Sunday, October 31, 2010

Side Fest

So as it happened, October 29th was also the last day of the 10th International Festival of Culture and Arts in Side, the closing gala concert, the Antalya State Opera and Ballet Symphony and Chorus, celebrating Republic Day, all occurring in the ancient amphitheatre. We went early, at 8:30PM, walking just a few hundred meters from our campground, stood in line with a couple thousand others, and then got to see, free and open to the public, the interior of the great amphitheatre as well as hear a fine concert.
Vespasian monument adjoining the theatre




















Part of the exterior of the theatre (2nd century)















Nice banner





















Festival director addresses the throng















Interesting theatre; seated 12,000 (I think), could be flooded
for naval battles; the lower 29 rows are built into the hill; the
upper 29 were built atop giant stone vaults (pix later), sort
of like the upper deck of a contemporary stadium


















Playin'; the program was largely Verdi ("meretricious glitter,"
"merely an excuse for social gathering"), but its latter half
featured some Turkish music; we particularly enjoyed the
"Köçekçe, dance rhapsody for orchestra," by Umi Erkin.

The Road from Alanya to Side

It is a lovely drive, 4-lane divided, access roads, mountains on one side, a glorious beach on the other, development and banana plantations in between. I'll pontificate on the prospects of the Turkish Riviera on another occasion, but, from what we saw Friday, it clearly rivals Florida's beach development, in most respects; some not so desirable.
Billboards along an otherwise attractive and well-kept
public beach
















A real caravansary...















Converted to a dinner/theatre complex; I think I saw
one of these once in Kissimmee
















Another dinner theatre; note Trojan horse above; stars
Hector, Priam, Achilles, Agamemnon, Menelaus, and,
of course, the beautiful Helen; and a cast of hundreds
















Vacation and resort properties, almost all new, all over















Some interesting architecture















Ditto; comes with inexpensive labor, or so we learned in
China
















Banana plants right down to the beach















The occasional Roman ruin (and a minaret)















At length, we got to Side, a resort town wrapped around
another but unusually good Roman city; Vicki's good
eyes found us a campsite within a few hundred feet of
the ruins, which are strewn all over; and we got to see


















A sunset beyond a storm at sea

Metro!

We had been in eastern and rural Turkey for a couple weeks or more. Even in Antakya we couldn't find a decent supermarket. Our cupboards were beginning to get bare. The little village markets and shops carry very little. So imagine our thrill when, driving through Alanya, we happened onto a Metro, Turkey's version of Costco.
There it is; even sells tires; but no free samples nor
raspberry chipotle
















Interior view















Alas, produce was available only in bulk sizes; not exactly
what you're looking for in a small RV with a 3.9 cubic foot
refrigerator

















But they did have some few American products, and many
other products had English sub-titles
















Turks eat a lot of yogurt; a lot a lot; these are 10 and 15 liter
containers
















But the coolest part of the store was the charcuterie, where
they keep the meats and dairy (and olives), 34 degrees F,
and they provide vests and jackets for shoppers

















There I am in the charcuterie, suitably attired,
with a hunk of meat we judged probably not
of a pig

Republic Day in Alanya

We drove on from Anemurium, several hours of mountain/coastal road, more road construction, down into a valley and the sea, then back up another mountain precipice, and on and on. The agriculture in these parts is all banana "plantations," sometimes quite large, sometimes outside, sometimes in humongous green-houses. Anemur is famous for its bananas, so we picked up a bunch at a road-side stand. We drove on. There were no rest areas, no truck-stops, and the three campgrounds we had been counting on had all closed for the season. Night fell. It started raining, hard. We drove on. At length we came to the outskirts of Alanya and put up for the night at a large gas station.

Alanya is the beginning of the Turkish Riviera, and we
awoke the next morning to find ourselves surrounded by
giant resort hotels, some like mountain-top fortresses

















Happily, we were right along the beach--the beginning of
a public beach that goes on for miles and has impressive
amenties--picnic areas, walk-ways, cafes, exercise stations,
playgrounds, for miles; here's a view of Alanya promontory
with its medieval castle (another one we skipped)



















It was Republic Day in Turkey, celebrating the founding
of the Republic in 1923, under it's strong-man leader,
Moustafa Kemal Ataturk; Ataturk is reverred in Turkey even
more than Mao in China (and deservedly so); one sees as
many likeness of him as one sees of the flag; they are
usually side-by-side



















We stopped by a little school celebration of Republic Day















Nationalism is very strong in Turkey; we hope it will remain
so...

Anemurium

A few miles west of Anemur is the ruined Roman city of Anemurium, right on the beach, flourishing for hundreds of years, then toppled by the 580 earth-quake and then, after the decline of Roman and Byzantine seapower, so vulverable to pirate raids it was never again re-occupied. We're beginning to understand that there are not half a dozen of these cities, or a dozen, but scores, just in Turkey.
A bit of the scope of the thing...














Palaestra...sort of the municipal Gold's Gym














Byzantine basilica














Aquaduct














Baths














Baths from above














Wall, upper reaches on the mountain














Looking back across the bay to Anemur














And its many high-rises













Pebble Beach














And a necroplis that seemed much larger than the city...
what you might expect for a place with stable population
for 8 or 9 centuries and their mortuary customs

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mamure Castle

So Thursday morning we drove back down from the mountains, into Silifke, and on to our goals for the day, Mamure Castle and the Roman ruins at Anemurium...
Skipping the fortress at Silifke















Driving the challenging coast road, D400--traffic,
construction, great heights above the Mediterranean...
















For example; they are putting in a 4-lane highway, which
will extend the Turkish Riviera another hundred miles or
so and bring much greater vitality to the eastern coast; but
it's another 5 years off in my estimation















Also skipping the later medieval Armenian fortress, Softa...















Finally reaching Mamure, the great old Crusader castle;
built on much older fortress sites, captured by the Ottomans
in the 14th century; still very much intact, and impressively
large, said to be the largest on Turkey's Mediterrean


















Three sides of it are on the sea
















View from one of the interior courtyards; note lack of
handrails on stairs leading to battlements















Its mountainous backdrop















Seaward view














Its main tower on the left















Climbing the tower

















Another interior view--hall off the tower





















View from the tower; can't get the whole castle onto one
frame

















Staircase back down




















One more view