Day 12 (morning)
Temperature: 12 degrees Weather: sunny and cool =====================
We left Pamukkale at 8:30am this morning having a long drive ahead of us.
Towns and cities were passed through where houses and mosques were seen along the way and where many Turkish flags flew high above the trees. Michel continued to take his daily nap and I continued to watch through my window's seat the landscape pass by. By now, the sky had turned a beautiful blue in color making me smile once again because it meant….a beautiful day ahead of us.
Two hours later, our first stop for the day was made in a town by the name of Geyre where the ruins of Aphrodisias were explored in depth! Our TD went on explaining to us that these ruins were now recognized as being the most interesting current Roman excavation in the world and I couldn’t agree more! They were quite stunning. Interestingly the site was a shrine as early as 5800 BC. Quite a history here!
Well, the entire site was gigantic and impressive! We proceeded to walk in the direction of the ruins of Tetrapylon, one of the jewels of Aphrodisias where this 2nd
century gateway was absolutely breathtaking with its white marble columns rising high above the rich emerald color grass under a wonderful cloudless blue sky. Absolutely stunning!
A field was then passed through where beautiful yellow and red flowers grew. This brought us to an enormous stadium where nature had made its mark and where grass grew everywhere in between the huge rocks as seats. Interestingly, this stadium is still recognized as being one of the best preserved structures of its kind from this classical era!
A medium sized dog had followed us when we approached the stadium. Michel called him "The Stadium’s Guardian" and I couldn’t agree more because after we left this specific site, the dog remained behind. Now, was there a reason for this!
Further away, fourteen re-erected stunning white marble columns stood elegantly in the décor. These were the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite which was originally completed in the 1st
century AD and built in the heart of this enormous shrine. While admiring the site, I couldn’t help but notice a black cat sitting silently on a marble step watching us walk by. Hmmm!
By now, Michel had a theory and this being that each site had a special guardian and that here the cat was the Temple’s Guardian. That the Kings of ancient civilization were living through these animals and guarding their temples! Now, was this a fact or a fiction! And I thought that I was the only one with an imagination! Hahaha!
A gigantic Theatre was then visited. Having been completed in 27 BC, Daghan went on explaining to us that structural changes were made in 200 AD to make it suitable for gladiatorial spectacles! It was totally awesome. We were the only group here which allowed me to wander around freely. I went wild running to the middle of the stage and becoming a gladiator myself!
A museum built on site was then visited where numerous excavated statues provided a clue of the people from that era! What a life it must have been living in those days! Was it a wonderful one or one full of misery and slavery! One always wonders but one thing for sure, they were geniuses in their own time having built so many incredible and amazing sites!
Time travels fast and today, I could see with my very own eyes what more than 2,000 years of evoluation did to this ancient shrine. In a way, I was reliving the entire era in my very own special way and.....what an amazing feeling it was!