Touring Turkey: Antalya, Perge, & Aspendos

Touring Turkey: Antalya, Perge, & Aspendos
Güneşte yanmayan gölgenin kıymetini bilmez. (Who has never been burned in the sun won't know the value of shadow.)
-Millı̂ Folklor Araştırma Dairesi, Turkey. II. Milletlerarası Türk Folklor Kongresi bildirileri: cilt. Halk edebiyatı. p. 204.

 

It was hard to keep up with the fast pace of my tour of Turkey because I saw so many amazing sites back-to-back, and every place seemed more impressive than the previous.  Once I arrived in the beautiful seaside city of Antalya, the relaxed pace and cozy pedestrian-only old town immediately comforted me.  This Mediterranean region of Turkey is known as the Turquoise Coast, and it's not only gorgeous but full of history and ancient ruins that would make anyone swoon with delight.  The late April weather was the perfect mix of sunny skies and cool breezes, so my few days in the area were just what I needed to recharge my batteries.

 

 

Side

This is a well-situated ancient Greek city on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey with its remarkable Temple of Apollo, Vespasian Gate, and ancient theater walls.  Side is an uber picturesque town with perfect weather, but with an unbearable mass of tourists, mostly from Germany said our guide.  (Side is Turkey's version of Myrtle Beach, in my opinion.)

 

 

Perge

This ancient Anatolian city from the Bronze Age features ruins of the nymphaeum (monument to nymphs), agora (marketplace), Hellenistic city gate, Roman gate, caldarium (part of the Roman bath complex), stadium, and more.

 

 

Kurşunlu Waterfalls

Beautiful spot that has been part of a national park since 1991.

 

 

Aspendos

This ancient Greco-Roman city from 5th century BC is best known for its stunningly well-preserved theatre of antiquity.  The theater was built in 155 and has a seating capacity of 12,000; during our visit, a bride and groom were taking professional photos there, making for quite the dramatic setting.  In its day, Aspendos was an important city in the region, as evidenced by the grand ruins of its Roman aqueducts.

 

 

Antalya

The old town along the water couldn't be more picturesque, and old wooden buildings and brightly colored cafe furniture made for an enjoyable stroll around town.  On a quiet side street, I passed a beautiful shop with colorful Turkish towels and went in, coming out a few minutes later with two lovely scarves that function as towels, sarongs, and picnic blankets (at about $8 each, this has been my best suitcase addition to date).   I really fell in love with Antalya, although the old town is more geared towards tourists in that there isn't much beyond boutique hotels and restaurants.