Friday, 8 June 2012

Kusadasi and Miletus

25 May 2012. We arrived in Kusadasi in Turkey. A place we have visited a number of times already and we looked for a tour that we hadn't done before.

It seemed that we had left the rain of Lesbos behind us, but after this brilliant start the weather turned a little dull through the morning. Not yet though so we can remain optimistic for the moment until we join our bus and the guide says "We had thunder and rain last night - as much rain during the night as we expected all summer..."

Hey, we're British! We can handle rain...

We are to visit a couple of ancient sites, first the trading city of Miletus and then its temple at Didyma which was both temple and oracle - a famous oracle rivalling that of Delphi. Arriving at Miletus we found the ticket office looking rather like a border post. We still had blue skies but the darker clouds are starting to form now!

Miletus Theatre. Whilst Ephesus is the best known ancient city in this part of Turkey, the city of Miletus was the main trade centre. This was where goods from Asia were bought and from where the great caravans set out south and west across the Holy Land and Greece then west to Italy and Western Europe.

The theatre is not as large as that of Ephesus. This one seats only 15,000 to the Ephesian theatre's 25,000. The four columns would have supported a canopy for the rich folks to keep dry and be sheltered from the sun and flying limbs from defeated gladiators.

The curvature of the surface of the seats that faces the stage creates the perfect sound acoustics. Someone speaking softly from the arena can be heard anywhere in the theatre. They should have been more careful about what they talked about really, but I'd have tried a squirt of WD40 myself...

Given that gladiatorial contests were staged here, the excellent acoustics must have meant the eager audience could hear every squelch...

The harbour would have been to the left. The area had already been swamped by the Aegean but after it rose to become Miletus, trade was affected by the silting up of the river and retreat of the sea.

Leaving the area of the theatre and trading centre we approach the bath house. Here are the cubicles where people would be oiled and massaged and have the dirt of the day sweated out and scraped off by their personal body slave or one of the baths attendants.

I could just have done with a bit of that, but they seem to have let things slide a little...

Earthquakes, centuries of neglect and the taking of dressed stone for new building projects have left the city in a sorry state. The theatre was good though and the bath house had enough left to show us to make the visit worthwhile. The scenery around the site, with grasses and trees with bright red poppies peeping out also contributed to the day.

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1 comment:

  1. Mileteus always seemed more peaceful than Ephesus to me.


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