Monday, January 3, 2011

Memories of Cirali

I always wondered why people scribble so many things on a stone, on a temple, on a monument, on the corner of a room occupied by some king centuries back. It looked dirty. I never really liked and never did it myself. And, I actually felt it was those people who did not write anything on the wall, conveyed the most subtle and expressive messages. I could sometimes feel it.

I had this experience again, when I visited Turkey. It was a long overdue vacation, near the sea beach. It turned out to be much more than that.

I asked a good friend of mine about the Turkish tourist locations. The reason I zeroed in on Turkey was manifold. I knew that it contains several ancient Greek cities, including Troy. I have been through Istanbul twice before, when I found the beauty mesmerizing. Lastly, I wanted to be near a sea beach, as it would be perfect for us to relax with our young son. Greece was another possibility but, that taxes the wallet much more. So, Turkey. The suggestions poured in from my Turkish friend, where from we chose to visit Cirali. Again, Cirali had few edges over a regular tourist spot. It is a heritage place with little crowd and far from the nearest big city, Antalya. It boasts of two small hills, where Greek history and mythology rests side by side. Cirali also has a beautiful beach, as the pictures from web showed. It could not be more true.

We landed at Antalya with a breathtaking sunset welcoming us.

We had to travel 2 hours from the airport to reach Cirali. Our hosts were supposed to send a car, which was out of sight. I checked with taxi and found that they had some strikes ongoing. I could not decipher more with their English. The weather was humid and little hot. I had a feel of India and I liked that despite the trouble brewing. In few minutes a person appeared in front of us, conveyed that he is from the resort and asked us to board a car. We boarded. Few minutes in the car, we were asked again to change to another car. I was confused and started cross-examining the person to check if he is indeed the person we can rely on. Later, to much of our amusement, I would discover that he is actually the owner of the small resort where we would put up !

By dead of night we reached Cirali. The streets are narrow, small hut-like houses with low intensity lights hanging from trees. It could be any Indian village. We liked it from the first view itself.

The next morning, our son discovered the green fields around the resort. There was a puppy and few chickens. He was over-joyous to run around them. Obviously, we had our share of relaxation. The sea beach was 10 minutes by walk from the resort. During our 5 day stay, we visited it at least twice a day and I dipped at least once a day - including a bath during the night with starry sky atop. The sea is typical of Greece and Turkey. Crystal clear. I could see some small fish families near the coast.

We walked 1 kilometer uphill on the second day of our visit to the place called Chimaera. Chimaera is the mythical dragon, which is still erupting fire from stone. We stood amidst the small fires for sometime. It has remnants of a small palace, windows with beautiful handcrafted designs. It was pristine with no human touch after it. Perhaps the eruption of flammable gases accompanied with explosions, few thousand years ago, destroyed the palace completely. Legend has that this same fire was used for lighting the torch of Olympics. The torch run actually took place in a nearby ancient city, called Olympos. We ventured for Olympos the next day.

Olympos was a prosperous city during Hellenistic period, 2nd century BC. It is located strategically, offering a natural harbor for ships with a small rivulet able to accommodate boats. The city had its small open air theater, fortresses built atop mountains, temple, ruined stone-walled houses and a cemetery. Olympos was raided numerous times by pirates till it was officially included in the Roman empire. It was abandoned later, for reasons unknown to me. We walked along a narrow pathway through the city. Today the same path is used by tourists, who come to the sea beach from the parking area nearby. We could feel the vibe of the ancient city, covered in the woods, left behind by doomed dwellers centuries ago. The nice wind flowing through the rivulet added to the mysticism already present there. We sat along a ruined house. In front of us merry tourists, mostly Turks, walking back to the parking lot as the day was getting over. Perhaps the same people, perhaps we, spent years in this place, I thought. The names perished, the small beautiful details of lives and struggles perished.

And our visit to Olympos today, will be forgotten. I felt I need to write something. Somewhere, to mention that WE WERE HERE. I composed this blog and hoped it will survive generations in a weary hard disk to be read, someday, somewhere.


  1. dada ... did you checked out Aspendos (near Serik) on the Antalya-Alanya highway ?? It was also pretty good. nicely naturally preserved.

  2. @Sarvo,
    no but, we are pretty sure that we will visit Turkey again. Will keep this in mind.

  3. really, this trip was awesome.....