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Cascoly Travel -- Turkey: Xanthos (Xanthus / Xantos)
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Cascoly Travel
Turkey: Xanthos (Xanthus / Xantos)

Walking Through History in Turkey
 Xanthus / Xantos on the Lycian Way
  • Download Royalty-free Images of Xantos
  •   Theatre - finding shade                Phaselis
    Theatre - finding shade Phaselis
      Buying postcards
    Buying postcards
      Agora, with encroaching greenhouses
    Agora, with encroaching greenhouses
      Tombs
    Tombs
      Tombs
    Tombs
      Tombs
    Tombs
      Wheat & olives
    Wheat & olives
      Lycian Way sign
    Lycian Way sign
      Spring, aqueduct               Caykoy
    Spring, aqueduct Caykoy
      Grafted olives
    Grafted olives
      Grafting olives
    Grafting olives
      Grafting olives
    Grafting olives
      Picking 'island tea'
    Picking 'island tea'
      Spring, aqueduct               Caykoy
    Spring, aqueduct Caykoy
      Women baking bread             Caykoy
    Women baking bread Caykoy
      Women baking bread             Caykoy
    Women baking bread Caykoy
      Preparing picnic lunch & BBQ           Caykoy
    Preparing picnic lunch & BBQ Caykoy

    Midway through a hiking trip to Turkey that we led in 2002, we were using the Lycian Way and other local trails we had discovered in previous trips.

    I happened to be reading Freya Stark's description of her explorations in Lycia in the 1950s We could follow the route by the lake and just do it; and Araxa, a mere nothing on the map, could be glanced at in the morning as one passed. This was my mistake, for no temptation should ever persuade one, anywhere in the Levant, to try to do more than one thing in one day

    May 22 Wednesday

    After lunch drove to Fetiye. Got to hotel an hour earlier than the estimated arrival time of 7 pm. (unusual given Turkish roads and traffic) We actually are staying 17 km from Fethiye in Oludinez at Asenas Hotel, large complex of bungalows Good BBQ supper – Adana kabob, lamb chops, chicken, etc.

    May 23 Thursday (Day 9)

    We weren't quite sure about the trail head today, so after breakfast we asked the staff. After several discussions, including a conclave of 3 waiters with advice about local conditions, we took off on a hike towards Kirme, about 4 hrs according to the Lycian Way guidebook and 10 km. Nicely marked trail, ascending steadily to get around several headlands. Beautiful views back to Oludeniz, and down the beaches. Several tortoises on the trail, but not much other activity. Left at 9:10, reached cisterns at 10:10-10:30 (listed as 2 hrs), then trail leveled out at Kozagaciz, beautiful flowers.

    We took it easier, working our way around several more headlands & gullies, reaching the 8 km sign at 12:30, and 2 km further into Kirme about 12:50. (Elapsed time, 3:40 vs guidebook of 4:45).

    Lunch of fruit and snacks, then drop steeply down a canyon to the road that hugs the coast. The dirt road drops sharply, with spectacular views of azure coves and isolated beaches accessible only from the sea. Can see the route all the way back to Oludeniz, long, shadeless dirt & asphalt, so Lutfi calls Mustafa and he picks us up and we get back to the hotel with time to explore a bit. The town is a smaller scale Bodrum or Kusadasi, with many small restaurants advertising ‘Full English breakfast', tequila bars and many gold shops. Nothing interesting beyond trinkets to buy, though.

    Xantos - Uzumlu

    May 24 Friday Hiking near Xanthos About 65 km southeast of Fethiye are the ruins of Xantos, an important Lycian city-state. Truly ancient, some of its inhabitants reportedly fought for the Trojans in 1200 BCE. Alexander visited this area. It has a rich history of successive defense and occupation, finally being abandoned after pirate raids in the 5th and 6th century. The trail from Cavdir follows the old Roman aqueduct towards its source in a pretty mountain valley. It climbs through pine forest, then continues downhill to Uzumlu. Overnight in Kalkan.

    The plan of staying closer to where the hiking starts has worked better than just using Antalya, but still results in fairly late hiking starts. Today, started around 9, loaded van, then spent about an hour in Fetiye, post office, market stop, etc arriving at Xanthos around 11:30. Meet our local guide, Musa (Moses), for a quick tour of Xanthos. Hiked across the city, mostly unexcavated, since it lacks the cachet of an Ephesus, and there's no money to do the work. The theatre is in good shape, but many of the best pieces were taken by Fellows to London in the 1840s.. Then up and past the pillared tomb, over the Roman acropolis to the Lycian necropolis. Rock tombs, both free standing and carved into the hills.

    "The old city, with many tombs honeycombed in the jutting rock, with gymnasium and a hundred yards of market arcade still standing, and theatre behind high-built walls with seats of polished limestone carved with lion claws – all spoke of centuries of ease. A Lycian stele, among the myrtles and oleanders of the valley, represent with un-deciphered letters the ealire age to which the Lycian inscriptions and some of the tombs belong. " – Freya Stark

    Then down thru fields of wheat and olives. Impressive site, though not many ruins displayed. Into the van to drive the road to the start of our next segment of the Lycian Way at Cavdir. After walking thru the village, pick up the path of the old Roman aqueduct, in some places replaced by modern concrete, but mostly just ruins, forming a pleasant rising trail – the limestone hugs the curves of the hills, and the channel is filled in and shallow. Lots of prickly bushes, attacking our unprotected legs – maquis (holly like stickers), various thistles, even some sabra cactus. Many pretty flowers, gorse, savory, marjoram, island tea (or mountain tea, looks somewhat like oregano, picked to make an herb tea). In the villages, pomegranate trees, grapes and bougainvillea add color to the olives and wheat fields. Some wheat still green, other fields almost ready to harvest.

    Musa told us about the various olives we passed – 3 types here, Edremit, ‘local' and milyar, the latter not very good, and a biennial crop. Olives collected in 9 kg ‘cans' that make about 3 kg of oil. A good tree will produce from 15-60 cans (1200 lbs!). Also saw lots of grafts – small curved rectangles of new olives attached like skin grafts to wild olive trees, turning them into productive fruit producers. Sections tied on with homespun goat yarn. The trail crosses a deep gully with an arch protecting the source of a spring, crossing about 20' high above the gully. Then continues on along the aqueduct way, mostly easy trail.

    About 2 hours to Caykoy village. Met 2 women baking yufku (thin, round breads, 2' in diameter). Took pictures, and met the husband, who's the local imam. Then back in the van to find a picnic spot. Lutfi had left the chicken at the market, so we were forced to get by on tomatoes, cucumbers, splendid cheeses (a dry sheep cheese, and a mozzarella clone), bread, grilled peppers and lamb chops. Lamb especially good. Cooked on a small hibachi, using a wood & charcoal fire while the group settles down to picking thistles and brambles from their socks. Musa offers several options and we chose to travel a high traverse to Islamlar. Drove to Uzumlu (3:30pm). Follow the recently asphalted road for awhile, then cut off to follow the now less distinct aqueduct path. Not many walkers along this part, and the track is often blocked by brambles of various sorts. Continue around and up. Hot day, no cooler now (about 3-4) than earlier in the day. Finally round the hill and start up a valley towards a distant minaret of Islamlar. Track sometimes disappears as we cross fields, evidence of wild pig, in one case they turned the trail into a mud wallow. Reach the asphalt again around 5, shortly after hearing azin, and the van picks us up and drives another km or so uphill to a tea shop. Audrey, Priscilla and Nancy have island tea, made from the fresh branches Lutfi had carried. But before drinking, everyone decides to take pictures of this light green colored drink, and in a moment there are 4 cameras busily taking close focus shots of glasses of tea, much to the amusement of the men who've wandered out from their backgammon games to observe the tourists.

    Ancient architecture

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