Saturday, 11 May 2013

Nysa and Alinda

“Nysa on the Meander” is famous for its library, its theatre, a tunnel and various other buildings. For us it was famous for its tranquillity and the fact that a lot of it was undergoing excavation and therefore you could see ancient remains “in-situ, in-discovery”.

The Agora is large and square and shows signs of a drain running underneath the pavement alongside a wall

Nysa road drain covers behind Agora

and some rudimentary infilling between its pillars

Nysa Agora wall foundations

Within the agora some pillars have been re-erected by the archaeologists excavating the site

Nysa corner of Agora  Nysa Agora-1 and the remnants of shops are quite evident

Nysa Agora Shops

as is the reuse of Agora building materials over the aeons.

Nysa Agora later reuse of pillars

Here parts of pillars have been used to create some sort of fence

Nysa Agora buried pillar

and the base of a pillar can be seen here partially excavated.

Nysa pediment road in front

as can this road which continues underneath the earth bank.

The Bouleuterion is of a standard semi circular design and seats around 700. This indicates that it doubles up as a theatre.

Nysa Bouleuterium pool

In front of it is a pond which would have been fed by a fountain,

Nysa Bouleuterium  doorway showing rebuild

entry is via one of two archways

Nysa Bouleuterium reused carving

beneath one of these is a rather nice carving

Nysa Bouleuterium interior Nysa Bouleuterium middle

The stream running through Nysa is the Cakircak. It approaches the town in a deep

Nysa looking down into gorge

gorge and the sides of the gorge are reveted using an interesting construction which include arches

Nysa vaulting on river bank 

and then roughly at the centre of the town

Nysa Roman river tunnel

it goes into a 100m long tunnel which passes under a road and around some buildings – the tunnel is important because there are only a few examples of tunnels from the period and this one is the second longest of its kind in

Nysa Roman River Tunnel inside

antiquity. At the base of the tunnel are large load bearing stones

Nysa Roman River Tunnel foundations

and then there is a large arch made out of rougher stone. That it is still standing after all of these years, is remarkable.

Nysa Roman River Tunnel exit

At the other end, the design and fabrication is quite remarkable. The gorge is still very deep and in order to reduce the weight of soil above the tunnel, a second set of weight relieving arches were built above the tunnel arch.

To a first view, the Theatre (dating from 1st Century AD) looks similar to many other theatres and it seats around 12,000.

Nysa Theater explanation

Nysa Theater

An artists impression of how it looked like shows a three storey stage area with the usual statues in alcoves.

Nysa Theater possible image

However, four of the five original frieze sections remain and these tell much of the story of Zeus and Semele and there follows left and right (and occasionally middle) photographs of these friezes.

Nysa Theatre Frieze 1L Nysa Theatre Frieze 1R Nysa Theatre Frieze 2L Nysa Theatre Frieze 2R Nysa Theatre Frieze 3L Nysa Theatre Frieze 3M Nysa Theatre Frieze 3R Nysa Theatre Frieze 4L Nysa Theatre Frieze 4M Nysa Theatre Frieze 4R Nysa Theatre Frieze 5L Nysa Theatre Frieze 5R Nysa Theatre Frieze 5RR

Nysa - the Library

The Library now stands in a quiet olive grove

Nysa Road past library to theater

to the side of a road leading down from the theatre.

Nysa Library Explanation

In its day it was a major seat of learning and its remains are said to be the second best remaining example of a library (after Ephesus).

Nysa Library from right side Nysa Library interior left

Its design is similar to that at Ephesus but it has not undergone as much restoration.

The stadium at Nisa was thought to have accommodated 30,000 but quite how it fitted into the landscape is a bit of a mystery.

Nysa view over stadium

Most of the remains overlook the river valley and there are indications of parts of a stadium on the other side of the valley. There are just not enough pieces of the jigsaw left to work out how it functioned.


Alinda view

As seems quite often to be the case, Alinda is another example of a citadel on the top of

Alinda view from citadel

the hill with the town spreading down the hillside. It has been virtually left alone over the years and therefore what you see is what it has become as it has gradually turned into ruins.

Alinda aquaduct

The Aqueduct comes in to the top of the citadel after wending its way around the hills for some 7 kms. The arches of the aqueduct are still in good condition

Alinda Aquaduct arch

and show some lovely stone cutting (note the angles on the facing stones, how these stones have been carefully cut to fit.

Alinda Sarcophagus in stone Alinda Sarcophagus  Alinda sarcophagus in stone-1 outside of the city are the usual sarcophagi  but many of them make use of stone boulders for the lower part of the sarcophagus and only the lid has been custom made. The lids have often been cracked or moved to one side just enough to see inside for anything of value – evidence of grave robbers.

The whole hillside is covered with olive trees, and fittingly just inside the citadel is the remains of a very early olive press.

Alinda olive press

Olives were placed in the pit, a stone put on tip and then this was forced down by a wooden lever which rested one end in the hole in the upright rock behind the pit.

Alinda city walls-1 Alinda city walls

Remnants of the city walls remain together with this bastion

Alinda Fortress Tower

which is unusual in its design because of the large purpose built doorway / hole / window on one side.

Alinda Fortress Tower inside

Take away the stones which have been put there to hold up the fractured lintel and one has a bastion tower with a large “something” in one wall.

It was this fortress which was held by the exiled Carian Queen Ada (sister of Mausolos of Halikarnassos) and she greeted Alexander the Great here in 334 BC.

Alinda temple on mount

the remains of a temple / altar are clearly evident on the summit.

Alinda Theater Alinda Theater-1 

The theatre is very impressive, partly because of its size and position but also because of the numerous olive trees which are now growing in it.

Alinda view down onto Agora

Of all of the buildings there, the Hellenistic Agora wins the prize. This view from the summit shows the Agora (roughly in the centre of the picture).

Alinda view from Agora up to temple

And this view is the reverse looking up to the summit from the Agora

Alinda Agora reveting wall

Built onto the hillside, the Agora has a major reveting (“reveted” and derivations of it became the word on this trip) wall to one side

Alinda 3 layered Agora-1

and one can clearly see how the floor spanned to the wall and that there were two levels of basements beneath.

As is always the case throughout the world, pieces of ancient monuments seem to appear in houses in the local modern day town

Alinda reuse of monumentAlinda reuse of monument-1

Alinda reuse of monument-2

or the foundations of walls.

Alinda is an impressive site and well worth the visit.

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