Thursday, May 19, 2016

Alinda: Queen Ada and Alexander

Photos by Jack A. Waldron
Ada, queen of all Caria (seen in yellow on the map below), and sister of Mausolus (after whom one of the wonders of the ancient world was named after, his mausuleum) of Halicarnassus (modern day Bodrum) was deposed in 340 BC by her brother Pixodarus, and thus forced to seek refuge with the hope of gaining back her realm.  She found safety within the walls of Alinda.
Alinda sits high above the village of Karpuzlu, a mostly dirt road town surrounded by a vast farming community that occupies the valley below the acropolis of the ancient city.  The locals are very kind and friendly, and went out of their way to see that I did not set up camp on the central lawn of the town center by assisting me in finding accommodation.
A man in a suit at the local shop where I was inquiring about the town and the ancient city approached me and asked if he could help me find a place to stay, to which I replied, "Certainly".  To make a long story short, and to avoid the lengthy back and forth about the cost of this thus far unseen accommodation, and my informing him that I had a tent that was very reasonably priced, we stood outside the town hamam for what seems ages, with me begging him to take me to the hotel.  Finally, he said the hamam is where I could stay, as they had a room for travelers (pictured above).
I then asked about the cost per night, to which he said, 10TL!  That is about $4 US.  If I wanted to use the hamam, that would cost an extra 10TL.  The room had access to a shower, but after a long hot day of exploring and cycling, the hamam was a superb way to spend a couple hours.  In the photo above I am standing in front of a high heated marble bed that is meant to lay yourself on allowing the heat to sink deep into your body and bones . . . , lovely.  I had to get a photo of the oculus in the dome in order to show that the basic design of a domed room hasn't changed much since the 5C BC (see Morgantina, Sicily, and the earliest known dome designed bath structure, that being Greek, not Roman).
I cooked sweet and sour chicken in my room that night as I watched the town completely shut down by 9:00pm.  The next morning I headed out in search of Alinda, and though I knew it was hovering over the village, there was no making sense of where to climb up to meet the ancient city.  The locals just said, "Climb, and you will come to it".
As I wound my way up the narrow paths toward the acropolis I could see ancient building materials incorporated into the houses (pictured above and below).
There were two signs that pointed the way to ancient Alinda, no tour buses, no tourists, no locals, only the sounds of dogs barking, chickens clucking, and goats beating.
Finally, passing under abandon houses sitting on massive boulders, the market building of ancient Alinda came into view, with the theater sitting high above it on the acropolis (pictured below).
The market building stretches 90 meters in length and had three stories, though little remains of the third story today.  The building is split between shops and storage rooms.  The twelve large external doors along the bottom of the structure on the terrace side of the building provided access to the bottom story (pictured below).
Columns once surround the 30 meter square agora (pictured below), which sits just above the market building, and below some substantial remains of other buildings thought to be associated the the administration of the ancient city.
Beyond the agora there is an ancient path that snakes up the steep slopes below the theater.  At some points there are the remains of stairs that have refused to be washed down the slope (pictured below).  Patches of tiny pink wild flowers blanketed the surrounds of the acropolis.
I detoured away from the theater to investigate the impressive remains of wall tower facing the valley on the back side of the acropolis from Karapuzlu (pictured below).
When Alexander the Great marched his army into Caria in 334BC, Ada went out of the safety of Alinda to meet the conquerer in order to make him a proposition.  
She would ally Alinda with the Masedonian king with purpose of gaining back her kingdom, and would honor their alliance after Halicarnassus was defeated.
Cisterns (pictured above and below) are cut deep into acropolis and sit side-by-side high over the valley below.  It appears that some of the valley-side cistern walls have been constructed with rock and stuccoed over.
In the picture below, the outer wall and towers along the northern slope can be seen in the distance.  About 20 kilometers beyond those walls sits the sacred sanctuary of Labraunda.
Following the victory of Alexanders' army over the Persians and their hold over Halicarnassus, Ada and her loyal Carian soldiers pursued the remnants of the fleeing enemy who took positions in the headlands.  Alexander rewarded Ada by restoring her sovereignty over Caria.
Atop the acropolis west of the cisterns is a temple base.  Pictured above is what would appear to be the front of the temple, with back pictured below.
Down the southern slope beyond the temple base is a necropolis with several sarcophagi situated along what appears to be an ancient path to the valley below.
Returning to the acropolis and the northern slope leads to the theater (pictured below), which overlooks Karpuzlu.  Unfortunately, olive trees blanket the seats of the single diazoma Graeco-Roman structure.  First construction of the theater is believed to have taken place during the 2C BC, with additions and modifications having been undertaken during the reign of Augustus.
The theater is comprised of 35 rows and two arched entry ways with a single diazoma.  The stage building is almost completely buried, and awaits excavation and reconstruction.
Pictured above, a selfy with the theater seating as a backdrop.  Below, a view of the market building, Karpuzlu and valley beyond from the top of the theater analemma.

*All photos and content property of Jack A. Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Alabanda: City of Victorious Horses

Photos by Jack A. Waldron
Turning off the main road at Cine, and following the narrow country path bounded by the farms that dominate the vast plain of the Cine River, I cycled about seven kilometers to foot of the hills that once destined for ancient Alinda and further on to the sanctuary of Labranda, but here, surmounting the outcrop within its ancient walls, was this nest (pictured above) that guarded the a city of Alabanda, which today sits within the village of Araphisar.
In the village of Araphisar, that mingles within the ancient city, most houses having made use of the ancient blocks that lay all around, there wasn't a sole to be seen.  I leaned my bicycle against a stone fence, and slowly climbed up into the ruins until I reached the Hellenistic theater (Hellenistic, because its cavea is greater than a semicircle).
Since my time Turkey, I have heard some interesting tidbits with regard to scorpions, and why I am mentioning this now is, according to ancient texts, Alabanda was reputed to be the home of great numbers of these creepy crawlies; and as for the tidbits on the subject, well, I have heard that Turkish army soldiers are instructed to dig a two inch deep mote around their tent, and fill it with water, because scorpions hate water, which Alabanda appeared to be devoid of.
The name Alabanda is said to be derived from the combination of two Carian words, ala, meaning horse, and banda, meaning victory.  Its name changed at the end of the 3C BC to Antiocheia of the Chrysaorians under the Seleucid king, Antiochus III, but shortly thereafter, following its capture in 201 BC by Philip V, the Macedonian king, and father to Alexander the Great, it reverted back to Alabanda in 190 BC.
The theater building as a structure is in a decent state of preservation, and though a major part of the seating has been quarried throughout the centuries, the orchestra is filled with numerous building members that have been cataloged, and await the possibility of being reconstructed back into their original places.  Amongst the fluted marble columns sits a pediment with an engraved shield motif (pictured below).
In the picture above, I am pointing to the decorated footings of the theater seating, which are carved to resemble the lower leg and paw of a lion.  Below, situated atop the theater, a long abandon house that is constructed with blocks quarried from ancient buildings.
A high wall was built around the orchestra during the Roman period in order to protect the audience from harm during gladiatorial and animal hunt exhibitions.  The stage building appears to have been modified during the theaters active period, while the skene and proscenium seem to be a mishmash of pooled building members, yet still discernible till this day.
As a Hellenistic theater design, there would not have been a storied skene backing the stage, however, during the Roman period, the stage building would have been modified to include an elaborately ornamented backdrop.
Pictured above, the side entrance to the stage building.  Notice how the theater retaining walls angle inward toward the cavea as a result of their being greater than a semi-circle.
As part of the rebuilding of the stage building, Doric capitals and their columns were repurposed from the Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus (pictures of the Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus are further down).
Walking from the theater to the slope of the adjoining hill, I found my way through the maize of dirt paths wind up and down between the farm houses that dot the site until I finally found the Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus (pictured below).  This magnificent temple, with an 11 column by 6 column peristyle and no opisthodomos, dates from around 200 BC. 
Column drums and sekos blocks are cataloged, ordered and placed near the temple for possible reconstruction.  Though the Doric capitals were used in the building of the theater skene during the 4C AD, it is possible to make copies of the capitals, thus allowing the repatriation of the originals to the temple in order to re-set the architrave blocks, which also appear to have been repurposed in the theater skene, and may also need duplicates.
Leaving the Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus, I walked down the hill toward the city center until I came to the Temple of Apollo Isotimus (pictured below), which was an important deity of Alabanda, and means 'equal in honor'.  Again, dating from around 200 BC (as does the Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus, the Temple of Apollo Isotimus also lacks an opisthodomos.  
An altar for sacrifices (such as the one pictured above), may have been placed near the temple.  Pictured below, a sunken inner chamber within the temple.
Not far from the Temple of Apollo Isotimus is the Byzantine gate (pictured below), which was part of the greater fortification walls of the city.
Continuing down the hill into the city center, the agora sits within an olive grove, and further, is difficult to recognize, as its colonnades and porticoes are gone, buried or repurposed.  Nowhere to found are the dedicatory stones, statues or other monuments that once would have adorned the agora.
Spectacular Anta capitals such as the these on display at the Aydin Archeological Museum, would have sumptuously decorated the grand public buildings of Alabanda, where these were found.
Finally, walking out of the agora onto the flat marshy plain, the very well preserved Bouleuterion of Alabanda awaits the needed attention it deserves.  Alabanda is not on the tourist track, and thus, does not command the resources necessary to excavate and reconstruct its buildings in a timely manner.
Pictured above, this outer wall of the bouleuterion stands three stories high, with the bottom story buried in soil, as is the first story of the entire structure.  The building dates from the late Hellenistic period, and has similar architectural features to the bouleuterions at Tralles and Termessos.
I always wish I had more time to spend at each ancient city, perhaps a week or more at each site would allow for more selection and discovery.  I always look back wanting more from each site, knowing that I will probably never visit them again.  Now, on to ancient Alinda, which sits above the modern village of Karpuzlu.

*All photos and content property of Jack A. Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)