Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Step Back in Time - Turkey

I have been known to say,"If you've seen one ruin you've seen them all." So when my husband suggested we visit the ruins at Kaunos while on holiday in Dalyan,Turkey I was a bit dubious. It involved a ride in a rowing boat across the River Kalbis and a twenty minute walk to the site. I am a very obliging person so I decided to go with the flow and venture on the rowing boat to visit the ruins.

 This was the tiny rowing boat and although the river looks small all the boats passing up and down make it very choppy. I couldn't take any photos during the crossing as I was holding on very tightly with both hands and getting out of the boat onto the old rickety platform was not for the fainthearted.

We were greeted by an elderly Turkish woman who told us she was, "The Mammy" her daughters who were around  my age took it in turns to row tourists back and forth across the river for only a few lira.
Mammy was also the owner of an outdoor eating place and tried to convince us to stay and eat her pancakes. The Turkish people have this wonderful way of making you think all the food and drink is on the house and they are doing you some great favour but of course you are presented with the bill before you leave.
We left on our trek and promised to eat on the way back to the boat again.
It was still early morning so the walk to the site was very quite in fact the only people we saw were at two stalls selling fruit and fruit juices. The fields are full with Pomegranate trees, and we were offered orange and pomegranate juice at both stalls. The first one was a elderly gentleman who posed to have his photo taken. He was making pomegranate juice.

We promised we would buy some on the way back, then we came to another stall further up the road.

This lady was lovely and her table was spotlessly clean and what a lovely show she made of her goods.
 We stopped on our way back and she instructed me to sit down on her chair and sample some fruits and a cup of  her juice. I tasted what was a cross between a peach and a apple but as she told me the name in Turkish I don't remember what it was. We bought a jar of her honey, fruit and some bottles of juice, it was delicious.
When we came to the old man's stall he wasn't happy to see we had a full bag and said the women from the stall were members of the mafia and their juice was bad. How we laughed at that. We purchased some of his juice and tasted it when we were back at the hotel. It was watered down and tasted awful. He was as we say in Glasgow," Very nice but, a bit of a chancer."
It was a pleasant walk to the ruins. All we could hear was birdsong and some goats bleating in nearby fields.  I could smell that special smell I always associate with Turkey. I smell it as I step from the plane at Dalaman airport, it's a sweet, warm smell and it immediately says holidays to me.
We had to pay to enter the site but it wasn't much and it goes towards the continuing excavation.

Kaunos is the ancient city of Caria. It has been found that the site dates back to 3,000 BC and has seen Persian,Hellenic,Roman and Byzantium civilisations. A fortress, six temples, a theatre, Roman baths, a church and a palestra (sports arena) are just a few of the buildings that have been discovered.

The following photographs were taken by Gokman who is the owner of the Holiday Calbis Hotel 
 where we stayed. He has kindly given me permission to use his photos , Thank you Gokman.

A birds eye view of the theatre and site

Some seats around the theatre

These steps lead to the theatre and the pictures on the walls describe the stages of the excavation and rebuilding and how it was made safe for visitors.We sat on the stone benches and  soaked in the atmosphere of bygone times. Further down a tour guide was telling a group of American tourists all about what went on there and we strained  our ears to listen. He said that it had most certainly been used for performing plays but when the Romans came it would have hosted gladiators. This sent a chill through me but we were prevented from hearing more as loud voices of German men came from a few rows behind us and I was wishing I knew the German words for, "Be quiet."
I sat there, looking around wondering who the previous occupants of my seatwould have been in Roman times and what they had watched taking place in the arena below. How many other people have sat in the same spot and wondered about it as I had?

A Mosaic floor found next to a Byzantine basilica.
The tiles are really tiny and intricate. It's amazing how they have survived. How clever they were.

Another view and exit from the theatre.

Looking a bit too dangerous for my liking. Don't stand under it!

Kaunos is huge and very well organised to enable you to see walk around as many buildings as possible without damaging anything. As we wandered about I was imagining what it would have been like for the people who's footsteps I was walking in. They were said to be a sickly people tinged with green, this was due to Malaria being prevalent in the area.
Greek geographer,philosopher and historian Strabo (63BC-24 AD) said, "The people of Kaunos are pitifully unhealthy and the duration of their lives are as short as leaves." How very sad.

The views are beautiful !

When the visitors have gone home Kaunos is home to ...
Little goats

Beautiful butterflies

And tiny lizards

As our morning spun into early afternoon we walked back to Mammy's outdoor eating place and  had home made Turkish pancakes and a cool drink. It was so peaceful sitting watching the little boat being rowed back and forth across the river bringing new visitors to Kaunos and watch as Mammy demanded asked each one to come and have a drink. Some people were very rude to her and I cringed at how some people can be like that when all she's doing is making a living. All nationalities were coming over on the boat and I have to say the Brits were the ones who either declined politely or sat and had a refreshment. One young French couple wanted to be rowed over when the family had sat down to their lunch. They were asked to wait for a few minutes, but they were having none of it and one of the daughters had to leave her lunch to row them across.
This is a photo of me with Mammy. Please remember that I was exhausted with the heat and walking and I don't usually look so bad but I wanted you to see Mammy. She already has her eye on the next guest for her eating place.

And then back to the boat

and a refreshing dip in the hotel pool

Holiday Calbis, Dalyan.

I really enjoyed our visit to Caunos. Turkey is so steeped in history you could visit an ancient site every day of your holiday. We will be returning to Dalyan in September but only for a few days, if it were longer I would return to Canous and soak up the history once more.


  1. thefeatherednest14 August 2012 at 17:51

    Nicely done...I feel like I was right there with you.

  2.  Thank you for saying that. This is the first travel post I've written.

  3. I've never been to Turkey. It sounds like you have to keep your wits about you at the local market but it looks like a fabulous place for a holiday.

  4. Love this post, feel like I have been myself now - great pics!

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

  5. I've been there! Isn't it beautiful. I love Dalyan. Your post has brought back many happy memories for me.

  6. Fascinating!!!  One of my best friends lived in Ankara for awhile.  He loves Turkey.  I will have to send him the link to your blog.

  7. Turkey is lovely and so are the people but as with all market sellers you do have to be one step ahead.

  8. Thanks Lainy what a lovely thing to say.

  9. Hi Pam, yes it's beautiful! Did you go to the ruins on the rowing boat? We discovered through old photos we had been 22 yrs ago but went by bus from Marmaris.

    1. I did go to the ruins but not by that boat. It was on a guided tour that took us across to the ruins and then up the river for a dinner cruise. The goats at the ruins were hilarious. Every time the guide spoke a goat would bleat like they were confirming what he was saying. The cruise was even funnier. I went in early May so it got dark early. No one could see the landmarks that he crew were pointing out. The men all declared that they didn't need mosquito spray, until the crew turned the lights on and the entire mosquito population descended in the boat to feast on them. I've never seen guys move that fast before, all you could hear for five mins was the sound of frantic spraying LOL

  10. Hi JoJo thanks for saying that,it's my first travel post. I do hope you friend enjoys it too.

  11. What a lovely place!! Enjoyed the pictures - cheered me up on a rainy afternoon. Thanks  Anne.

  12. Wow, now I feel like I've really been there! Gorgeous photos and lovely words!

  13. Wonderful pictures (and you don't look in the least exhausted)! Thanks for sharing. I feel as if I've just had a mini holiday. :)

  14. What a lovely and interesting place. Mammy sounds like quite a character. Very enjoyable post :)

  15. Thanks Anne, glad you enjoyed it. Yes she was a character I wish I could have understood her Turkish.

  16. Thank you Shirley glad you enjoyed it. I was exhausted.

  17. That's so nice of you to say Talli,glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Thanks Carol, glad to have brighter your day with some Turish sunshine.

  19. What a beautiful place, so full of history and the people seemed so welcoming! Oh my goodness that pool looked so refreshing. I'm going to make it over to Europe one of these days if it kills me Anne, there is just so much to see. Thanks for showing me what a beautiful place Turkey is. Truly amazing....

  20. Thanks Jen. I don't think we realise how lucky we are to have Europe on our doorstep. My ambition was to visit America before I was fifty and I did achieve it we went to Santa Monica and Las Vegas but I would love to visit "real America" someday.

  21. Pan your second comment did not appear here don't know why grr!!! I think I went on same trip as you the first time. Dalyan is really bad for mozzies because of the river but funnily it's the one place I haven't been bitten. I remember making the trek and going through fields of cotton and passing lots of goats the children loved it.

  22. The photographs are absolutely stunning. It looks like a beautiful place. I have never seen such a "rickety" old bridge before though. I'm not sure I would have walked across it. You were very brave.
    A very beautiful day though. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Thanks Rebecca. I do not enjoy getting on and off canoes or rickety bridges but I was very brave lol!!

  24. Amazing, Anne! My Turkey holiday was dire compared to yours, although I met a fair few chancers as well! Love the pictures of Kuanos... you should do a children's story about the goat, butterfly and lizard! And perhaps some creatures made out of shapes on that Mosaic floor hee hee :)

  25. Ha ha Catherine you leave my floors alone ,you know they talk to me! Lol


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