Sunday, June 13

Turkey 2010 - Pamukkale Hierapolis

Above the 'cotton cliffs' of Pamukkale is the remains of the Greek city Hierapolis.

This magnificent theatre has the remains of the proscenium, which means we can have a better idea of what it was like in its heyday.

This area has had lots of earthquakes. The hillside was covered with sarcophagi. As the guidebook said "as if they'd been thrown there like a petulant giant".

This chap was rather well camoflaged.

High above the site is the St Philip Martyrium (a new noun for me), where the apostle was crucified (upside down).

There is a beautiful octagonal church on the site.

The photos really don't do it justice... was a very peaceful spot...

...with a wonderful view of the site (and yes, it was a HOT, HOT afternoon).

The church is from the end of the 5th, or early 6th century. It would have been approached via this amazing staircase. Note the remains of the stoop.

Pilgrims would have approached via this paced roadway.

It was such a hot day (and we were rather ruined out), so we went and had a cold beer by the spa pool.

We made friends with this rather nice hound.

Turkey 2010 - Kaklik Cave

Our last port of call, was Pamukkale, near Denizli, to see the Travertines, huge calcium cliffs. As we had a decent amount of time there, we visited the Kaklik Cave, to see a calcium deposit at an earlier stage.

The smell of sulphur was quite noxious...

...and it was very hot and airless.

Looking at this deposit it's easy to understand the name Pamukkale, cotton castle.

The shapes we're quite fascinating...

...and very beautiful.

As we came up into the air, the cave mouth was full of swallows...

...coming back to their nests.

I always keep an eye out for a fig tree. This one is especially brave!

Turkey 2010 - Aphrodisias

I've found this entry very hard to start. We decided to visit Aphrodisias at the last moment, and ended up having one of those perfect 'peak experience' days.

It started with a fun drive from the car park to the entrance.

This sculpture on the edge of the path down looked promising... did the remains of a house (note the different column types).

The remains of snow on the nearby mountains was rather surreal.

Then 'wham', the Temple of Aphrodite.

It's HUGE (note that I've managed to get the snow into shot)...

...with amazing detail.

Adam was a bit ahead of me, and started to laugh hysterically...well you can see why!

The stadium is 270m long, with a capacity of 30,000.

If you listened carefully you could hear the roar of the crowd, and see the dust churned up by the chariot wheels.

This may have been a backgammon 'board'. We saw a remarkably similar piece in the Ephesus museum.

The remains of the Bouleuterion, council chamber, which had been preserved by mud.

The end of rows of seats had the lovely 'hoof' detail we'd seen elsewhere.

The 'posh' seats...
...would have had this delightful little chap to lean on.

In amongst all the archeological splendour, we found the beginning of a wasps nest...

...and a very snoozy cat.

Here is some more beautiful detail...

...the market place...

...and a vague overview of the site.

Aphrodisias was excavated comparatively recently (by the late Prof Kenan Erim of NYU, who's buried by the Gate of Aphrodite), the majority of the finds are here.

Including Michael Heseltine....

...Brian Blessed...

...and this noble youth.

The museum was fabulous beyond belief, including this room (hall) full of reliefs.

By the end of it all, we felt a bit like this (photo by Adam).

Sunday, June 6

Turkey 2010 - Ephesus House of the BVM

On the hill above Ephesus is the site where the the BVM is reputed to have spent her last days. I'm not entirely convinced about the authenticity of the site, and it was more Disneyland than a place of pilgrimage.

It was hard not to be moved by the prayer wall.