The smell of spiced herbs mingles with the sweet penetrating perfume of orange blossoms when I am leaving my hotel in the early morning. Traffic in Finike is busy with the Saturday market and the road works as I drive between houses and shops till the sign “Uçumlar, Güle, güle” waves me out. This turns out to be a last greeting from civilization as settlements suddenly become sparse. The road winds between steep green mountains richly covered with thick pine trees. I am all eyes for this is Alexander-country (at least for me!), a majestic and commanding landscape with high peaks crowned with snow. It is a little hazy, not exactly ideal for taking pictures but my memory will record all the details. The road is twisting and climbing ever higher. Here and there, I catch a glimpse of houses and rows of trees, squeezed between plastic greenhouses that grow smaller at each turn. What a land! The road is well maintained. This is not as obvious as it sounds for, although this is a centuries-old connection between Finike and Elmali, it has been improved only in the recent decennia – lucky me!
I’m deeply impressed by what I see. Such a big city! It is indeed worth to be called the Delphi of Turkey, so wonderfully well preserved and excavated - a real jewel with many streets and staircases still intact, two Agoras, remains of temples and private Roman houses with mosaics, Basilicas, and cisterns. I feel like a kid in a toy store, I want to see it all at once! Where shall I start? I decide to climb uphill to the two Agoras and adjacent buildings, as at this time of day it is still cool. To my surprise, there is a billboard with a map of Arykanda and another one with a list of the buildings pointing me in the right direction. These buildings are numbered and referenced on the map and they match the copy of the map I took with me from Cevdet Bayburtluoğlu’s book on Lycia – well, no wonder for he is the archeologist responsible for these excavations!
Time to start exploring the site! I’m curious what the plastic roofs next to the parking are sheltering and I see that there are mosaic floors underneath that seem to belong to a Basilica. Yet I leave this side of the city for later and set off to higher grounds.
[read further in Arykanda 2 - Visiting the Site]
[Click here to view all the pictures of Arykanda]