Monday, May 4, 2015

Turkey in Ruins, Part II

As I mentioned in Part I, Turkey has a lot of ancient ruins. Here are the two others we visited:


Pamukkale kind of offers the world's greatest twofer - on the hillside, you get the incredible hot springs and travertine pools I described in my last post. On the top of the hill, besides the incredible views of the valley below, you get the chance to explore an extensive ancient city.

Occupied by various groups over the millennia, Hierapolis was most prominent during Roman times - when it grew to a populationa of tens of thousands. Unsurprisingly, many of the ancient residents - like the modern visitors - came for the nearby hot springs, which were known for their therapeutic qualities.

Nowadays, you get a giant necropolis filled with

A sarcophagus (I think) near the cliff edge.

Lots of ruined buildings

Plus the aforementioned stunning views of the valley below.

Oh, and then there's Cleopatra's Pool. It used to be a main avenue in the city - but then an earthquake triggered a flood, and now it's the world's coolest swimming pool. 

The incredible Cleopatra's Pool

Yes, you get to swim among the ruined Roman columns and foundation stones.

The water, which comes from a nearby hot spring, is a pleasantly warm temperature. Altogether, it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a morning.


Yes, our next city is named after the Greek goddess of Love.

Like Priene, it's also a bit more off the beaten path than Hierapolis and Ephesus, so crowds were smaller and ticket prices were very reasonable.

Me at Aphrodisias

There are some very cool ruins here, including a ginormous stadium.

The stadium at Aphrodisias

But the most impressive aspect is the museum, which houses thousands of artifacts found during excavations in the area. Most notably, they have many complete - and nearly complete - statues and monuments of famous citizens (along with some mythical ones) who lived and worked here so long ago.

It's always interesting to look into the faces of these statues - you see the artistic details of the creator, and you get a sense of the person it was meant to represent who died so long ago.

"Look into my eyes..."

A boy and his (winged) horse. I believe this is one of the few known artistic representations of the now extinct species of flying horse known as Πήγασος pegasoseud.  


We wandered around the museum for a while, and then headed back out on the road. Ruins can be beautiful and fascinating, but, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "you kind of, like, get burned out on a bunch of old rocks sometimes, you know?"

So we head out to the gorgeous Turkish coast.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing the number of columns and statues that have survived. And the earthquake caused people to abandon the city? Nice view too. How was it swimming among the ruins? Did you have to be very careful not to run into something?