"Cruising the Carian Coast" is our second cruise in Turkey since October 2019, On this occasion, to give an impression of the experience, we are providing a kind of travel diary on our blog, following precedents from Greece, Ireland and Turkey. Rather than describing every day in detail (you can check our itineraries on www.petersommer.com for that), every day we will pick one image we took that day, accompanied by some explanations and thoughts.
Once again, I am writing up the day in sight of grandiose ruins - or at least one ruin. This time, we're in the Bay of Loryma, at the very southwestern extremity of mainland Turkey.
Then, we crossed from the Knidos peninsula to the Loryma or Bozburun peninsula (known as the Carian Chersonese in antiquity). This is always an interesting trip, because it takes us through Greek waters, close to the Greek island of Symi, which lies in an awkward embrace between those two arms of the Turkish coast. The trip offers great views of Symi's famously picturesque harbour town and its Neoclassical houses spilling down a steep hillside. During the same crossing, we also viewed Nisyros, Tilos, Chalki and Rhodes, a panorama of the southern Dodecanese!
We ended up here in Loryma Bay, where we went ashore to explore the famous Rhodian fortress of Loryma, arguably the best-preserved example of Late Classical/Hellenistic defensive architecture in the entire Mediterranean. I've written about Loryma before on this blog, so you can check that post for details. The site is one of those you can only reach by boat or on foot - a bonus available only for those travelling on yachts or gulets! It is a very important stop on our Carian cruises, not just for the fortress itself, but because it exemplifies the close relationship between Caria and the island and city-state of Rhodes, which controlled parts of Caria for long periods, integrating Greek and Carian citizens into a shared polity. Loryma is beautifully easy to comprehend, as it is a single-purpose structure, but it is also rugged, romantic, evocative - and a little more overgrown than we remembered! We enjoyed our tour, imagining the lives of the Rhodian and Carian men who served here to garrison it and tracing their activities through the monument itself and its scattered inscriptions.
We met two goats there, one white and one light brown, and the latter showed us how we would love to walk on the region's beautiful but harsh limestone. It watched us make our way up to the fortress laboriously and then followed, effortlessly traversing the stepped rocks, overtaking us and eyeing us with disdain all the while. Goats play a very important role in the history of the region: their introduction (along with that of other browsing animals) in the Neolithic transformed the Aegean landscape profoundly.
They are a beauty to watch. The goat is to rock what the dolphin is to water and the swallow to air: a creature that manages to move across its element in the most appropriate fashion, in tune with the materiality and topography of its environment and in rhythm with its path (fluid for the dolphin, floating and darting for the swallow and angular for the goat), comfortable, knowledgeable, at ease, elegant and apparently joyful. We humans may have conquered the elements with much heaving and sighing, but we usually lack the physical elegance of other creatures. We only reach that degree of perfection when we move in a humanly-defined medium, such as ballet, or maybe the less lovely trait of building fortifications!
Tomorrow, we'll explore a little-known site of both Carian and Rhodian character nearby.