The next day we visited a weird castle-like building erected in the mid-19th century by a Lord of Arpaz.

Before leaving Aphrodisias we should tell you that not only do the villagers of Geyre run the park and ride scheme, they also run the site cafe – very good value – and shop.

When we left the site on the last tractor of the day, we were exhausted, and chose to camp at a local organised site for convenience rather than face the hassling of finding a place to rough camp.  Instead we had showers, warmed up the stew brought from home and settled in for an evening of chat about the amazing sights we had seen during the day. 

One topic that occupied us for some time was the difference between our local sites and Aphrodisias.  The latter was discovered and initially excavated by a Turk who lived and worked in the USA – and brought a decidedly non-Turkish attitude with him.  It is beautifully presented and has excellent facilities.  Compare with Patara and Xanthos to name but two local sites that are possibly equal in size, if not archaeological richness, to Aphrodisias and there is no contest.  Lycia needs a champion like Kenan Evrim to come and take over the management of the excavations – we live in hope.

On Thursday 17th July we cooked bacon and egg for breakfast – the camp site’s large kangal dog clearly not sharing his owner’s aversion to pork products (he didn’t get any)  – and then headed off for Nazilli which lies on the main road connecting Aydın to Denizli.  The road runs through the valley of the River Meander (from whose name we get the word because it curves back on itself so much) known in Turkish as the Büyük Mendres.  This is rich farming country with the first of the tobacco crop already drying on wooden racks. 

From Nazilli we took a minor road to Arpaz to see a weird castle-like building erected in the mid-19th century by a Lord of Arpaz who had spent time on Rhodes in exile and, when he finally came home, had this tower built in the style of the Crusader structures he had seen on Rhodes. 

{mosimage}The actual tower is locked and inaccessible “The key is lost” said the caretaker Fatma Hanım when we knocked on the door of her house facing the tower.  However she kindly invited us in to get a close look at the tower, plus a tour of the amazing building she lives in – desperately in need of structural repair.  Slim wooden columns with carved capitals create a beautiful open space where she lives in the summer – sleeping, in traditional Turkish style, on a divan that serves as seating during the day.

There are enclosed rooms for winter use and the whole building, along with the tower, is apparently the subject of an interminable court case amongst the heirs of the man who originally had it built.  Will ownership be sorted out before the entire place collapses?  Don’t hold your breath. 

But do watch this space for the final part of our trip and a visit to yet another impressive ancient site.

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