If you turn right outside the Aphrodisias Museum and follow the path round the corner you encounter a major ‘wow moment’. 

If you turn right outside the Museum and follow the path round the corner you encounter a major ‘wow moment’.  A large lawn of lush green grass surrounds the Tetrapylon which stand out starkly white against the green.  Fethiye Times is actually anti lawns in this climate but we are now making an exception for this one at Aphrodisias, where the sprinklers seem to work non-stop.  The reconstruction of the Tetrapylon was Evrim’s final major task on the site made possible because 85% of the original structure had been recovered during excavations. 

Fresh from the visit to the stadium at Cibyra, where an archaeologist had said “Wait till you see the stadium at Aphrodisias” we headed off across a hot dusty field to find it.  And experience another ‘wow moment’.  The stadium is 262 metres long and 59 metres wide at its widest point.  It is one of the largest and best preserved stadia that have survived from the Graeco-Roman world.  It could seat some 30,000 and is designed so that everyone had a clear view of all parts of the arena.  Go seeking shade in one of the two tunnels at either end, as Fethiye Times did, and you will easily be able to imagine the chariots rattling down the tunnel before emerging into the stadium itself.

{mosimage}The theatre is also beautifully preserved with, unusual in our experience, not only the stage area but rooms behind the stage, for use as dressing rooms, also having been reconstructed.  There is a bouleterion, double agora, remains of a separate market place next to the theatre, (do your shopping and then pop in for a matinee as one irreverent member of the FT team said), temples, Byzantine churches, a bishop’s palace  – the site is huge and we didn’t see all of it despite being the last people to leave at the 7pm closing time.  A second visit for October is in the planning stage.  We shan’t write anymore – look at the pictures – except to mention the Sebasteion a unique feature to Aphrodisias.

{mosimage}The Sebasteion was discovered in 1979 under the old Geyre village houses after the villagers had moved out.  The Sebasteion is made up of two parallel porticoes 80m in length and 12m high.  Each side comprised a series of three storey sections containing large plinths at ground level with two sets of statues within arches on the upper two levels.  All of the recovered statuary is now in the site Museum but they are currently reconstructing one section of the Sebasteion and, despite being still hidden by scaffold, it looks amazing.

So we highly recommend Aphrodisias, and intend to go again in October on a day trip.  Taking the main Denizli road in a good vehicle should mean you can get there in two and a half hours.  With an early (7am) start, you could spend a good seven hours in the site (you’ll need it), and still be home, if you drive back the same way, for a late dinner.  A long day but one that will be well worth it.  And if you do go please let us know what you think about it and send us your photographs.

Meanwhile watch this space for the next episode of the Fethiye Times trip which is far from over.