During this winter in Marmaris with the boat remaining in the water and with fewer major jobs planned we had more time to explore inland. We were part of a car-share scheme, which means five boats hiring a car for the six month winter period and sharing the costs. This made for a very convenient and economical way of getting around.
In the month of November we went to a small village about 30 km inland to witness a sport unique to Turkey, Turkish Oil Wrestling. The origins of the sport date back many thousands of years. The annual tournament, which has been held in Edirne since 1362, is the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world and is taken very seriously in Turkey, similar to Sumo wrestling in Japan.
The Procession proceeding the Wrestling Competition The Band as part of the Precession
The wrestlers, known as pehlivan (meaning "hero" or "champion") wear a type of hand-stitched lederhosen called kisbet which are traditionally made of water buffalo hide, but now also of calfskin. Wrestlers oil one another prior to matches with olive oil as a demonstration of mutual respect.
Wrestlers line up prior to competition A pre-competition ritual which the wrestlers undergo
Oil wrestling matches may be won by achieving an effective hold of the kisbet, the pehlivan aims to control his opponent by putting his arm through the latter's kisbet.
As you can see from the photographs the event was well attended with many locals turning out to enjoy the sport. We also very much enjoyed our day which as you can see took place in warm November sunshine.
A match under way
With Turkey being a Muslim country Christmas is only celebrated by the small Christian community and therefore not the huge thing it is is Britain. However New Year is widely celebrated in Turkey and so it was in the Marina restaurant that we brought in the New Year 2010.
The Marina Restaurant set out for the New Year Party with yours truly and Anne
We had a superb dinner after which there was dancing and cabaret in the form of Belly Dancing. I think I should point out here that Belly Dancing in Turkey is an art form taken seriously and not the pole dancing variety you may find in other parts of the world. There were even Belly Dancing classes held in the marina for live-aboards during the winter months which I believe (not being an attendee myself) were well attended.
Turkish Belly Dancer
Can you think of a better way of bringing in the New Year? Welcome 2010.
In January we took off inland again this time to visit two sites. The remains of the ancient city of Hierapolis and Pamukkale an adjacent spa town.
History shows that the area was first inhabited as far back as 1900BC although the present day ruins are from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The city was at its peak of importance during the second and third century AD.
The Necropolis The Byzantine Gate
Before passing through the Byzantine Gate into the city proper you have to make your way through the Necropolis. There are three Necropolis outside the city walls and the graves are separated into those for the Important People. Heroes and The Common People.
The Temple to Apollo The Northern Bath House
The temple to Apollo was built in the 3rd century and measures 20 by 25 meters Many coins have also been found at the site baring the head of the God Apollo, these are now on view in the site museum. The city boasted two public bath houses. Water used in these came from heated underground springs and were considered to have healing properties.
Public Toilets View down the Main Street (The Domitian Road)
Yes, there were public toilets (separate for men and women) and with running water. The stalls have disappeared but here our guide demonstrates how they work! Here you see the main road running through the city. The city was built on a grid system with all streets running either parallel or at right angles to the main road.
No city would be complete without its theatre and here in Hierapolis they have two. The picture shows the main theatre built by the Emperor Hydriarius in the 2nd century AD. The front of the theatre is 100m long and can sit between 15 and 20 thousand people. The theatre is at present under going restoration, it is hoped to be back in public use sometime in the near future.
The Amphi Theatre
There is one other bit of important history attached to Hierapolis. Saint Phillip,who was one of the twelve Apostles, together with his sons was responsible for founding the first Christian community in Hierapolis. He was killed in the city in 87AD.
What makes the town of Pamukkale so interesting is the mineral springs connected to a large underground fault which come to the surface on an adjacent hill. The temperature of the water is a constant 35deg summer and winter and comprises a mixture of carbon dioxide and calcium. As the water runs down the hillside it cools leaving behind deposits of calcium and a scene reminiscent of an Arctic landscape.
This could be a snow scene but it's not The town of Pamukkale in the background
Hot Water at 35deg emerging from the ground. The water is then trapped in small lakes where it cools
In the town there are a number of Spa Hotels with visitors arriving from all over the world to sample the healing properties of the waters, which are said to be good for coroner diseases and high blood pressure.
If you look at the right-hand picture you will see to small figures centre top. They are walking along the bed of stream which flows all the way down to Pamukkale, with socks and shoes off it is a very pleasant walk with your feet bathed in warm water.
The last thing we would like to share with you for this winter is this chap. We went to a small village called Sogut about 40 miles northwest of Marmaris to visit friends we last met in Italy. We went out for lunch and on our return to their boat we found this fellow asleep in their dinghy.
Looks like he had a good lunch too