Sunday, May 16, 2010

Phaselis and Arykanda

In all of Lycia, there are only two major ruins that up until now I haven`t seen: Phaselis and Arykanda. For some reason, I`ve missed them time and again. Not this visit. The only problem was that they were quite far apart and I was depending on Turkish buses to get me there and back. It turned out to be no problem at all. Sure, it took all day, but man, was it ever cool. Let`s start with Phaselis:

It`s only about 10 miles north of where I was staying at Olimpos. I`ve been to Olimpos many times, but God knows why I´ve missed this place. It´s fantastic. But don´t take my word for it. The indispensable Blue Guide (otherwise known as the Blue Brick for its heft) waxes poetic about the site thusly:

Visitors to Phaselis often confess themselves deeply moved by the beauty of its situatıon between the mountains and the sea. The sight of fragments of ancient buildings protruding from the lush undergrowth produces a mood of gentle melancholy.

First things first, Greeks were mental for natural harbors. Phaselis doesn´t have one - it has three. Here´s the North Harbor:

Here are other pictures:

Are you feeling the gentle melancholy yet? I sure am. The place is really quite beautiful, all by the shore and stuff. But it was time to go way far up into the mountains to Arykanda. Once again, take it away, Blue Guide:

Arykanda is one of the most beautiful places in Turkey. It has been compared, not unfavourably, with Delphi in Greece.

Really now? How the hell is that possible? I´ve been to a lot of beautiful places in this country and nobody´s said anything about Arykanda, which, in its time, was a minor city in the mountains whose inhabitants were renowned for their laziness.

You know what? The Blue Guide is absolutely right. The city is built on a series of terraces that stretch up the side of a mountain. Things are steep. All exploring is done with the tacit understanding that if you fall, you´re dead. Here are some more compelling shots:

For you fans of masonry, here are two styles that comprise the theater:

The place has been standing for the last 2,000 years, so I think they did something right. Oh, and there were mosaics:

Byzantine, yes, but still very nice.

It was a truly spectacular day. I made it back with tales to tell. Unfortunately, nobody at where I was staying was interested. Oh well. Anyhow, our lesson for today is never doubt The Blue Guide. Never.

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