Photos by Jack A. Waldron
After a stay in Mugla and a visit to the small but well planned Archeological Museum there, I decided to make my way to a small harbor known as Akbuk, which is renown for its clear calm sea. As can be seen in the photo below, the road drops some 800 meters to ancient Gulf of Ceramus and the village of Gokova.
Following the pine forest along the picturesque sea shore about 25 km brings you to Akbuk, an off the beatin' trail getaway for Turkish campers and day trippers. There is a great market in the middle of the main beach that sells all you may need. I am planning to return to this harbor with Sail Classical for a visit to the ancient city of Ceramus, which I didn't take the time to investigate on this journey.
The camping at Akbuk is convenient, with all the amenities, and not too expensive, though a bit crowded on the weekends. I was actually pleased to have some other humans around since I had been spending so much time gorilla camping.
One friend I could have done without was this rather large millipede, which was surprisingly resilient! I had been bed-down for about a half hour when I felt a small something tickling my lower leg. I rubbed it and dismissed it as an ant. Back to sleep, I then felt something heavier crawling up my leg! Whipping on my headlamp, I stood bent over in the tent and with a number of hand slaps shook out my leg to see this lengthy millipede drop out of my pants. I had just caught a glimpse of the creature before it scurried under my bike bags and everything else in the tent. I spent the next 20 minutes on a catch and release mission. They are so quick that I soon gave up on the catch and release plan, and adopted a search and destroy outcome. As you can see from the photo below, I am a determined hunter. Back to sleep . . .
My next destination after Akbuk was the ancient city of Kaunos, which is situated where the Dalyan River (which originates from the Gulf of Koycegis) meets the Mediterranean Sea.
As I cycled along, a car suddenly stopped some meters ahead of me, and out jumps Hasan Soylemez, a cyclist who circumnavigated Turkey with little or no money, accepting dinners and breakfasts from the generous people whose doors he knocked on. In the photo above, he is holding a copy of the book he wrote about his journey.
Continuing along my route, I came to a toll station that charged to use the tunnel under the mountain. Without regard to the toll, they would not allow a bicycle to go through . . . , so, I had to climb over the mountain, which turned a few minute passage into a 45 minute traverse. The photos above and below show the toll station entrance from the top of the mountain pass.
Just before my turnoff from the main road I sited this interestingly named restaurant, 'Etci Baba', with the 'c' having a 'ch' sound in Turkish. Now, having lived in Japan for 17 years, this sign stood out like a sore thumb. 'Etci' (with the 'ch' sound intact) in Japanese means 'Kinky', and 'Baba', well, that is almost international lingo for 'Papa', 'Dada', or 'Daddy', 'Dad', 'Father'. So, I just imagine that every tourist bus filled with Japanese that passes this restaurant gets a big laugh from this special restaurant named, 'Kinky Daddy'. When I stopped to take the photo, the owner invited me in and served me tea and baklava!! Their son practiced his English with me . . . , of course. 'Hos Gelinez' means 'Welcome', and 'Corba' means 'Soup'.
After departing from the main road, I found myself on a long quiet back road that would take me directly south to Dalyan, and ancient Kaunos. Dalyan is one of the preeminent British Isles Tourist destinations in Turkey, and along with that comes expensive pension rentals, restaurants, trinket sellers, etc., etc., etc. BUT, I was obviously a cycle tourist, which on occasion can signal . . . No Money!! I searched around, and found a small quaint and very clean pension with a handful of Brits sitting around the pool bar, with a private residence, etc., and with an owner that understood my mission (the ancient city) and who came to the conclusion that he had an apartment available for two nights, and, that it was better to have someone stay in the apartment at half price until the reservation holder arrived, than to leave it empty for the two nights. DEAL! 80TL . . . per night!!
The next morning I set out to find the river ferry (pictured above, with the rock cliff tombs lingering overhead), in order to cross over to where the ancient site is located, with about a fifteen minute walk further on. The Calbys River, as it was known in ancient times (today the Dalyan River), formed the southern boarder between Caria and Lycia. Originally an independent state, Kaunos would later become a part of both Caria and Lycia during different periods.
The limestone cliffs that follow the river are dotted with tombs that date back to the 4C BC. Pictured here are some of the elaborate temple-tombs that were sculpted during the Hecatomnid period, when that dynasty ruled over Caria. The site and/or area of ancient Kaunos is believed to have been occupied from around the 10C BC, and is recorded in history from the 6C BC, through the documentation of its capture by the Persians under the general Harpagus.
The largest of the tombs pictured here is unfinished, with its roof and pediment shaped, and the tops of the columns and capitals begun, this project must have run into a financial dilemma, or perhaps the family had fallen out of favor, or . . .
The Lycian rock-tombs at Kaunos have numerous examples of Carian-style burials as well, with simple cavities hollowed out of the cliff and two or three beds for the deceased provided along the inner walls. Most of these can be seen below the temple-tombs.
Kaunos is also recorded in the lists of the Athenian tributes, which for reasons unknown rise from half a talent prior to 425 BC, to the exorbitant amount of ten talents there after.
According to Herodotus, Kaunians believed their origins lay in Crete, with which he had doubts, as he noted the similarities in the Kaunian language and the Carian, which was native to Herodotus himself.
Though Herodotus notes the similarities in language between Kaunian and his own Carian, he also notes some stark differences in cultural actives, such as the social drinking of wine by men, women and children during festivities.
The massive Roman Bath (pictured above from a hill on the northwest side) is a tribute to the importance, richness and strategic location of the city for the Romans as a center of import and export. Regardless of the malaria infested area that would eventually result in the abandonment of the city in the 15C AD, Kaunos remained a city that created wealth through the export of fruits, fish, slaves and so on.
A section of the Roman Bath arches from within the bath are pictured below, here with an exedra in the foreground. The bath building is being restored, with plans to cover the remaining building in order to house a museum for the numerous findings from the site.
The large Roman Bath complex sits on the northern side of the Palaestra. The Palaestra also features a once domed Basilica, and a Wind Measuring Platform. During later antiquity the figidarium of the bath was repurposed as a church, which sits in its center of the Palaestra today.
The Heraklion Fortress rises from the Dalyan estuary in the center of the photo below. The inner port of Kaunos was located on the Suluklu Gol, which translates into 'the Bay of Leeches' (the small body of water pictured in the center right of the photo) on the northwest side of Kucuk Kale (the large outcrop pictured in the center of the photo, home of the Heraklion Fortress).
The inner port could be protected by stretching a chain across its entrance, and was used until about 200 BC, or until it became too silted to be accessed from the sea via the Calbys River. The southern port, located on the southeast side of Kucuk Kale, was used thereafter. The building on the left side of the photo above is the northwest side of the Roman Bath.
Before heading across the Palaestra, I continued up the hill to the northwest of the Roman Bath (pictured above), as I had seen on my city plan that there was an unknown building on the summit, probably a temple from the 3C or 4C BC. As seen in the photo above, the hill slope is covered with building materials from the structure that stands at the summit. The building itself (pictured below) does indeed seem to be a temple In Antis (Distyle).
The diagram below gives an example of a temple In Antis, in this case, the Temple of Themis at Rhamnus in Attica.
Pictured below are several photos I took of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi, also in the architectural 'Distyle' of a building In Antis.
Pictured below, a shot of the Athenian Treasury In Antis from above.
As there is a Hellenistic temple In Antis on the raised terrace below the Palaestra at Kaunos, a further example of a temple In Antis from ancient Adada is shown further on in the article.
What also appears to be the case with the building aka. 'the bath hill Temple In Antis', is that during antiquity the temple had been repurposed for another use, as various walls have been constructed with unmatched blocks, and further, other architectural adjustments have been undertaken.
A large grape and/or olive oil collecting block (pictured above and below) sits at the foot of a building wall at the site, further proof that the building may have served purposes other than a temple.
Pictured below, a side entrance and two windows have been added to the building, additions that have the feature of disturbing the original architectural block use.
The site of the 'bath hill Temple In Antis' is covered with building members (i.e. pediment members, columns, capitals, blocks, etc.), and since the building itself is in a very good state of preservation, this monument should be a nearly complete structure when restored.
Turning back to the downward side of the hill with the Roman Bath in the distance, and the great silted bay beyond, some of the elaborately sculpted architectural remains from the 'bath hill Temple In Antis' can be found strewn down the slope, such as the upper portion of the pediment (pictured below).
The acroterion decoration on this pediment member (pictured above and below) was mainly a feature of a temple, or a building sculpted to represent a temple.
Facing northwest, with the Byzantine Church in the foreground (once the frigidarium of the Roman Bath), the remains of the Roman Bath building hidden behind the church, and the 'bath hill Temple In Antis' in view on the hill sitting atop the church column furthest right, and the city wall climbing the high ridge in the distance, I am taking the photo from the Wind Measuring Platform (pictured below).
The so-called circular building in the illustration below, is actually the Wind Measuring Platform. The photo above was taken from that monument.
Pictured above, the main entrance to the Theater, which has both Hellenistic and Roman architectural features. The Theater is situated on the lower slope of the main acropolis hill, and faces west. The cavea is greater than a semi-circle, which adheres to the Hellenistic style, while the stage building, with its storied height points to the Roman influence.
The Byzantine walls of the citadel can be seen high above the Theater atop the acropolis (pictured above). In more ancient times, the 150 meter high acropolis was called Imbros. Pictured below, the foundation of the stage building reaches toward the slope of the acropolis, where there is no entrance.
During excavations of the Theater, this Roman period sculpted head of Artemis was found, and is on display at the Fethiye Archeological Museum. Notice the holes around the crown and earlobes, which most likely would have been adorned in gold.
A view of the 34 row, 5000 capacity Theater with the Mediterranean in the distance, the ancient Calbys river winding through the now silted Dalyan estuary, and the Heraklion Fortress pointing skyward (right of photo), once a proud peninsula surrounded by the sea.
On the backside of the Theater is an arched entrance, which is the only entrance to the theater seating than the main entrance.
To the left of the main entrance of the Theater is a Fountain House that was constructed against the theater wall (photos below).
If this is not a fountain, then it is a very open toilet! Such a fountain would have been very much welcomed by the theater goers.
As can be seen in the photos above and below, the Fountain House was built into a recess in the theater building.
Not far from the Theater on the northeast corner of the Palaestra, is where one of the more interesting structures at the site is located, the Wind Measuring Platform. The Roman architect Vitruvius describes the purpose of the platform in his writings 'De Architectura'.
This structure dates to 150 BC, and was apparently used for city planning. One can imagine that, the city being located at the head of a huge bay, as well as being buttressed up against the mountains with cliffs acting as wind funnels, that the fails would have been often strong and steady.
Therefore, the city would need to be planned in a manner that mitigated the affects of these winds, hence, the Wind Measuring Platform.
Sitting in a hole on the Palaestra was this pile of ballista balls. These massive stone balls weren't shot from a cannon, but slung from a giant ballista (see illustration below).
Walking to the southern edge of the Palaestra in order to take the city Grand Staircase to the Raised Terrace area, you pass through this monumental door or gate, which at some time during the past was a much more elaborately ornamented structure that functioned as an entrance gate.
The photo above is looking up the Grand Staircase toward the Palaestra, while the photo below is looking down the Grand Staircase. The Raised Terrace is situated to the left, out of the photo.
The Raised Terrace (pictured below) contains a very unique structure in the large circular monument that is thought to have been a bathing pool. Dating from the late Hellenistic period, the structure has two rows of columns surrounding a sunken floor or possible pool. Further, there are slots in the columns that suggest the inner pool may have been cordoned off, perhaps for some ritual for worship?
Also, in the foreground of the photo above are the two columns of the Terrace Temple In Antis (to the left of the photo), with its front steps dropping down in the center of the picture. There is a possibility that, given the extremely important findings below the cella floor of the Terrace Temple In Antis, that the two monuments may have been used in worship and ceremony together.
There are steps on the south side of the Circular Building that lead out of the central sunken floor to a raised platform. In the center of the sunken floor and building there is a large round flat purple stone table that begs one to ask its purpose.
As mentioned above, also of great interest on the Raised Terrace is the Terrace Temple In Antis (pictured below), and, while being a small temple indeed, it apparently holds great significance with regard to the gods worshiped at ancient Kaunos.
As Kaunos is being revealed through ongoing excavations on a daily basis, information at the site is at time inadequate for the visitor. I found this particularly the case with regard to the Tarrace Temple, the Sacred Stone of Basileus, its location and so on. I originally thought that the circular double-columned structure was home to the Sacred Rock Room and the Sacred Rock itself, but have now moved my attention to the Terrace Temple In Antis as the location. I will update this information as it is revealed more thoroughly to the novice visitor.
The signboard information presented here does not come from the site of the Raised Terrace, but from the archelogical display within the entrance of the theater. There are currently no signs on the raised terrace to indicate what is where.
The Sacred Rock Room featured above and below, with its depiction on coin showing an obelisk guarded by birds of prey, was also where the Cebele Statue (pictured further down) was found. Pictured below, archeologists excavate around the Sacred Rock within the Sacred Rock Room.
The Cybele of Kaunos statue is on display at the Fethiye Archeological Museum, and with its figures and motifs of the local cult, it is truly an invaluable piece of the historical puzzle of what it meant to be a Kaunian.
After spending a lengthy time investigating the Raised Terrace, I continued down the staircase toward the Stoa, Agora and other shoreline structures.
The level just below the Raised Terrace was in full excavation mode, with heavy machinery relocating massive stone boulders.
This Narrow Staircase (pictured below) skirts the Raised Terrace support wall and runs parallel to the Grand Staircase that originates at the Palaestra. There are two large columns at the top of the Narrow Staircase which anchor another entrance, probably a structure. Excavation on this area are not yet complete.
Pictured below, the Stoa (right) and the Harbor Agora (left), are arrived at at the bottom of the Grand Staircase.
The bottom of the back wall of the Stoa remains intact, while unfinished excavation behind the wall awaits.
There numerous exedra (pictured above and below) surrounding the open grounds of the Harbor Agora, all with unique design. In the photo above, a building of unknown purpose rises from behind the back wall of the Stoa.
At southern end of the Harbor Agora sits the honorary monument to the Quintus Vedius Capito, family and others who have a long supporting history with regard to the Harbor Agora Port.
Just next to the Quintus Vedius Capito monument on the harbor side (pictured below) is the Glykinna Monument.
Turning to the east end of the Harbor Agora are the remains of a 3C BC Nymphaeum (pictured below), though the base is Hellenistic, the fountain is believed to have been extended during Roman early Roman times. Because of an inscription on a block found near the monument mentioning the name of Vaspasian, the Nymphaeum is often referred to as the Fountain of Vaspasian.
The inscription on the south side of the fountain building itself is a decree with regard to customs dues, which is believed to have been intended to increase the use of the port during its decline due to the silting of the harbor, noting that the export of slaves could be expedited tax free.
Pictured above, the dedicatory statue base of honor in situ not far from the fountain building. Among the numerous honorary statue bases found in the Harbor Agora, one was dedicated to Mausolus, while another was dedicated to Hecatomnos. Below, the now famous Kaunos Bilingual Inscription on display at the Fethiye Archeological Museum.
Kaunos can be viewed as an ancient city of great wealth, that was created through its proximity to Rhodes, and the other island city states of that period. However, according to ancient descriptions of the inhabitants, Kaunos was not the healthiest location on which to build a population. Due to the continuos silting of the estuary, and the reed cover that rises from the massive marsh like a rice paddy of steroids, the breeding of mosquitos would spread malaria to epidemic levels throughout the occupation of the area, producing an unhealthy green complexion over the faces of the people who lived there. With regard to Caunian completion, Stratonicus, a 4C BC citharist noted that he understood Homer when he stated,'as are the leaves of the trees, so are the generations of men.' Under attack for his comments, Stratonicus defended himself by replying,'How could I possibly call your city unhealthy, when every day dead men may be seen walking its streets!'
Not found on the raised terrace was this marble ceiling (pictured below) belonging to the Monopteros, which is located on the south side of the inner harbor. This restoration is taking place on the Palaestra, and shows an elaborate pattern reflecting a labyrinth. A monopteros is a circular building featuring an outer colonnade, but without a cella.
*All photos and content property of Jack A. Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)