Hiking in Turkey – Pamphylian theater of Termessos

I’ve led many treks & hiking trips over the past 40 years. I’ve mostly taken small groups to Turkey, India & Nepal. But also the Haute Route across the Alps on Nordic skis, and several treks to Peru.  Here’s a journal entry from one of our Turkey trips:

Journal entries from May 29 Wednesday  (Day 15)

It’s just a 2 km uphill walk to the ancient site of Termessos. Today we were alone at the theatre.  Along with Pergamum, it has to be the most dramatic setting for any theater – the seats cascade down a steep slope, with the orchestra, the playing area, at the bottom, surrounded by mountains.

A spring was splashing into a sarcophagus by a shed of scattered tables, and drivers to the plateau stopped for a glass of tea.  From here a shepherd boy led us for two hours along a path that slants through woods, to where the town is slung like a hammock between sharp ridges…. Out of Pisidian roughness and tribal foundations easily Hellenized, Termessus emerged and flourished with many temples.  Their doors and pediments and tumbled columns survive in the descending basins of the valley; the pedestals of stoas show Greek inscriptions, where lichens and spring shadows blur the forgotten names.  A great wall, six feet wide or more, still stands across the inner valley, with the disc carved upon it which seems to be the sign of Termessus, so frequent is it on all the tombs that scatter the crests of the enclosing hills.  Beyond it, the street led to temples, a grass grown market, a gymnasium shadowed by budding plane trees like an Oxford quad in spring; and at last, on the tip of the defile, to the most beautifully sited of all Pamphylian theatres, whose shallow stone seats and enfolding crags look three thousand feet down a straight ravine to the sea.

Just as we reached the theatre

Lutfi’s cell phone rang – it was ‘M’ the missing member of our tour. She was stranded in Saudi Arabia. The government had, without warning, suspended all US credit card transactions.  She was having trouble with paying for her airlines ticket. It looked like she’d have to cancel.  But Lutfi got to work. Soon he had several other options to pay for the ticket.  Using friends and informal money exchanges in Istanbul, Cairo and Riyadh, he solved the problem. By the time we got back to the hotel, all was fixed. M. joined us the next day.

We walked back by way of tombs  

We descended the trail to ‘Alcestes’ tomb. Then continued on a slightly brushy trail on down to the parking lot. 

Then back to our base in Antalya. We still had time to visit the excellent Antalya Archeology Museum

Aphrodite ( Venus) goddess of beauty, Artemis ( Diana ) goddess of the hunt, Athena ( Minerva ) goddess of wisdom statues from Perge
Artemis ( Diana ) goddess of the hunt, statue from ancient city of Perge, now in museum Antalya, Turkey

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Find more royaltyfree images of Turkey

Sculpture of the skene of the Perge theatre – gigantomachia – battle with giants, Antalya museum, Turkey
Roman emperor Trajan, 2nd century CE, statue from Perge – Archeology museum, Antalya, Turkey

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By Cascoly

I've been exploring and leading trips for over 40 years. climbing & trekkng in the Alps, Andes, North American mountain ranges and the Himalaya. I'm retired from mountaineering now but world travels in Europe, Africa & Asia continue to expand my portfolio. Besides private travel, I now focus on escorting trips to India & Turkey. Other interests include wide reading in history and vegetable gardening / cooking. You can download digital images here, or find images at https://steve-estvanik.pixels.com. We have many thousands of images we haven't displayed yet; so, if you have a special need or request please contact us