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

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


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

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

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


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



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 Mediterranean

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