Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Day in Turkey - Milas and Labranda

This was a long day. We met with a Mr. Erol Uysal, a professional guide at the Seckin Konaklar this morning in Bodrum. We departed toward Milas with a stop in Gulluk to see this quiet fishing village before arriving in Milas during the Tuesday market day. We visited the famous mausoleum that is supposed to be a replica of the one we visited the previous day in Bodrum, which had been severely looted. The one in Milas is original and extraordinary, but not nearly the size as the one in Bodrum (Halicarnassus), considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

From there we went to one of the least visited sites in the region, Labranda the City of Zeus, with the symbol of the double-headed ax. This is a remarkable ruin in a lot of different ways.

We arrived after traversing a road lined with hundreds of beehives. The bees were in full flight, harvesting honey dew from the local pine trees. One tree is particular was huge right over the Labranda site and seemed to buzz with activity.

Prior to being left at the international airport, the one we had come in on a week earler, we visited the Beçin castle that overlooks Milas. Beçin Castle, the capital of Menteşe Beys, is situated at the dependent township of Beçin, at a distance of 5 kilometers from Milas city. The fortress has been restored in 1974, and the compound includes two mosques, two medreses, a hamam, as well as the remains of a Byzantine chapel.

As the light fell, we quickly visited the nearby hamam, a roman era bath that was active right up to the 14th century with all the appropriate rooms for undressing and cooling down.

The long day continued as we made our Turkish Airways flight to Istanbul and then on to Tel Aviv, arriving at the dawn of new day. I woke up this morning in the town of Rehovot, hosted by my friend Dr. Yaacov Lensky, retired from the Triwaks Bee Center at the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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