They say there are more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than there are in Italy and Greece. I just got back from Turkey and I believe it, but what is even more marvelous is that the ruins are so accessible. If we had stuff like that over here, it would be sequestered behind a plexiglass wall marked “Do not touch!” In Turkey you can climb on the ruins and sit on them and lay down in the middle of them if you want to, and there is no museum guard to say you nay. Everywhere, we literally walked in the footsteps of our ancestors. (In Ephesus, we even sat on the toilet seats of our ancestors.)
Take Termessos, a ruin of a Greek town of forty thousand. It’s outside Antalya, three thousand feet up, on top of one of the Taurus Mountains. In 333 BC, it faced down none other than Alexander the Great, a rare denial of Alexander’s march to conquer across Asias Minor and Major.
Location, location, location might have had something to do with that.
They must have believed in good governance, because they built a very handsome town hall, which seated four hundred.
Entertainment was important to them, too. Their theater seated four thousand.
And they were buried there. I think they just didn’t want to leave the view behind, not even in death.
There were only a few other hikers at Termessos the day we visited. Most of the time we were completely alone. When it’s that quiet, if you listen, you can almost hear the echoes of the laughter of the crowd 2,500 years ago as they sat in that theater, watching a performance of Aristophanes’ latest play.