Roman ruins bicycle touring: Tynada, Tymbriada (kutsal alanı), Antiochea (Psidia)

Continuing where we left off at Kuzukulağı Yaylası, Ahmet and I headed down to the Köprü Çayı (again). With the villages of Yanık, Fındık, Samanlık, İbişler, Pınargözü, and Karacahisar one after another in the pretty river valley, we were optimistic we’d find a breakfast place.

IMG_20210701_094215 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210701_095055 by bryandkeith on flickr

Haha, not even a store. We scraped together a snack from our dwindling provisions before the short climb over the mountains on the direct road to Yakaavşar. The road started off as a good dirt road, but by the time we were approaching the paved road in the next valley, it looked like this:

It appeared that there had been less and less traffic on this road as we descended toward a main road. by bryandkeith on flickr

Doesn’t look like it gets much traffic. And why would it? The creek crossing was completely washed away!

Oops.  The road ended, and there was no stream crossing! by bryandkeith on flickr

We filled our bellies in Yakaavşar and then made a short detour to the ancient city of Tynada between modern Terziler and Karağı. I guess I should add the caveat: I think I found Tynada. This is the most intact building I could find:

IMG_20210701_153558 by bryandkeith on flickr

From the little summit in the above photo there’s a decent view of the Dedegöl Mountains to the SE.

IMG_20210701_151534 by bryandkeith on flickr

We spent the night in Aksu and then sort of visited the ancient city of Tymbriada the next day. It turns out that the actual city of Tymbriada is a little west of the modern city of Aksu (excavations have supposedly started there, but there’s nothing to see (yet?)). What everyone goes to see is the Tymbriada Kutsal Alanı, a sacred site that has attracted pilgrims for at least a couple millennia. Also known as Kybele ve Eurymedon Kutsal Alanı or Zindan Mağarası (literally “Dungeon Cave”), it’s a little east of the modern city of Aksu.

You can see the remnants of a church,

IMG_20210702_104512 by bryandkeith on flickr

a restored Roman bridge,

IMG_20210702_104707 by bryandkeith on flickr

and a mosaic at the entrance to the cave.

IMG_20210702_111437 by bryandkeith on flickr

The cave was more interesting that I expected with a lit path taking visitors 700m in. The 9°C air was a nice, brief relief from the heat.

IMG_20210702_113243 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210702_113003 by bryandkeith on flickr

The scenery from Aksu to Yalvaç isn’t as spectacular as what we saw farther south, but there were still some very nice sections. We’re making the transition from the mountainous Mediterranean to the Anatolian Plateau.

IMG_20210702_130051 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210703_091649 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210703_142840 by bryandkeith on flickr

Just before (south of) Yeşilköy we turned east steeply into the mountains for a direct route in the direction of Yenicekale. We were definitely pushing our bikes a bit, but we ended up at this nice, high campsite where it was cool and even rained a little (for the only time this trip?).

IMG_20210704_065042 by bryandkeith on flickr

The following morning we had some super fun, flat, high meadow riding (see Ahmet in the photo?), followed by a very short climb to reach our route’s highpoint (less than 1900m). We descended into the wide valley at the base of the Sultan Dağları.

IMG_20210704_093205 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210704_120855 by bryandkeith on flickr

Our goal was Yalvaç and the ancient city of Antiochea (aka Antioch). Psidian Antioch should not be confused with the more famous Antioch (modern Antakya) in Turkey’s southern Hatay Province. It is my understanding that both sites are of interest to biblical scholars.

The first thing that I did was to ride up and visit the aqueduct that brought water to the city from 10km away.

IMG_20210705_092145 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_093407 by bryandkeith on flickr

The site of Antiochea was abandoned about 1000 years ago in favor of Yalvaç’s current location just a little down the hill. This photo might give an idea.

IMG_20210705_101143_7 by bryandkeith on flickr

Few buildings remain as most of the rocks have been pilfered over the centuries for new constructions. You can see the blocks from Antiochea in both the 14th century Devlethan Camii from the Beylik Period:

IMG_20210704_175320 by bryandkeith on flickr

restored on the inside like a cheap Fabergé egg:

IMG_20210704_175524 by bryandkeith on flickr

and the nearby 19th century Hamidiye Camii:

IMG_20210704_175659 by bryandkeith on flickr

So Antiochea doesn’t have buildings. Also it isn’t overgrown with forest (the area is too dry, I suppose). What does remain is the street network and a few huge squares.

IMG_20210705_100119 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_101430 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_101501 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_104529 by bryandkeith on flickr

With the impressive streets and some market stalls, well, canlandırabilirdim. That one Turkish word means, “I was able to make (the place) come alive”. Sitting by myself at the edge of this temple:

IMG_20210705_103110_5 by bryandkeith on flickr

or this agora (?):

IMG_20210705_104921 by bryandkeith on flickr

I felt like I could see and hear the hustle and bustle of market day 2000 years ago. I really enjoyed this site.

If you go, however, don’t make the mistake that I did of visiting on a Monday, the only day that the supposedly excellent museum is closed. They let me wander around the garden.

IMG_20210705_113925 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_114034 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_114117 by bryandkeith on flickr

I’ll end with a couple photos of modern (?) Yalvaç.

IMG_20210704_162306 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210705_112859 by bryandkeith on flickr
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2 Responses to Roman ruins bicycle touring: Tynada, Tymbriada (kutsal alanı), Antiochea (Psidia)

  1. Jennie & Derek Werner says:

    Very nice! Derek (and Jennie)

  2. Mike Painter says:

    Interesting, and beautiful pictures, as always!

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