Monday, October 19, 2009

Oct 18 - Antalya

Today we moved from Europe into Asia, to the tourist resort of Antalya in Turkey. From Antalya, there's lots of ancient sites to discover, so we went on a tour to Perge and Aspendos (or Asbestos, as some people think it's pronounced).

We went first to the ruins at Perge, a provincial town of about 35,000 back in Roman times, and one of the best preserved ancient sites in the Mediterranean. Amongst its ruins, we explored impressive colonnaded streets, still bearing the rut marks from the wheels of the Roman chariots; a large forum; a huge baths complex; and Asia Minor's largest stadium, which would have seated 12,000 spectators on its tumbled-down rows of stone seats.

We then moved onto Aspendos to see what must be the best and most complete theatre to have survived from antiquity. It's so well preserved, it looks almost like the Roman builders have only just moved out -15,000 spectators can still fit into it's steep, vertigo-inducing banks of seats. Quite an amazing place to visit.

On the way back, we stopped for a cotton-picking-minute, at some cotton fields – the cotton was being "harvested" by the local ladies, bent over double all day long.