Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An unexpected visit to Antiphellos - Lycian Coast 10

After lunch on board and a short break, Peter takes us to explore old Kaş or Antiphellos as it was called in antiquity. Antiphellos was the harbor for the town of Phellos, further inland that lived mainly from agriculture. To ship out their produce they needed Antiphellos (no roads remember?), but the location was a haven for ships from as early as 2000 BC.

It is clear that Antiphellos was invaded by the Persians in the middle of the 6th century BC, but that did not stop its trading business and the city even prospered in the 5th and early 4th century BC. Antiphellos was represented with one vote at the Lycian League and was known to mint its own coins. Since the Lycian writing has not been entirely deciphered yet, there are still many gaps in the history of Lycia waiting to be filled.

We head to the left on a road that runs more or less parallel to the seashore and discover the remains of a solid wall. In fact, this is the temenos of a Hellenistic Temple with walls of bulged stones as has become fashionable after Alexander’s time. Nothing much is known about this temple but then no serious excavations have been carried out either.

The walk continues uphill, a little more inland and another wall appears to my right, i.e. the sidewall of a beautifully preserved theater with 26 rows still in place and used by the locals for their wrestling contests and other happenings. This is definitely a Hellenistic construction and offers a sweeping view over Kaş and the surrounding islands. The center has been filled with earth and gravel to recreate a podium for today’s performances, but all traces of the skene are gone. It may never have been built or it may have disappeared after the severe earthquakes that hit Lycia since we know that Antiphellos was one of the cities that received donations from our friend Opramoas of Rhodiapolis. As always, the theater is a beautiful spot to linger for a moment.

As the top row seats meet the level of the land behind it, we walk that way, passing a few hardly recognizable remains of sarcophagi as the materials have been taken elsewhere for reuse. But the big rock-tomb we see next has been cut out of the solid bedrock and, luckily for us, could not be taken apart. The triglyphs have fallen down but the guttae give an indication of where they once belonged. Stepping inside over the ridge of the sliding door, I find the floor and walls rather rough in comparison to the smooth finish outside, but then the space has been used over the centuries – just look at the black smoked ceiling! Right, the same problem was encountered in Petra where they had to force the locals out as recently as the 1990’s! Peter pulls out his flashlight and surprising details now appear. This was a tomb for six persons and the edges of two of the benches are delicately decorated with floral motives while the wall opposite to the entrance shows a band filled with dancing girls moving around in fluffy dresses. This tomb too should be dated to the 5th-4th century BC. Gee, how wonderful! Imagine walking here, in the middle of nowhere and suddenly coming across such an exceptional burial place!

We stroll back to Kaş, arriving at the Lycian sarcophagus on the main street that I saw this morning. That sums up what is left of Antiphellos. Maybe some day, someone will further investigate this area.

In fact, we were supposed to walk to the lost city of Phellos today, the longest walk on our program, but with the storm hovering above us, it did not sound a good idea. Nobody wanted to slip on the wet bedrock or to be soaked by a sudden downpour even if we have to miss the stunning views. It’s a pity, but our safety comes first, of course.

Before supper, we set out for a drink. Peter recommended an old cistern in the basement of a flashy bar nearby. It is amazing to see how the water is still in there and how old columns support the bar floor above, but the place smells musty and closed-up, not very inviting, and we opt for the town square instead. Dinner is served on board at 8 p.m. We feel safe at our anchor place in Kaş harbor and our many neighbors are very quiet. I sleep tight, only to awaken from time to time by the wind whistling and howling in the rigging. Poor fellows who are still out at sea tonight!

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