The classical civilisations have left important in-prints throughout Greece, Italy and the Mediterranean. The question that arises is: where today do you go to experience the world as it once was? The museums and the temples? Places such as the Acropolis in Athens do not truly reflect the atmosphere of this era. There is still a place where you can still encounter a reconnection with the past: Termessos, this is the place to visit, placed fifteen miles from Antalya in Turkey.
It is set in an area surrounded by greenery, situated on a mountain which is known by any of the following names Mount Solymos, Güllük Dağı or Pink Mountain, at a height of 1,000 metres, the mountain then peak at their highest point at 1,655 metres. You will be surprised by the difference between here and let us say, the order of the Imperial Forums in Rome or Ephesus. Here especially you can feel the presence of those who lived and built the city. Its inhabitants resisted Alexander the Great’s invasion in 333 B.C., who compared the city to an “eagle’s nest”. It was an autonomous city allied with the Romans.
As you approach from the bushes there appear walls semi-covered of vegetation. The landscape of grey rock under the sun shines and draws your eyes up to the sky. You have to at times move the bushes and branches to see the fascinating spectacle: of the great necropolis tombs scattered haphazardly, as if a hurricane had torn a path through this area. The tombs are made as sarcophagi whose coverage of rock have been thrown away. A great earthquake took the life of this mountain town. The aqueduct that supplied the town was destroyed.
The huge amphitheatre that holds 4000-5000 people is surrounded by greenery. The six imposing temples suggest that here lived a mighty civilisation. The Temessos National Park has not only archaeological ruins but also beautiful natural landscapes where Mediterranean vegetation abounds. In this place, traces of leopards were found in 1992 In Termessos National Park, the archaeological remains have survived amidst the vegetation.
We can see a palimpsest of superimposed layers from different times in history, where the people have sort to use this place and marked it with their own inprint without losing the original set up by building on the old mountain-community relationship.
WRITTEN BY GUIDO COPPARI, GRADUATED IN FORESTRY, FOREST SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF PADOVA