Today I hiked to the Ancient City of Pedasa with a group of tourist from Denmark. Our Turkish guide, Erkan Şehirli, provided excellent commentary on the history of Pedasa and the area. The weather was clear and windy. The vistas were amazing!
Pedasa existed some 2,500 to 3,000 years ago in the hills surrounding Bodrum Turkey. It’s one of the oldest civilizations of the Aegean Region. Walking paths we crossed have ancient cities buried beneath them. Today the visible remains of Pedasa are a maze of loose rocks and stone walls. In the Medieval period the Knights of Rhodes used stones taken from Pedasa to build Bodrum Castle.
The hike over a cobbled road led us uphill to breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. The vegetation was lush and green from winter rains and wildflowers were abundant. We hiked by grazing cattle and passed turtles slowly making their way along the road.
Pedasa was in the Caria Region of Western Anatolia first inhabited as early as 3000 BC by the indigenous populations of Leleg and Carian. “More than 20 ancient cities inhabited by Carians and Lelegs still bear witness to the glorious past of the region.” Homer wrote about Mausoleus King of Lelegs in the Iliad which details events that took place during the 10th year of the Trojan War. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was erected in honor of Mausolus.
“Lelegs preferred living in high locations away from the sea so they could watch the coast and protect themselves from hostile attacks by their enemies. In this civilization the typical masonry structure included circular walls. One interesting aspect of Leleg construction is that materials like cement or plaster were not used to merge rocks.”
Ancient cities in the area include:
• Milas, Mylasa – capital of Caria
• Euromos – Temple of Zeus
• Heraclia – captured by Alexander the Great
• Priene – designed by famous architect Hippodamos
• Mıletus – known as the queen of the Ionian cities
• Labranda – sacred shrines of Caria dedicated to Zeus
• Magnesia – founded by the soldiers of Agamemnon after the Trojan War
• Pamukkale – known for its thermal water and white calcium terraces
It was a satisfying day!