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Dormant Beauties
Article by Füsun Arman


T
he remains of the ancient city of Olympos are scattered to the north and south of Akdere. The remains are surrounded by the typical plant cover of the Mediterranean. Covered with vines, the city eluded attention for many years. Short archaeological expeditions and cleaning efforts that were undertaken lately have saved the visitors from the perils of getting lost in a wild jungle. In the process, researchers have uncovered a sarcophagus and another building with a mosaic floor.

What attracted attention first was the remains of a wall that seemed to have been built by skilled masons and the remnants of a bridge that seems to have been built over Akdere. These were perhaps the earliest signs of a civilization in this city, which archaeologists date back to the beginning of the Hellenistic era. The acropolis of the city was atop a small but rugged hill to the north. The building and its portal that were recently uncovered are also to the north. The necropolis is to the south of the city at the foot of Mount Musa. If you walk eastward from the necropolis, you reach the ruins of the amphitheater. And if you walk toward the mouth of the creek, you see a Byzantine Basilica and other ruins that must have belonged to the agora. The ruins that are on the steep hill to the southeast of Mount Musa belong to the medieval castle. Olympos is not yet fully discovered and offers its cultural richness in a relatively calm and quiet environment. Undoubtedly, many more ruins will be brought to daylight when archaeological expeditions are resumed, making it possible for us to get to know Olympos more.

Yanartas is a few kilometers to the northwest of Olympos. This fire has been burning for hundreds of years. Ancient sources speak of a temple that was built in Olympos to honor Hephaistos who was the most important celestial figure in Olympos. Current research finds that the ruins of the buildings found here actually have nothing to do with the temple and demonstrates that the temple atop Mount Musa near Harnupluyurt is in fact dedicated to Zeus instead. This is an important finding that supports the thesis that Mount Musa is in fact Mount Olympos after which the ancient city was named. As a result, a new Olympos is added to the multitude of mountains and temples by that name.


This arc that rises next to Akdere is part of the Olympian ruins in the area.


This building dates back to the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (172-175 AD) and is still standing. Though some think that this monumental building used to be a temple, more archaeological research is necessary in order to ascertain this hypothesis.


If you walk southwest from the amphitheater, you see a necropolis that has many different varieties of sarcophagi.


This building is situated to the south of Akdere and is very close to the sea. Though it was once thought to be a public bath, archaeological findings have not supported this hypothesis.


The necropolis near Mount Musa. This one is quite unusual in that it has uniquely shaped tombs that is not very typical of Lykia.


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