For today’s Traveling Tuesday I was inspired by the somewhat humorous onion article, “Historians admit to inventing Ancient Greece”. While this article is probably only worth your time if you are bored, it did get me thinking about the our encounters with the Ancient Greek world. First I should say we went to so many different sets of Greek/Roman ruins it would be impossible to count so I decided just to talk about our first encounters with the Ancient Greece which was in Aspendos Turkey!! Yes… our first encounter Ancient Greece was in Turkey, and not like the part of Turkey that touches Greece but somewhere on Turkey’s southern coast. (I know that shouldn’t be a shock, but it was for me)
Aspendos was founded in 1000 BC, over the years it has been Lycian, Persian, Delian, conquered by Alexander the great (Greek) and finally part of the Roman/ Byzantine empires. None of the words in that last sentence meant much to me before this trip, but traveling in Turkey and Greece is like a crash course in ancient history. Sadly when it comes to seeing ancient ruins it is hard to see anything other than Roman ruins. The Romans came and modified, or tore out Greek structures. So you can see things that were Greek and then were modified by the Romans. It is hard to know how much of each culture you are looking at .
The big thing in Aspendos is the theater, which is (apparently) the best preserved theater of antiquity. The theater was HUGE and a great way to start our intro to the ancient world. It seats 7000 people. It did feel a little fake though because it had big renovation work done in the middle ages. At this site we also saw some cool Roman aqueducts that I included some photos of.
One odd note at the end. This structure is by no means unique, by the end of our time in Greece we often wouldn’t even pull off the highway to see yet another huge ancient theater. Maybe in a future post I will compare all the theaters we saw.