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Pompeiopolis

Places Of Interest

From a tourist’s view point, one of the most interesting sights in Mersin is Silifke Caddesi, where the people from surrounding villages come to shop. The people themselves, with their healthy good looks, and gay, brightly colored costumes, are .a pleasure to see. Some shops ore filled with materials of the most dazzlingly brilliant colors; others contain gleaming copper utensils. On display are goat hair rugs, beautiful handmade village rugs called kilim, scarfs, butter churns, and ox yokes. The charm of the street is Its complete naturalness and authenticity. The highway from Mersin to Silifke is a trip through an open air museum In a setting of natural beauty.

Yumuktepe: On the outskirts of the city there is a well known mound where archeological excavation was carried out by Prof. Garstand, and an expedition from Liverpool University. The chief interest in this site are the number of building levels discovered. At the top of the mound were Islamic and Byzantine findings. Below in fascinating layers of civilizations were Hittite remains; building levels of Greek, Roman, Sumerian, and Chalcoiithic periods descen- ^ ding backward in time to the Neolithic Ape. Some of the flint implements found compare with those in the most ancient Mesopotamian settlements. Many of the artifacts can be seen in the Adana Museum,

Pompeiopolis :At the Turkish village of Viran Şehir there Is a turn off toward the sea that leads to the site of an ancient city. Historians place the date of the origin of the city at about 700 B.C. it is thought to have been built by people from Rhodes and  was called Soli. In the 4th. Century B.C. Alexander the Great visited Soli and exacted a huge amount In tribute which proves that it was a very rich city.

During the time of Julius Caesar, Soli and the surrounding country had become a nest of pirates whose activities threatened to disrupt Roman sea trade along the Mediterranean shore. Caescr sent his most able genera!, Pompei, to quell the pirates, and bring Cilicia under the domination of Rome. Pompei defeated the pirates, destroyed the city; rebuilt It, and renamed it Pompeiopolis. An earthquake in the 6th. century A.D. destroyed the vast city which extended from ths sea back into the foothills of the mountains.

Silent sentinels of past grandeur are the columns which once lined the Sacred Way from the port to a temple no longer. In existence. The outlines of the port can easily be seen. All that remains of a city of 250,000 people are a few unidentified ruins, but the site has never been scientifically excavated and who knows what treasures await the archaeologist’s probing tools?

Kanytelleis: Theodosius II, Is supposed to have built this .city in the 5th century, but it is undoubtedly built upon the site of a much older settlement. It is particularly interesting because It is constructed around the lip of a natural geological sink. The early Greeks built around depressions and caves for superstitious reasons. The fortress built by the Romans would indicate that the depression offered a splendid natural defense area. Near the entrance over a stone portal can be seen the symbol of the Triskelis meaning that the city was ot some time affiliated with, or under the protection of Olba, a much older city. The ruined churches are from the Byzantines, and such buildings that remain are in a good state of preservation. The depression, is one fourth of a mile In circumference and two hundred feet deep. There are several bas-reliefs cut into the walls. One is that of draped figures on a dais-possibly a mother and father-and below, is another carving of four children. Somewhat lower on another wall is a figure in armor.

It is interesting to walk around the streets among the ruins and 294 conjecture on the city’s plan. Behind the city is an extensive burial grqund containing a temple-tomb in good condition, and over some of the rock tombs there ore carved figures of men in armor with iances and battle-axes; figures reclining on couches, and some ladies in gracefully draped robes. From the crest of the hill on which the city is built there is c magnificent view of the Mediterranean,

Korikos : Along both sides of the highway west of Ayns are the ruins of Korygos with its fine castle on the shore, and the legendary Maiden’s Castie in the sea. After the suppression of the pirates by Pornpei, Korygos became a Roman and later □ Byzantine city.. At one time threatened by the Arab Invasion, Korygos was heavily fortified. In 1200 it became a part of Little Armenia and the island castle wos renewed and rebuilt by several Armenian kings. During the 13th century,the port flourished with trade provided by the Crusaders, and the trading vessels of the Venetians and the Genoese.

There is evidence that the sea castle was buift on the site of a very early Rhodian fortification. It takes its name. Maiden’s Castle from a legend. A king was told by an oracle, that his daughter would die from the bite of a snake. He therefore, in an effort to thwart fate, had the girl imprisoned In the castle in the sea. Someone took a basket of figs to the princess; there was a viper concealed in the fruit, and so the prophesy was fulfilled.

The land castle shows strong Crusader influence. The Armenians strengthened the walls which were later damaged by the invasion of the Mamelukes from Egypt, The last restoration was made by Sultan Selahaddin, who fought the Crusaders in the 12th. century. It is very interesting to see building stones, markings and writings inside the fortress.

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