We are on our last days in Turkey, we gradually head back north and west up the Turquoise Coast. On the coast of the Xanthos valley lies the ancient capital of the Lycian League, Patara. There is archaeological evidence dating back to 1300 BC and the presence of bronze age Hittites; but it came more to prominence when Alexander the Great conquered all the coastal Greek cities in 334/333 BC. Patara became the centre of Lycia when the Romans finally granted them autonomy from Rhodes in 168/167 BC. It became the official capital of Roman “Province of Lycia” in 43 AD. The city flourished under the Roman, Byzantine and Turk/Seljuk Empires until the 15th C AD when it eventually declined as was reclaimed by the environment. We started the day visiting the Roman Aqueduct that remains to this day on our way to Patara.
Our last major walk started from the tourist area of Ölüdeniz, where coincidentally the official start of the Lycian Way is. The path was so much easier compared to days ago on the underdeveloped paths we trekked. The area of Ölüdeniz is renowned for the skydiving from the ‘Father Mountain’ overlooking the bay. On the beautiful sunny day we climbed and walked, there as also an International Skydiving Competition, so we were treated to masses of skydivers performing manoeuvres overhead and then landing on the beach below. The views became more and more spectacular as we climbed, until we reached a temporary plateau, then climbed some more on a bitumen road (so different to our previous experience of the Likya Yolu). The area was full of pine forest with numerous beehives. The region is famous for its’ Pine Honey; which we tasted the previous day on fresh bread – delicious!
So my journey in Turkey came to an end in Fethiye. I spent a few more days there, then took the ferry to Rhodes and then home via Athens. Unfortunately Turkey’s tourism industry has suffered enormously since the attempted coup a few months prior. My Canadian friends from the Lycian Cruise went onto Istanbul after the Lycian Cruise and were practically the sole tourists there – nobody in Hagia Sofia or Topkapi Palace etc. So sad, as I would like to travel to Cappodocia, Ankara and eastern Turkey, but now is not the time. I’ll save those trips for later…..