Turkey // The Mediterranean coast and the Hatay //


The ancient city ruins at Uzuncaburç (Olba and Diocaesarea), a spectacular one-hour drive from Silifke through a jagged gorge, make a worthwhile day-trip. A small, rural village has sprung up in haphazard fashion around the ruins, with makeshift stalls flogging leather bags and handmade rugs (known as çul), and local teahouses where you can try local specialities like kenger kahvesi (coffee made from acanthus) and pekmez (grape molasses).

While the main site of Uzuncaburç lacks the size and scale of Perge and Aspendos, it’s 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; the most impressive ruins that survive date from Hellenistic times.

The best place to start exploring Uzuncaburç is the overgrown Roman theatre, overlooked by a couple of beautiful houses whose walls are choc-a-bloc with Classical masonry. From here, pass through an enormous five-columned monumental gateway to reach 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.


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