Sunday, 18 December 2016

© Discovering more ancient cities of the Turquoise Coast!

          It takes little time to discover Turkey may well be one of the most diversely beautiful countries ever visited. Cast aside recent politics realizing that the Turquoise Coast is always open to visitors and local Turks on holiday. Visitors from Russia to Europe and the UK frequent the resort towns faithfully discovering the magic and supporting the all too important holiday economy. This magic region is far removed from the troubled south eastern part of the country bordering the ravishes of Syria. Residents in all regions stretching to the north and west feel disappointment at a small section of their society seemingly bound to disrupt daily harmony prevalent for decades with modern Turkey. Turkey will prevail. The Turks are hard working, productive, friendly, almost completely self-sustaining, proud people and rightly so!

We have been exploring the Turquoise Coast for over three years now and only scratched the surface of discoveries. In September we ventured north from the coast, just 20 minutes from our Kalkan location in order to walk the ruins of Xanthos.  (*NB: if you see a photo you admire, by all means click on to see an enlarged version to be dragged on to your desktop to keep!)

The winding road soon has us discovering the fabulous old ruins of an ancient civilization. Xanthos is actually the Greek name whereas the Romans called the old city Xanthus. The city became the centre of commerce and culture for the Lycians and after the Persians. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century the region became Turkish but the old city had long since been abandoned.

Xanthos has been designated a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site since 1988. Trojan War Heroes and the Lycians had approached the land of the Xanthos River lying just under the southern & western slopes of the old city. From the surrounding hill one looks down today on the Turkish town of Kinik


When the Persians arrived they found only a small Lycian army and easily conquered the the city in 540BC. Being besieged by Harpagus the Lycians retreated to the inner structures destroying their own acropolis, slaughtered all their wives, children and slaves and then began their suicidal attack of the Persians. None survived save eighty families who were away from the city at the time.
It is said that Alexander the Great also besieged Xanthos and the city destroyed in the Roman Civil Wars but rebuilt by Mark Anthony where the amphitheatre ruins are still in good condition today.

As we walk the original streets of Xanthos one can only marvel at its beautiful condition and the amazing detail found in all the structures still lying in the open to be explored by thousands of visitors each year.

One has to see these ruined cities along the Turquoise Coast to appreciate how important preserving these ancient sites actually is. Recent months have seen the awful and spiteful destruction of important sites inside Syria. The cradle of civilization being wantonly annihilated is nothing short of a crime against humanity; all being well a scourge that will be eliminated from our world order in the near future? One can only admire the Turks for their diligence in protecting their valuable heritage whether it be created by Greeks, Romans or Turks. To walk the streets of times long gone is a privilege for those of us who visit these fair shores.

Paul & Melissa - both from the Bahamas are artists, writers and nature photographers.

We leave the ancient city after befriending the local goats walking and grazing amongst the old structures. Driving north another forty-five minutes to explore another and quite different experience ... the stunning vistas of Tlos. (this posting will follow here shortly - meantime click on 'Follow by Email' at the top of each page to receive notifications of new postings. Your comments welcome!)

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