I followed in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, but
unlike him, I managed to conquer the city of Termessos.
I left for Perge early this morning only to find the
theatre closed to the public (I was warned it might be).
From what I could see, this was not a great
disappointment since the theatre at Perge was not that
dissimilar to Aspendos or Side, and I took good photos of
these theatres yesterday. I went to my back-up plan to
visit the theatre at Termessos which is about 30
kilometers on the other side of Antalya, but high in the
2337 years ago, Alexander the Great was passing through
this region of Turkey and had the same idea. "Lets
go to Termessos" he said to his army. "I hear there
is a very nice theatre there and I would like to take
some pictures." He sent an advance troupe to get the
lay-of-the-land, and they reported back that the
Termessians were living on the top of a mountain and did
not like visitors.
was also told that there was only one twisty-twirlly road
leading to the mountain stronghold and that the
Termessians liked to drop rocks on visitors who came
uninvited. He was also told that the twisty-twirlly road
went mainly straight up and was only about two feet wide.
considered this information and said, " Let us proceed to
Central Anatolia and visit the theatres
to this day, the Termessians have claimed they defeated
Alexander the Great in the year 333 BC.
- I was
luckier than Alex - I had a Fiat, a paved road, and the
cranky Termessians were all dead. Well, I had a paved
road for a while. The last kilometer or so was by foot
and the kilometer was mostly straight up and much in the
same condition as Alexander would have found it 2337
years ago - all twisty, full of rocks, overgrown with
trees, but beautiful - tremendously beautiful - A
wonderfully overgrown archeological site with the
remnants of ancient buildings and monuments around every
turn. Imagine a lost city, high in the Colorado
Mountains, with cool breezes, the smell of pine forests,
and spectacular views of the valley below. And if you
search long enough, you will find the most spectacularly
positioned and well preserved theatre I have come across
in all my travels.
Note: You cannot visit Termessos if you have difficulty
walking. The self-guided tour is at least a two-hour
(4 hours recommended), strenuous walk - much of it
uphill. There are no facilities - no kiosks with water
and souvenir books. It is just you and the mountain and a
lost city. The ruins have been decimated by countless
earthquakes over the centuries and access to many of the
sites (the theatre included) involves climbing over
haphazard piles of toppled city walls. There is little to
guide you - this is a non-restored, ruined city. Much of
the beauty is in the pristine condition of the
spent the morning and early afternoon at Termessos. What
a wonderful way to end a spectacular tour of ancient
theatres. Tomorrow I fly to Istanbul in the early
afternoon and I check into a hotel close to the airport -
I have a flight out on the 18th at 5:55 AM and I do not
want to miss it.
- It is
time to come home.