Monday, October 22, 2012
There are some places that never get old - even though they're ancient. Xanthos is one of them. This is the former Lycian capital city that's located very close to Patara. In fact, if you were really determined, you could walk there in around two hours. I made this visit on my way to Fethiye to catch a bus for the interior. Sadly, I was ending my stay along the south coast and heading for Cappadocia. The weather was due to take a turn, so I decided to say goodbye. I had a tremendous time in Patara, but I'll be back, because where else am I supposed to stay?
OK, so above you'll see the expansive ruins that everybody visits. But the site is so big that there's all kinds of stuff to see. You just have to do some clambering.
This is the main street colonnade. At some point in time, this had buildings on either side and people in togas wandering around.
Like all ruins, there are bits of things lying all around. Here's a carving of a bull's head. It was Roman, because they liked bulls. The local Lycian were indifferent to them but when the emperor is signing your checks, you learn to like bulls.
The ruins are located up on a hill. If you look down, you see many, many greenhouses. They grow mostly tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. My hotel owner has one near Patara, so I found out all about them.
Once again, you see lots of the distinctive Lycian funerary architecture. This is called the "Lion Tomb because of the reliefs depicting lion hunting on the sides. From them, I gather that lion hunting was difficult.
Another tomb, just chillin' in the scenery.
Xanthos is unique in all of Lycia in that it features pillar tombs. Apparently, they buried people way the hell up there on top of a really heavy slab of rock.
Here's another super-long-lasting archway.
Here's an overview of the eastern part of the ruins with all those greenhouses in the background.
And we're back to the more-visited part of the site. The theater is in pretty fine shape.
This is what they call the "inscribed monument." It contains the longest passage of ancient Lycian anywhere. The inscription talks about what some prince gave to the city some 2,400 years ago, lest we forget. This monument was originally a pillar tomb but the top of it has disappeared. The last time I was here, I swear that I saw lightning strike it.
Well, I spent over two hours here clambering around and trying not to die in some of the more remote precincts. If you're going to visit one ancient site in Turkey and you don't feel like making the haul out to Arykanda, stop in as Xanthos. Although it doesn't have the historical heft of Troy or the size of Ephesus, it is the best place you can visit, hands down.
Well, it was a fitting way to say goodbye to the region. After this, I was off to Fethiye to catch the overnight bus to Goreme.
Posted by Igor Keller