Greg & Tracy - 2016 Europe & Asia travel blog

Entrance to the Patara ruins and beach

18 km long ... Patara Beach

Only one cafe allowed on the beach. A protected loggerhead turtle nesting...

Okay ... another day ...another ruin ... this time Xanthos

Our unofficial tour guide ... he just started talking and followed us...

The detais in the marble carvings are incredible

Original mosaic tiles on the pathways throughout the village

Goats rule the land now

Obelisk (V century BC) is a giant slab of stone where the...

Okay ... what else do you want to know?

Harpy Tomb with images of 2 birds believed to be mythical harpies...

Original ceramic water pipes used for pumping water up from the river

Xanthos ruins

Just bones and a dog

Patara Beach ... We heard a lot about this beach so wanted to come and check it out. It is a 18 km long sandy beach that stretches alongside the ancient ruins of Patara (we were ruined out for ruins, so didn't wander through them ... but from the road and beach view, they were quite impressive)

It's a great beach for walking and swimming due to the soft sand (no pebbles!) and shallow waters. The winds in the afternoon get quite strong here ... with sand dunes shifting around you. The whole stretch of beach is protected as it is one of the places the endangered loggerhead turtles lay their eggs. They come ashore to lay their eggs from May to October so the beach is closed just before sunset and until dawn.

Xanthos ... another impressive (although small) ruin and even better that we came during the slow season as we were the only ones here.

After we parked, bought our ticket and started walking to the first area ... we made a friend. An old timer that has spent over 25 years hanging out here talking to people. He became our unofficial guide and at times, switched between a few different languages. It made the tour quite interesting and entertaining.

Below is a quick summary of the violent history of Xanthos. The Xanthosians twice demonstrated the fierce independence of the Lycian people when they chose to commit mass suicide rather than submit to invading forces. The Xanthosian men set fire to their women, children, slaves and treasure upon the acropolis before making their final doomed attack upon the invading Persians. Xanthos was later repopulated but the same gruesome story repeated itself in 42 BC when Brutus attacked the city during the Roman civil wars in order to recruit troops and raise money. Brutus was shocked by the Lycians' suicide and offered his soldiers a reward for each Xanthosian saved. Only 150 citizens were rescued.

A translated Poem found on a tablet in the Xanthos excavations:

We made our houses graves

And our graves are homes to us

Our houses burned down

And our graves were looted

We climbed to the summits

We went deep into the earth

We were drenched in water

They came and got us

They burned and destroyed us

They plundered us

And we,

For the sake of our mothers,

Our women,

And for the sake of our dead,

And we,

In the name of our honor,

And our freedom,

We, the people of this land,

Who sought mass suicide

We left a fire behind us,

Never to die out...

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