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Friday, 26 October 2012

Xanthos and Kalkan, Turkey

I have not posted for a while because I have been on holiday. As usual, I have found that being in a new place has inspired me with ideas for a new novella. I visited Kalkan in Turkey which has its own feral cats which are protected by the government as are the dogs which wander over the town as if they own it.
The coastline here is sublime, crystal blue seas, rocky inlets and more history than you can easily take in in one visit. A particularly beautiful drive takes you along the shoreline from Kas to Kalkan, with Greek islands in the distance, and steep hills covered in pines. The Lycian area of Turkey was once a thriving area of trade and the port at Patara carried silks and spices far afield. Sadly, the ancient port has silted up and there is now marshland where the mouth of the river used to be. Patara still has a superb beach, protected as a turtle nesting site it is devoid of developments, with miles and miles of beautiful pristine sand. Going in late October there was a terrific swell in the sea and waves which made it difficult to swim but I understand most of the time it is calm. The most extraordinary place we visited was Xanthos. It reminded me of a visit I made to Pompeii many years ago before that site was fenced off. You can just wander into Xanthos any time, night or day and out of season you get a real sense of history.
The amphitheatre is almost totally intact with amazing acoustics. A relief on one of the pillars depicts winged female creatures carrying babies and it is assumed that these represent souls being carried off into heaven - I found that a lovely idea, the thought that we would at the end of our lives be akin to what we were at the beginning. Sadly the relief is a copy as we Brits pinched the original which is now in the British Museum.
Xanthos itself (the name means yellow and may refer to crocuses which were in flower when we visited and which provide very fine saffron) has had a troubled history. Regularly raided and sacked there are sad accounts of the men of Xanthos fighting but losing to a Persian invasion. In desperation, gathering together their women, and children they put every one to the torch rather than having them captured and then fought till the last man died. So much drama has inspired me and I shall definitely set a novel in the area and have blogged further about my trip over on thepocketeers.blogspot.com.

5 comments:

Kate Jackson said...

Sounds like a fabulous place, Cara. Glad you had a good time and thanks for sharing with us.

Wendy's Writing said...

I visited this amphitheatre when I was in my early thirties - twenty years ago now! I remrember it being a blazing hot day and sitting on the steps to rest. I might have to dig out my photos and remind myself.

Cara Cooper said...

It was lovely Kate, well worth holidaying there. Wendy, it's still as lovely and unspoilt as it always was thank heavens. We also had a steaming hot day, wonderful considering all the chilly weather back in England!

Monique DeVere said...

Wow, Cara!

What a very interesting place to visit. It sounds so rich with culture and I can imagine you'll have an amazing story on your hands. Keep us posted when you start to write your new story!

Looking forward to hearing more.

Kalkan Villas said...

You visited great places. Congratulations! I am so glad for you!