After I finished the blog last night, we went out for a final meal in Dalyan. As we were walking towards a restaurant, we realised that the ancient tombs on the far side of the river had been illuminated at night.
They'd been impressive to see during the day, but they were really quite eerie and spooky at night!
We had another lovely meal, with some delicious flatbread to start.
While I was fairly unadventurous with garlic chicken, Tim decided to try a special Turkish dish. It consisted of chicken and potato in a sauce with onion, tomato and lemon, and it was served sizzling hot.
I finished the meal with a Turkish coffee, while Tim decided to try Turkish tea.
I'd planned to make an early start this morning, as we had a fairly long day of driving ahead of us. After yesterday's experience with searching for breakfast, however, it seemed like it probably wasn't worth setting out much before 9am. We took a little walk along the weather on our way to the same cafe as yesterday, and realised that there were some really tiny tombs carved into the rock which we hadn't noticed the other day.
You'll struggle to make them out on the photos without zooming right in, but they're to the left of the photo, just above the reeds where the cliff face comes to an end.
It was a really beautiful view
The views down the river in the other direction were really lovely too.
We admired the tombs for a final time, then went to get breakfast. I had a cheese omelette today, while Tim had a bacon butty.
Once we'd had breakfast we checked out of the hotel and set off on our journey towards our ultimate destination for the evening: Selçuk. When I was planning the holiday I decided that taking a direct route to Selçuk wasn't going to be very exciting, so I'd built in a bit of a diversion. The diversion would add an extra hour of driving onto our route, but it also meant that we got to visit an archaeological site which I was hoping would be really impressive.
The journey certainly got off to a good start, as we drove on small roads with some incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
After around 3 hours in the car, we reached the archaeological site at Aphrodisias.
Aphrodisias was an ancient Greek city and was the capital of the Roman province of Caria.
Aphrodisias was famous in the Roman world for its sculptures, mostly main from local marble. In particular, the local sculptors seem to have produced a lot of marble sarcophagi and a display of those was the first thing that we saw once we'd paid our tickets and entered the site.
Lots of them had faces carved on them, some scarier than others!
Sarcophagi weren't the only carvings; we also walked past these. No idea what they were, but they looked in impressive condition.
We also came across various stones which looked like they were inscribed with Greek lettering.
We followed signs towards the first main sight: the temple of Aphrodite. When we came to the structure in the photo below, we assumed we'd found it.
It turned out we were wrong. This wasn't the temple, but apparently a tetrapylon; a large monumental gateway.
This would have stood at the end of the main road leading towards the temple.
It was really impressive anyway and we've definitely been to places which claimed to have Roman ruins but had nothing quite as impressive as this
We got distracted in our search for the temple when we saw a sign pointing towards the stadium.
We followed the arrows and wow, this was huge!
The stadium at Aphrodisias is one of the biggest and best preserved ancient stadiums in the world.
It was built in the first century AD and would originally have been home to popular Greek sports such as races, wrestling and boxing.
Later, it would also have been used for Roman gladiatorial combat.
The stadium was capable of seating 30,000 spectactors!
To give a sense of scale, if you look towards the right of the photo below then the small person you can see is me.
It was really amazing to see and pretty incredible to have it to ourselves
Once we'd finished admiring the stadium, we finally stumbled upon the Temple of Aphrodite.
A temple to the Greek goddess of love is thought to have originally been built here in the 6th century BC. That was later replaced by a more impressive temple in the 1st century BC.
The temple would have been the focal point of the city of Aphrodisias and people would have travelled on pilgrimages to see it.
The temple was later repurposed as a Christian basilica by order of the Emperor Zeno.
There are enough columns left standing to give an impression of what it must have looked like.
Though some of the columns look more stable than others!
We encountered a small group of Russian tourists here, but once they'd moved on we had the entire place to ourselves again.
This is definitely not one of those sites where you have to arrive early to avoid the crowds
Our next stop after the temple was the Bouleuterion, which would have been the council house of the town.
It looked like a small Roman theatre.
Again, there was no one else here!
I was able to try out one of the bench seats in the top row.
Next to the council house we found the public baths.
After the sights we'd already seen today, they seemed less impressive; but they had a lot to compete with!
We figured we must have seen everything in Aphrodisias now so began to make our way round towards the exit.
On the way we found the agora area, where there would have been gardens and even a pool.
The pool was here in the centre and looks like it would have been huge.
From this point the path began to lead uphill. We climbed reluctantly - it was such a hot day - but when we got to the top of the slope we were glad we'd made the effort.
If we hadn't, we'd have missed this enormous theatre. Wow!
Now we really were almost at the exit. On the way out we walked past a wall made up of different carvings found around the site.
We passed this temple, which also had some incredible carvings.
Then one final wall of sculptures and we really had seen everything
Aphrodisias was incredible; definitely one of the best archaeological sites we've ever been to! From there we had a drive of another two hours or so until we reached Selçuk. We're staying for a couple of nights in a hotel on the edge of the town.
We found it without too much difficulty and it's in a lovely location, but once we'd arrived we couldn't find any reception or instructions about what we were supposed to do, which was a bit frustrating.
A phone call later, we finally got into our room. Phew!
It's been a busy day but one with some spectacular sights. Ephesus is going to have to be really good tomorrow to beat Aphrodisias!