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)

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