Friday, 22 January 2016

Xantos – Tlos

On the17th of December we visited Xantos. Xantos was the name of a city in ancient Lycia in Turkey. Tlos lies on the east side of the Xanthos valley.

Tlos is an ancient ruined Lycian hilltop citadel near the resort town of Kalkan in the Antalya Province of southern Turkey. It is one of the oldest and largest settlements of Lycia and was inhabited by Romans, Byzantines and eventually Ottoman Turks.

At the top of the hill sits the remains of an acropolis and a Lycian fortress, which is evident by the remains of a Lycian wall and Roman-era wall. The Ottomans constructed a fort for the local feudal governor Kanlı Ağı Ali (Bloody Chief Ali) upon the foundations of the fortress.

Since early Lycian times, the city's settlement was likely concentrated on the southern and western slopes. Wide terraces with cisterns and the back walls of buildings carved from the rock are found there, as well as an agora, a Roman-era amphitheatre, baths and the remains of a Byzantine church.

At the foot of the hill is a Roman stadium with seating capacity for 2,500 people. Only the seats remain and the arena is a farmer's field. Granite columns were strewn about the area, which could indicate a columned portico on the north side of the arena.

Inscriptions reveal that citizens of Tlos were divided into demes (social subdivisions), the names of three of them are known: Bellerophon, Iobates and Sarpedon, famous Lycian heroes of legend. A Jewish community is also known to have existed with its own magistrates.

Tlos was rediscovered by Charles Fellows in 1838 and he was followed by the explorer Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt, who thought that "a grander site for a great city could scarcely have been selected in all Lycia."

Picture from;

In mythology, it was the city inhabited by hero Bellerophon and his winged flying horse Pegasus. It is known that the king-type tomb in the necropolis is dedicated to Bellerophon.

On the opposite hill top, the village of Yaka now co-exists with Tlos. Fields and pomegranate trees make for very picturesque scenery. Tlos is a popular destination for tourist from the coastal town such as Kas and Kalkan.

Doris Kirn 1.D

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Istanbul, the timeless city

Istanbul, historically known as Constantinople or Byzantium, is a transcontinental city in Eurasia straddling the Bosphorus strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It is a privileged city, having witnessed the most important events in the history of humanity. 
Aya Sophia from the rooftop of our hotel
 Archaeological remains show that people have inhabited the immediate area of present-day Istanbul for tens of thousands of years. A large population lived in the area around 5000 B. C. According to legend, the colony of Byzantium was founded in 660 B.C. by a Megarian named Byzas. The colony was named after him. Because of its strategic position, Byzantium didn't take long to establish its economic dominance over the region, inviting unwanted attention. Greeks, Athenians, Persians and Spartans fought over the city early on. By 73 B. C. the city had become part of a Roman province. 
Aya Sophia
During the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian, more than half a million people lived in Constantinople. Justinian oversaw the construction of some of the city's most spectacular buildings, including the Aya Sophia. The accumulation of wealth continued to attract enemies. In 542, a plague devastated the population, killing three out of five inhabitants, and marked the beginning of the city's decline. Its enemies besieged the weakened city but could not penetrate its walls. Between the seventh and eleventh centuries Russians, Persian Sassanids, Avars, Muslim Arabs and Bulgars attacked the city.
Topkapi entrance
 During the Fourth Crusade, the Latins broke through the walls and seized the city in 1204. They held it until 1261, when Byzantine troops recaptured the city. Under Latin rule, the city was plundered and ruined. In the distance, the advancing troops of the Ottoman Empire moved closer and closer. The Ottoman Turks attacked Constantinople for the first time in the 14th century. The Ottomans built a fort on the Asian side of the Bosporus to prevent aid from reaching Constantinople. Yet the city would not fall for several decades. Than later under leader Mehmed II. Aya Sophia was turned into a Muslim temple. It was a symbolic gesture that signalled the end of Constantinople’s Christian era and the beginning of Muslim rule.

Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque, interior
 The city had been nearly abandoned during Mehmed's siege. He began to repopulate it by moving people into the city from other communities. In 1457, Constantinople, known by now as Istanbul, became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Dynasty claimed the status of caliphate in 1517, with Istanbul remaining the capital of this last caliphate for four centuries. During the rule of Suleyman the Magnificent (152066), Ottoman Istanbul reached its zenith. Modern facilities, such as a water supply network, electricity, telephones, and trams, were gradually introduced to Istanbul over the following centuries, although later than to other European cities. 
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
The modernization efforts were not enough to forestall the decline of the Ottoman Empire. During the World War I Istanbul was occupied by British, French and Italians. From the late 1940s and early 1950s, Istanbul underwent great structural change and the population of Istanbul began to rapidly increase in the 1970s, as people from Anatolia migrated to the city to find employment in the many new factories that were built on the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis. The best sights in Istanbul are the already mentioned Aya Sophia, Topkapi palace(Topkapi Sarayi), Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque, Galata Tower, and many more.

Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
I was amazed with Istanbul. It is such an enormous city, with hidden historical parts on every single corner. Also, I was surprised with the people of Istanbul, that are, despite the nowadays situation, extremely open and kind. The first thing that impressed me, was the view of the Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque at sunset. They looked so magnificent and powerful, that I couldn’t wait to see them up close. We went to explore the city. We saw the Taksim Square, which is situated in the European part of Istanbul. It is considered as the heart of modern Istanbul, it is also the location of Monument of the Republic (Cumhuriyet Anıtı), which commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. 
Galata Tower
We were amazed by the Galata tower, which was the city's tallest structure when it was built in 1348. It looked stunning at night, with all the lights surrounding it. Then we crossed the Galata bridge that is 490 m long with a main span of 80 m. It used to be a symbolic link between the traditional city of Istanbul, site of the imperial palace and principal religious and important institutions of the empire, and the districts of Galata, Beyoğlu, Şişli and Harbiye. In these districts inhabitants were mostly non-Muslim, foreign merchants and diplomats. A person who went from Fatih to Harbiye on the other side of the bridge, set foot in a different civilization and a different culture. 

The Galata bridge is the main subject of many paintings and literature. So full of different nations and cultures the timeless city of Istanbul made me fall in love with it. Then the next morning we went to visit the Blue Mosque. We saw the blue mosaics and the traditional domes, covering the mosque. Crossing the main square, we moved to Aya Sophia. It was clear that it used to be a Christian church, but it was also an important Muslim temple. It was a great pleasure exploring such a historical place. I love history, and the Aya Sophia was something that I’ve always wanted to see. So, basically this was a dream come true. We also visited the Topkapi Palace that amazed us with the beautiful view of Istanbul, well preserved and presented personal belongings of Ottoman Emperors, and the whole palace actually, it was reported to be a city within a city.
At first I was afraid because I’ve never been to Istanbul. I was scared of meeting new people, the culture and everything that comes with along with that, but I actually felt extremely safe. I loved being there and I hope I’ll get the chance to go there again some time soon. It was such a memorable experience!
And after all I think that Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. And I’m sure that it will continue to keep its greatness and that the time will encourage that greatness to grow even stronger.
Julija Krautberger, 2. D

Monday, 11 January 2016

Ancient City of Tlos

The ancient city of Tlos stands on the high parts of Fethiye till this very day. While it is mostly rubble, it's still a wonderous sight to behold and the view from the top of it is unbelievable. It was founded on the western slopes of the mountains in Fethiye and it served as an outlook or a defensive point, overlooking the Eastern Valley – hence why the view is amazing. In Greek mythology, legends say that the city was founded by Tloos, who was one of the 4 sons of Tremilus and Praksidike, therefore earning the name ''Tlos.''.

             1. First sight after stepping out of the bus.

The trip there was quite long, but once we got there, it certainly was a tremendous thing. It was amazing to see something so historical and old in person and it holds a much deeper meaning than to see it's image in a book or on the internet.  

2. Little tourists climbing the giant city

    I was actually surprised by the fact that it wasn't guarded or anything. There was just a sign that said ''Open from 8:00 to 20:00. Entrance past the deadline is strictly forbidden.''. Yet, there was literally nothing to defend it, it's just there.

3. Weak gates but better than nothing.

 However there were some parts which were surrounded by wires which were off limits, but they were still something to see.
While me and my friends walked around the ancient city, we encountered some sheep and some ram who were there just eating the grass, but weren't bothered by us humans – even though one ram scared Barbara who ran behind me.

4. Can't sleep, rams will eat me.

As mentioned before, the view from the top of it is excellent and by seeing it, it was obvious why this place served as a defensive point. You can see very far away, but the height is frightening.
Unfortunately, because of it's rough state we couldn't explore the ''interior'' of it, since everything basically collapsed as time went on. But we could still see some leftovers of the rooms and other places and the great amount of details carved onto the pillars and walls can not be unnoticed. 

5. Even 12 year old kids can climb these, that's how easy they are to climb on.

In my opinion, old buildings always fascinated me more than today's buildings which are just boring cubes stuck together. Back in their time, they certainly knew how to create amazing buildings with great detail as well as some ''roofs'', which I do not understand how they managed to do that with pure stone.

6. So much detail – respect given.

 It might sound rough climbing these things, but it certainly isn't if I somehow managed.
It also looks amazing from the distance, when you see some buildings built into walls of cliffs and cliff edges. As mentioned before – how they managed this, I don't know, but it's amazing.

7. Aww, the lion fights are already over.

            Needless to say, these were great sights and has a very distinct Roman/Greek feel about it, which can be seen by the structure and the details – which don't look very Turkish. I would highly recommend these sights, especially if anyone is interested in the history of Amphiteateres or historical findings in general. While it isn't quite in it's original beauty as it was some millenia ago, it's still a wonderful sight to remember.

Nika Podbevšek, 1. E



Fethiye is located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos; ruins that can be seen in the city. Telmessos was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in the 5th century BC.

''The legend about the city is that the god Apollo fell in love with the youngest daughter of king Agenor. He first showed himself to theprincess in the form of a small dog and thus gains the love of the shy princess. After he reappears as a handsome man. They had a son who they named Telmessos – the land of lights - , and the city was named after him.''

In years 334-333 BC the city was invaded by Alexsander the Great.
By the 10th century, the name was forgoten and became known as Makre or Makri, (''long one'').

In the late 12th or early 13th century the area fell to the Turks. It became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1424 by the name Beskaza.
In 1934 the city was renamed 'Fethiye' in honor of Fethi Bey, one of the first pilots of the Ottoman Air Force, who was sadly killed on an early mission.

The city itself is very beautiful. The town people were nice to us even if some of them didn't know good english. I was taken away at how beautiful it is there. They have a lot of historical places that are very interesting, like ancient city of Telmessos, Lycian tombs cut in the hill above the town, or the exibit in the Fethiye museum.

The most interesting things to me were the Lycian tombs that are cut in the hill above the town, theatre and the ancient cityof Telmessos. They are nicely built and somehow good preserved. I think they could at least build a fence around it so that not every person can go in, or put the sign no smoking in the area of the tombs, the theatre and the city. I know they are exposed to the weather and there nothing could be done. It would be hard to build a whole ''house'' around it and it would have no meaning. They could at least clean the surroundings.
I was impressed by all the things they have in the Fethiye museum. It is small but they have a lot of interesting things. They have a lot of statues, old money, some mosaics, and other stuf. The inside is nicely organized and presented. You have everything from A-Z. But the outside is badly presented for my opinion. Yeah, it has all the data you need but out where there is rain, sun, wind and all that? All the things are gonna dissapear if we don't do something. They could build a roof so that the rain dosn't ''melt'' the stone so it stay the way it is for much more years.

My opinion is that the natural harbor is the most preserved place. I don't have any comments about it.

As a conclusion I'll say that  it was very interesting. I learned new things, and some new word. Like hello; merhaba or goodbye; görüşürüz. I was suprised by the towns people that were very kind to us turists. On the site where we were staying was nice to. I didn't mention all the things we saw in Fethiye but non the less. It was fun meeting new people from other countries and other continent. The food was great, the things we saw were interesting.

I think that they do really care for their town and they cherish what they have.

Nina Agapito, 1. E