Fethiye – Kemer, Side, Alanya then Konya
So, it has been a while since I published a blog on the website and I thought it would be nice to publish one since my fantastic adventure around the Greek islands, which took us to many fascinating and beautiful places. My schedule since the Greek sailing trip has been…….well, to be honest, SCHOOL!
But a new trip is coming soon, which is expected to be a once in a lifetime road trip! It will happen over the winter which means we might not even rent somewhere to live ashore, just travel , and it would start in Fethiye. This time the adventure will take us around the magnificent south and south west of beautiful Turkey.
So, the plan…… Well as i was saying, we’d leave Fethiye and drive along the south coast to the coastal town of Kemer, where we will see the incredible Chimaera and the ancient city of Olympus.
The Chimaera are on the rocky slopes of Mt Olympus, it is where fire burns from the earth as gases escape the actual mountainside out of the ground. In ancient times, the glow of the Flames could be seen far out to sea and sailors used to believe that the fire was emitted by a fire breathing dragon called Chimaera! Around thirty flames flicker their way out and over the rocks, the highest leaping around 50 cm above the ground. Not all can be seen clearly so you need to watch your ankles and they obviously look their best in the evening. We walked up there before and although it’s quite a climb it’s well worth the hike .
Olympus is actually (another) mountain, and is the highest in the area. A cable car goes up the mountain and there are fantastic views over the gulf of Antalya, regularly during the day folk can be seen throwing themselves off the top of the mountain to parascend down.
Also in the area is Phaselis, an ancient Lycian town near Kemer which apparently was founded by Greek colonists on the border of Pamphylia and Lycia around 334BC. It’s wealth came from being a a port for the shipping industry of timber, perfume and rose oil. The ruins are not particularly exciting, apparantly, and are all from the Roman and Byzantinian era, but the setting is supposed to be incomparably romantic.
After leaving Kemer, we stay on the coast to Side, where there’s a museum, Nymphaeum, beautiful waterfall, and the Ancient temple of Apollo. The temples were constructed by the Greeks in 2nd century AD, and have the same feeling as the Cape Sounion, near Athens. The town, itself used to be a small, Turkish village with a fine sandy beach and some wonderful Hellenistic ruins.
Legend has it that even Cleopatra and Mark Antony came to Side a for a romantic break……… Unfortunately, the world saw the potential of Side, and now it is a bustling city with all-exclusive hotels lining the peninsular.
From Side, we then head towards the now busy and cosmopolitan city of Alanya, which, like Side, was once a sleepy farming and fishing village, and also like Side, became a large holiday destination in the early 1980’s. With a long, sandy beach full of sun beds, the Lonely Planet tourist guide for Turkey has called it a Marmaris clone, because of its high rise hotel towers, German and Scandinavian tourists, and it’s, “Long Beach”.
Alanyas most exciting historical monument is the fortress, which is 3km walk up to the top of a hill, which by all accounts has amazing views. One of the most important historical sites in Turkey is probably the house that Atatürk lived in while he was President in 1935. The house has now been transformed into a museum dedicated to the life of Atatürk and can be found here, add it to the ” todo” list!
I think from all the driving we would have done so far, we’d deserve a break. Alanya has some of the best beaches in Turkey, and the most tranquil is the Cleopatra beach, although she actually never visited it!
This area that we are to explore is called the Mediterranean coast, and it is a beautiful blend of new turkey, and old, nestled in between the wonderfully beautiful Taurus mountains, which span the coast of southern turkey, and the blissful Turquoise coast. However, the journey won’t end there, because we are heading inland toward the famous Cappadocia, and the gateway to the Anatolian heart……..Konya.
The reason we are going to such a fascinating and unknown place to western society is to see the majestic and famous Swirling Dirvishes, which dance on the last night of the Konya festival. The festival takes place between the 11th-17th of December. However, Konya isn’t just about the swirling dervishes, in 2016, Konya was voted the centre of Islamic world tourism, and is the resting place of the great Persian poet, Rumi.
Mowlana Jallaledin Mohamad Rumi was born on the 30th of September 1207, on the eastern edge of the Persian empire, in modern day, Afghanistan. His father was a renown religious leader with many followers.
During this time, the Persian empire was being attacked by the Mongolian empire, and fearing his and his followers deaths, they ran away together to Turkey. Through the mayhem of war, they safely arrived in Konya where Rumi became accustomed with love, passion and became rich in intelligence. When his father died, Rumi became the leader of his fathers followers, and his success was so great he acquired many more.
In 1244, Rumi met the Shams of Tabriz. Sham was an unclear and secretive man who, like Rumi, believed in the spiritual path of love. Rumi recognised that Shams is a master, a leader and beheld great wisdom and Rumi devoted his life to him.
The two great spiritual beings would spend hours together secluded from the other people talking about spiritual and meditation talk. Shams then persuades Rumi to resign from the teaching, and stop giving lectures for his followers.
Rumis followers think that their leader spends too much time with this man, whom they have taken a great dislike to and announce to Rumi that Shams is a scruffy and horrible man who has been lying to him. When Shams found this out, he leaves Konya and Rumi and leaves no trace of his whereabouts.
Hearing the news of his friends departure, Rumi goes into deep seclusion and insists on being alone. Rumi then decides it’s better to look for shams than to be on his own, and after months of looking all over the Empire he receives a letters from Shams Telling him that he is now in Damascus, and that he wants to meet up again in Konya.
When they do see each other, Rumi regains confidence and they start chatting like they used to. Rumi even manages to get Shams to marry a young girl called Kimia. Shams does indeed fall in love but a year later Kimia dies suddenly. Shams is so upset that he leaves Konya……..this time for good.
Rumi and Shams were friends for two years, after which, Rumi became the greatest mystic and poet we know today, his learnings and poetry are decidedly undiscovered in Western culture but regardless, when Rumi died in 1273 his funeral was attended by thousands of mourning Jews, Greeks, Turks, Monguls, Arabs, Persians, Christians and Muslims.
In Konya I have read that you come to Turkeys real soul, it is regarded as Turkeys most conservative city, we need to research wether mum and Summer might need to wear hijab so, but in Rumis own words: the welcome to the city couldn’t be more eloquent,
“Whoever you may be, come
Even though you may be
An infidel, a pagan, or a
Our brotherhood is not one of
Though you have broken
Your vows of repentance a hundred
As this is all in the planning stages I am using others photographs, so forgive the fact that they aren’t as good quality as usual.
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