Necropolis

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Necropolis

Date of travel

2014

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

The Necropolis is built into the cliff face on the opposite side of the Dalyan River to the town of the same name. One way to get an interesting view of the tombs is by taking a boat trip south to Iztuzu beach, a haven for sun bathing tourists in the hot Mediterranean summer and for the loggerhead turtles during their egg laying season, at night, between 1st May and 31st October.

Or you could just walk to the southern end of the town and view them from across the river.

Or, better still, you could take the small rowing boat, operated by local women, which leaves from the southern end of the tourist boats landing stage. This only takes a few minutes and one of the USP's (Unique Selling Points) – what are we doing to the language? – is that the women stand up as they get the boat across the hundred metres or so of water. It hardly breaks the bank being 5 Turkish Lira for the return trip.

Once on the other side and after having negotiated yourself through the small, outside restaurants the far end of which you would have been dropped (see the post on the Gozde Cafe) make your way along the road in the direction of the ruins of Kaunos until, about 200 metres later you come to the entrance of the town cemetery on your right.

Once through the gate head towards the cliff face and by weaving between the more recent graves you get a good view of two tombs almost at the level of the cemetery and high above you can see the bigger and more extensive system of rock tombs that date back more than 2,500 years.

These tombs have been carved out of the living rock, the craftsmen approaching their workplace from above. They are of varying sizes and complexity but follow a similar style, with columns and capitals and false doors carved out of the rock. When they were in pristine condition they must have looked like the entrances to temples in the Greek style.

From what I understand they were mausoleums rather than the final resting place for some leader, although bodies were interred there at some time in the past. Weather and earthquakes have taken their toll of the structures, as well as potential grave-robbers hoping to make their fortune no doubt just crashing through the relatively thin walls once the tomb had been finished.

When I was there in October 2014 I was bemused to see that some substantial steel girder structure was creeping up the hill, in between the cemetery and the rock tombs. This, what can only be the support for some road or pathway, looks like it will make it possible to get up to the tombs themselves without having knowledge, ability and the equipment that goes with rock climbing.

I hope I'm wrong and that there's another reason for this structure. None of the locals I asked came up with an answer to my questions but it would be the height of archaeological vandalism for such an access to be created. Just in case my theory is correct get there quick before 'developments' in the name of tourism and progress destroy yet another of the ancient wonders of the world.

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