Travels with Papillon




The Narrative



The Narrative - Page Index


Turkey - part 5






Settled by the time of the Hittites - 800BC - the ruins that are viewable today are from Roman times.  But one comes to Aspendos for one structure only, the best preserved Roman theater in Turkey and quite possibly in the world.



Constructed during the reign of Marcus Aurelius it was maintained by subsequent governments and came to the modern age in good shape.  In the 1930's the Turkish government brought it up to modern standards and decreed its use again.

Today it is used for live performance and we worked our travels around their schedule in order to see a show.  The History of Istanbul


I apologize for the blurry photos.  They are the best that I have.


Afternoon set up

Just before show time


I have not been a fan of ballet in my life.  Primarily I thought it was silly, especially with those silly costumes that both men and woman wear.  My attitude changed for this performance because the costumes where historically accurate to portray the History of Istanbul.  The story line was also accurate and easy to follow along.

The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet Company is a first rate ensemble and the dancers and orchestra were very very good.  I have seen a couple of Broadway musicals and this performance rivaled anything I have seen on the stage.  Judy, who loves live performance, was thrilling from the opening moment and literally was speechless.


And now, without further ado.

It's show time folks!




There were many scenes in this 2 and a half hour performance.  Another favorite was a romantic dance between the Sultan and his soon to be bride.  It was undoubtedly the most sensuous dance I have seen without being obscene.  First Rate.

Set under the stars - we saw the Big Dipper - with a good and appreciative crowd, this was a very special evening.

We spent the night in Papillon in the Parking Lot under the watchful eyes of Security.




Lycia is an ancient kingdom lying east of Caria between Fethiye and Antalya on the south west coast of Turkey.  Still used as an identifying name today, its glory years were in the mid to late 1st millennium BC.  Caught between the Persians and the Greeks, many an army marched through here prior to Alexander.  




One of the Lycian's principal cities was Myra.  Nothing is visible today save for a well preserved Greco-Roman theater and robbed out Rock Cut Tombs of the well to do from the mid 400's BC.









Myra is just outside of Demre.




Demre is a small village with one special claim to fame.

It was the home of Saint Nicolas, who was the Bishop here in the early 300's AD.  Renowned throughout Christendom for his charitable works, he has become the patron saint of almost everything.

In Turkey he is known as Noel Baba and he comes around on New Years day with his big bag of gifts.

In 1087 some Italians broke into his tomb and carted his bones off.  They are now on display in Bari, Italy.



*        *        *        *        *


Another ancient city that you have never heard of.  But will not forget.

A Roman Traveler of the 3rd Century AD wrote of Perge.


It's broad main street with  its long rows of columns covered in marble, bracketed the central row of fountain pools which provided cooling waters as they flowed gently down hill.


It's massive triumphal gate greeting well all who enter.

The immense bath with its five different pools serves as a central meeting point for all to conduct business or just socialize.



Women used the Bath during the morning and men used it in the afternoon and evening.



*        *        *        *        *


9,000 years ago

Nine thousand years ago.  You have to roll that phrase around in your mind awhile before it makes sense.

Then grab a hold of "This village was inhabited 9,000 years ago."

Organized community life.  9,000 years ago.  

Today the tell of Catal Hoyuk is in the middle of nowhere.  9,000 years ago it was in the middle of nowhere, except it had a better water supply.  (Global warming et al has been going on for a long time.  We just appear to be speeding up the process.)

The inhabitants abandoned the site 7,000 years ago and moved a short distance away.  What they have left behind will keep archeologists busy here for the next 25 years.

The dwellings were built close together.  So close that there were no streets.  Entry within was gained through the roof.  Evidence suggests this was more for economy of building, as well as seeking cooling relieve from the sun.  No evidence of warfare in the area exists.

Their rooms were simple but there is considerable evidence of decoration.  To the left, the colors that you see are the colors that they painted their walls.

The flat raised area was their beds.  The pit to the left was for cooking.  The pits in the foreground was where they buried their dead - within their home.

Earth Mother

Goddess of Birth and Life

There is a small museum on site, but the bulk of the finds have been taken to the National Museum in Ankara.






Celaleddin Rumi was born in present day Afghanistan in 1207 and relocated to Konya, Turkey in 1228.  He is a greatly revered Islamic philosopher and mystic who is better known by his title Mevlana - Our Guide.  His followers became known as Whirling Dervishes.

His tomb is located within the Mevlana Museum which used to be a Dervish Lodge.  The Turkish government banned the movement in the 20's.  However Dervish ceremonies can be performed as "exhibitions".

Over a million visitors a year come here, almost all Muslims.  Judy observed most standing before his tomb with hands cupped at the waist as if ready to receive his blessings.

The rest of the museum houses artifacts from his lodge as well as a number of very old Korans, some dating from the 1100's.




The spires of the Mevlana Museum - Konya


Next - Turkey 6 - Kapadokya

The Narrative - Index