So today, we decided to go for a drive around and try and find the two Roman towns of Tlos and Pinara. Both located near Fethiye.
Tlos was one of the main cities of the Roman province of Lycia and one of the most powerful, due to its extremely strategic location over looking the large Xanthos valley, giving it a large amount of importance. Tlos once bore the title of ‘the brilliant metropolis of the Lycian nation’.
It is one of the oldest and largest settlements of Lycia, and was eventually inhabited by Ottoman Turks, one of the few Lycian cities to continue its existance through the 19th century. Tlos has some of the most spectacular and intresting structures, all of which, were ahead of there time. Although Tlos was located on the bottom of a steep mountain slop, there was still enough flat area to build a large, open air ampitheatre, open air stadium-(used for chariot and relay races)-a very large agora-(market)-, and a massive basilica, dating back from the Byzantinian era.
The stadium was capable of holding up to 2,500, and on the north side, there was thought to be a line of granite columns, located on the northern side of the stadium.
Views from Tlos are very picturesque, due to the fact large amounts of orange, lemon, pomegranate, almond and banana farming takes place. The most spectacular view is from the ancient Roman fortress, which is located at the top of the incredibly strategic location. Unlike the small towns the 34 rowed Roman theatre, which is quite vulnerable to enemy attack, but is now protected by an enormous Kangol, so we viewed from a little bit of a distance.
Another place where there are beautiful and impressive views, is from the towns basilica. Although it is under some restoration, there is a view overlooking the eastern side of the valley. After an hour visiting the town of Tlos, we continued our adventure to try and find, Pinara.
Unlike Tlos, Pinara isn’t that well known.
Pinara was settled around the 5th century, on a small mountain above the Xanthos valley. It was one of the important cities of the Lycian Federation, during the Roman period. During the Byzantine period it became a bishop’s center, but was then abandoned in the 9th century AD after loosing its importance.
However, Pinara is the least visited site in the Lycian region, meaning not much restoration has been put into it. The site is dominated by a vast, impressive, east facing cliff, which has a huge amount of tombs carved out into the side of the cliff.
The drive between Tlos and Pinara is interesting in itself, taking you through farming villages and small towns where the true Turkish lifestyle is evident. If you enjoy people watching, as we do, the drive is an education into how divided the youth and elderly of this culture actually are. More and more I read and hear that the younger members of the village family’s leave for the cities or the tourist areas to pursue jobs and careers, leaving the older members of the family to continue with the farm work. Obviously, over time these rural farms and villages will ultimately die off.. it will be a sad day when you can drive through a traditional Turkish village centre which is completely deserted.
The road to Tlos is average and the road between Tlos and Pinara is brand new and in mapped on Sabrina ( Navara SatNav ) google maps leads you on the new road without a problem though. Now, the road up to Pinara is a different matter, put it this way, Jonny JEEP, you would love it !
On this trip though, mum was driving ( this was because on the last visit to marmaris, a couple of weeks ago, GEOFF had fallen and twisted his ankle, which is only just starting to heel and had absolutely nothing to do with drinking vodka with the Russians in order to celebrate big Js birthday….. nothing at all, anyway, mum was really trying not to be a big girls blouse, and had only screamed and closed her eyes three times but the final approach up the sheer cliff to the summit of Pinara, frazzled her remaining nerve endings and we made a vow to head back that way once GEOFF can walk properly again, and drive!!