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TURKISH MYSTERY TOUR

October 19th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I recently boarded a bus at 7 a.m. for a one day “mystery tour” that would take us to an ancient historic site, a natural phenomenon and a up close look at Turkish life.  Kent decided it was a perfect time to do boat work without me under foot and stayed behind.

The bus, loaded with a dozen cruisers from both Yacht Marina and Netsel Marina, a driver and a guide headed north out of Marmaris and then west along the coast before climbing over mountains from which we could see the fertile valley floor below and beyond that the Aegean Sea.

Valley Floor and Aegean

Valley Floor and Aegean

The roads were modern for the most part, with many switchbacks up the mountain and then back down, although a portion of our trip was on two lane highway.  Sporadic rain dampened the road and limited visibility.

Road along sea gives way to one of many sharp curves going uphill

Road along sea gives way to one of many sharp curves going uphill

After a bit it was apparent that we were heading in the direction of Bodrum, but we still didn’t know our destination.  We stopped for a Turkish breakfast in Milas which is inland from Bodrum.

Turkish breakfast includes cold sliced meats, thick Turkish yogurt, flat bread, hard cheeses, olives, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and an assortment of honeys and jams—generally laid out buffet style. 

In Milas we visited “Gumuskesen”, a 2nd Century A.D. Roman mausoleum set in a small park in a residential area of the city. 

Milas Mausoleum

Milas Mausoleum

2nd Century A.D. Roman columns

2nd Century A.D. Roman columns

It was a green oasis with a perfectly preserved antiquity surrounded by grass, palm trees and still budding roses covered with rain drops. 

October Rose

October Rose

From Milas we picked up a two lane road that led to our next stop at Temple of Zeus at Euromos.

Rain drenched Temple of Zeus

Rain drenched Temple of Zeus

Euromos was an ancient city that reached the height of its prosperity between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D.  In addition to the temple, bearing a striking resemblance to a structure in Nimes, France, there are other remains on the site.   

Many columns remain. . .but only a few stand

Many columns remain. . .but only a few stand

. . .of the 9 by 6 columns that made up the effice.

. . .of the 9 columns by 6 columns that made up the edifice.

 

Inscriptions adorn the temple columns

Inscriptions adorn the temple columns

From the path to amphitheater you get an aerial view of the Temple nestled among the olive trees

From the path to amphitheater you get an aerial view of the Temple nestled among the olive trees

A portion of city wall fortification and the barely there remains of a the theater are a short climb uphill from the temple.

Fortress walls

Fortress walls

From the flat area that would have been the “stage” for the ancient theater, now overgrown with olive trees, the valley spreads out below. 

Moss covers the steps of the amphitheater now overgrown with trees

Moss covers the steps of the amphitheater now overgrown with trees

Dodging rain drops, we got back on the bus for our next mystery stop.  Winding up a narrow one lane road high above the valley we reached the small Turkish village of Comakdag.  Entering the town was like stepping back in time.  The villagers were all dressed in traditional peasant clothes—the women wearing pantaloons layered with dresses and coats.  

Villagers in traditonal dress

Villagers in traditonal dress

A cow meandered through the walled and gated Town Square, while others were at home on porches.

Camakdag Town Square

Comakdag Town Square

 We visited a Turkish family who allowed us to tour their 400 year old stone home.  The ground floor was for animals and the second floor reached by a wooden ladder housed people.  At present the family resides primarily in a larger home built on the same property, but cattle are tethered in courtyard and a donkey lives under the more modern house. 

400 year old house

400 year old house

Chickens and. . .

Chickens and. . .

cattle share the courtyard

cattle share the courtyard

While the donkey lives on ground floor of family home

While the donkey lives on ground floor of family home

The interior of the “old” house is decorated with ornate carving and colorful paint.  The size is stunningly small when one considers that when built a large family resided in one room that was no more than 200 sq. ft.  The fireplace defined the “kitchen” and a thin mattress on the floor provided a daytime seating and nighttime sleeping area.

Panel from carved door

Panel from carved door

Dried peppers hang next to a painted cupboard

Dried peppers hang next to a painted cupboard

We learned that weddings in Turkey were four day extravagances of feasting,  We were shown a 120 year old silk wedding gown that was modeled by Catherine, one of our tour members.

Silk wedding gown. . .

Silk wedding gown. . .

complete with headdress and fresh flowers

complete with headdress and fresh flowers

We were also shown an antique child’s cradle with a hole in the bottom and a small pipe apparatus that fit in it.  The village elder who accompanied us on our tour described that the one end of the pipe fit over the penis of a baby boy and drained out the bottom of the cradle—rather an ingenious solution for keeping baby dry. 

Our village guide describes the use for this interesting object

Our village guide describes the use for this interesting object

Our last stop was the ancient village of Herakleia (2,500 years old), which once stood on a gulf in the Aegean.  As the sea retreated over the centuries it left behind a lake (Lake Bafa) now some 20 miles from the sea, and far above current sea level.   The village is reached by a narrow road that winds through terrain dominated by huge rock boulders as far as you can see.  The so-called “Five-Fingered Mountain” towers over the village and lake.

Lakeside at Heracleia

Lakeside at Heracleia

Villagers still occupy part of the town--now called Kapikiri

Villagers still occupy part of the town--now called Kapikiri

View toward mountains

View toward mountains

Can you see the people in the middle--these are BIG boulders

Can you see the people in the middle--these are BIG boulders

There are ruins scattered throughout the village of a theater, temple and a necropolis as well as towers and city walls.

In the foreground the necropolis. . .in distance the lake

In the foreground the necropolis. . .in distance the lake

As we toured the town, village women followed us from place to place hawking their handicrafts.  As we moved on they gathered everything up into folded cloths that they carried on their backs and kept pace.

Turkish women carry their wares

Turkish women carry their wares

The day ended much as it started with the sun making a valiant effort to come out.  Our feet were damp, but everyone on the tour enjoyed our day.

At least the rain stopped

At least the rain stopped

One mystery remains—how did they keep the baby girls dry in that cradle?

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