Perge and Antalya

Trip Start Aug 11, 2007
Trip End Nov 08, 2007

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Turkey  ,
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finally got off our butts to do some serious sight seeing today. Drove back to Antalya, then right through the city and out the other side to visit the ruins at Perge. Right now Chris has lost most of his enthusiasm for ruins (one big mess of fallen down chipped stones is pretty much the same as another...) Tina maintains interest, but not as much as when we went to the first ruin. However, Perge is a major site and Tina has wanted to visit ever since she read about it in a travel story last year.

And it is a major site. And one that has had considerably archaeological attention. The site has been settled for well over 10,000 years and mention of it as a significant city is made in Hittite writing 5,000 years ago. Like most of the ruins we have visited, the Romans took the city that was there and completely renovated it, so most of the ruins date from around 100 AD. A huge stadium runs along side the modern road leading to the site - in a bad state inside (all the seating has collapsed) but the perimeter walls and arched entryways are still very intact. There are the remains of an enormous bath house complex;, a monumental public fountain; commemorative and defensive gates; a large agora and a very impressive, very long, central road originally lined with columns and shops that was split in two by a central water pool all along its length. This road leads up to the theatre built into the side of a hill, but in complete ruin now with little excavation and no restoration work. Out in all directions from the site that has been at least partially excavated are tantalising glimpses of more remains that are yet to be uncovered. Imagine these sites as they must have once been - the magnificent buildings intact, gleaming with their marble facings and imposing statuary looking down!!!

But it was another hot day, with hardly a breeze to disturb it and the dust and grit in our sandals and the sweet trickling down our faces and spines meant we didn't linger. Back in the car for some welcome aircon and shade!! We were headed back to Antayla, but our book of maps indicated that instead of retracing our route, we could continue on the road past Perge, join up with another in a short time and then get back to Antalya by a different route and maybe see a bit more of the local country side. We certainly saw more of the country side and it was pretty interesting, but we didn't find the promised road to Antalya for about an hour! The road we were on was sealed, but got narrower and narrower. We were driving though very intensively cropped land - glass house and plastic houses everywhere and in between crops of all sorts of vegetables. And reasonably profitable too by the standard of houses we saw. But still no road to Antalya, infact no other roads at all for quite sometime, and the road we were on was getting more and more local - it started to dip down in places to allow for fords of streams or irrigation canals if necessary and at one point we did have to cross one with a reasonable amount of water in it. We knew what direction we needed to go because we could see the huge mountains (which was the wrong way) and we could see the planes taking off and landing from Antalya airport. Finally found a cross road - but no signs on it. We choose the road that looked marginally wider and therefore hopefully more major, drove though a fairly large forest then back to glasshouses and finally to a major road leading to the city.

From there we made our way to the Antalya museum, which didn't look that great from the outside, paid our money and entered. Looks were definitely deceiving - this is a large museum with an extensive and excellent collection, well set out and in the most part informatively labeled in English as well as Turkish. It shows finds from major sites in the area, dating as far back as Paleolithic, through Bronze Age and on. There are significant displays of statues and carvings from the Perge site and of sargophagi and other burial rituals form the area. And finally there are some great displays of local Turkish costumes and artifacts from everyday life from the years before the formation of the republic. This is a museum that is well wort a visit if you are in this area

By the time we had finished at the museum, it was 4pm - too late for any further exploration of the city. However we did need a money machine (Turkey is the direct opposite of the cashless society - with income tax at extortionate levels, everyone wants cash!!). Unfortunately we discovered to late that heading further into the city was a big mistake - there was nowhere to turn around, the roads rapidly became one way and there seemed to be signs everywhere disallowing any left turn - which was where we needed to go. In fact we got deeper and deeper into the heart of the city and further and further from the western side which was out way back to Cirali. And we didn't have any maps that showed us where we were and what to do about it. Finally using the mountains as a guide, we made it virtually right around the city and out onto the road we needed. After that it was a quick trip back to Cirali as Chris is getting very good at driving with the Turkish.

Back at the hotel, we had enough stories to keep our dinner companions - a really nice couple, Martin and Deb, from north Wales - entertained for most of the night!
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: