Travels with Papillon




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Turkey part 3



.. . HEAT . ..

The photo on the left shows the Instrument panel of our Sprinter.  In the middle, with black digital numbers on light background is our miles, gear selection, and on the right - the outside temperature - which here is indicating 110 degrees F.

On more than one occasion each of us was on the verge of distress from the heat.  We had to slow down and adjust.  The spell lasted nearly a week and then receded to the mid to lower nineties. 




The drive from the coast was over 150 miles on usually good roads and what most who make the journey come to see are the travertine pools of mineral water and their jewelry quality color.


Most come on bus tours and most of them appeared to be Russians and Ukrainians on package tours to the big Med resort city of Antalya.  


Surprisingly you can frolic in some of the pools and just about everyone did, photo required.


But all is not happy in paradise as the water level has continued to drop and most of the cascades have dried up as they divert water to keep at least one open.


Dried up cascade pool

Accusative fingers pointing in all directions abound as to who is responsible but the fact remains, this venue ain't what it used to be and the town merchants are seeing big drops in business.




Behind and above the cascade pools are the remains of the Hellenistic ruins of Hierapolis.  


But most interesting was the modern use of old technology

The use of mini channels to funnel the water throughout town for personal use.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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But we came here for one reason, and one reason only - to go

Swimming with the Gods

Hierapolis had a major temple for a major Greek God - Apollo.  Fronting that temple was a sacred pool of the warm thermal waters that flow through town.  The pool was surrounded with statuary of the Gods.  Over the centuries earthquakes have shaken the columns and statuary and thrown them to the ground and into the pool.  Today those column pieces and God fragments litter the bottom of that pool.

And you too can swim with the Gods.


You could feel the presence of the Gods

This was a blast.

As a number of readers have suggested - This sure ain't Kansas, Toto


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More than Italy

More than Greece

Turkey has more ancient sites than Italy or Greece.  And they are usually not covered with layer upon layer of newer construction.  The next site we had never heard of, but we will never forget it.


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In the middle of absolute nowhere, so far out even the Russian tour busses passed it up - but there was a Japanese tour group there.  Almost totally undisturbed for the last 800 years or so, it is one of the best preserved Hellenic/Roman sites in the world.  

Settled since 5000 BC, the site hosted a large Temple to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite from 600 BC.  It really began to prosper under the Romans who built considerable structures here including a theater, 2 agoras with large central fountains, a large bath, a wonderful triumphant entry gate and the best preserved Roman stadium in the world.

The Tetrapylon


The stadium measured 270 meters in length and could seat 30,000 fans.



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for fresh fruit along the road, just steps from the orchard.  These peaches were the sweetest either of us had ever enjoyed.

Nice display also.





One of the most visited sites in Turkey, it was during Roman times the largest and most important seaport in Asia Minor.  A large site with impressive reconstructions, it also hosts the largest theater in Asia - it had seats for over 25,000.  

And one of the most photographed facades in the entire world - the Library of Celsus from 120 AD.


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This Jaded Old Retailer



I peddled souvenirs at a beach resort for many years so I can appreciate the desires of a retailer to keep the pilgrims/tourists coming.  They understood that at Delphi and Olympus, at Chartres and in Atlantic City.  The good merchants of Ephesus understood that very well also because they were dependent on the pilgrims coming to the Temple of Artemis.

The Temple was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and had been a pilgrimage site since the 9th century BC.  Originally the temple was in honor of the Asian Mother Goddess Cybele, but it became a temple to Artemis - the Earth Mother.  After the earlier temple was destroyed by a fire in 356 BC it was rebuilt on a scale that rivaled the Parthenon in Athens.

With the coming of Christianity the Ephesusians fought the new religion tooth and nail, it affected their livelihood.  But during the great Gothic sea raid of 262 AD the temple was destroyed at the same time that the new religion was gaining converts by the thousands.

Figuring if you can't lick 'em, join 'em, the merchants were part of a promotional effort to recognize a nearby dwelling as the last house of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  And to this day this structure located 1500 feet up a nearby mountain in a isolated region is visited by thousands of pilgrims daily - including Moslem faithful.

Whatever is good for business I guess.

But the harbor silted in and the population moved a few miles away to Selcuk and the Temple of Artemis was buried for a thousand years.






Known today as Bodrum, this ancient town is mostly noted for a structure that once was one of the 7 Wonders of the World, a structure that gives us the English word - Mausoleum.  A building that is long gone, the stones robbed to build other buildings in their day.

During the 4th century BC the Persians conquered Asia Minor and the Kingdom of Caria.  Here they installed Mausolus as Satrapy and he ruled on their behalf.  He died in 353BC and his sister/wife Artemisia (yep, he married his sister) had the structure completed to his plan as his tomb.  

Alexander burned the city in his conquest and the Romans choose not to put much effort into the place.  Slowly, earthquake by earthquake, robber by robber, the structure fell into disarray.


The site today is basically an empty hole with leftover piece parts, but the small museum showcases the best of what's left and has some 3-D models of the original building.  It is believed to have been 150 feet tall.


Castle of Saint Peter

One of the principal benefactors of the stones from the mausoleum was the Castle of St. Peter which sat on an island in the harbor but is now connected to the mainland.   Built in the 1300's on earlier fortifications by the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, who were known at the time as the Knights of Rhodes,  it was strengthened again with stones from the tomb in 1523, just before the fort was surrendered to the Ottoman Turks under Suleyman after they captured the Knights great bastion on Rhodes.

Here you can see precut stones from other structures added helter skelter to a battlement of the castle.  

An interesting structure in its own right. You can follow the rich history of the Crusading Orders here



But for me a MAJOR BIGGIE was what is housed inside the castle, the

Some Background:

I became fascinated with archeology after reading James Mitchner's The Source, a fictional work concerning the archeological excavation of an ancient Tell in Israel.  The first chapters discuss the organization of the dig and the clearing out of a trial trench and the 22 items that they locate there, one item from each layer of civilization within.  The succeeding chapters develop a story about each item, the "owner", the life and times of the settlement and how the item got deposited within the tell.

Twenty two layers of civilizations.  Spanning 9000 years.  Stupendous.

And then in the 70's the National Geographic featured an archeological "dig" under the direction of Prof. George Bass of Texas A&M.  His work recovered from a depth of 140 feet the remains and cargo of a Late Bronze Age ship that had plied the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

And everything that you see was there on the same day.  Stupendous.  What a concept.  Totally captured my imagination.  And after 30 years, here it is.


Here is the simulation within the museum of how the ship was loaded, and how it looked on the bottom of the sea.




At the front of the wreck the divers found two white disks with paint on them.  These were the ship's eyes to help the vessel see its way through the perils of the sea.


And what exactly was this ship and it's cargo.

Their best educated guess was that it was a vessel trading in raw, processed and recycled materials such as copper, bronze, tin, gold, silver, glass, amber, and ivory.  It probably sailed from port to port in the Levant buying material and selling it to re-processors or Artisians in other ports.  It was a very specialized trade with a very specialized clientel.

Amber from the Baltic Sea

Glass ingots from Syria

Copper "Oxhide" shape - easy to carry - from Cyprus

Fishhooks, bucket handles, cups of bronze

Ivory from Africa

Stone anchors/ballast

Based on the evidence, they believe that this vessel sank off the coast of Kaş, Turkey in the year 1305 BC.  3,300 years ago.


The Museum also has the Glass Ship from the 1200's AD as well as a Hellenic vessel from 400 BC.  We spent the good part of the day in this fine museum located within the fort



Closing this chapter here, we now head toward Kaş


Next - Turkey 4 - Kaş

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