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)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Aristotle’s Lyceum opens after more than two thousand years!

Isn’t it amazing that in a big city like Athens, archeologists have been able to pinpoint the site of Aristotle’s Lyceum, his school of philosophy, amidst the old gymnasium where the hoplites and riders were trained in the art of war. It was founded in 335 BC, after Aristotle ended teaching his most famous pupil, Alexander the Great and his companions.

Set in a very lush suburb of ancient Athens, the Lyceum was named after the Sanctuary of Lycian Apollo. The gymnasium itself was located on the banks of the River Ilissos (now running underground) and covered a quarter of a hectare. It consisted of a large internal courtyard measuring 23 x 26 meters surrounded by a colonnade behind which lied the rooms where the young men would be trained, including baths, dressing rooms and other facilities. It is here that they would learn how to become proper citizens. The entire construction was used until the fourth century AD, after which the Byzantines still used the premises for other purposes.

The remains of the Lyceum and the Palaistra (wrestling school) will open to the general public this summer. The perimeter has been enhanced by the presence of plants and trees that were part of the landscape in Aristotle’s time. There will be herbs like lavender, mint, sage, thyme and oregano, while the indigenous trees are pomegranates, olives, laurel, cypresses and acacias. Otherwise the grounds will be covered with grass, inviting the visitor to hang around and to get really in touch with things. Sounds lovely.

This summer, Athens will host the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy from August 4 to 10, 2013, and this is of course a unique opportunity to establish the link with Aristotles Lyceum.

At the same time, the adjacent Byzantine Museum has been updating its premises and has created a lush garden with walkways and monuments. The idea is to provide a breath of fresh air by providing a pretty garden that will host outdoor exhibitions. This garden will be connected to the adjacent Lyceum with an impressive gate. The design will reflect the Byzantine concept of beauty, harmony and public space in which water is to play a central role being tied to their ideal of paradise and symbolism of the afterlife. An old water tank will serve to illustrate irrigation techniques in Athens at that time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cambyses’ lost army found after 2,500 years?

Such news deserves to make the headlines. Imagine the King of mighty Persia having to admit the loss of 50,000 of his soldiers who simply disappeared in the Egyptian desert. What happened?

We owe the story to the Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 BC), who tells us how Cambyses, son of Cyrus the Great, sent a large detachment of soldiers from Thebes in Egypt to attack the Oasis of Siwah and its oracle because the priests refused to legitimize his claim to their country. The army did reach an oasis (believed to be that of El-Kharga) and after they left, they were never seen again. They are said to be buried beneath the sands carried by a strong and deadly southern wind. Cambyses was evidently never accepted as ruler of Egypt, unlike Alexander the Great who received the confirmation as son of god from the oracle of Amon at Siwah in 332 BC.

As no tangible evidence ever surfaced, the story was moved to the land of tales till first surveys of the area were carried out in 1996. Researchers noticed some human remains next to a large natural rock shelter 35 meters long and 3 meters deep – the only one is a wide area. Using a metal detector, they were able to dig up remains of ancient weaponry like a bronze dagger and several arrow tips. By itself not a massive find, but these pieces were identified as belonging to the Achaemids of Cambyses times. About 500 meters from that shelter, they then found a silver bracelet, an earring and a few silver beads belonging to the same period.

During the following years, ancient maps were studied closely and the researchers came to the conclusion that in 525 BC, Cambyses’ army did not follow the known caravan route but a different itinerary that existed already during the 18th Dynasty. From El Kargha, the army marched westwards to Gilf El Kebir, passing through the Wadi Abd el Melik, from where they headed toward Siwah. The advantage was that this route was not controlled by the Egyptians, meaning that the Persian soldiers would not have to fight for every single oasis on their way. To prove this theory, geological surveys were carried out along said alternative route. What they found was astonishing: many dried up springs as well as artificial wells made from hundreds of pots buried in the sand, which afterwards were dated to Cambyses’ days. There definitely was enough water to make this desert march possible.

In 2002, the team decided to investigate the oral Bedouin stories about thousands of white bones that had emerged from the sand several decades ago after a sandstorm. Surely enough, they found a mass grave with hundreds of bleached bones and skulls. Among the remains, there were a number of Persian arrowheads and a horse bit, identical to what was known from Persian pictures.

The conclusion is that the army was surprised by a cataclysmic sandstorm that lasted for more than one day, although starvation from lack of food and water may also have played a role.

This statement still stands although the Egyptian Supreme Court of Antiquities (i.e. Zahi Hawass) do not authorize any digging in the area as Mr. Hawass refuses to believe the story.
My afterthought on this story is that this episode of Persian history must certainly have been known to Alexander when he set out for the Oasis of Siwah and it makes me once more aware of Alexander’s courage and determination.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Elusive Tomb of Alexander the Great

The whereabouts of the tomb of Alexander is an ongoing discussion, recently flaring up with two articles written by Robert S. Bianchi which appeared in a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Although this is a highly trustworthy institution, I personally am very sceptical about the results put forward by this Egyptologist. He actually starts with the strangest story that Alexander’s last and explicit wish was that his body would be thrown in the Euphrates River in order to spend eternity with the god Amon! Sorry to say, this is the greatest nonsense I ever heard! That is  the reason why I am not making any further comment.

The curious or intrigued reader can click here to get the full article.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Alexander the Great in Antalya’s Museum

In the days of Alexander the Great, Antalya did not exist. The city was founded nearly two hundred years later by Attalus II as a comprise in a political conflict. This happened shortly after 158 BC when said Attalus, King of Pergamon, attempted to subdue Side. His plan failed but in exchange, he was able to add a part of Pamphylia to his kingdom. This operation was not free of danger because the Pamphylian cities loved their independency and stood officially under the protection of Rome. Attalus II did not want to ruffle Roman feathers and could not simply occupy any harbor while he desperately needed one as otherwise his occupation of Pamphylia was pretty useless. He solved the problem the diplomatic way by building an entirely new port, which eventually was named after him Attaleia, i.e. modern Antalya.

Under Emperor Hadrian, the Attaleia area became an independent province with a senator as their governor. After serving the Crusaders as a supply port and being conquered by the Seljuks, it finally was incorporated in the Ottoman Empire. The city was famous for its fine wines, but under Islamic law, the tradition of wine-making was lost and replaced by the cultivation of roses. So for the next centuries rose oil for perfumes became the main source of income. More recently the farming of silkworms was introduced.

There is nothing left to see from Hellenistic times in today’s Antalya, only a few traces of Roman occupation. It is said that the Atatürk Caddesi follows the outlines of the old city wall, which is only visible near the Arch of Hadrian built in 130 AD with Corinthian columns in its façade and a worn out Roman road running underneath. This Arch is flanked by two massive towers, cleared as recently as the 1950’s. Another relic is the poor remains of the Temple of Zeus, transformed into a Basilica and later on even into a mosque – now in total ruins and in desperate need for restoration. Otherwise, antique Attaleia remains largely hidden underneath the core of “old Antalya” with its narrow streets and Ottoman houses, widely converted into pensyonlar. The Hidirlik Kulesi at the southern end of the port it thought to date from Roman times, but its role is unclear as some speculate is was meant to be a mausoleum while others believe it was part of the citadel. In any case, this 17-meters high tower served as a lighthouse for a while.

But the true treasure of Antalya is – in my eyes at least – the Archaeological Museum for that is where Alexander is waiting for me.

It is a feast each time I visit this Museum and the thought of seeing all these marvelous statues and well-organized exhibition is very exciting, although I must have been here, at least, four or five times before. There always remains something new to discover, a detail I missed on previous occasions, a statue that now demands my special attention, or simply a name that I now recognize.

Among the archaeologists, for instance, there is the name of Cevdet Bayburtluoğlu 
which I recognize now as the man who excavated Arykanda and most of Lycia for that matter, and whose discoveries and analysis are publicized in his precious guide “Lycia”. The showcases filled with mostly Roman glasswork from Perge and Patara are always worth special scrutiny; as are the terracotta bowls, cups and amphorae; the bronze objects and coins; and especially the rings and other pieces of jewellery. 

Of exceptional quality are the many statues from Perge that once enhanced the large theatre, the baths, the stadium, the Nympheions (fountains) and the Agora. The walls of these rooms have all been painted in pinkish terracotta making sure the statues of emperors and dignitaries stand out against them. Almost each statue has its own floodlight that switches on as soon as the visitor moves close enough. What a treat! I am particularly impressed by the Diana/Artemis and the Hermes attaching his Sandal as I know both statues from the Louvre in Paris, but that upon closer look differ in slight details: the dress, the sandal, the hairdo, the position of the feet. These may all remain unnoticed by the casual visitor but I find this terribly interesting because now I can see for myself that a Roman copy of a Greek original is not always an exact copy!

In the room dedicated to the theatre of Perge, I meet up with Alexander the Great standing tall against a green marble background, pieced together as much as possible and much larger than life-size. He dominates the room – of course. Hi there! He is in good company with an oversized Hermes, Dionysus, and Satyr. Here I also find Plancia Magna, the female demiurge of Perge (literally worker at the service of the people,  a kind of governor that is) who received a place of honour inside the Hellenistic Gate of the city around 120 AD (the base of this statue is still in situ). This shows how emancipated some Romans were in those days! Well, besides this official title, Plancia Magna also was a priestess of Artemis and of the Mother of gods – quite a lady to reckon with!

After an open space filled with mosaics badly needing a scrub down, I arrive among the sarcophagi – a rich collection in all sorts of styles and from different provenances. I’m happy to find the one belonging to the Lyciarch Mausoleum in Olympos with a top lid on which a couple attends a banquet. It pays off to return to the museum after visiting more excavation sites for what previously was only a name can now be mentally placed in its original context. This happened for instance after visiting Limyra as I can now find the long frieze belonging to the Temple together with the special caryatid from the Heron that was built for the Lycian King Pericles in the 4th century BC; I also get a better idea of the Cenotaph of Caius Caesar for which a detailed reconstruction is shown here.

It is a lot of information and a lot of beauty to take in, and I’m happy to relax for a moment in the museum courtyard to enjoy a cup of tea. After that, I take a last stroll under the awning along the objects that are not considered good enough to be taken inside. I’m amazed by the many huge sized amphorae that somehow remind me of Crete and have not suffered any damage at all. Unbelievable!
[Click here to see all the pictures from the Archaeological Museum in Antalya]

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pamphylia, generally the area around Antalya

Even in antiquity, the borders of Pamphylia were difficult to establish accurately. It roughly starts in the west where Lycia stops and covers the plains north and east of Antalya up to the foothills of the Taurus Mountains. The cities in my field of interest lie generally within its borders: Antalya, Perge, Sillyum, Aspendos and Side, while Termessos and Selge belong to Pisidia situated to the north, together with Sagalassos.

In as much as it was traceable, the Pamphylian language is a Greek dialect of the kind spoken in southern Greece, moving to Asia Minor with its emigrants who arrived here before 1100 BC. A proof of this dialect can be found in an inscription from Sillyum. Side, on the other hand, strangely enough, spoke a dialect all of its own that has not yet been deciphered.

The history of Pamphylia is rather confusing. We have to wait till the 6th century BC when King Croesus of Lydia annexed this territory. His rule, however, was short-lived because in 546 BC he is already defeated by the Persian
King Cyrus. During the following centuries, Pamphylia is occupied in turns by the Athenians and the Persians till in 386 BC a treaty of peace is finally being signed by both powers, giving the cities of Asia Minor to the Great Persian King. The yoke of Persian rule was not heavy and Pamphylia seems to have settled pretty easily.

The situation changes in 333 BC when Alexander the Great enters Pamphylia from Phaselis in Lycia after his march along the coast. His first stop is Perge (Antalya did not exist yet), where he receives a delegation from Aspendos who surrender their city provided that Alexander does not leave a garrison behind. Alexander generously agrees but in exchange, he demands payment of fifty talents to pay his army and delivery of as many horses as they usually give to the Persian King. 

Aspendos accepts and Alexander moves on to Side where he meets no resistance. He leaves a garrison behind and returns westwards to Sillyum, which turns out to be the first Pamphylian city to resists. Whoever has ever seen Sillyum (modern Sillyon), will easily realize that the city is a practically impregnable fortress high on a trapezoidal hilltop in the middle of the plain. As can be expected, Alexander attacks, without success, though. Before he can conceive a second plan, the news reaches him that the people of Aspendos have changed their mind and have decided not to respect the freshly signed treaty. Catapults are dismantled and Alexander wastes no time to march his army immediately back to Aspendos. This fast reaction was not what Aspendos anticipated and their previous promises were hastily reconfirmed. Apparently Alexander was not keen to start a siege of the strongly defended city and so he agreed, claiming, however, an extra fifty talents, a number of hostages and a yearly contribution to be paid to Macedonia. No joking!

Alexander then returns to Perge and here he conceives plans to push on northwards to meet up with his general Parmenion and the rest of his army who spent the winter in Gordion. For reasons that are unclear, Alexander is made to believe that the only road to Gordion passes through the strategic city of Termessos that commanded a very narrow mountain pass, a sort of Thermopylae. While Alexander is making preparations for the attack, a peace delegation from Selge reaches him. What exactly has been said remains a mystery, but they apparently pointed out that there was indeed a much easier road north, the one that corresponds to the modern main road from Antalya to Sagalassos. The entire attack of Termessos was called off, of course, and Alexander led his army to Sagalassos.  After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, his generals fight and bicker over the territory of Pamphylia, which falls successively under the rule of Greece and Macedonia, then of Egypt under the Ptolemy’s and finally under the Seleucids of Syria. By 280 BC, the Seleucid branch of Pergamon is taking over with kings that all go by the name of Attalus or Eumenes. The Romans appear but are in no mood to worry about this part of the world and leave things in the hands of Pergamon. This dynasty ends in 133 BC when Attalus III, the last king of Pergamon, simply donates his kingdom to Rome. But Rome shows little or no interest until they are forced to interfere because of the heavy piracy along the coast of Asia Minor. Solving this problem is not easy. The first success is booked by Servilius Vatia in 78 BC, but it is Emperor Pompey who finalizes the job in 67 BC. 

During the days of the Roman Empire, Pamphylian cities receive more freedom, especially Aspendos, Perge, Sillyum and Side. In the year 43 AD, the region is once more joined to Lycia and remains so until the fourth century. The Byzantine Emperors organize and reorganize Asia Minor over and over until Lycia and Pamphylia become once gain independent provinces. Later on, it’s the turn of the Arabs to take possession of Pamphylia, followed by the Crusaders until finally it is absorbed by the Ottoman Empire.  Well, this is a corner of Turkey I definitely want to investigate further, the more since it plays a major part in Alexander conquests eastwards. Walking in the great man’s footsteps always is an honour and a privilege, and I’m very excited to see all these fascinating places with my own eyes. Beside the usual Alexander historians, I am relying on the precision work of George Bean wit his Turkey’s Southern Coast and on the handy maps and itineraries from the Sunflower Guide, From Antalya to Demre.   Alexander here I come!

[Click here to see all the pictures of Pamphylia]

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hama and its ingenious norias

Hama is a very old Syrian city that was known at least 4000 years ago, strategically built on the banks of the Orontes River and an obvious stop for anyone travelling between Damascus and Aleppo.

Yet, Hamas deserves a visit in its own right, not only because is has a most charming town center but mostly because of its spectacular large wooden waterwheels – a Roman invention so ingenious that you have to see it in order to fully grasp its significance.

Known under their Arabian name as norias, their earliest traces are found in a mosaic dating from 469 AD but they may have been used before. Anyway, in the fifth century, at least 100 of these waterwheels must have existed. Hard to imagine when we are faced with “only” seventeen survivors in Hama today, for even this small reflection of times past is extremely impressive!

It is not just one waterwheel here and there, but a complete chain of norias on both sides of the Orontes. Their size varies between 23 and 69 feet (7 to 21 meters), a few stories high, and when you stand next to one of them you truly feel dwarfed! When they are activated by high water levels, which happens only rarely because of the dams constructed higher upstream, their creaking and squeaking noise is said to be deafening and terrifying at the same time. One such wheel lies flat on the ground next to the bridge, and clearly proves how ingenious and simple the very concept was.

The oldest still working waterwheels date from the 14th and 15th century and the largest one counts no less than 120 wooden scoops to carry the water to a higher level, i.e. to the connecting aqueduct from where it was led away to the irrigate the neighboring fields.

This is so incredibly ingenious!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The War in Syria, what will happen to its heritage?

The loss of human lives and the displacement of people are the major consequences of any war and the present conflict in Syria is no exception.
Since ancient times, Syria always was on the crossroads of civilizations fighting for a better life or of kings wanting to expand their territory out of need, ambition or greed. Whatever the reason, Syria was caught in the middle. But there are enough sources that tell us about that facet. I personally want to draw your attention to the loss of Syria’s heritage due to the looting and robbing of their historical treasures that have come to us over thousands of years. 
Cities like Damascus, Aleppo or Homs make the headlines on a regular base, but most vulnerable are the small towns in remote areas of Syria’s vast desert because they are the easiest places for the treasure hunters. These places may or may not fall within my immediate field of interest around Alexander and Hellenism, but they are not less precious to humanity.
The main problem for these remote places is in the fact that in the years just before the outbreak of the war, the Syrian government had built 25 cultural museums all over the country in order to encourage tourism and to keep the local artifacts on the site. Yet the theft of entire ancient cities deprives future generations of their birthright and their true origins. Let’s not forget that Damascus and Aleppo are among the oldest cities in the world – how much of this heritage will reach future generations?
During my visit to Syria a few years ago, I have been confronted with many smaller ancient cities that truly stood out, either in the middle of the widespread desert or in key positions along the banks of the Euphrates River as opposed to the larger cities which are strung along the western border of the country, the most fertile part, of course.
One of the places I saw was, for instance, the magnificent Crusaders’ castle of Crac des Chevaliers which Lawrence of Arabia described as “perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world”, which has now been shelled, damaging the inside chapel. There were the so-called “Dead Cities”, i.e. hundreds of abandoned Byzantine towns littering the landscape of Northwestern Syria, which have suffered in the recent years from pitched battles as there is no official authority to protect them. This is the area of the San Simeon’s monastery, where this saint is said to have spent forty years of his life on top a column. Even the unique Monastery of Sednaya founded by nobody less than Emperor Justinian and where I was treated to prayers in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, has been damaged by shellfire, damaging its oldest section dating from 574. What is beyond my comprehension is that even the Syrians’ own mosques have not been spared. The mosque of Deera, one of the oldest Islamic structures in Syria has been damaged, and the minaret of the Great Mosque in Aleppo has been blasted recently without any consideration.

I hear that in many cases armed rebels sought refuge behind the strong walls of ancient castles but were preceded by the Syrian military who did not hesitate to blast away parts of these historical buildings. The same military is reported to have dug deep trenches inside Roman ruins also.

Some splendid Roman mosaics of Apamea have been attacked by looters using bulldozers to rip up the Roman floors to take them away. They even managed to take two giant capitals from atop the columns lining up along the Decumanus, the impressive east-west road of Apamea. According to an article in the Mainzer Beobachter of 29 April 2013, the situation is even worse and they publish aerial photographs of the site taken in Summer 2011 as compared to a more recent one taken in Winter 2013. Note the countless pits dug by treasure seekers and looters.

Even southern Bosra, home of one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in the world, has not escaped the destruction of several ancient buildings. Several museums, local or not, have been looted, from Homs, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, Maarat al-Numan to Qalaar Jaabar. In Homs, the old churches, houses, and streets no longer exist according to archaeological reports. Items from the Aleppo Museum have been transferred to the vaults of the central bank in Damascus, it seems, but that is far from enough. And then, there is the great site of Palmyra, entirely unprotected. Reuters reports that the army has positioned themselves in the museum located between the town and the Roman ruins. They mention that soldiers are camping now in the luxury hotels that once were popular with the tourists and they also positioned snipers behind the old walls of the Roman theatre.

Frightening and terrifying prospects for Syria’s rich and old history. We have seen what happened in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Syria probably will not fare any better – unfortunately.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus by Justin

The full title of this book is: Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeus Trogus, Volume I, Books 11-12, Alexander the Great. Translated and appendices by J.C. Yardley. Commentary by Waldemar Heckel (ISBN 0-19-814908-5).

The content of this book is far from straightforward, although, in the end, one could simply say this is a history of Alexander the Great. But …

The complexity starts with the authors. Marcus Junianus Justinus, Justin in short, probably lived in the 2nd/3rd century AD. He is said to have arrived in Rome around 200 AD, where he came to know the 44 books called the Philippic Histories written by a certain Trogus. Pompeius Trogus was a prominent historian from Gallia Narbonesis, probably from Vaison-la-RomaineJustin decided that Trogus’ history was far too voluminous and wrote his own abridged version. As a consequence, the precious original History of Trogus slowly but surely vanished.

Trogus’ name, however, survives among the great Latin historians and is mentioned together with Livy, Sallust and Tacitus. It has been established that he was influenced by Livy and that Curtius Rufus, in turn, was influenced by Trogus. A small world, it seems.

Unfortunately, accuracy was not one of Justin’s strong points and he was not very concerned about his sources or the chronology of the events, this last point being also a weak point in Trogus’ account.

Justin’s Books 11 and 12 are dealing with Alexander the Great and as announced in the present title, it is this section that has been translated by J.C. Yardley – in a mere 27 pages. The great question remains: which elements come from Trogus and which were added or interpreted later on by Justin? This is more often than not an impossible task, but Heckel’s commentary tries to sort this out. He analyses every sentence and every word in a very meticulous and precise way using all possible ancient sources and consulting an enormous bibliography of later authors which are all referenced. This commentary is in fact so extensive and detailed that one could easily find all the available books ever written about Alexander the Great. By reading only the commentary, one acquires an excellent account of Alexander’s campaigns as seen by so many different scholars over the centuries.

The Introduction to this Epitome gives useful background information about Trogus and Justin, set in their own time-frame and the book concludes with a couple of very useful Appendices.

This is not exactly bedtime reading but a very thorough analysis of the massive literature ever written about Alexander the Great.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Andriake’s granary to be turned into a museum

When I last visited Andriake in 2008, I felt there was still a lot of work to do by the archeologists – but then that is the case everywhere in Turkey. There are so many sites that authorities must find it hard to pick their choice.

Anyway, this time, it is the turn of Andriake, the port of ancient Myra. The picture I find in the Hurriyet Daily News shows that no half measures are taken as Andriake looks more like a construction site than a ruined city. The plan is to build an open-air museum inside Hadrian’s Granary which should open by the end of November 2013 and is meant to display many of the regions artifacts.

It seems they have worked out the details pretty well, since ticket booths, offices, cafes and toilets will be provided. High time for me to return for an updating visit!