Tralleis: The remains of a Roman gymnasium dated to the 2nd or 3rd century called Üçgözler by the locals stands at the entrance to Aydın. When looking north east from Üçgözler one can see the bowl shaped ancient theatre, one of the largest in the Aegean region. The museum of Aydın houses some of the unparalleled finds from the necropolis of the ancient city. Tralleis was famous for its production of leatherwear and red coloured bowls and pottery, ‘terra sigillata’. The architect who constructed the Aya Sophia church in Istanbul was Anthemios Tralleis, a native of the city.
Located to the east of Aydın on the Aydın-Denizli highway, Nyssa is 34 kilometres from Aydın is the town of Sultanhisar. From here an uphill walk north brings you to ancient Nyssa where, according to the ancient historian Strabon, the city consisted of three villages set up by three brothers Athymbros, Athymbrados and Hydreleos. The city has a stream running through the middle. To the west was the city for the younger residents, with a gymnasium and a library, to the east was the city, where older residents lived, there are the remains of an agora, bouleuterion (place of assembly) and gerontikon. By covering over the stream running through the middle further space was gained and a theatre to the north of the tunnel and a stadium to the south were built. Today, only a 200-metre portion of the tunnel is standing. The theatre has ornaments dating back to the end of the 2nd century.
You can reach the Temple of Pluto, the God of Death, before coming to Sultanhisar, two kilometres to the west and via the road to the village of Salavatlı. The temple is located on a sacred avenue, on both sides of which are scattered remains of tomb monuments. The temple is to the north of the village and dates back to the Hellenistic era and was constructed in the Ionic style. The early age people who used to live here had traditions of leaving a bull as a sacrifice to the Gods in sulphurous caves as a means to receive information from the other worlds, proving that geological events were seen as links in the search for the Gods.
From Aydın to Muğla
Thirty one kilometres along the road heading towards Muğla from Aydın is the turn off for the town of Karpuzlu on the right and the sign for ancient city of Alinda. The Carian city of Alinda is 26 kilometres from the turn off, and 22kilometres west of Çine. It is set on a hill north west of Karpuzlu and the village of Deve Cidere. Once leaving the village of Ulukonak on the road to Alinda you can see the relatively intact water aqueducts of the ancient city. Alinda is right next to the village of Karpuzlu. You will notice that some of the remains of Alinda have been used in construction of houses in Karpuzlu.
Alinda is also known as the city of Queen Ada. (To see the room of Queen Ada, her jewels and sarcophagus you can visit the museum in Bodrum Castle. For more information please see the Bodrum pages) When Alexander the Great came to the region Queen Ada obeyed him, therefore Alexander did not touch the city and left her on the throne. One of the most interesting remains of Alinda is the 100 metre long agora. High on top of the hill is the 5,000 seat theatre, most of which is still intact. At Alinda, where no excavations have been carried out, there are the remains of palaces, sarcophagus’s and the city walls, all worth taking a look at
Located10 kilometres west of Çine. Alabanda is now within the boundaries of the village of Doğanhisar (Araphisar). Alabanda was an ancient Carian city, though it had also been settled by the Hittites, Aka and the Romans. The best pieces found during excavations of the city are presently exhibited at the İzmir and Istanbul archaeology museums. Among the remains are two entrance gates and an acropolis on the slopes of a hill, some steps of the ancient theatre, the senate, a Temple of Apollon and remains of the city walls. Some monumental tombs from the necropolis to the west have been unearthed. The name Alabanda comes from the unifying of the word ‘Ala’ meaning horse and the word ‘banda’ meaning victory. The famous historian Strabon said that the people of Alabanda liked extravaganza and entertainment and that there were many young girls in the city who played the musical instrument the harp.
The road that turns east six kilometres along the Çine-Muğla highway towards the Madran Mountains reaches the village of Kırsakallar after a further fifteen kilometres. By finding a guide from this village you can visit the remains of Gerga. The ruins of Gerga could be described as being one of the strangest settlement areas in Turkey. At the entrance to the ancient city all the rocks have directions inscribed on them. Most of these inscriptions are in Greek except one, which is in Latin. At the beginning of the Roman era, it was a time of safety under the leadership of the community’s founder, Gerga. The people of the village erected a statue of a mother goddess and built tombs, and fountains around it. The locals would have been predominantly occupied with agriculture in the lands surrounding the village. On some rocks the sign Gergakome was drawn to illustrate the name Gerga. The village is thought to have been under the rule of Alabanda. It is also possible to reach Gerga by walking northwards from İncekemer, located on the Muğla highway.
In the old days one used to pass through an interesting valley after leaving Çine and Eski Çine behind. The road had the Çine Stream passing by, was surrounded by a landscape full of plants and the rock formations and was most attractive. It was as if rocks had rained from the skies and formed heaps on the land. This beautiful valley and the Çine Stream flowing through it were the subject of the legend of Marsyas in mythology. The legend goes like this: When the Goddess Athena was walking around the banks of the stream playing the flute she saw that her cheeks were rather puffed up when she looked at her reflection in the water. Deciding that her reflection was ugly she threw the flute away. In time Marsyas found the flute and started playing such beautiful tunes that become famous all over the region. Marsyas became a serious rival to the Goddess Apollon, who saw herself as being without peer. Apollon invited Marsyas to take part in a competition to see who was the best and King Midas was appointed as the judge. Even though Marsyas played the flute much better nevertheless Apollon was pronounced the winner. Despite this, Apollon was unable to overcome her jealousy and had Marsyas killed and flayed. The Goddess then turned on King Midas, making his ears like those of a donkey. However, Apollon later felt remorse and turned Marsyas’s body into a river. And thus we have Marsyas, the ancient name of the Çine Stream of today. This beautiful valley and the Çine Stream were always the subject of legends and soon it is to be flooded under the waters of a proposed dam. The old road that used to go along the valley, winding, twisting and turning is no longer used. The new road crosses above the valley and is in fact a two-lane highway. The former 30 to 45 drive through the valley now takes just 10 minutes. The historical stone bridge that was in the middle of the old road is also to disappear beneath the waters of the dam. Tourist buses will no longer provide breaks for passengers at the old stone bridge and fresh produce salespersons will not be around either.