Sunday, 7 October 2012

Turkish Delight - Termessos

I'm going to spare you a few days now - you probably don't want to hear what Turkish ambulances and hospitals are like...

First day back on my feet and its one of the highlights so no way am I going to miss this. Even if I haven't eaten anything for 48 hours and its a steep hike up  to the city!

Termessos is something special. Alexander the Great tried and failed to cpature it in 333 BCE and you can see why. It is perched on top of a mountain at over 1000mt in altitude. Inaccessible doesn't come close to it.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it but many sips of water and stops to nibble on dry biscuits later we reached the lower city walls. I was spurred on by the remains of the temple of Artemis right by the car park which gave a tatalising hint of what was up there.

It was worth the agonisng climb. The site is pretty much unexcavated and everywhere there are boulders, many the beautifully carved remains of pillars and friezes.

The remains of the city are now protected in a national park and it is strictly forbidden to remove any plant specimens. Strangely though there was no explicit prohibition on removing rocks or stones from the site.  It just "isn't the done thing" so we looked. took photographs and left the stones where they lay.

Everywhere you looked there were the remains of more collapsed buildings. It must have been quite a sizeable city. It was abandoned very quickly when an earthquake destroyed the aquaduct that brought water to the city which is probably why it is still so complete. That and its overall inaccessibility which would have made it an unattractive place to harvest stones for later reuse which is what commonly happens.

The highlight of the city is undoubtedly the ampithetare. It has a setting that quite simply could not be bettered.  How the audience could watch the show with that stunning view beats me.

I was feeling pretty done in by now so contented myself with perching at the top rather than descending down into the amphitheatre itself. I do regret that now but at the time I still wasn't feeling that good.

It was a fairly taxing morning so I was quite glad to get back to the car park. It is somewhere I'd like to return to for a more detailed exploration of the ruins but it wasn't to be this time around.

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