Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Media Entertainment Center Perfection (almost)

When you live on a small yacht like BeBe, you are always trying to get the most enjoyment out of the limited space and resources.  With anything electric, resources means the amount of current that is consumed by the item bringing you enjoyment.

OK, most of you that know us, know that we consume more electricity than most anyone our size.  Well, we have 2 freezers and a fridge/freezer, washer/dryer, dishwasher, 4 computers, hair dryers, fans, A/C and Heat, water heater, water maker, yadda, yadda, yadda.  We use electricity!

We make our own electricity, 230vAC (European), with a 7.5kw Onan diesel generator and we store the electricity in a bank of 13 105 amp/hr batteries.  When the generator is not running we have 24vDC & 12vDC available for DC gadgets and 230vAC - 1,800 watt from an inverter connected to the above batteries.  So, we can basically run anything until the battery power is gone, then we start the generator to recharge the batteries.  We normally run the generator for 3 hours a day (1.5 morning and 1.5 evening).

Now to my subject: Media Entertainment Center Perfection (almost).  When we first moved aboard, I bought a portable 12vDC DVD player that lasted about a month.  Then I bought a 12vDC car DVD player that lasted about 6 months.  Then I changed out the boat's AM/FM radio (like a car) for a AM/FM/CD/DVD player that worked OK, but the DVD player could not be hacked to country code zero.  You see the Hollywood music gurus invented country codes that prohibit you from running a DVD sold in Australia on a DVD player that is set for North America.  You have 2 choices: Buy only Chinese knock-off/pirated DVD's which work on any country code, or buy a DVD player that you can get the hack codes to convert it to play any country's code.  Got it?  Those Hollywood geniuses came up with something that they thought was good for them, but it forced us to buy Chinese knock-off/pirated DVD's.  OK, I admit we liked buying new releases for $2.00, but we were prepared to be law-abiding world-citizens, up to a point.  Oh, get this, when I complained to the proper authorities, they suggested that I buy my DVD's from Amazon because Amazon will ship worldwide.  I checked this out while in Malaysia.  Buy the time that I paid for the $39.95 DVD, FedEx shipping costs and Malaysian import/customs duty, the total came to $136...and I might go to jail for life if I ordered something that this Muslim country deemed pornographic!

Long story, short version: For $59 we bought a JVC DVD player that we could hack to country code zero and play anything including Chinese knock-off/pirated DVD's.  Unfortunately, it runs on 230vAC.  But we have 230vAC available when connected to shore power anywhere in the world except Japan and the USA.  And, we have 230vAC available when running the generator, or we can run the inverter and "convert" 24vDC battery power to 230vAC.  Are you making notes, yet?

When we moved on the boat, I bought a 12vDC 17" monitor that had A/V inputs as well as computer inputs.  So after I bought the JVC 230vAC DVD player above, we could watch DVD's at anchor while running the generator or the inverter.  Problem is that this expensive $900 monitor was really a piece of trash.  Additionally, it did not have HDMI.  So, while in Singapore, we found a TEAC 19" monitor that would fit in our entertainment "hole" perfectly.  It was also a TV with worldwide channel capability and had VGA, HDMI, Composite, S-Video and A/V inputs.  Wow, almost perfect, but it uses 230vAC.  At the time, I rationalized buying it because we had to have 230vAC to run the DVD player, oh well!

A year passed and things are changing rapidly.  Look at the photo below.  You will see the JVC DVD player and the TEAC 19" monitor.  Look closer and you will see a WD TV Live Hub.  This is a really cool product.  It has a Western Digital 1tb hard drive (1,000gigs) and Western Digital software that helps you catalog videos, music, photos and more.  The remote control allows you to easily page through selections and/or play lists and find and play what you want.  We now have over 900 videos and 14,000 songs on this device.  

Ah, you ask about voltage.  Well this comes with a little power brick that accepts international voltage on one side and outputs  12vDC to the device...and, remember, we have 12vDC without running a generator or inverter.  I took that little brick and snipped off the output wire and connected it to great.  This WD TV Live Hub connects via Ethernet to our network on BeBe.  And our network connects to the Internet via either 3g or WiFi, so the WD TV Live Hub has Internet.  It uses the Internet to get all sorts of content information about the videos and songs that you have, including minor things like album or DVD case jacket photos and reviews.  But, the big deal is that it will also connect to about 30 streaming video sources and it works great.  Also, note the USB connection on the front and back of the WD TV Live Hub.  You can plug USB storage devices into these to either augment the total storage or to play a friends video or audio from a USB stick.

The WD TV Live Hub outputs video and audio to HDMI which we have on the TEAC monitor.  It also outputs to AV, both audio and video.  This is a good thing because we wanted to play audio without having the TEAC 230vAC monitor on all the time.  But without the monitor's audio speakers ON, we needed an amp and speakers.

The Labtec computer speakers with sub-woofer was the perfect solution, and the sound is much better than the TEAC monitor speakers.  Same as above, the Labtec comes with a little power brick that accepts international voltage and frequency on one side and outputs  15vDC...and we have 12vDC (close) without running a generator or inverter.  I was not sure if the Labtec would work with a little less voltage, but decided to try it...took that little brick and snipped off the output wire and connected it to great.  

I only wish that I had a TV/Monitor that has a little power brick that I could snip and everything except the DVD player would be working on 12vDC.  There is one on eBay, but getting it here is difficult, and the one I have works fine:

So, all of you that have the ability to copy or Tivo good movies and TV series to a hard drive or some sort of mass storage, "all I want for Christmas is a copy..." and I will be bringing a USB 1tb hard drive home with me in December.

I guess I left out the part that since the TEAC is a TV and a monitor, all it took was enough coax cable to run to the TV connection when we are at a marina, and viola, we were watching TV.  Only down-side is that we are not at a marina that often.

Questions or Comments, please.

Don't forget about Christmas!

Found a home for next winter

Approaching Fethiye

Late Sunday afternoon we arrived at Fethiye after motoring 50 NM from Kas, and anchored at 36.37.478N  029.05.789E near the Yacht Classic Hotel that our friends Jorge and Isabel on S/V EXCALIBUR had recommended.  This is a very calm anchorage in the far eastern tip of the large bay at Fethiye.  This location appears to be very well protected with mountains on 3 sides and the bay opening and the large ECE marina on the 4th side.

This boutique hotel has a small dock and offers 6-month winter berthing for a very reasonable price.  They do not offer long-term berthing during the tourist high season, but do offer dock berthing at a much reduced rate if you eat dinner in the hotel restaurant.  For our 16-meter boat the cost would be 30-40 TL per night ($16.50 - $22 USD) to cover water and electricity.  If we did not eat dinner at the restaurant, the rate would be 1 Euro per foot boat length or 53 Euros ($69 USD).  We checked out the restaurant menu and the prices are very reasonable, and the offerings sounded delicious.  If we were docking, we would definitely eat dinner in the hotel restaurant.  But we anchored out this time.
Note the snow patches still visible on the upper elevations farther inland.  This is a huge bay!

Far eastern end of the bay
Monday morning we took the dinghy in and tied off at the hotel dock.  I do not think boats in this anchorage are supposed to leave dinghies at the hotel dock, but we were meeting with the hotel manager so figured it would be okay this time.  No one said a word to us when we walked away from the tied-off dinghy, so I guess they did not have a problem with us leaving the dinghy there.  I would not do this if just anchored nearby.  After all, the hotel dock is for hotel marina guests; not for boats from which they are receiving no revenue.

Boatyard in very end; town is at other end of bay

We found Banuhan (manager? owner?) and she showed us around the buildings.  We made an instant decision to winter here next season.  We had been told by others that 5 Amels wintered here last year.  It is safe weather-wise.  It is a good price.  The people at the hotel are nice.  The showers and toilets are heated during the winter.  There is easy transportation to the airport.  There are cars available to rent.  What more could we want for a place to winter.

We wrote the contract and paid the deposit.  The only caveat is that the hotel plans to lengthen the dock next spring.  Boats will be required to depart when that work commences.  So, rather than being allowed to stay at the dock until the normal date of 30 April, we might have to leave the dock on 15 April.  That is certainly not a problem.  We planned to leave Fethiye as soon as the weather is good next spring and sail northward about 100 miles for haul-out to apply anti-fouling.  So we might sit at anchor a week or so if the weather is inclement.  No big deal in this very protected bay.

Facing north; bay entrance at far right
As for the negatives, other sailors tell us that Fethiye is a dead town.....that it closes up after the tourists leave in September.  That might be so, but the official population count is now slightly over 80,000 people.  With a population that size, this little city should remain viable during the winter months.  The population of Marmaris (where most cruisers winter) is only 15,000 but increases to 75,000 during the summer tourist months.  Now, that must really mean a dead town for the winter months.  Marmaris has a larger cruising 'community' but we were in that community at Yat Marin for 5 weeks last spring and did not like it.  Very, very much did not like it.  Here in Fethiye is the large ECE Marina....right next to the tiny hotel dock where we will stay.   There are more than 400 yachts docked in ECE Marina.  Surely a few will be occupied during the winter months and we can find a couple of people to talk to.

So, we now have an address for the winter in Turkey.  Next step will be to deal with immigration visa legalities.  We assume we will be applying for residents' visas but there is no hurry.  Our current visas expire 2 August.  We can wait a month before dealing with the residents' visas.  One thing I have been told is that I will need proof that we are married......because our income is Bill's retirement Social Security.  I do not have a copy of our marriage certificate.  Heck; that was 42 years ago!  Bureaucrats and their paperwork!
Yacht Classic Hotel is the 4-story building in center behind yacht with blue trim.
That little dock to the left of that boat will be our winter home this year.
This is tucked up behind the large ECE Marina, so that big marina also protects our little dock.
And, yes, that is a mosque just to the right of the hotel.  Wailing 5X day.  Yippie!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Patara (the one in Lycia, not the one in Cappadocia)

Patara -- seating rows inside newly reconstructed
Lycian League Assembly Hall
Patara is the birthplace of Saint Nicholas, a/k/a the Bishop of Myra, a/k/a Santa Claus.  It was important for a lot more than that.  Long before the birth of the man who became Saint Nicholas, Patara was celebrated for its temple and for the oracle of Apollo.  It was Lycia's major naval and commercial port and was situated on the Xanthos River.   Following capture by Alexander the Great, Patara became an important naval base.  Alexander promised the revenues of 4 cities, including Patara, to 1 of his commanders.  

Many legends exist explaining the origin of the name of Patara.  During the time of Lycia's domination by Egypt's Ptolemy, Ptolemaios II (reigned 285 - 246 B.C.) re-named Patara as Arsinoe in honor of his wife.  That name did not stick, and the original name was soon again in use.  The Lonely Planet states that Patara was the port where Saints Paul and Luke changed boats while on their third mission from Rhodes to Phoenicia.  From the evidence visible today (without digging) Patara was a very large and very wealthy city.

During the Roman period, Patara was the judicial seat of the Roman governor, and the city became the capital of the Lycian province.  Patara was called 'the chosen city' and 'the metropolis of the Lycian nation.'  Around 128 B.C. Patara had a population of about 20,000 and ranked among the top cities of Anatolia and Ephesus.  Remember, only the male Roman citizens were counted in the population.....women, children and slaves were not counted in the population.  Add those, and the population of the city likely would have been 140,000.

Patara -- all Greek to me.
No idea what building this wall belonged to.
Absolutely no idea what the carvings say.
Piracy and looting started in the late Roman Age.  By the mid-7th century the Arabs had built a fleet that challenged Byzantine naval supremacy in the eastern Med.  The Arab raids eventually pretty much finished off Lycia.  Patara still held on, but was eventually reduced to a mere village.  The townspeople were forced to retreat to a small area on the edge of the harbor and to build walls to create a protected inner port.  By this time the city was very much reduced in size and population.  Written records of the 9th century show that while Patara was still an important place, it was then just a village.  In the 10th century it became a naval base of the Byzantine Empire.  Patara continue to be used through the 15th century, continuing to shrink in population and with poverty increasing.  The once very wealthy city was reduced to a poor village.  Eventually, with too little manpower to keep the sand out of the harbor, it silted up and became plagued with mosquitoes.  Malaria finished off Patara.

Patara -- ruins of large Hadrian's Granary across the swamp, which
used to be a deep harbor port.  Large sand dunes
on left where river used to exit to sea.  Beach is on other side of the dunes.
The river has silted heavily and changed course over the past 2,000 years.  What once was a huge port is now a large marshy oval depression filled with reeds behind high sand berms on the beach which covered in dense vegetation and trees.  The Xanthos River has changed course and empties into the sea quite some distance from this ancient city.  Patara can claim Turkey's longest uninterrupted well as some of Lycia's finest ruins.  The beach is 18 kilometers long and was voted one of the top beaches in the world by Times Online in 2005.  Umbrellas and lounge chairs are available for rent if you want a break from walking the ruins.  The area is a national park.

Patara -- This site is huge!  And only a tiny portion has
been excavated.  Archaeologists work 2 months each
year on this site.  Lots yet to do!
Patara's oracle at the renown Temple of Apollo was said to rival that at Delphi, and the temple equaled the reputation of the famous temple on the island of Delos (birthplace of Apollo).  It was believed that Apollo lived at Delos during the summer but spent his winters at Patara.  Omens were interpreted in these two towns during the respective seasons.  A large bust of Apollo, discovered on the hill beyond the City Gate, indicates the existence of an Apollo Temple; but this renowned Temple of Apollo has not yet been found.  This is a huge site and only a tiny fraction has been excavated so far.   Work was underway the day we visited.

Roman Triumphal Arch near entry to Patara

Shortly after passing the ticket booth one drives past a 2nd century triple-arched Roman triumphal arch.  Then a necropolis containing a number of Lycian tombs nearby.  

Patara---self-explanatory sign

Also near the Roman triumphal arch was some sort of on-going excavation.  Loved the signs telling visitors that entrance was forbidden.  Entrance to what?
What we are forbidden to enter


Patara--the Roman Baths complex.  Pretty bad condition.

Next is a baths complex.  The baths are in pretty deplorable condition.  If one is not familiar with what Roman baths were like, then it is not likely one would figure out what had been the purpose of this building.  Heck, even though we know what Roman baths were like it still required active imaginations to guess what the purpose of this building had been.  

Patara--one of many buildings we could
not identify.  No maps or brochures and no guides here.
Very nice new roads, though.

Supposedly the next thing to see was the remains of a Byzantine basilica.  We never found that.  The was a large field filled with number stones.  Maybe those stones have been excavated and cataloged in preparation of reconstructing the basilica.  

Patara--Roman gladiator style theater

Back to the left was the theater.  This theater was built for gladiator exhibitions.  Some of the stones at the gladiator level are carved with gladiator paraphernalia.  Sorry; but at this point we have seen too many Roman theaters.  'The thrill is gone' as the old song says.  I just was not impressed with this theater.  The one at Myra was in far better condition and was larger.

Patara--where the gladiators
entered the theater arena

Patara--cisterns on top of hill in distance

Behind the theater is a hill upon which are the foundations of a Temple of Athena and an unusual circular cistern cut into the rock with a pillar in the middle.  There also are the ruins of an ancient lighthouse high on the far side of that hill which was only recently discovered and excavated.  Chay and Jamie climbed to the top of the hill; Bill, Katie and I stayed at the lower level.   

Patara -- Active dig behind the recently reconstructed
Lycian League Assemble Hall

Bill and I were more interested in the very recently reconstructed Lycian Assembly Hall.  This is cool beyond belief!  This is basically their parliament building.  The building looks almost new.  

Bill & Katie sitting outside the recently
reconstructed Assembly Hall

They took the old stones which were excavated and finished each one to what it would have looked like when first used in construction this assembly hall.  For missing stones, they fabricated completely new stones.  The result is that visitors can see which parts of the walls, seats and floors are made up of the old original stones but can also easily see which stones are new.  The colors are almost the same but you can see the difference at close hand.  The result is that the entire building appears to be recently built.

Katie & Bill on glass floor in Assembly Hall

The floor inside has been covered with an elevated glass/acrylic/plastic floor.  You can see the original marble floor beneath the 'plastic' floor, but shoes of visitors won't further damage the original marble floor.

Katie and Bill standing in front of stage inside the Lycian Assembly Hall at Patara

Bill in front of interior wall of Assembly Hall.  Note
the stones to see old and new

The stage looks just as it would have 2,000+ years ago.  Wood has been used both on stage and as doors and a few beams........just as would have been when originally built.  We were all very impressed with this reconstructed assembly hall.  I would love to see a few more of these old sites reconstruct one major building on each site.  As one travels through Turkey it would be possible to see examples of each type of building in its original state. 

Right side facing stage in Assembly Hall

Left side facing stage in Assembly Hall

To the right of the newly reconstructed assembly hall stands the colonnaded agora.  Much of the agora is beneath standing water.  But most of the columns are in place.  And the shop areas along one side are clearly visible.  

Looking from left to right in front of stage
Patara -- Exterior of the newly reconstructed Lycian League Assembly Hall.
This is one cool building!

Jamie & Chay near colonnaded
agora.  Shops to left of columns. 

Follow the dirt path past the agora and it winds back to the ancient harbor area -- now just a marshy wet area filled with mosquitoes.  At the harbor area is the enormous Granary of Hadrian and a Corinthian-style temple tomb. 

Patara -- Chay and Jamie on top of a building we never identified.
Oh, to have the energy of youth to climb everything he found.
At the west end of the beach at Patara once stood a naval and military base fortress.  It had 11 rectangular towers at its corners and mid-way along the walls.  It had 7 protruding stairways which allowed soldiers to quickly scale its walls from the inside.  Battlements were later added on the upper walls.  The only sign of construction within the walls is a small church.  This fortress was called Pydnai and guarded Patara from attack from the west.

After all the walking and climbing at the ruins, we had to stop at a small roadside shop to check out souvenirs.  This shop had some interesting antiques, but nothing that screamed "buy me!"

Patara -- Bill doing the obligatory shopping,
but no buying.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Letoon and Xanthos

Narrow passageway
On our second day of sight-seeing with friends Chay, Katie and Jamie on S/V ESPRIT we first visited Letoon.  This involved driving an hour or so westward along the coastal main road.  At one point Chay noticed an unusual break in the mountainside and pulled over for a closer look.   
Gorgeous pocket beach accessed by steps from high road
The narrow separation in the solid stone was well over 100-feet high; at the bottom was evidence that at some time a tiny river must have exited to the sea through that break.  As we turned to look toward the sea we discovered the first real beach any of us has seen in quite a while.  Turkey and Greece have very few beaches; usually the shoreline is rocks and boulders down to the water's edge.  The rare beach is usually what we would call a pocket beach.  And this little pocket beach was gorgeous.  There was room to park maybe 5 or 6 cars beside the road; then steep wooden steps that switched back a couple of times to provide access to this beach.  Really, really nice.  

This appears new to me

Getting to Letoon involved narrow roads through tiny villages, most paved but not all.  It is out in the country; not situated by the sea.  Letoon was a religious center and is on the Unesco World Heritage List.  There was never any large group habitation in the area.  Letoon was just a site used for religious purposes, not as a city.  Letoon takes its name and importance from a large shrine to Leto.

Letoon--Temple to Leto
According to legend, Leto was loved by Zeus.  (Oh, I remember this!  I wrote about this legend last year describing our visit to ancient Delos in Greece.)   Zeus' wife Hera was angered by his love for Leto, and Hera commanded that Leto spend an eternity wandering from country to country.  According to local folklore, Leto spend much of this time in the region of Anatolia and she became the Lycian national diety.  Eventually Leto wandered to the island of Delos (near Mykonos), where she gave birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis.  The Federation of Lycian cities built this very impressive religious sanctuary to worship Leto -- hence the name Letoon.

Letoon--Entrance to the theater from the temple area
Archaeological finds date this site back to the late 6th century B.C. -- long before the Greeks arrived.  It is believed that this site was sacred to the earlier Lycian cult that worshiped a mother goddess called Eni Mahanahi.  Then came the Greek goddess Leto; then during Roman times the Emperor Hadrian founded an emperor worship cult at this site.  Christianity later replaced all former pagan beliefs and a church was built at this site in 5th century A.D. using stones from some of the old temples.   The site was totally abandoned from the 7th century A.D.

Floor mosaic in Temple of Apollo
The Greek part of the site consists of three temples standing side-by-side.  The temple on the left is dedicated to Apollo.  This temple has a floor mosaic showing a lyre, a floral center, and a bow and arrow.  This mosaic was in fantastic condition!  Metal was used to define the outline of each major shape component in the design.  None of the tiles are broken.  None of the tiles have shifted position.  
The real Letoon mosaic in museum in Fethiye
None of the tiles show evidence of fading.  Being ever skeptical, I found it very difficult to believe that this mosaic has not been restored; yet none of the tourist literature stated that it had been restored.  Supposedly, this was an original.  Nope; tain't so.   After digging through many websites I found a photo of the original and discovered that the original mosaic is now in a museum in Fethiye.

Note depth of silted landfill in center
The center temple was dedicated to Apollo's sister, Artemis.  There is little excavated and/or reconstructed of this temple.  It was a much smaller temple than the one dedicated to Apollo.  In fact, it would be easy to miss this temple altogether and think that it was part of the temple to Apollo.

Letoon--Jamie climbing & posing
The temple to Leto was by far the larger of the three.  Jamie climbed up on several of the pillars and stones in this temple.  Oh, to have the energy of a teenager again.  Katie pointed out some metal pieces still visible in the stone floor.  On a tour at another site in Turkey, their guide had explained how pieces 
Metal pieces held stones together
of metal would be inserted into one piece of stone used to join to another piece of stone.  The metal would be heated 
and expand and would create a tight join between the two pieces.  I do not understand how this process worked, but that was the explanation from the 'expert' guide.  One section of the floor had 7 large pieces of similarly shaped metal that had obviously been used in this manner during the construction of the temple to Leto.

The nymphaeum (ornamental fountain with statues) today is permanently covered with water about 2-feet deep.  It is inhabited by frogs.  Lots and lots of frogs.  The legend says that Leto and her twins came upon a group of shepherds.  The children were thirsty but the shepherds refused to allow them to drink from a spring located here.  Their refusal angered Leto and she turned the shepherds all into frogs.  Lesson:  be nice to Greek goddesses. 
Letoon--A shepherd

Would you feel safe walking
through 2,000 arched entryway

To the north of the temples and nymphaeum is a large Hellenistic theater.  Our Lonely Planet guide states that this theater is in excellent condition.  Not really.  We have seen theaters in much better condition (like the one in Myra).  Half of the ground area inside the theater has been excavated to the original ground level.  Another example of how much the land has filled in during the past 2,000 years.

Letoon--Looking from entryway into theater; Bill and Katie
There are also numerous sarcophagi scattered about the area, as well as the ruins of a basilica constructed in 6th century A.D.   This was no small church for its time.  It was roughly 45 meters long and 20 meters wide (about 148 feet long and 66 feet wide).  It is thought that there was a monastic community associated with the church.  Due to the large number of drinking vessels found during excavation, the chief excavator dubbed its members 'the Drunken Monks.'  
Letoon--Hellenistic theater at Letoon; Bill, Chay & Katie

Letoon is considered a double-site with Xanthos, which is located 4 kilometers northeast.   French archaeologists have been excavating Xanthos since 1950.  Xanthos also was a religious center; and this was our next destination.   (We saw no archaeological activity in either Letoon or Xanthos, although the French are supposedly still excavating at both locations.)  Xanthos was not only a religious center; it was also the administrative center.  

Xanthos--Roman theater; pedestal tombs at upper left
The people of Xanthos put up heroic resistance to the Persian armies in 545 B.C.  Finding themselves overwhelmed, the Lycians killed their wives and children, burned their homes and committed suicide.  Only 80 families survived the slaughter.

Xanthos--Katie schooling us 

Excavation have revealed that Xanthos was burned to the ground between 475-450 B.C.  A further disaster overtook Xanthos in 42 B.C. when the city was occupied by Brutus.  Refusing to surrender, the population fought to the death.  Finally Brutus was able to capture only 150 men and a handful of women.  

Xanthos -- pillar tombs near theater;
on right is Harpy Monument burial chamber
Under Roman sovereignty during the 2nd century A.D. Xanthos regained its former influence thanks to the contribution of wealthy Lycians.  Xanthos was a seat of a bishopric during the Byzantine era.  

The first thing one sees when arriving at Xanthos is a Roman arch beside today's entry road.  A tiny bit farther up that road one finds a large Roman theater.  The first row of seats is raise high from the ground area, indicating that gladiator games participated in this theater.  

Xanthos--Reproductions near top of Harpy Monument

Near the theater are several pillar tombs.  One of the pillar tombs is extremely unusual.  It is called the Harpy Monument.  This sarcophagus consists of one huge piece of hewn rock 8.87 meters high and shaped with 4 sides as a square.  Inside is a small burial chamber surrounded on all 4 sides by friezes and closed by a flat lid of stone.  The monument's reliefs were taken by Charles Fellows to the British Museum in 1874.  The reliefs seen today are clay copies of the original.  It is believed that the reliefs were offered as a gift to the sarcophagus owner and his wife by other members of the family.  Reliefs on the north and west sides depict creatures, half female and half bird, called sirens.  The sirens are carrying the souls of the dead (symbolized as babies) to heaven.

Xanthos--Roman theater;
rigged for gladiators
Just past the city gates is a plinth where the Nereid Monument once stood.  The original monument also is in the British Museum.  The partial replica monument in its place is a poor substitute.   Like many Mediterranean countries today (and Egypt), Turkey would like to have all the ancient artifacts returned from the British Museum.  These artifacts were basically looted by the British and their home countries would like these old things repatriated.

trench in agora floor
The agora is badly ruined on this site.  It is almost unidentifiable.  Had we not already visited so many old Roman ruins and become familiar with what an agora is supposed to look like, we would not have know what we were looking at.  A few things did stand out to us.  One was what appeared to be a shallow drainage trench that curved and cut sideways across the floor of the agora.  Chay thought this was new construction because the cuts in the stone were uniform along both sides of the trench.  But Bill and I thought this was original construction.  The flat edges along the top of the trench would have held marble cut to fit the trench edge, making the marble floor of the agora level and smooth.

Xanthos--Lycian cuneiform writing?

Another thing we noted at the agora were many, many excavated stones inscribed with Greek lettering.  The writing on one stone was definitely not Greek.  Wondered if it was Lycian cuneiform since the Lycian culture was so similar to the Hittite and this writing looked like samples of Hittite cuneiform that I have seen previously.

Xanthos--basilica mosaic floor (picture on sign)
Xanthos--basilica mosaic floor covered in pebbles to protect

The basilica also must be viewed with an active imagination to envision what it must have looked like.  A photograph on a sign showed the mosaic floors of the old basilica, so I took a photograph of that sign.  The day we visited the entire floor area was covered in sand and small pebbles.  I assume this was laid on in hopes of preserving the mosaic floors.

Xanthos--scattered sarcaphogi
From the basilica ruins we hiked off around the hillside.  Through the weeds and up the hillside we went......with silent prayers that there be no biting insects and that the walking paths would be visible.  Well, there were no biting insects; but the paths were difficult to locate and follow, if not non-existent. 

Xanthos--Judy checking out
one of many rock tombs

There are sarcophagi scattered all over the hillside.  Even a few rock tombs.  

Xanthos--inside the rock tomb
It was fun being allowed to walk around all this ancient stuff and touch whatever struck our whimsy.  The only problem was that I was wearing sandals that were slippery as ice.  The soles of my rubbery sandals have hardened in the salt air environment of living on a boat.  BTW, these shoes are only 4 months old.....way too new to be hardened in my opinion.  There were no real hiking paths around the hillside; it was just low-growing browned weeds that had been knocked down by the people walking ahead of us.  And those weeks were slick as could be!!!  I had a very difficult time completing this walk.  

Xanthos--the Lion Sarcaphogus (way out on hillside)

Jamie and Chay exploring
rock tombs at Xanthos

Eventually we found the Lion Sarcophagus.  Above it were several rock tombs.  All robbed, of course.  

Xanthos--on backside of the mountain; a long walk

The views of the distant mountains were pretty, but I had just about had all this fun I could stand for one day.  

Xanthos--Jamie and Chay at the necropolis (fortress)
at top of  the mountain

Chay, Katie and Jamie hiked up through the very badly ruined acropolis (fortress) at the top of the mountain.  I opted to follow a dirt path that wound around those ruins and up to the top.  Bill walked with me because it isn't wise to be out walking alone in the countryside (snakes, falls....things like that).  We ended up reaching the very top of the hill at exactly the same time as Chay, Katie and Jamie.

The views up there were great.  Provided us with a great view of the Roman theater far below.

Xanthos--looking down on theater from top of the hill

Finding our way down was a fool's task.  The others went ahead and I trailed slowly behind.....slipping and sliding my way through tromped down weeds and stones.  Bill noticed I was having difficulty and returned to help steady me on the slides.  Eventually we did reach bottom.  This is not something I would want to do again.  Next time I will wear sneakers with good gripping soles.

Xanthos--weed walking

We made one more quick walk around the theater grounds and jumped back in the car to find lunch in the nearby village.  After lunch we drove to Patara; but this blog posting is long enough already, so I will save that for another posting.

Thousands of hot houses here.
They grow a LOT of tomatoes
in this part of Turkey.
 I spent the greater part of an afternoon researching the origins and history of the Lycians.  The synopsis is that the Lycians came from the Lukka people, specifically from the Lukka that lived on Crete.  Below is a compilation of various tidbits of information about the Lycians.  This will be of interest only to history buffs:  

We know from Hittite cuneiforms that the nation of Lukka was like the Lycians.  The land of Lukka was conquered by the Hittites during the reign of King Suppililiuma in the mid-14th century B.C.  The Lukka fought against Egypt in the ranks of the Hittites during the Battle of Kadesh in 1284 B.C.  They possessed powerful sea and land forces by the second millennium B.C. and had already established an independent state.

Lukka’s were mentioned among Egyptian texts as sea raiders.  This association with Egypt placed the Lukka also in Lycia.  It was recorded by Heredotos that the Lycians originally came from Crete and for a time they called themselves the Termilae.  According to legend, when Lycus, son of Pandion the King of Athens, was expelled by his brother Aegus, he joined Sarpedon and they took the name ‘Lycians’ from Lycus.  Heredotos noted that the Lycian customs were partly Carian and partly Cretan, but one custom is unique to the Lycians – their lineage is not by the father, but from the mother’s side (matriarchal family). 

Homer mentioned the Lycians in ‘The Illiad’ and told that during the Trojan War, under the commanders Sarpedon and Glaukos, the Lycians battled heroically on the side of the Trojans against their enemies the Achaeans.

The Persian King Harpagos conquered Lycia in 545 B.C.  In 480 B.C. when the Persian King Xerxes assembled his huge force for the conquest of Greece, the Lycians contributed 50 ships to Xerces fleet.  Persian rule ended when the region fell to the Macedonian King Alexander the Great.  In 333 B.C. when Alexander crossed the Hellespoint and landed in Anatolia, he defeated the Persian forces in battle in the year 334 B.C. and gained control of Lycia.
In 309 B.C., after Alexander’s death, Lycia came under the power of his General Ptolemy, who had established himself as the King of Egypt.  Ptolemaic control continued for about a hundred years.  It was during this period that the Lycian language died out and was replaced by Greek.

In 197 B.C. Lycia was taken from Ptolemy by Antiochos III, the King of Syria.  He was shortly afterwards defeated by the Romans.  Lycia was given to the Rhodians in 189 B.C., who supported the Romans.  In 167 B.C. Rhodian rule ended and Lycians became free.

During the Roman civil wars of the first century B.C., the Lycians again had to suffer from the depredations of Brutus and Cassius.  (remember, Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.)
Upon the Lycians defeat at Phillipi in 43 B.C. by Anthony and Octavian, Anthony received the east as his share of the Roman world and confirmed the freedom of Lycia.  Even under the Roman Empire, the Lycian League continued to function.  During this period the country was prosperous.  Money was plentiful and huge fortunes could be obtained by private citizens.  Money was minted at Myra in Lycia (where we visited yesterday).

Each city averaged 5,000 people to contribute to Lycia’s total population of estimated 200,000 in the early 4th century A.D.  The boundary of Lycia was extended to the northwest to include the Carian city of Kaunos, which was still within Anatolia.  

In the Byzantine period, 4th – 7th centuries A.D., Christianity increased in the region and Christian buildings were constructed throughout the land.  In efforts to eliminate paganism, the new Christians destroyed many of the old buildings and statues.

There are 3 reasons that the Lycians have disappeared.  In the 8th century A.D. Lycia suffered attacks from southern tribes and vanished from history.  Earthquakes and disease are the other factors to their disappearance.  Today Lycia is famous for its majestic snow-capped mountains, sweeping down to the blue waters of the Mediterranean, and for its unique historic sites.