Day 8 Miletus and Didyma

For some reason this day slipped by without leaving a lasting impression. Another day of ruins and blue skies and riding in the bus. The morning started again with bags outside the door at 630, breakfast at 7, on the bus by 8 and off we go again. This group is much too large, actually, with 43 people traveling together. It’s interesting to watch the interactions and the patience shortening, including mine. I’m still not impressed with this tour company, although Suleyman our guide is pretty impressive.

First thing on the road and we stopped at a leather factory. Once more an opportunity for the tour company to get their cut off what the tourists are willing to buy. Again, though, the show was fun, with all of us lined up along the runway while they played very loud rock music and flashed the lights and the models so we felt like we were at a real fashion show. The leather was beautiful as well, great craftsmanship, and of course, very expensive. Most touchable was the “silk” leather, as thin as a shirt, soft and buttery, and still strong and guaranteed waterproof. Several people bought nice coats and jackets, but in spite of how delightful it felt to try on the silk leather coat, I didn’t succumb to 700 American dollars for a jacket. Give me a break! It is fun watching the group buy things though, and everyone cheers when we get back in the bus and show our “stuff”.

We rode along the coast to the Hellenistic ruin at Melitus, most interesting for the view of the valley that was a bay at the time the city was built, but has since silted in to become a fertile agricultural landscape, much like the valley around Troy. The theater was again Hellenistic in style, built into the natural contours of the landscape.

We then traveled to Didyma, a small village, noticing how simple and small most of the houses in Turkish villages are. Right in the village, behind a fence, is what is left of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma. Standing outside looking in doesn’t quite prepare you for how it feels inside this temple. The columns are huge, and the artwork is dramatic, including a gorgeous sculpture of the face of the Medussa that is beautiful. This temple was used to honor the god of prophecy and oracles and is thought to have been associated with the temple at Delphi, with priestesses dreaming and prophesying. After the prophesies, they would be written down and the books were stored here as well. The temple is constructed entirely of marble quarried from the nearby Lake Bafa area. The temple was built in the 7th century BC, and was one of the leading oracle shrines in the world. The temple was destroyed by the Pesians in the mid 6th century BC but was restored by Alexander the Great in 350 BC. With the coming if Christianity, the temple was converted to a church and was destroyed in 1493 by an earthquake. It is interesting that in Turkey, much of the history of these ruins and cities includes some kind of a statement, “destroyed by an earthquake in etc”.

As I have been traveling through this country I have been feeling often as though I was back in California. Today, searching the internet, I found that the San Andreas and the Anatolian fault are so similar that the USGS is studying the Anatolian Fault and sharing information hoping to understand both faults. Here in Turkey we have traveled through serpentines and metamorphic and metavolcanic rocks that are the identical twins of what I am working with in the foothill metamorphic belt back home in Sonora. Even the accreted terranes are every bit as complex as anything I am dealing with at home in my current soil survey. An accreted terrane is basically a little continent traveling and slamming up against another continent, and terranes are the main building blocks along the foothills of California and right here where I am in Turkey. It’s fascinating and fun for me, especially.

We had lunch at a small restaurant with another buffet and a Turkish “Efes” beer, (very good!) and more driving up the Meander River Valley to arrive at the Lycos River Hotel in Pamukkale after dark once more. I hate arriving anywhere after dark, with stacks of luggage and people milling about. Ugh. Did I mention the patience thing?

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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