Rediscovering and Recycling Turkey

I first visited Ephesus in the late 70’s. One of the places I missed seeing at the time was the temple of Artemis. It is quite easy to understand how I missed seeing it then as the only part of the temple left standing is a couple of columns, one of which has become home for a stork family. Recycling the ruins is not new. There are recycled columns holding up the roof of the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. And why would anyone cut blocks to construct monuments when it has been done before and the blocks are lying around just asking to be used again.

It seems that wherever I step ashore on the Turkish coat there is evidence of previous civilizations strewn around. Some of the sites are well documented and others not. And reconstructing the past is an ongoing and expensive task which no government could afford to take on alone. The ‘terrace houses’ in Ephesus are quite amazing to see today, but the first time I was in Ephesus they were completely covered with earth. Now a huge jigsaw puzzle of pottery, frescos, arches, evidence of heating systems is being reconstructed under an extensive roof structure by three different nations of archaeologists.

My final destination on this sailing trip is the town of Marmaris in the beautiful Bay of Marmaris. Vandalised by the development which took place in the late 80’s and 90’s Marmaris is now trying to right some of those mistakes.

Searching for the little village which welcomed sailors in the late 70’s was difficult. Some of the houses are now ‘boom-boom’ bars and carpet shops, a few have been lovingly restored and others converted to restaurants and cafes. Of course nothing stays the same – but it is reassuring to see that some attempt is being made to stop the carnage which turned this beautiful bay into a Turkish Bucklands Holiday Camp with beer, darts and bingo all round.


The replacement of the old shady trees along the waterfront with tall palms is an anomaly. In a country where summer temperatures regularly reach the forties the shade would have been very welcome. I am here early in the season and even so the heat of the day is not a time to be wandering around. Although nobody seems to have told the pink, (turning to lobster red), pale skinned tourists to stay in the shade, as they bake themselves on the town beach.

One of the places I discovered is a small traditional ‘raki’ house, in the old village, near the ‘castle’. Here the owner, Erkhman, lovingly produces the best mezes I have eaten in his kitchen.’ Yesilkoylu’, please don’t tell too many people about it. I want to return here next year and find it unchanged. His lamb bourak is to die for!

After a meal here I repaired to Turku Evi to enjoy some traditional Turkish music and feel completely embraced by the genuine welcome of the exuberant Turks. The crowd all join in the singing and dancing is obligatory. A great way to work off the bourak I have just consumed.

Mariner Boating Holidays run the Lycian Coast Rally in Turkey in September, with events planned for 2013 and 2014.

For more information, ring Trevor Joyce on (02) 9966 1244 or check out their website as well as the Lycian Coast Rally website.