After such a wonderful day in Sardis we were really looking forward to discovering Kos, a Greek Island in the Aegean Sea.

Unfortunately, the weather was not our friend on that day. The ship was anchored outside the harbour and we were supposed to be taken to land by Tender. The wind had come up overnight and it was impossible to take passengers to the shore. We watched the Tenders over the ship’s rail and saw them rolling heavily from side to side. I was quite happy that we weren’t going in those boats.

A view of Kos

What did we miss in Kos which has been known by various names including Meropi, Nymphaia or Karys? Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, was born on this island giving it some sense of fame. The first holistic healing centre in the world, Asclepion of Kos was established here. It included infirmaries, temples, hot springs, hostels and a school for physicians. Although Kos town is thousands of years old, it was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1933. It was redesigned by the reigning Italians with large squares, sidewalks and wide tree-lined streets, flanked by modern buildings with shops, cafes and restaurants. All these exciting things of Kos we did not see.

As a result of not being able to visit Kos, we found ourselves on a slow boat to Antalya, otherwise known as Anatolia, in SW Turkey. We sailed overnight and docked in the harbour at 06:00. St Paul and St Barnabas left from here when they went to Antioch and St Mark visited Antalya.

Mountains above Antalya harbour

Antalya, ancient Greek name Attalia, is the 5th largest city in Turkey and, with its beautiful beaches, has been known as the Gateway to the Turkish Riviera for many years. As we came into the harbour, the mountains created a beautiful background. We did not stay in the city, though, but took a bus to the ruins of the ancient city of Perge and the huge theatre at Aspendos.

Once again, we had an hour’s bus ride to reach our destination, the ruins of the ancient of Perge, also known as Perga or Parha. Although the ruins were Roman, Perge dates to Ancient Greece, having been built in about 1000BC but, there were probably settlements before this date as mention of Perge was made in a document from the Byzantine period which was any time after 1700BC. The Persians lived there and were defeated by Alexander the Great around 333BC. About 150 years later the Romans captured the city, creating the buildings which now lie in ruins. These included a gymnasium; a necropolis which was a large, elaborate burial ground; the agora or marketplace and a 15000-seat theatre. The photos describe it best.

A tower at the entrance

A part of the Hellenistic Gate

Columns which lined the streets

Decorative wall tiles

Roman baths

The columned Main Street

After spending almost 2 hours there, we travelled to another ancient city, Aspendos. This city was first developed by refugees from Troy. We went specifically to see the enormous amphitheatre, built over 2000 years ago and still in excellent condition. It felt such a privilege to be able to see it. We learnt that the acoustics were excellent. The thought of climbing all those stairs to reach the upper levels and it was clearly very well built. It makes one wonder how many of the buildings going up in a matter of months will still be standing in 100 let alone 1000 years!

Entrance to the amphitheatre at Aspendos

Seats in the amphitheatre
Stairs to the seats

We were supposed to visit the aqueduct in the city but more than half the group, including ourselves, decided not to do so. The reason for this decision was that it was after 2pm and it would take almost half an hour to get back to the boat meaning arriving there after 15:00. It was a wonderful but long day, having started out soon after 08:00.

Equipment used for excavating