Turkey: Pamukkale and Laodikeia
Today I arrive from the historical town of Afrodisias to the small village of Pamukkale often visited by holidaymakers.
The downpour have just started. I quickly go to a museum but on my way there, I am admiring and taking pictures of another beautiful building - colonnade. I enter the museum bit wet. There are beautiful pieces – examples of local plastic art. I am excited about the museum and it is clear that the goddess of love still influence people with her spells.
I travel to the town of Denizli about one hour from there. Then it takes only ten minutes to the village of Pamukkale where I have accommodation in one of thermal hotels.
Even though I have already seen Pamukkale, well that large limestone canyon, I have to go there again. This time I am heading to the trade town on the trade routes crossroad, Laodikeia. Many miss it because of Pamukkale. It was founded in the 3rd century by Antioch II who named after his wife Laodikei. He had two sons with her.
I start tour in Laodikeia at the Byzantine gate, from where a marble road goes from. The road stretched from the Syrian gate behind us. As the town decayed it was getting smaller to better defend it against its enemies. The road is in perfect shape, decorated with column on both sides. Below, we sometimes see holes indicating that sewers are underneath. Then, we pass by a temple on the right side. It is probably devoted to the goddess of luck - Tyche. Archeologists still work there so things are not still clear. Then, on the road to the left, there is a large agora, and the Septimus Severus nymphaeum on the right. I don’t know what to shoot first. In the distance, I can see distinct dark clouds with sunrays going through which only intensifies the atmosphere of today’s afternoon.. Marble was very colorful, water bubbled everywhere, and the pavements are decorated with mosaics. People must have been prosperous in here. I don’t even have to close my eyes to imagine the life here… I walk through the nymphaeum around ruins. Nobody identified them. I walk to a beautiful Hellenic theatre for 8 000 people. Sun is setting, thick sunrays shine through the clouds as some divine message. As if the gods are watching us.
There used to be an important Christian town mentioned by John in the last book of Bible – Revelation. He had to rebuke them because they were not so eager and became lukewarm just like the water flowing into the town.
Then I am going towards buried Gate of Efes and the Roman spa. I slowly return to the main gate with my head wondering in the skies. I have to hurry to see my favorite Pamukkale during the sunlight. I am taking pictures almost in the dark. So the pictures have some mysterious atmosphere to them. Then, in the dark already, I go through the town of Hierapolis to Necropolis burial grounds through which I have to walk… It is already complete dark there so my feelings are quite interesting among sarcophaguses. I have goose bumps…
In the evening, I am having a bath in a thermal pool. Once more I think about the places I have visited in this beautiful region.
Text and photo: Sylvie Halouzková
The cars on highway from Sabiha Airport, distant from Istanbul city a couple of kilometres, move slowly ahead. So, it is time enough for the first quick acquaintance with the biggest Turkish town and way of life there.
I wanted to visit Cappadocia, a land of beautiful horses as the Hittites. I bought a ticket bus and rode from Bodrum to Antalya where I slept over. On the following day I rode across the town of Konya where I visited caravanserai (an oriental pub by main roads where members of caravans and their animals ate) and the museum of Mevlana.
Efes is the most preserved antique city in Turkey and it is rightfully one of the most popular spots. This place was known already in the 2nd century BCE. More than 250 thousand people lived there during its greatest time. In the present, thousands of tourists come here to admire what is left of fascinating buildings. Today, you walk with us on its marble pavement.
Right now I pass a shop with ice-cream made in Bodrum. I cant miss this place. I take sour cherry, watermelon, and tangerine called dondrumu in Turkish. I continue slightly uphill to less glamorous neighborhood in Bodrum. I go up until a low white wall that surrounds famous Mausoleum in Halikarnassos.
We just enter the city of Konya, the capital of former Seljuk empire. I step off from a bus at a bus station. I pick up my map of the city and head to a tower that shows me the way to the museum of Mevlana. The city spreads on a plateau surrounded with mountains.
Many roads cross Central Anatolia. The most famous is the Silk Road. The Sejluks built there traveller’s inns or also called caravanserais to boost trade as it would protect travelling traders.
For many centuries, Anatolia was a center of Chrisianity, mostly thanks to Apostle Paul and his missionary expeditions. His activity took place mostly around the year 41 AD. Christianity spread due to fertile ground it found in Cappadocia.
My journey now goes across ticket barriers to the museum compound, and then to the St Barbora church, who became a Christian against the will of her father. Initially, he imprisoned her and then killed her. Legend has it that he was struck by lightning for this.
I had my balloon flight above Cappadocia at last. In my perspective, it is there where to do such thing is the best. We were at the place at 5.15 in the morning. There were more than 50 balloons being prepared for flights!
The ancient town of Afrodisias is one of Turkey’s most beautiful place, still not many tourists visit it. I decided I have to visit it...
Right now I have been sitting on a bench on a railroad station. I am waiting impatiently for our bus to get started on a direction to Istanbul. I will see it with my naked eye, finally! This magnificent city attracts every traveler looking forward to fabulous adventure!
We are at the horse market. If you have imagination, you can still hear horses. It is here where the Hippodrome used to stand, it was a racing circuit for chariots of four horses. The race took place every year and the Caesar attended it every time. The audience divided into two groups, greens – regular citizens; and blues – nobility.
With so many memories from yesterday we slept so well. Now we are about to have delicious Turkish breakfast, i.e. white cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, bread… And black tea with much sugar. And we are ready to go. It is like we are invited to see the sultan personally in his Topkapi Palace.
Now we go downhill to the harbor. We embark a ferry and choose a bench on the upper deck. Soon the ship set sail. The name Bosporus means Cow ford. According the legend, there live beautiful princess Io in ancient Greece.
We cruise around the Ortakoy Mosque built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1853. The construction was done by his architect Nokogos Balayn. It is in the baroque style and it is situated in the European part of the Bosporus. Now we flow under the Bosporus bridge built in 1973 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
Pergamon King Attalos II gave the city its name after wife of Mysius Telephus, the founder of Pergamon Empire, Hieara. The city has thermal springs, the oldest is named Apollonis, in tribute to mother of a king of Pergamon.
Have you ever heard of the Silk Road? Do you know how long it is or its route? We will join one caravan and will see… We won’t start in China where the Silk Road begins because it would take us 9000 kilometers to its end in Istanbul. Except for Marco Polo not many people walked it through whole. Majority of merchants used just were using a part of the Silk Road, from bazar to bazar where they bought and sold goods.
We have just landed. I take a deep breath. Finally we are at the Bodrum Airport. We get into a bus and 40 minutes later ride downhill to Bodrum. The air has a salty smell of distant lends, colors have numerous shades, and azure horizon seamlessly changes to the sky.
At the theater once again I try to hitchhike a dolmush and continue to Gumbet, another bay beyond Bodrum. I go there to see the Myndos gate. From there a road to the city of Myndos ran. The gate was on a strategically significant location.
Once again I continue by dolmush to Turgutreis to a memorial to an admiral, and than I walk trough a green park to the port. Then I hitchhike another dolmush and go north to Gümüşlük where the flooded city of Myndos is located.
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