CARIA – BEYOND THE MEAENDER Tour to Labranda, Euromos and Iassos on 30 September 2013

Tour to Labranda, Euromos and Iassos on Monday 30 September 2013 

Thirty-nine H3A members and their guests left Bodrum’s Oasis car park on time in three private buses to visit the archaeological sites of Labranda, Euromos and Iassos.  One bus was occupied by Turkish speakers, another by English speakers and the third by those who could cope in either language.  We were accompanied by two professional guides, both H3A members, the eminent archaeologist, Aykut Ozet, and our vice president, Semih Adıyaman. 

Who were the Carians?  On the way we learned that we are living in the ancient region of Caria – the area south of the Meander River.  According to Herodotus the inhabitants of Caria lived originally on the islands of the Aegean and from there migrated to the mainland of Asia and were called Lelegians.

Soon after499 BCE a Persian army under Daurises marched south to suppress the Carians.  The Carians were defeated with heavy losses and retired to the sanctuary of Zeus Stratius at Labranda and were defeated again.  The sanctuary belonged from early times to Mylasa (Milas) and  was joined to it by a Sacred Way, paved with stone and eight miles (12.87 km) long. 

Visiting the site at Labranda

Visiting the site at Labranda, photography by Nilgun Erdem

Visiting the site at Labranda

Visiting the site at Labranda, photography by Nilgun Erdem

Visiting the site at Labranda

Visiting the site at Labranda, photography by Nilgun Erdem

Visiting the site at Labranda

Visiting the site at Labranda, photography by Nilgun Erdem

Visiting the site at Labranda

Visiting the site at Labranda, photography by Nilgun Erdem

We then headed for Euromos 12 km to the north.  This was the most significant city in the region after Mylasa in early times and the existing ruins attest to its prosperity.  The outstanding feature is the temple, which is among the six best preserved in Asia Minor.  It is in the Corinthian order, and dates from the second century CE.

The ruins at Iassos

The ruins at Iassos, photography by Vivian Kohen

The ruins at Iassos

The ruins at Iassos, photography by Vivian Kohen

The ruins at Iassos

The ruins at Iassos, photography by Vivian Kohen

The ruins at Iassos

The ruins at Iassos, photography by Vivian Kohen

It was now time for lunch so we drove to Iassos.  The historian, Strabo, tells the story of a musician who once visited Iassos and gave a recital in the theatre.  In the middle of his performance a bell rang, indicating that the fish-market was now open.  The audience at once rose in a body and departed.  Strabo tells this story to illustrate the character of the city; for, he says, the soil being poor, the inhabitants live mainly on the produce of the sea.  Fish were abundant, as they still are, so we sat down to a feast of mussels, calamari and the usual levrek and çıpra.

A gift was presented to Aykut Ozet and his wife, Ayla

A gift was presented to Aykut Ozet and his wife, Ayla, Photography by Lori Meade

Text by Christine Davies, aided and abetted by the late George E Bean, whose book Turkey beyond the Maeander is required reading for all of us.

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