From Demırcılı, the road continues uphill and then turns off to the right towards the ruins at Uzuncaburç, originally a Hittite settlement that was known to the Greeks as Olba and to the Romans as Diocaesarea. A small, rural village has grown up in haphazard fashion around the ruins, but few concessions have been made to tourism. Uzuncaburç is famous for leather bags and handmade rugs known as çul; examples are often sold at makeshift stalls. Local culinary specialities include kenger kahvesi (coffee made from acanthus) and pekmez (grape molasses).
The main site of Uzuncaburç lacks the size and scale of Perge and Aspendos, but is atmospheric enough in its own way, if only because of its relatively neglected state. Although the area was first settled by the Hittites, they left little behind and the most impressive ruins that survive date from Hellenistic times.
Start your explorations at the overgrown Roman theatre, overlooked by a couple of beautiful houses whose walls are chock-a-block with Classical masonry. From here, pass through an enormous five-columned monumental gateway, beyond which is a colonnaded street, once the city’s main thoroughfare: keep your eyes open for what look like small stone shelves on the columns, which once supported statues and busts. On the northern side of the street is a nymphaeum, now dried up, which once formed part of the city’s water-supply system. This was part of a large network of pipes and tunnels, built by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago, that still supplies water to the modern village and others around.
To the south, the columns of the Temple of Zeus Olbios feature one of the earliest examples of the Corinthian order, erected during the third century BC by Seleucus I, of which only the fluted columns now remain intact. Look out for the fine sarcophagus carved with three Medusa heads and a sarcophagus lid depicting three reclining figures. At the western end of the colonnaded street is the Temple of Tyche, dedicated to the goddess of fortune, reckoned to date from the second half of the first century AD. Five Egyptian granite columns still stand, joined by an architrave bearing an inscription stating that the temple was the gift of a certain Oppius and his wife Kyria. From here a right turn leads to a large three-arched city gate, which, according to an inscription, dates from the fifth century AD and is home to nesting birds.
To the north of the main ruins (turn right at the Ak Parti office) is a 22-metre-high, five-storey Hellenistic tower that once formed part of the city wall and which today gives its name to the modern town (Uzuncaburç means “high tower”). It is believed that in addition to playing a defensive role this tower was also part of an ancient signalling network, whereby messages were relayed by flashing sunlight off polished shields.Read More