Turkey: From Priéné to Myndos By a Car
We drive to an abandoned town Priéné which is hidden in hills behind Söke town (30 km from Ephesus and 5 km from Söke). We walk on a steep road leading to an impressive gate. We are beginning to see parts of houses on a base of Samsun Dagi mountain in a beautiful surroundings of pine trees. First settlers here were most probably in the 11th century B.C. Greeks. The town ruins of which we just admire, was built in the 4th century B.C. on a rectangular basis. When silts flooded the harbor, the fame and wealth of the town began to disappear and its enemies lost their interest in it. Thanks to silts the Hellenistic character of the town preserved. We walk by public or sacral buildings, an agora, and a theater. Above the main street we found Pallas Athena temple built during the period of Alexander the Great. It is one of the most harmonic temples that also served as an example. Out of thirty Ionic columns five were erected again. On the left from the main road is a 2nd century B.C. bouleuterion, where the city council held its meetings. On one of its sides was a small step from which the speaker spoke to city council. After we had crossed the street we got to a sacred portico, to agora, an amazing temple of Zeus that was once a center of the city. As we go on, we see spas everywhere. Unfortunately, we can’t use them today… The whole town lies in shades of high pine trees. We have to be ready to zigzag between snakes, scorpions and wild boars, which leave visible trails. They certainly don’t expect uninvited guests in their kingdom.
We took beautiful photos and we are ready to move off to next town - Milétos. We eat an ice-cream there we dreamt about, and we walk up on theatre stairs and even higher to a Seljuq fortress. Next we continue, for a change, down the hill to the temple of Artemis and to an agora, where use to be small turtles. We admire amazing portico of promenade for rich shoppers. We pass by breathtaking spa that were rebuilt to the Byzantine church and then through olive trees alley. Well, well always-prudent friend couldn’t find keys from our car. Here we go again… Its boiling hot, we have no water left and still no keys despite our repeated attempt to get them. We are so unlucky. We couldn’t find keys even in a coffee bar with an ice-cream. We are desperate and start panicking. Perhaps we will hitchhike, however, we would have to return for a car with reserve keys (we are about 2 hours away from Bodrum). Such complications. We return back to our car and Lenka in her final acts of desperation tries to open the door and… it works! And keys lie on a seat! Oh… that was a load of my mind!
After dramatic moments we drive to Didime town and to an amazing temple of Apollo that will leave no heart moved. Seven years ago I visited it with my friend during nighttime and, since it was closed, we climbed over the fence and ran from a guard to the temple’s center. We got there through a narrow corridor. It was an unforgettable adventure to go there without a light. The night sky was filled with falling stars and we were proud we managed to get there not caught. We enjoyed the atmosphere of a monumental temple with our wildly beating hearts in the same way we enjoy it today. The temple fascinates us with its monumentality even today, during daylight. Not far from here was an oracle. It was a sacred ground, a home to priestess who after inhaling vapor from a steam fell into a hypnotic condition and answered difficult questions of love, family and desires that worried people in antiquity same as they worry people today. Persians destroyed the first shrine, however, when Alexander the Great passed by, he planned a construction of a new shrine. A massive scale of a building was among the reasons, why it was never finished.
After examining the temple we head home on a direction to Bodrum. We traveled by great Lake Bafa and through a tunnel and then there was a big tree in the center of the road (about 5 km away from Bodrum airport). We turn here to a small stop to see beauties of nature. Although it seems unbelievable, there is a hidden canyon through which flows a river. There are some nice waterfalls and also a deep cave. If you want to visit the cave, you should bring with yourself some ropes and a halogen flashlight. You can also camp in the canyon.
After only another 30 km we are home at Bodrum. Bodrum is the name of an antic Doric city back then known as Halicarnassus where is a famous Mausoleum. The city was built by Mausolus II (375 – 53 B.C.), who was ruler of antic Caria and had chosen Halicarnassus as its capital. Mausolus also built city wall that was later almost entire destroyed during Alexander’s the Great siege of Halicarnassus in the 4th century B.C. Yes, it was the city where stood the second of the 7 wonders of the world and where lived Herodotus - The Father of History. Today the castle reminds rather of a labyrinth of courts, halls, museums, ditches and water reservoirs. You can find here also a jail. Nevertheless, don’t forget to visit a hall with the Glass wreck – a Byzantine ship from 1025 A.D. with a full load. On walls there are five bastilles. Every one of them symbolizes one nation, which lived together in the city. Today their interior hosts an exposition of undersea archeology with shipwrecks. During summer are in a lower castle area held concerts and theatre performances. This year you could see Zorba the Greek, Swan Lake, Carmen etc. Nightlife is lively here, for example on Catamaran floating disco, or spectacular disco show Halikarnas with every effect you can imagine. In the afternoon on the following day we set out to a comfortable loneliness of Pedasy town that lies in hills of Bodrum Peninsula. There is a spectacular view over the sea, which you will enjoy the most during the sunset and during the night you can watch the stars. So romantic...
We continue to Turgutreis, which lies on a western part of peninsula. 15 km away they have also an open-air cinema. The place is named after a famous Ottoman admiral. Eventually, we dance Salsa in Bitez at the Ambrosia Hotel. On the following day we will dive by The Black Island where are thermal springs. Advanced divers with instructors can visit wrecks of five ships and one plane
On the last day in Bodrum we go to a half-flooded city of Myndos and then we can leave this area.
Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková
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