Saturday, October 30, 2010
Patara, Pt. 2
Well, after the Xanthos experience, I was thinking seriously about getting the heck out of Patara. I mean, at least in Dalyan when the weather was crappy, you could hang out in some bar and watch Tomb Raider in Turkish - not that I did, but I knew the possibility existed. But in Patara, it was so small that there was absolutely nothing to do. In preparation for leaving, I figured I'd go see the ruins, rain or shine, upon my return from Xanthos. They'd really come along in the last dozen years. The first time I saw them in 1998, almost everything was buried under about 10 feet of sand and what wasn't buried was completely overgrown and inaccessible. I dawdled at the Zeybek 2 while the last of the rain fell, then, lo and behold, the sun came out and I set off. Here's what I have to report:
OK, this is gonna sound super-nerdy, but the ruins of Patara contain some excellent examples of Roman masonry. These walls have stood for around 1900 years. That's completely amazing given the amount of earthquakes that have hit the region in the last two millennia. I mean, it's a miracle that anything is still there. But the Romans (the rulers of the region by the first century AD) were engineers. Lord knows where they got the know-how, but they built stuff solid. Anyhow, here is the agora:
As you can see from the photos below, they're reconstructing the odeon - oops, I mean the bouleterion. Yes, I'm conflicted about that. Thanks to the heavy, heavy rain, everybody had gone home. Here's a look:
I'm told that they're using an authentic reproduction of an ancient diesel crane from that approximate era to help them in their efforts. Showing no signs of just about anything is the theater. This is what it looks like from the outside:
See the difference between of color there and how the top part is a weathered gray and the bottom is a relatively more youthful tan? Do you?? Well, that's how deep it was buried in sand. I'm not sure how long it was like that, so I'll just say it remained that way for centuries. Here's what the interior looks like:
OK, again with the masonry on those last three. Those are the theater's passageways (I think they were known as vomitoria - honest!). They still hold near-perfect arches. Completely incredible. I climbed up the hill in back of the theater and took this intriguing shot:
What do you suppose that is? A cemetery for all the brave Turks who perished during the reconstruction of the bouleterion? No, those are fragments of the former city that have yet to be matched up with other fragments of the former city. Here's a closer look:
Well, best of luck, fragments! I'm sure there's match for each and every one of you!
Here is the what I saw on the way out:
That last thing above is what's left of their aqueduct. Seriously folks, masonry!
Well, that was it for my two-ruin day. Patara proved to be incredibly pleasant, weather-wise. On my way back to modern-day Patara (about a mile from the old one), I spotted the greatest sign ever made. Here it is:
In case you're having trouble reading it, it goes like this
Jimmy's the Harroos of Pataras
WE SELL EWERYTING
Santa Glavs Buys His Toys Heve
Bravo, Patara Market, bravo.