over.  Either way, you have to drive all the way up the mountain and hike a bit more to see the jewel at the top.

The drive up the mountain is a bit harrowing with all the pinturns and steep drops but absolutely gorgeous .  Although my car seemed a little tired and perhaps overheated by the time we got to the park, I think it was well worth the drive.

The Road:

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Once you get to the top of the mountain you see the stone ruins and then what?

We had heard that sunrise and sunsest were spectacular, so we decided to hang around for a couple of hours to wait for the view.  We had a snack, hiked to the other side and back, and then just found some rocks to chill on away from the growing mass of tourists. Emily made wildflower crowns while I played with my camera settings.

Finally the sun started dropping and we headed back to the peak.  There were people everywhere and they had all taken the plum viewing spots. We didn’t spend much time with the masses, but still managed to get a few shots of the setting sun.  Even more impressive, for me, was the view to the eastern side of the mountain.  The sky was pink with rain descending from the cloud layer and smoke reaching up.  I really wanted to stay and savor the beautiful sky, but the wind picked up so much that it was difficult to stand up straight.

Hotel options are limited on both sides of Mt. Nemrut.  We stayed at the Guneş Hotel which got pretty bad reviews on TripAdvisor but is located directly across from the park entrance.  Our room was bare bones and uncomfortably pink but the food was decent.  They even accomodated a vegetarian with a hot meal, which rarely happens in Turkey.  The downside was that at 4 a.m. the staff banged, unsolicited, on every room door to wake up the guests for the sunrise trip to the mountain.  We weren’t interested and tried to roll over and ignore the noise, but they kept pounding on the door until I actually got out of bed to inform them.

A Hike in Cappadochia’s Main Valley


For the first few days of our Eastern Turkey Road Trip, Emily and I stopped in Cappadochia.  We stayed in Uchisar, which is outside of Göreme, the main tourist area.  Uchisar is one of the three fortresses that you can see rising from the plains around Cappadochia, especially when you’re in a hot air balloon.  Here it is bathed in the morning sun:


We decided to do a day hike in the Red Valley.  I’ve always been confused about the name of this valley.  I basically know where it is, and know that it’s easy to get to from the Panorama Parking Lot.  But when I was setting up a hike for the Girl Scouts last month, we had difficulty discerning the Red Valley from the Rose Valley and the Cavusin area.  As Emily and I found out, it’s all the same place!  In our quest to go off-trail, and then trying to get back on any trail, we traversed the entire valley.  Let’s just say it involved a lot of climbing soft rock faces, and several butt-slides to get ourselves back down.

Here’s what we saw along the way:

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And of course, hikes are always awesome for spotting interesting bits of nature.  We saw most of these, especially the butterflies, when we were following a creekbed in our hopes to find the trail again.


Cumalıkızık: A Walk Through a Traditional Turkish Village


Although I’m always happy to see ruins and restored mosques and churches, my favorite sightseeing activity in Turkey is a village walk.  Here, in the tiny streets and courtyards, you see the daily lives of village Turks.  Most are involved in agriculture in some way, and the harvest is usually right on display.  Either with people drying nuts on tarps, shucking beans, or making jams out of the day’s picked fruits.  Usually, you can sample and buy all of this stuff as you wander through the village.


Cumalıkızık is just such a place.  It’s both run-down and partially restored, with evidence of efforts to keep up with the projects in some corners and of complete neglect in others.


It’s also home to one of the smallest streets in the world, Cin Alley, where you have to be pretty narrow just to get through!

photo 1

Big Trees in Ottoman Bursa


Bursa is located at the foot of Uludağ, or Great Mountain.  I was impressed by how green it is!  Along with giant trees, the city has plants and flowers all over the place.  It’s great to walk around or just hang out. They even have a register of the big trees, which I found pretty impressive for a Turkish city.  Of course, now that I’m back in Ankara, I have to admit that we actually have a lot of green stuff here too.  I tend to forget that it’s actually a pretty decent place to live.

My favorite part of the city was the Koza Han, which is currently the silk bazaar.  It’s a beautifully constructed building from the 1490s with arches, courtyards and gardens.  Now you can buy all kinds of things, or just stop for a tea and enjoy the surroundings.  I didn’t have enough time to find my perfect silk souvenir, so I’ll definitely be back!

Right next to the Koza Han is the Grand Mosque, or Ulu Cami, which was built in the late 1300s.  It was ordered by Sultan Beyazid I and built mostly in the Selcuk style.  After the sultan won the battle of Nicopolis, he vowed to build 20 mosques.  The treasury didn’t quite support that, so instead he built a huge mosque with 20 domes and 2 minarets.  It has a lot of neat interior features, including a fountain right in the center, a highly decorated mihrab, and a minbar with a carved wooden display of the planetary system as it was known in the 14th century.


the fountain at the center of Ulu Cami in Bursa

The two minarets are shown below.  It’s very difficult to get a picture of the outside of the mosque since it’s bordered by the Koza Han and other shops on all sides!  To see the domes, look at the center of the right third of the first picture in this post.  You’ll see the Koza Han, and behind it the 20 domes of the Ulu Cami.

And some of the interior features:

As one of the Ottoman’s original capitals, Bursa has a lot of tombs from the families patriarchs.  Here’s the Green Tomb, where Celebi SultanMehmed and some of his relatives were interred.  All of its walls are covered in tiles, making it truly unique.

Next to the Green Tomb is, no surprise, the Green Mosque.  This is a small, peaceful mosque and was definitely my favorite.  Along with the main hall, there area several small rooms on either side with nice niches that seem perfect for quiet reflection.  I even checked one out myself!


The Green Mosque

Next was the tomb of Orhan Gazi, the sultan who conquered Bursa.  It’s also incredibly ornate, and built on the grounds of a Byzantine Monastery that overlooks the entire city.


I mentioned how much I loved walking around Bursa.  Here are some of the random scenes from the city:

Beach Break by Bodrum


sunset view from Yalikavak harbor

Come to Yalikavak, Turkey!

We went because I was desperately seeking sunshine and found a great price for a nice hotel on and a cheap flight on Pegasus, one of Turkey’s budget airlines.  I also thought a day trip to Bodrum’s Underwater Archaeology Museum might help inspire me to work on my thesis (about technology in the Ottoman Navy), but forgot that most museums are closed on Mondays, which is the day we planned to go.  So, instead, we did almost nothing while soaking up sunshine and admiring the view.

When we arrived it was raining and a bit cloudy, but since we both had plenty of work to do, we just worked from inside while watching the light on the water.


view from Avantgarde’s lawn area

On day two it was a bit cloudy but warm enough to sink our toes in the sand, so we worked from the beach chairs.

We managed to walk into the harbor town of Yalikavak every night for dinner and entertainment.  Thanks to the random stores, we had beautiful sunsets. Some views from the walk:

On our last night, we stopped at Miner Cafe, mostly because there were other people around and it’s kind of weird to be the only people at a restaurant in the off season.  The guy who pulled us in turned out to be the keyboardist for the jazz band playing that night.  We also met the clarinet player, an English guy who came to Bodrum with his partner 12 years ago and could never find his way out the village.  He used to play all over the world with the English orchestras, and even with Count Basie in NYC back when the band had to enter Capitol Studios from the backdoor!  Along with the jokes and the stories, the band could definitely play!  When they found out Todd was from San Francisco, they all started in on how now he had to sing Hotel California with the band.  So he did, like a total rock star! (that’s him in the back right corner)


Every night we admired the building below, but couldn’t quite make the walk there after dinner and drinks each night, so we settled on just trying to capture it digitally.  Unfortunately we didn’t quite get it, but did meet some interesting people who tried to help us.  This, our best shot, was taken while using a random passerby’s jacket, Todd’s wallet, and the lens cap as tripod and stability devices.


Trekking the Phrygian Highlands (the people of King Midas) – Day 2: more tombs and Midas City


On our second day of trekking through the Phrygian Highlands we were rewarded with bright skies and warmer weather, which made climbing to see even more tombs and ruins/rocks a lot easier.

We started with Doğal Kale, which means Hawk Castle.  We climbed through it, but it’s mostly empty rooms and broken ladders.  Not much is known, except that it’s really old and people used to live here.  The area surrounding it is absolutely breathtaking and nearly free of people.  The sun was shining, trees were budding, bees were buzzing and the birds were chirping – I didn’t want to leave!



Doğal Kale (Hawk Castle)

Doğal Kale (Hawk Castle)


Next up was the Ariastes Monument, which was likely a dedication and not a tomb.  It was another example of the Phrygian Monument style.  The writing around the monument probably says that it is a dedication from a priest to Mater, or the mother goddess, commonly known as Kibele.  It probably dates to the 5th century and is unfinished (look at how the work at the bottom just stops).

Ariastes Monument

Ariastes Monument


Going back to tombs, we stopped at late Hellenistic or Persian tomb that was likely modified by the Romans at some point.  There was original red paint in a pattern.  Like most of the historic tombs dotting the landscape, these were raided long ago, and now inside you just see crevices where the corpse and its things were.

The highlight of the trip was Midas City, which is named for a huge wall monument that shines bright over the whole valley in the morning sun.  At least that’s what I imagine, as we got there in the  afternoon.  Regardless of its natural lighting, the monument is truly impressive.  I couldn’t believe that it hasn’t been restored since the 5th century B.C.

The Midas Monument

The Midas Monument

You can see how tall it is with the person scale.

It’s called the Midas Monument because the name is mentioned on the inscription at the top, although the archaeologists thinks that it was more likely built by the conquering Persians as a way to legitimize the new ruler by appeasing their new subjects with mention of the subjects’ hero (Midas) and gods (Ates and Matar).  Matar statues were found inside but are now displayed at the Afyon museum.  Midas probably became a name for King, the way Caesar became a noun after Julius’s illustrious career.  Moreover, there were at least 2 other Phrygian King Midases.

Of course, there’s more to the city than just the wall, although spotting most of the ruins really required the archaeologist to point them out to us.  I thought we were just walking by rocks and enjoying the fresh air!

Earlier in the trip, we waited out some of the rain by visiting the Eskisehir Archaeology Museum.  Here are some of the Phrygian items that have been found:

The scenery was just amazing! Here are a few parting shots:


the village on the way to Midas City

the village on the way to Midas City


another old rock dwelling

Trekking the Phrygian Highlands (the people of King Midas) – Day 1


Last weekend I joined my archaeological group, FARIT, on a trip to the Phrygian Highlands.  Who are the Phrygians, you might ask?  Good question – they’re best known, historically, for King Midas, whose mythic touch turned everything to gold.  Their capital, Gordiom, is also famous for its local knot, which after centuries, mythically, Alexander the Great was able to untie.

The Phrygian empire spread across central Anatolia in the 8th century B.C., and collapsed to the Cimmerians sometime in the 6th century, with parts of the civilization lasting into the 5th or 3rd centuries B.C., depending on who’s making the claims.  The Cimmerians didn’t last long, and they fell to the Lydians and then the Syrians.  Dating in archaeology is really difficult, especially when multiple civilizations are built on top of one another, as is the case all over Turkey.

The Phrygian Highlands contain mostly cultic sites.  It’s located in sheep grazing land between the current Turkish cities of Eskisehir and Afyon.   After over 2 millennia, not that much is left, but some of the sites are truly stunning.  It was great to come with archaeologists, as some of us walked right by some of the ruins, thinking that they were just rocks.  Of course, sometimes recognizing ancient works is like using your imagination to find animals and scenes in the clouds – we all see them differently.

Our first stop was a group of tombs carved into soft volcanic rock.  The area has been used since Phrygian times as a gravesite. An early Christian church and modern graves sit alongside the ancient cliffside tombs.

The church has been long abandoned, and was probably used for sheltering animals over the years.  If you look at the interior, you can see that some of the carved columns have collapsed or been removed.  Archaeologists think that the churches were carved from the top down.  First they did the dome, then worked their way down into the nave.  As the interiors of the carved buildings are usually symmetric, they probably worked with some kind of plan vice free-carving.

Along the Phrygian Road we saw several shepherds tending their flocks.  All of them were incredibly friendly and excited to share their favorite rocks or tombs with us, especially when they found out that we had some archaeologists amongst us.

My favorite site along the Phrygian Road is the lion tomb.  Nobody knows who was buried here, but the guesses are that it was a local wealthy guy who wanted a tomb in the current international style (late 7th century B.C.)


Here are few more close-ups and part of another collapsed tomb nearby:

Next is what’s known as a shaft monument.  Behind this facade, there’s a huge shaft, nearly 40 feet deep (by my eye’s guess).  So this monument was once that tall as well.


There are two theories about how these shaft structures were used.  One is for animal sacrifices, where the blood was allowed to run down behind the monument.  The second is as an oracle structure, where the priest or priestess would descend the shaft, smoke something, and then work themselves into a frenzy and prophesize.  For entertainment value alone, I like imagining the second option.

Look at the carved patterns on the facade of the monument – more exciting examples are coming up!

Our last stop of the day was the village Kumba.  It seems mostly deserted, but after we started wandering around a hill for a few minutes, some villagers came out to greet us.  At the top of the hill is a ruin that looks like it was probably a lookout or military post of some kind, as you can easily see the surrounding countryside from the perch.

Slightly down the hill and over some rocks, we found this tomb.  It’s actually connected on its right to a village home, and the archaeologists think the locals are using the pits from the old tombs as trash containers now.  Not all of Turkey’s sites are well-preserved or cared for.   They also think that the tomb itself dates to the 6th century B.C., but that the carvings of the lion, the lioness, and the urn are from the Roman era.  If you look closely, you can see how the upper portion is actually indented quite a bit from the original tomb.  The original decoration probably fell off in an earthquake.

For more recent history, Kumba has a small tomb/church with lots of spolia (stones taken from other buildings) built in.  The stone mausoleums are still inside, and covered by lots of brightly colored and embroidered cloths.

By far my favorite part of visiting Kumba village were the locals and decaying village scenery.

Çatalhöyük and Boncuklu: some of the oldest towns in the world (Archaeology Sites around Konya)

I think one of the most fascinating things about living in Turkey is finally understanding the complex mix of civilizations that existed on this land over the millennia.  Before I moved here, I only understood Turkey in the modern sense, and I knew it was formerly home to the Ottoman Empire.  Then, once I started touring around the country, its past as part of Rome (and Byzantine) and, before that Greece, finally dawned on me.  Now I’m to the point where I have a rough idea of who ruled each corner of Anatolia (the Asian part of current Turkey) over the centuries.  Still, I frequently visit a new place and learn about another civilization that came and went over a short span of a few centuries.


In November, on a trip with Friends of American Research in Turkey (FARIT) to the archaeological sites around Konya, once again my mind was blown.  The highlight of our trip was a visit to Çatalhöyük, a settlement that is possibly the oldest town in the world.  The general consensus is that it is the largest and best preserved neolithic site found so far.  As a refresher, because I tend to forget these things too, neolithic means the New Stone Age, or the last segment of the Stone Age, and dates roughly from 10,000 B.C. to about 4500 B.C.  Çatalhöyük, the site I visited, was around from about 7500 to 5700 B.C.  In general, the neolithic period started at the end of the Ice Ages, as people started moving further north following animal migration.  Eventually, with the development of cereal, farming and animal domestication began.


around Çatalhöyük – the river used to run between the two mounds

The site contains a couple of mounds (höyük) of several domestic buildings.  Interestingly, the homes were entered from above, so that the floor of the town structure was actually the roofs of the homes.  The archaeologists think this design was for fire prevention.  If a fire broke out, the roof could be collapsed to smother it.  In addition, this could prevent the spread of fire to nearby houses.  The pictures below are a modern mockup of the house style. Remember, the living spaces were climbed down into.

Most interesting about Çatalhöyük was the burial of its dead, with its reasoning still unclear to archaeologists.  Skeletons were found under several homes during the excavation.  Some skeletons were complete; others lacked heads, and other complete skeletons were holding genetically unrelated skulls.  Other skulls were found buried separately.  What’s with the skull love?  They also had several murals painted on their walls, and sometimes more than 100 layers of paint, with countless unfound murals underneath.  Most of the paintings were red animals of some kind.  Again, the meaning and or significance is still unknown.

Our next stop was Boncuklu, which means beaded, named after the old beads found here dating back to 8500 B.C.  Unfortunately the site is at the beginning of excavation, and when we visited in November it was a covered mound, waiting for archaeologists and summer.  I remembered to write this post when I saw some beads and a placard mentioning these sites at the Louvre a few weeks ago!

Our next stop was some Hittite ruins.  Hittites are considered the first civilization in Anatolia.  If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry; I  hadn’t either until I moved to Turkey.  First we walked through a village to see a carved statue that’s been sitting on a hillside forever!  No one knows what the statue was intended for, or exactly why it was made, or why it’s currently on this hill.  Possibly, it was from a quarry nearby, and then carved here.  The size is immense, and larger than those found at the Hittite capital in Hattusha.


I really enjoyed the walk through the village, and the scenes of daily life in the area.  Across the hill from the stone above, there’s an ancient Lycian tomb decorated with a horse.  Seriously, these ruins are everywhere in Turkey!!!

Our last stop was the ruins of Eflatunpinar, another Hittite ruin.  It’s a temple built on a spring during the Hittite era, although its exact timing is unknown.  On the spring, the figures represented are gods and goddesses of mountains, the skies, and the underworld.

Finally, we visited the Konya Archaeological Museum.  Most of its items are early Roman ruins.  For me, the most interesting was this sarcophagus, on which our archaeologist said was the earliest known use of the Christian cross on a tomb, dating from the 2nd century.


Here’s a gallery of some other tombs found in the area:

Archaeological Sites Around Antalya, Day 2


Our second day of sightseeing with an archaeologist specializing in Roman and Greek ruins in the Antalya region was just as fascinating.  We visited two old sites, Termessos and Sagalassos.

Arriving at Termessos is a treat simply because you have to work to get there – it is located at over 1000 m of altitude on Gulluk Mountain.  After the bus climbed and climbed, we had to hike an additional 30 minutes or so up the mountain to reach the outskirts of the city.  Although the site is still mostly a pile of rocks, there are a few standout ruins to reward your aching muscles and knees.

The city pre-dates Greek civilizations, and thanks to its position at the top of a mountain, defied conquest by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.  It’s referenced by Homer as Bellerophon.  The archaeologists think that the rich citizens who lived inside the city were supported by networks of agriculture and slaves who lived in the valley below.  The city maintained its independence through Roman times, but was abandoned after an earthquake collapsed its aqueduct.

I liked Termessos because of its relativiely untouched nature.  The ruins are slowly being buried by natural plants, and I think it shows in reverse how so many of these great cities were lost for centuries.

The first sight at the top of the hike is the Gymnasium, which was both a school, gym, and social club for the young men of the city.  Amidst the wild plants and shrubs, some walls and arches remain.

Next we walked out to the edge of the mountain for the most impressive theater I’ve ever seen – who needs a show with a view like this!

Before descending, we wandered through the remains of the agora and some homes scattered around the area.

Our second site was Sagalassos, another ancient southwestern Anatolian town.  It was another Pisidian town, with settlement in this location as far back as 8000 B.C.!  The history took the standard tour of civilizations, from stone age to Hittite to Psidian to Greek to Roman.  After Alexander the Great failed to conquer Termessos, the site we visited in the morning, he attacked Sagalassos with fury, and it became a Hellenistic city.  Although it successfully recovered from a few earthquakes over the centuries, eventually the hillside location was abandoned and the people resettled to the valley below.  The buildings that remain are mostly Roman.


view from the city center

The center of the square held an impressive fountain, with several statues.  You can see them covered in thermal bags right now to protect from the cold.  Recently huge statues of Hadrian, Sabine (his courtesan) and Aurelius have all been found at the site.

The town also boast an old library with impressive mosaics.


Other buildings include a statue to Dionysus (god of wine and fun!), a stadium, and some fountains.  Remember, the Romans were always building water features to handle the extra water flowing in to the cities from their aqueducts!

Archaeological Sites Around Antalya, Day I

Since moving to Turkey, I’ve taken several trips with an organization that supports Archaeological research in Turkey, Friends of American Research in Turkey (FARIT). These trips are especially enlightening because an archaeologist comes along as the tour guide, and along with the history of the sites that we visit we are entertained with stories of the struggles and intrigue of the archaeological community, as well as anecdotes about the civilization behind whatever ruin we happen to be viewing. I have yet to meet an archaeologist who doesn’t like to talk, or who is short on stories to share. My favorite from the weekend was an explanation of the entomology of the word fornication. Roman arches were called fornix, and ladies could be found working there at night. They were, simply due to location, fornicators, and their work, fornication.
In February we did a trip to Antalya, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. We stayed on the old city, or Kaleici (inside the castle) and journeyed each day to explore the Greek and Roman ruins in the area.

A typical boat anchored in Side's harbor

A typical boat anchored in Side’s harbor

Our first stop was Side, one of the original port towns on the coast. It has two harbors, which made it ideal for cargo operations no matter which way the wind was blowing. Now it’s an ideal spot for tourists.

Everybody enjoys a walk on the jetty

Everybody enjoys a walk on the jetty

Side was originally known in Hellenistic times as Pamphylia, or the land of many tribes. The town’s name has two meanings: one, pomegranate, and the other is of a goddess who was a wife of Orion but was sent to the underworld by Zeus and subsisted on pomegranates. Ruins date back to the 7th century B.C., at the end of the Bronze Age. The town was surrendered to Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. – yeah, that guy got around! Like many settlements of its kind, Side was abandoned over the 7th century A.D. as a result of Arab attacks.

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Today Side is a mix of ruins and a tourist economy. Restaurants and shops are right in the middle of crumbling temples and ancient walls.

The most important, and well-preserved part of the Side ruins is the theater. The first archaeological lesson that we learned is the difference between Greek and Roman theaters. Greek theater was all about the chorus, so theaters were usually perfect circles designed so that all seats could hear the singers. Roman theater was more visual and generally used a stage, so you see more of a D-shape and a pronounced stage. The theater in Side applies a combination of the designs, with an original Greek shape but with lots of Roman modifications, including an enhanced stage and signs that a soundboard was used to reflect the actors’ voices to the audience. Later additions to allow for gladiator shows are evident, mostly by a stone wall around the lowest seats. I thought it was to keep the lions and whatnot from attacking the audience, but apparently its main purpose was to keep the gladiators themselves from escaping! I haven’t written about it yet, and will save the details for my report on Rome, but if you want to learn more about gladiators and their shows, the audio guide at the Coliseum explains it wonderfully.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many fountains and baths and other waterworks in Roman civilizations? If you remember nothing else about Roman civ, you probably remember that Romans greatest contribution to the world was engineering, and especially the aqueducts. The thing about bringing a flow of fresh water to your sites around the globe, however, is that you can’t turn it off. So many water features we consider great art today, like the Fountains that grace every Roman city, were actually engineered as water sinks – you’ve got to put it somewhere!
Sometimes Romans had to improvise on their standard aqueduct design. Generally they used natural springs in the mountains and the force provided by height to deliver water to cities located at a distance from the source. As in the example shown below however, the Romans had to build the height with an aqueduct to provide the head to force the water to flow.

Our next stop was Aspendos, another theater from the days of Panphylia. It’s under renovation, and probably will be forever since the city uses the theater for rock concerts and other civic events with huge amplifiers and noise vibrations that the theater was not designed to handle. It’s considered the best-preserved Roman theater in Anatolia. It was built under Marcus Aurelius in the mid 100s, after Aspendos, as part of Pergamon, fell to Rome. In the 11th century it was renovated by a Selcuk and served as a castle, and then used in the 14th century as a caravansary. In the 20th century Aspendos was one of the first archaeological renovations sponsored by Ataturk, who usually favored working on Hittite sites.

Today you can see the statue ledges of the ornate stage and most of the original shape of the theater. Lines from the soundboard are deeply etched onto the upper sides of the stage structure.  Also, ancient theater guests had better accommodations than the tourists who visit the sites today. Sailors operated huge shade rigs, usually constructed of sail materials, over the entire audience!

Our next stop was Perge, another ancient Greco-Roman city, with findings dating as early as the 5th millennium B.C. and was ruled by everybody and his brother.  Today most of the ruins are from the Roman period.


We got there so late that the gate guard actually started chasing us off the site. During the run out, we saw the remains of the stadium, one of few in Anatolia, and the agora, the main shopping area.

The most interesting part for me was the old city defensive towers that was later turned into a city gate honoring one of the richest families, complete with statues, inscriptions, and fountains.

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