Roman ruins bicycle touring: Sia, Milyos, Kremna, Adada

For at least a month (two?) I’d been planning on a bicycle tour from Antalya — practice covid 19 social distancing by going from village to village, staying away from big cities.  I even had one false start when I packed up, left Antalya, and turned back due to (not unexpected) equipment problems.  Then there was a heat wave, followed by a four-day stay-at-home order.  I’ve been on the road two weeks now, and things are going well.

My goal for the first week was to get to Dedegöl (Aksu, Isparta) where I’d meet some friends for a few days of camping.  They were coming by car.  I had a week to get there by bicycle.  My route strung together some Roman ruins that I hadn’t been to before: Sia, Milyos, Kremna, Adada; just like it says in the title. 🙂

I left Antalya in the afternoon and had views like this a couple hours later:

IMG_20200529_161538 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200529_164123 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next morning I made a small detour to check out Ekşili Göleti (a small reservoir)

IMG_20200530_090918 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200530_100149 by bryandkeith on flickr

before continuing on fairly flat roads to Karaveliler, my last village in the province of Antalya.  The maps show a road heading NW to Karaot giving access to the ruined city of Sia.  Well, it’s a natural gas line more than a road and if we judge by the amount of time I pushed my bike, it was the hardest climb of the week.

This is just before the road started to get bad:

IMG_20200530_132955 by bryandkeith on flickr

After some minor navigation mistakes (choosing to take the gas line road was more than a minor mistake), I arrived at Sia that afternoon.

Immediately over the border into Burdur, I came across my first marble quarry by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200530_171554 by bryandkeith on flickr

There’s supposed to be a theater at Sia, and at the time I was bummed I couldn’t find it.  However, later I found no photos of it on the internet either, so who knows?  The site itself is difficult to find (though it’s supposed to be easier to find the north access road — I used the access road on the southern side), and it’s overgrown and fairly spread out in the forest.  If you go, good luck.

IMG_20200530_180000 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200530_181555 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200530_182709 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next day’s site was Milyos via some beautiful riding and a lunch stop in Kocaaliler.  It was my first sit down restaurant meal in months, one day before restaurants were officially allowed to open.  The owner had separated the inside tables by a couple meters each and was preparing outside seating with a shade structure that ought to work well till the weather turns cold again.

IMG_20200531_100247 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200531_120154 by bryandkeith on flickr

My first sit-down restaurant meal in quite a few months by bryandkeith on flickr

Milyos has a nice setting on a hill.  There’s not a lot to see, but accessing the site is easy via a paved road and a well maintained trail.

IMG_20200531_143906 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200531_150945 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200531_151728 by bryandkeith on flickr

On the way to my next site, Kremna, I was surprised to come across a number of Ottoman-era cisterns.  This one:

Like the cisterns in Muğla, but I'm in Burdur by bryandkeith on flickr

looks just like the ones I saw in Muğla a couple years ago.  However, all the other ones I saw were rectangular in shape with barrel-vaulted ceilings.  I went in this one:

Another cistern by bryandkeith on flickr

in the village of Beşkonak to take a photo of the barrel vaulting only to be scared away by the bats!  Yikes, I’ve been reading way too much about zoonosis, bats, and coronaviruses.

Some cisterns, this one, for example:

Yet another cistern by bryandkeith on flickr

have underground storage areas that are much larger than the visible building.

Wow, I thought Milyos had a nice setting, but Kremna (near Hacıbağ) is amazingly situated on the top of a mountain.  I have no idea how the Romans brought water here.  There’s nothing close enough and without a huge drop to make an aqueduct feasible.  There were a lot of cisterns so maybe rainwater was sufficient.  As usual, there was no one to ask — as with every site I visited this week, I was the only one there (oh wait, there was a guard at Adada).

IMG_20200601_095942 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200601_100455 by bryandkeith on flickr

There’s not a lot still standing, but I enjoyed wandering around for an hour or so.

Is this the forum? by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200601_101634 by bryandkeith on flickr

After some hard climbs, a wet night, and a dreary morning in stunning canyon country, the next day’s site was Adada near the village of Sağrak.

IMG_20200602_080034 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200602_122530 by bryandkeith on flickr

Saving the best for last, I guess we could say.  For ancient sites in Pisidia, Adada is very well preserved.  There was even a guard on site.

IMG_20200602_133029_33 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200602_134722 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200602_140022 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200602_141016 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200602_145609 by bryandkeith on flickr

I have quite a few more photos of Adada here.

Adada is on the St. Paul (hiking) Trail, a 260km marked route from Perge to Yalvaç.  The guard told me that accommodation is nicely spaced, and you can walk the whole thing without carrying camping gear — certainly not as easy to arrange as the Camino de Santiago, I’m sure, but it’s something I want to look into further.

This whole bicycle route from Antalya to Dedegöl had lots of up and down (about 7700m of climbing over 260km), great camping, and beautiful scenery.  I expected the climbing to get even harder as I got closer to Dedegöl, but it turned out the opposite was the case.

IMG_20200602_185536 by bryandkeith on flickr

Sorry for the electricity cable.  Gimp practice anyone? by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200603_112328 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200603_092147 by bryandkeith on flickr

Here’s my goal, Dedegöl Dagları (Dedegöl Mountains):

I keep getting closer to Dedegöl by bryandkeith on flickr

almost there.

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One Response to Roman ruins bicycle touring: Sia, Milyos, Kremna, Adada

  1. Derek and Jennie Werner says:

    Looks like a fun adventure! We would choose the non-camping gear route! We are currently on a little 9-day drive trip with nights in Monterey, Carmel, Cambria, Pismo Beach and are now in Solvang. It has been great being on Pacific Coast Highway where we had not been for over three decades. Best, Derek and Jennie

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