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Thursday, August 15: Day 115 Gorge-ous

Telmessos is the ancient city in Fethiye. It is a 4th century BC tomb.

Lycia is known for its rock tombs. It is similar to the fascades in Petra.

When kings died, they became gods. They were buried in tombs with the expectation of worship and sacrifice on the date of their birth and death. Often, it is a replica of their house. We saw the tomb of King Amyntas.

They were sometimes closed from the inside. (Especially in the tumulus, they find several additional skeletons. It could be the architect or perhaps someone who would take care of the dead in the afterlife.)

Omar had teased me that I was not learning much Turkish, so today I practice saying Hello which is Merhaba.

So…I meet someone along our way and proudly said, “Merhaba”. He responded “Hello” and was obviously an English speaker. Great! I am practicing my Turkish on an English speaker!! We all had a BIG laugh.

His name was Brahim, a Moroccan teaching English to Syrian refugees in Urfa. (Haran in Mesopotamia from the Bible. The well where Isaac’s servant saw Rebecca is still there.)

Tlos

Tlos is a Lycian city from the 4th to 2nd century BC. Romans arrived in the 1st century BC. There is a pool in the middle of a stadium. Lycian cities are on the coast.

At the Lycian Union which convened in Patara, every city has a vote according to the population. One stone is one vote. Tlos has had 3 votes written on their stones. (Could this be like our House of Representatives?)

Hittites were here in 12000 BC and we see the remains of their fortress. The back side of the Hittites fortress had a natural stone wall so no fortress was needed here. There are small holes purposely put into the city walls for the pigeons to live in. When they are disturbed, they will fly. One could tell if the enemy was approaching. This was an early security system.

Wherever a passenger pigeon is born, it will fly home wherever it is released. So when traveling, take the pigeons so that you could send messages home. (This must been early stationary.)


In mythology, Pegasus lived here. Bellerophon was allowed to ride Pegasus and was given a special arrow by Athena to kill the dragon Chimera.

Bellerophon killed the dragon and thought he was powerful enough to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus.

Zeus sent a horsefly to bite Pegasus so that he dropped Bellerophon. He was then disabled and blind.


We saw some men hitting the top of an arch with a shovel. Ertunga jokingly said that they are Turkish archeologists. No small tools and brushes for them.

I saw this column with official Greek writing and some unofficial Greek writing. Could this be ancient graffiti?

Ertunga said that there is a rock tomb that he has not seen and is really hard to reach. Would we like to see it? You bet!!!

The guide took us down a rarely traveled path. The last few steps were scaling rocks about 10 feet straight up.

I didn’t have strong enough arms…and then there is the getting down. I sent Rob and Ertunga up to take pictures.

I made a good choice as it was difficult for the men. Ertunga wanted to just jump down facing forward onto a small ledge. I said, “That doesn’t look safe. Don’t do it.”

Much better.


The holiday is over. We heard it announced over a loud speaker.

It is VERY crowded with lots of traffic since people are making it a long weekend now that the holiday is over.

There is a beautiful canyon/gorge called Saklikent that has snow melt running through it. The water is cold.

We saw a bin that said to wear a helmet for safety against falling rocks. Of all the thousands of people there on this holiday weekend, I only saw one wearing a helmet.

We eat at a restaurant that has reclining tables that are built over the fast running water. Popular Turkish music was playing. Everyone was reclining and enjoying the cool ambience.

The cold water and its environment was SO refreshing.

The Lycian Way is a popular 300-mile hike through Turkey and it starts here. It is beautiful and would take one month but one wants to stop and enjoy the view along the way. Very few do it all at one time. This was the border of Lydia.

We see white greenhouses as far as the eye can see. They are mostly growing tomatoes. Many tomatoes are exported to Russia.

Tomatoes were not known to Turkey and were brought here from America. Other crops from America are corn, cotton and tobacco.


Xanthos

We pull over to a wide spot in the road. We get out and Boom. There is an ancient roadside theatre. French archeologists work at this site.

In this area, they were Lydians before they were Greek. In 645BC, they vallantly fought against Persia. They set the city on fire because they didn’t want their enemies to get their plunder. They would fight and die. The husbands threw their wives and children over he cliffs into a gorge. Then they returned and fought.

I recalled the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. It didn’t look good for him but he grew where God had planted him and waited for the end of the story. You don’t know how it will turn out.

Joseph became very important and even saved the Egyptians from starvation. If he had committed suicide, God could not work through him.

Ertunga told us that tourists take pictures of interesting animals. Things that they have heard about and never seen. He is fascinated with photographing pigs because they are not in his country. Most people he knows have never seen a pink pig.

This pillar has a Lycian inscription on one side and the same thing written in Greek on another. It allowed researchers to break the code of the Lycian language. It is kind of like the Rosetta Stone. Its name is Inscribed Pillar.

Overlooking the theatre are two mausoleums. The reliefs are in the British museum. Copies are here. The aristocracy lived in houses behind the highest level of the theatre.


Patara

The ruins from the ancient city of Patara are like drive-thru ruins. I come from Garden City, Kansas where we have a drive through zoo.

The showpiece is the Odeon Parliament of the Lycian Union. It was in great disrepair and all of the senators from the ancient cities donated funds to repair it to is former glory. This was built after Paul’s time.

In front are statutes to various people. However, the giver of the award has more accolades than the recipient, especially his lineage.

Beginning in the second century BC, Patara was the capitol. There was a mill situated here for the whole region. Pax Romana allowed for growth and with a seaport nearby, this city was able to grow. The lighthouse was erected in the 3rd century BC and would have been seen by Paul.

It is very hot and humid due to our proximity to the sea. We are excited about getting some pool time.

Here is our Ertunga-approved suite at the Kalcan Patara Prince resort. Whoa Ertunga!!

A walk through the property.

A swim in the saltwater pool.

I would like to say that we swam in the Mediterranean Sea but it was more like we clung to the ladder submerged in the Mediterranean Sea.

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