Ismet. (April 2012)

Over the last few weeks in Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey we have visited some amazing Helenistic and Roman ruins.

But no matter how interested you are in history, after a while these ruins become just more piles of rubble, broken pillars and pediments.

This is where there is great value in a good guide.

A good guide helps you to see beyond the surface and makes you aware of the little things.

We had such a guide when we headed out of Antalya to Side, Aspendos, Perge and the Kursunlu Waterfall.

Ismet was knowledgeable about Turkish history, both old and new, and was anxious that we quiz him on any subject.

What made our day, clambering over more history, so insightful was his intimate knowledge of the details.

He showed us how the Romans constructed their columns, from the capital down, using iron rods and molten lead.

He explained, with diagrams drawn in the dirt, how the aqueducts could make water travel uphill.

However the highlight for me was a sign, carved in marble, lying near the Agora in Perge.

This butcher’s shop sign was about 1,800 years old but the simplicity of its design made it instantly recognisable.

It wasn’t all ruins as he did take us to the Roman theatre at Aspendos. This is the most complete structure of its type with an intact facade and colonnades.

Thanks Ismet.


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