All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page added in June 2008.
- Aspendos (and Egirdir)
(theatrical masks at Myra)
From the REPUBLIC OF TURKEY - MINISTERY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM web site page on Aspendos:
"Surprisingly, the theatre was neglected until 1930’s. After the visit of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who was a sensitive administrator about the cultural values of the country, Aspendos was taken under protection of the state. In the photographs exhibited in the Museum of Aspendos Theatre, you can see how this historical building was neglected before 1930s. Therefore, we are grateful for the well-cared situation of Aspendos Theatre to Atatürk."
The founder of the Turkish Republic declared that it should be used as a theatre rather than simply as an open air museum.
In 2008 the website of the Turkish Hotels Federation reported that the Regional Committee of Antalya Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage declared:
"In the decision in which the fact that the harms on the cultural properties given by the usage of archaic theatre for the shows is accepted without debate by the whole world, it was stated that the archaic places are affected beyond the corrosion of construction materials. In the decision by the Regional Committee of Antalya Protection of Architecture and Natural Heritage, these views took place: 'The resonance, air pollution, crowd caused by the vehicles through this kind of usage cause important deformations. The number of people in these activities causes not only usage problem but also serious physical deformations such as wilful damage (graffiti, breaking – smashing) because of the live load and dead load it forces on the structure. With these usages, the frequency sound waves rise and the resonance caused by rhythmic sounds and activities damages the structural system and the mechanical, physical and chemical qualities of the material. Although Aspendos Theatre seems to be a completely surviving work of art, the fact that there were structural problems during Seljuks was documented by the restorations at that era. "
During a visit to the theatre in 1991 I felt that the 1930s restoration of the ancient monument aimed too much at allowing it to be utilized as a theatre, rather than preserving it "as it reached our time", taking into consideration that for a certain time it served as the palace of a Seljuk emir.
For this reason I preferred rather to spend a day visiting Egirdir, a town I had spotted while flying from Istanbul to Antalya.
The following link has many interesting views of the theatre.
Mount Ararat is the tallest peak of Turkey; its elevation is estimated to be 5,137 m/16,854 ft. It is located at the far east of the country, very near its border with Iran and Armenia.
The mountains which surround the Anatolian tableland are not as high as Mount Ararat, yet the Taurus Mountains which lie along the Mediterranean Sea have peaks which reach 10,000 ft.
These mountains protect the coastal plains from the cold winds which come from the north.
Davraz Dagi is a mountain of 8,000 ft located some 70 miles north of Antalya.
Mount Davraz closes the southern side of a long and narrow lake (Egirdir Golu) named after the town of Egirdir. The lake is at an altitude of 2,700 ft. Egirdir is a modern Turkish adaptation of Akrotiri (steep mountain), the town's Greek name.
A rock which blocked the passage to a short peninsula was fortified by the Byzantines. It is likely that the early inhabitants of Egirdir came from a nearby ancient town called Prostanna which was mentioned by Ptolemy and in a list of bishops attending the 381 Council of Constantinople.
Egirdir flourished under the Seljuks and in 1280 Felekeddin Dundar Bey, the leader of a Turkish tribe (Hamidogullary) made it the capital of a small principality. He also renamed the town Felekabad, but the name did not last. In 1417 the Ottomans took control of Egirdir, which in the following centuries lost most of its importance.
Egirdir was located along the route leading from the Aegean coast to Konya and Central Anatolia; the Seljuks built a caravanserai and a warehouse outside the walls of the town. These were converted into religious buildings by the Hamidogullari rulers; the caravanserai became a medrese (a Coranic school) and the warehouse a large mosque; a new caravanserai was built on the route to Konya.
The Muslim prohibition against life-like imagery of all living creatures led to the development of an art based on calligraphy and geometric patterns. Yet the Seljuks (and after them the Ottomans) were not so strict about this aspect of Islam. It is not unusual to see reliefs and statues portraying animals, in particular birds, even inside a religious building such as a medrese.
A Greek Orthodox community lived on a small island linked by a causeway to Egirdir: its members had to leave in the 1920s when Turkey and Greece agreed on a vast exchange of population. There were fourteen churches, only one of which (Ayastefanos) still exists; it is deconsecrated and apparently nothing indicates its former use apart from a tourist signpost with its name.
The island has now many restaurants offering the fish of the lake; in winter the lake has a very Alpine appearance with snow-capped mountains all around.