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.
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:
Doesn’t look like it gets much traffic. And why would it? The creek crossing was completely washed away!
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:
From the little summit in the above photo there’s a decent view of the Dedegöl Mountains to the SE.
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,
a restored Roman bridge,
and a mosaic at the entrance to the cave.
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.
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.
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?).
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.
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.
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.
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:
restored on the inside like a cheap Fabergé egg:
and the nearby 19th century Hamidiye Camii:
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.
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:
or this agora (?):
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.
I’ll end with a couple photos of modern (?) Yalvaç.