Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The ancient city of Aphrodisias... best ruins site yet!

There's no easy way to get from Denizli to the Aphrodisias ruins. You can either take the longer but faster route on the main highway around the mountains (which is what almost anybody would do), or you can drive the slower but shorter narrow curvy roads through the mountains.

But you know us fairly well by now. We are not "almost anybody", so you should be able to guess which route we chose!

As the crow flies, it's only 32 kms (20 miles) away but if you take the main highway it's 81 kms (51 miles) and if you take the mountain route it's 64 kms (40 miles).

Yes, we took the mountain route. We left at 9:30am, and arrived at the ruins site at 11:30am. Yes, it was slow going, but beautiful scenery and no other traffic. And, we stopped a couple of times to take photos. We totally enjoyed the drive, except for one tight section through a mountain village! Actually, that was kind of fun too. Glad we weren't in a motorhome!

Looking back at the city as we started to gain some altitude.

Scenery along the way.

Sheep and goats.

The town of Mollaahmetler.

We get to the next town of Babadag, and it's built onto a hillside. Normally, and always if we're in the motorhome, I plan our route without letting the GPS (or google maps, in this case) select it for me. However this time because we were in a car, I was simply following the turns as they were called out to me. Much less risk of running into problems when you're driving a car.

We made a left turn that I'm sure was just google making a shortcut decision for us. And so I followed it blindly up a steep narrow paved path with hairpin turns. There would not have been room to pass a car going the opposite direction.

Ruth eventually videoed the whole thing. I didn't realize she had it on, so you can listen to my candid comments.  Turn up your volume...

She actually didn't catch the worst of it that was seconds before she started filming. Had we been in a vehicle any larger than our car, we would not have made it and would have had to back down the entire way. I don't ever want to put myself in that situation, which is why when we're in a motorhome I do so much advance planning. And it's also why we want the smallest motorhome possible that suits our needs!

More scenery.

The buildings on the right are a bunch of new apartments.
Odd that they are built in the middle of nowhere.

Enjoying the views.

Some old ruins.

View of another mountain village.

This reservoir is almost dry.
Good thing for them that the rainy season is coming.

We arrived at the entrance to Aphrodisias at 11:30am. There were signs directing us to the parking area, but the guy at the entrance said we could park closer to the ruins. There was a 10 lira ($1.50 CAD, $1.20 USD) parking fee that we paid, and carried on to the ruins site where we parked and then paid the 30 lira ($4.60 CAD, $3.50 USD) entrance fee.

Passing through the gates, we saw the road lined with sarcophagi... ancient stone coffins...

They date from the 2nd to 3rd centuries.

The detailed inscriptions on them describe who commissioned and owned it, and who had the right to be laid to rest in it.

The ruins at Ephesus get most of the attention when it comes to tourists visiting Turkey. However I had read that Aphrodisias ruins are actually far superior, and in a more natural state of (dis?)repair. We haven't been to Ephesus yet, but we are going... so it will be interesting to compare the two when we visit Ephesus next week.

One of the things we really enjoyed yesterday is that we were pretty much the only ones there! Totally amazing to be in a setting like this and to be virtually alone there. Amazing!

Aphrodisias was a prosperous city, famous in Roman times for its sanctuary of the god of love, Aphrodite. It was occupied from the 100 BC until 700 AD when a severe earthquake destroyed the city. It was then abandoned. So it was occupied for over 800 years. That is hard for us to get a grasp of since most of our cities in Canada and the U.S. are less than 200 years old. We wonder what people 2,000 years from now will think of what our culture was like at the time.

They say its monuments are unusually well preserved, and it hosts the location of the largest and best preserved stadium of all the ancient sites. It was also the location of a sculpture school, which is why there were so many marble statues located here.

A gladiator fighting some kind of animal.

Mom, with one of her pups.

Two more pups!

Display of friezes. 
These were originally excavated in 1937 and had been on display in the city of Izmir until they were returned here in 2009.

Reminds me of the Statue of Liberty.

Sculptors were commissioned to do many "portraits".

We made our way to the impressive Tetrapylon... the monumental gateway to the Temple of Aphrodite. Yes, there are some things that have been restored as best as possible. You would be correct in thinking that this didn't survive the earthquake that destroyed the city in the 7th century.

But, it's still impressive!

Surprisingly though, some of it was still standing.
This is what it looked like prior to its reconstruction in 1991.

As I said earlier, Aphrodisias is the location of the best preserved ancient stadium. This example seated 30,000 people, which means people must have traveled long distances to attend events, because the population of the city itself was maximum 15,000 at any given time.

Can you see Ruth in the middle? 
Remember, you can click on any photo to make it full screen.
Click on it again to zoom in further.

This end of the stadium had some excavation work ongoing.

The stadium was built in the 1st century to showcase traditional Greek athletic contests such as foot races, long jumping, wrestling, discus, and javelin throwing. The stadium was also used for gladiator contests and "wild beast fights" as the information sign explained.

Okay, we're ready for the show to begin!

What remains of the temple.

This statue is well preserved!
I think they should move it into the museum here.


What amazes us about some of these ruins sites is how much is left to be discovered. There have been several excavations take place over the years... in the 1840's, between 1905-1906, in the middle 1930's, and ongoing from about 1961. And yet so much is still buried.

The walls around the sculpture school.

The council hall.

The sculpture school.

These podiums would have had sculptures on them, but most are now in museums around the world, including many in the on site museum.

They built floors to last back then!

Pillars that would have surrounded the Agora Pool.

The Agora Pool was a park like public square. the pool itself is an amazing 170 meters long, and had a pressurized water system to feed its fountains. How did they do this 2,000 years ago?

The pool was only excavated between 2012 and 2017.

Next stop was the 7,000 seat theater...

This seat has a cup holder!

Me, on the stage.
"Friends, Romans, Countrymen... lend me your ears..."

What happens to your floor over time if you don't keep it clean!

Interesting building structure.

In its natural state.

A computer generator photo of what this would have looked like back in the day.

We then went into the onsite museum where they have on display may of the artifacts that have been recovered here...

The statues are amazing.

Now this is art!

Gold coins from 2,000 years ago.

They didn't need to do an autopsy to figure out how this guy died!

Copper artist impressions from the first British archeological visit in 1840.

What a fantastic visit. We saw one other couple wandering around when we first arrived, and then not a single other person as we wandered the site for three hours! Amazing! As we exited, we saw two or three other couples coming in. Glad we beat the rush!

We sat in the car and had a late lunch. As we were eating, I had my door wide open and a cat wanted to come in and share our food. I closed the door, and he hopped up on the car!

Funny cat.

We drove back to the city taking part of the same mountain route, and then a section of highway just for a change of pace.

Watch out for the goats!

There's a curvy road!

Our road ahead!

Another great day in Turkey. 

We've been to lots of Mayan and Aztec ruins sites in Mexico. So it's interesting comparing cultures from ancient times who didn't even know each other existed. And we have sometimes seen too many ruins sites in Mexico... you tend to get "ruined out". Something like visiting too many museums. You can only look at so many pieces of broken pottery. But so far... we've not had enough of this old Greek and Roman history. Looking forward to seeing more sites.

We relaxed at the apartment for a bit, and then went for a walk to get something for dinner. We had seen some chicken rotisserie places, so we figured we would pickup a whole roast chicken for dinner.

We found a small deli type of shop that had three whole ones on the spit. They looked ready to go, so we went and spoke to the friendly women behind the counter. Her English was only slightly better than our Turkish but we managed to communicate that we wanted the whole chicken. She took one out, cut it up for us, packaged it to go, and told us the bill was 20 lira ($3.10 CAD, $2.35 USD)! 

Wow. Cheapest roast chicken ever.

For that price, we could afford an expensive 42 lira ($6.50 CAD, $5.00 USD) bottle of wine to go with it!

Today, we are going to walk another part of the city.

Check out the listings for today's new deals at

We only walked 2.5 kms (1.5 miles) yesterday. We are going to have to make up for that today!

Total distance walked in Turkey 168.3 kms (104.3 miles).


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, you are correct! The spelling error has been corrected. :-)

  2. I visited these ruins when I was a kid. Time to make another trip up there ... maybe this spring when we are visiting family. I’d still say that Ephesus is the more impressive of the two, but it does tend to be far busier ... or used to be pre-COVID-19.

    1. It sounds like it is time to make a return trip. Our fingers are crossed that you will be able to make your trip here in the spring.

      I think we will like Ephesus too, although we prefer to see the ruins in a more natural state and from what we have read, many of Ephesus has been restored to almost their original state, so much of it is just been "remade". Having said that it is also nice to see what it really would have looked like back in it's day. Plus of course there are way more people and crowds. Not sure what it will be like now with COVID having an effect on the tourism here.

  3. I've been caught in Spain and Italy on roads so small that the only way to get through was to fold your mirrors in on a Fiat 500. People on balconies cheering us through. In Turkey we only used public transportation. The buses and dolmish's were great but during Covid probably not so much. The larger busses had a stewardess, movies and complimentary food all for about $1/hour.

    1. Yes, we have been on roads like that in Portugal, we just don't want to be in those kinds of situations when we are driving in a motorhome though!

      We know that bus transportation is good and cheap here in Turkey but to be honest we are much happier renting a car. First off, it is much "safer" for us with COVID hanging around, so the less people we come in contact with the better. Secondly we really love to go at our own pace and not have to rely on the bus or dolmuş schedules. Also they don't necessarily go on the roads that we want to go on and they don't stop for picture taking opportunities either. Also having the car is convenient for us because we do most of our own cooking so we are able to easily transport our food from one location to the next for our entire three months here. Plus we are getting a great deal on our car rental. :-)

  4. All the pictures are so wonderful. However many are just taken too far away and when you zoom in and then out, you lose your page. Is this by design to gather additional views LOL !

    I do not recall this happening in the past, there may be a glitch in the program?

    1. When you click on a photo and then click on it again, simply press the back arrow button on your browser and it should return to exactly the same spot you were at when you clicked on the photo. At least that's what happens for me.

    2. Nope! Tried again on a photo by the views numbers for curiosity and again it went to the top of the page and then you have to scroll all the way back down to find the original photo.

      So again as above, it happened! However I noticed the views had advanced 32. It must be kicking me out?

      Must just be me???

    3. Sorry we can't help you out anymore than that. Mine also works fine.

    4. Right click on the photo and then have it open in a new tab. When you finish viewing just close the tab.
      You may need to modify your browser setting to open new pages in a tab instead of a window. Also you may want to set your browser to automatically open a new page in a tab and switch to that new tab.

    5. You are correct Al and Sharon that is another good way to see the pictures without having the page refresh back to the top at least to those that are having that issue.

  5. Fabulous ruins and a really good example of the many different things. Re the car and narrow lanes, for Europe I recommend a satnav where you can key in the vehicle weight and dimensions. Doesn't always work but we've learnt that if a road initially looks too narrow we ignore it and let the satnav re route.

    1. Yes, of course. If I'm ever unsure, I would also try and park and walk the route if possible ahead of time! Sometimes easier said than done. Google streetview often works great for pre-planning routes.

  6. Awesome pictures. Kitty wanted just a little bit of your lunch.

    1. Thank you!

      I don't think the kitty would have enjoyed our salad very much. ;-)

  7. It sure is impressive and mind boggling the structures for 2000 years ago. The talent of the craftsmen is amazing.

    1. That is exactly the thought that went through our heads! I doubt anything that we have built would ever last that long and still be in decent condition.

  8. The structures are mind boggling for sure. Hard to imagine they are over 2000 years old. I agree, they do not make things like they used to. Enjoyed your video drive through the narrow streets!

    1. Mind boggling for sure! We can't even begin to imagine how these places were even built back then without all the modern equipment that they have today, and they were built to last! When we see places like this we always wonder how long it would take to build even just one of those buildings back then. Or how long did it take a sculptor to create one of their sculptures? It would be neat to go back in history just for one day to see what life was like back then!

  9. Spectacular! It might be just as impressive as Ephesus; however, Ephesus was so busy when we were there. Hopefully for you, it will be less crowded this winter.

    1. It was very impressive! We are looking forward to seeing Ephesus, our fingers are crossed that we won't come across too many people while we are there. I doubt that we will have the place to ourselves like we did here, lol!

  10. That had to be the best post yet! My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed that! You two are true explorers! I don't know how you top that, but I think you will try. Bravo! Rawn & Joann

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, it will be hard to beat this one but we will do our best to find more fun and interesting things to blog about on this trip. :-)

  11. Like I said over and over.....your posts get better and better yaaay for us armchair travelers! I couldn’t agree more with all of the comments regarding these ruins. Truly spectacular! Can hardly wait to see your own assessment of Ephesus later. Those super narrow streets reminded us of when we were in Italy in a motorhome....very tricky to navigate and get through esp. when somehow the GPS misleads the direction! I can relate. I hope the chicken tasted as good as the price? Haha. Safe travels.

    1. Lol, and there is still more to come! We are so glad that you are enjoying our pictures and our blog posts.

      Yes, driving in a car through many of these towns can be a challenge but we certainly don't want to be doing that in our motorhome once we get it. Kevin will be taking a lot more care to make sure that doesn't happen, in the meantime we don't mind these adventures. :-)

      The chicken tasted delicious! We may just have to go back and get another one at that price.!

  12. Wow, this was so interesting. I like these ruins more than the ones in Mexico. So many sculptures are still in pretty good shape or restored well.
    Yes, I have the same problem with the enlarged pictures, but I don't mind to see them all again. Thank you so much for showing us all this. Stay healthy.

    1. This was a fantastic ruins site, we thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not sure that we like these sites better than Mexico's ruins sites, they are just very different. I think these are perhaps much more elaborate then the sites in Mexico.

      The statues were definitely in fantastic shape, I don't think many of them were restored, they looked more like they were just cleaned up. Some of the statues had missing pieces so when they were displayed they were displayed as is, also some of the statues were unfinished because they were found at and around the sculptor studios.

      Sorry that you are also having that same problem when enlarging the picture. We just don't know what to say as it isn't happening to either Kevin nor I.

  13. I use Chrome and Firefox browsers and tried Edge to view the photos and didn't have a problem clicking the "back" arrow to get back to my original spot.
    However it is just a habit of mine to right click and then to a new tab whenever I click on a link. Many times once I go to a new webpage I find I open new pages, or click on new links I find interesting and wind up several pages or more away from my original starting point so clicking the back arrow is problem getting back to my starting point.

    1. Thank you for making this alternative suggestion to those that are having an issue with the page refreshing back to the top rather than to their original spot when hitting the picture to enlarge it and then the back button. :-)

  14. Keep this up, and you're going to persuade many of your readers -- me included -- that we should be visiting Turkey! I have always wanted to see Ephesus, but now the "Love Town" is on my list, too. Thanks for the many photos, especially.

    1. Lol, that's the idea! We honestly think that a trip to Turkey should be on everyone's list. We really didn't have a lot of time to research about Turkey when we booked our trip but we certainly don't have any regrets. We have been loving our time here for so many reasons. It definitely has surpassed our expectations.

      We will be visiting Ephesus sometime over the next week, but we really enjoyed our visit to Aphrodisias. :-)

  15. Wow, what a beautiful spot! I was going to ask if you had it all to yourselves, as it certainly appeared so, but you answered that question in the end. Reminds me of a couple of spots we visited in Belize and had all to ourselves, though they were not as impressive as these, by a longshot!

    1. It is a beautiful ruins site, we really enjoyed our day there and we loved the mountain drive that we took to get there. Such beautiful scenery! Having the place to ourselves was perfect, we certainly love traveling to some of these locations in the off season, plus I think COVID is keeping a lot of people away too.


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