Saturday, July 28, 2007


I wish I could tell you guys how many days ago we were in Antalya, but our trek from Hatay to Istanbul has been one gigantic whirlwind. I can recall that on our first full day in Antalya, we hired a driver to take us out to the ancient site of Termessos, of which Wikipedia provides a good summary.

Termessos is located about 30 kilometers north of Antalya in the midst of the Taurus Mountains. The site has not been systematically excavated, so the date of its earliest settlement is unclear. However, Termessos first entered the historical record in the 4th century BCE as it defied Alexander the Great, and was occuppied until its abandonment in the 5th century CE.

The picture below shows a view from the site.

We had heard that Termessos was spectacular, but there is no way to be prepared. On the trail from the parking lot to the site proper, I stopped to take a picture of this wall which was one of the oldest, most intact in situ wall I had ever seen.

Little did I know what else lay in store. The majority of this post is simply pictures of amazingly preserved structures that have survived for nearly 1500 years.

I have also included several pictures with members of our group to show the scale of some of these remains. Especially in North American archaeology, we are lucky to find the remains of post holes, and here, there are walls still several meters high.

The following pictures are from the gymnasium/bath complex of the city.

Termessos is famous for having a theater with one of the Classical world's best views. I guess I got a little carried away with it myself and forgot to get a good overall picture of the theater. However, the first picture below was taken from the back row towards the stage, with the enormous mountain towering in the background.

Another advantage Termessos has over a site like Ephesusm which is probably as equally well preserved, is that visitors can go anywhere they feel capable of. This is Amanda and Jeff sitting on the top of the wall at the back of the stage.

The scale in this next picture is difficult to discern, but this is a big passageway which runs under the theater seats to the stage.

By this time in our hike, our mistake in neglecting to bring along water started catching up with us. Fortunately, we had already seen some of the most spectacular ruins on the mountain. However, the path down to the parking lot took us through the necropolis. There were several plain sarcophagi which were passed up in exchange for quicker hydration. However, there were a few more elaborate tombs cut into the rock as pictured below.

That brings us to the end of Termessos. I think I speak for at least Jeff, Amanda, and myself in designating Termessos the most impressive site we have seen on this trip so far.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will be visiting the site soon so thanks for pics and info-we are really looking forward to it.
Alex & Sue, Isle of Lewis