Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Ruins at Aspendos & Olympos

The final days of the road trip with Mom took us to the ruins at Aspendos and Olympos.

If you were to ask me, "Sarah, which food most closely resembles this segment of your road trip?" then I would reply, "This segment of the trip most closely resembles a sandwich; two ancient theatre ruins served as the bread, and a whole bunch of other ruins served as the sammich's yummy fixin's."

The first ruin we visited was the theatre at Aspendos. Built in 155 BC, the theatre is well known as the "best-preserved theatre of antiquity."

Mom and I look out over one end of the sandwich --
the wonderfully-preserved ancient theatre at Aspendos.

For the most part, the theatre was in excellent condition.
If you look closely, you will notice that a few rows
(those with the lighter color) have been repaired.

Large enough to accommodate 7,000 people, the theatre is still used today for performances. In fact, there was a performance scheduled for the day we visited the theatre. Alas, the performance was cancelled because of a nearby mining accident in Karaman, Turkey.

Cimbing up the hill behind the theatre afforded us this magnificent view.

When we arrived at Aspendos, we were under the impression that the theatre was the only structure we'd be seeing. We were quite surprised to find a whole antique city behind the theatre!

Just one of the sandwich fixin's.
This ruin looked amazing, with the perfect blue sky in the background
and the pretty purple wildflowers in the foreground.

Another wonderful sandwich fixin'!
I climbed up on the wall to get a view of the other ruins in the distance.

After visiting Aspendos, we drove further west along the Mediterranean Coast to the town of Çıralı, where we spent the night in a very Vieques-like small village (here's a shout-out to my Uncle Dean!).

Me and Mom, along the row of beach-front restaurants in Çıralı.

The next morning, we set out walking along the beach.

Our walk along the beach -- looking from Olympos back to Çıralı.

After about 1km of walking, we arrived at the ancient city of Olympos. Tucked away in a jungle-like river valley, the Lycian ruins at Olympos date back to the second century B.C.

High in the mountains above Olympos, eternal flames (called the "Chimaera") burn as earthly gases escape from crevices in the rock. It's thus no wonder that the people who lived in Olympos worshipped the god of fire.

We considered hiking up the mountain to see the flames, best observed at night, but we decided against it, as the one headlamp we had to share amongst us seemed a little skimpy for the night hike.

A sarcophagus at Olympos.

Ferit sits inside another sarcophagus.

Ferit and I climbed up to some ruins atop a hill.
The steep climb was well worth it, as we were rewarded with a wondrous view.

Nature had beautifully enhanced this ancient mosaic.

"The pose," inside the doorway of a never-completed temple.

There were rows and rows of tombs along the south side of the river.
Like many of the other tombs, this tomb had
ancient inscriptions as well as a sliding door.

The other end of the sandwich --
the less wonderfully-preserved ancient theatre at Olympos.

Like I said, this segment of the trip consisted of a number of tasty ruin fixin's sandwiched between two pieces of ancient theatre bread. There you have it!

We spent the following night in the town of Kaş, along Turkey's aptly called "turquoise coast," before driving back to Fethiye. The next morning we drove Mom to the airport, where she boarded a plane to head back to America.

I hope you enjoyed your trip, Mom. If nothing else, you learned first-hand that Turkey is more than just deserts and camels. In fact, you likely learned that it's difficult to even find deserts and camels in Turkey!


  1. In addition to being the best preserved, its gotta be one of the oldest still in use! And I love that you use Sammich as well!

  2. Sammich, sammich, sammich, sammich! :)

    Yeah, there ain't a whole lot of things from 155 BC that are still in use. I will say that there was some maintenance work being done on the theatre when we were there. So, I assume that the maintenance crew is on top of continuing to make the theatre look spiffy.

  3. Well if I ever live to be over 2000 years old I am sure I will need some spiffyu assistance as well! And now I feel a subway sammich calling me lunch later!

  4. What a gift you had to be in these ancient places! Will you walk the Camino de Santiago on this trip, too?

    1. I'd LOVE to walk the Camino...but it won't be happening on this trip. :)

  5. There is so much I missed in Turkey. Nice you could enjoy it with your month.

    1. It helped that we had THREE months in Turkey. ;)


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