Monday, March 22, 2010

At peace with the past in Patara

I've got no quarrel with Ephesus or Pergamon in Turkey or the Acropolis in Athens or Rome -- some sights are popular for a reason, and I'd certainly encourage anyone traveling to those areas to see these famous places. In part because anyone visiting a country for just a week or two would probably be pretty peeved if they missed out on its most famous destinations because I recommended climbing atop the wreck of an ancient theater in İznik or Patara instead.

But as amazing as the well-known sights can be, once they become full of tourists and touts, they lose much of the melancholy magic that the remains of a once-thriving, now completely empty ancient metropolis should hold.

That's what you can still find, however, sitting on a weather-smoothed marble seat in the upper rows of the amphitheater in Patara, a tiny village near Turkey's western Mediterranean coast, looking out at cows and sheep grazing amid the ruins -- and the baby goats jumping from one stone foundation to the next as if they were rocks in a grassy lake. Listening to the frogs making a racket in the shallow ponds nearby. Hearing the faint, tinny sounds of the call to prayer carrying over the hills from the village mosque. And soaking it all in completely alone.

1 comment:

Turkey Culture said...

Patara is a really good place. Thanks for this post.