My favourite architectural treasures of the Turkish Riviera

Image: Landscape with Aeneas at Delos, Claude, 1600-1682. The classical world as pictured by Claude, with a building just like the Lydae Roman mausoleum.

Dargan Bullivant’s list of favourite architectural treasures of the Turkish Riviera, plus his personal choice of reading matter on this topic:

This very personal selection was prepared for a lecture to the Anglo-Turkish Society at the London School of Economics on 17 February 2009 by Dargan Bullivant, AADip (Hons) ARIBA.  Architect, landscape architect and writer, who studied classical architecture before entering the Royal Navy to become an aeronautical engineer and later a professional architect.  Also designed gulets and restored M/S ‘Odysseus’, a classic Turkish gulet, available for private charter and features extensively in this website.

This is an excursion through the very best places and things observed through an architectural historian’s eyes. Over 22 years of Odysseus Cruising’s operations with groups of travellers from many different countries, I have explored from Ephesus to Girne (Northern Cyprus), looking at landscapes, geology, rivers, valleys, trees, ancient cities, theatres, temples, castles, sculptures and ships from the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Early Christian periods.

My list of favourite places and things on the Turkish Riviera is chosen from an area on the coast stretching from The Meander Valley to the eastern edge of the Taurus Mountains beyond Lycia and a 25 km inland which lived, thrived and died in the period 400BC to 700 AD.  See 1st choice, 2nd choice and Special Mention (SM) for each category. The list excludes Ephesus, Pergamon and Aphrodisias, each of which would require a lecture of their own.

Walled Cities:
1st      Priene
2nd     Caunus

1st      Temple of Athena Polias, Priene
2nd     Temple of Apollo, Didyma
SM      The Corinthian Temple at Cnidus

1st      Aspendus
2nd     Myra
SM      Arycanda

Roman Baths:
1st      Caunus, the only one with a symmetrical ‘architectural’ plan
2nd     Miletus, large but not well planned, very late

1st      Arycanda, for athletics
2nd     Perge, for chariot racing

Market Squares, Agoras:
1st      Iassus
2nd     Perge

1st      Xanthus
2nd     Miletus

1st     Phaselis
2nd    Aspendus

1st     Lydae
2nd    Milas, Gumuskesen
SM     The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (which has a museum with excellent illustrations)

Council chambers:
1st     Priene
2nd    Miletus, totally ruined
SM     Iassus

1st     Loryma
2nd    Myndus Gate, Halicarnassus
SM    The large Rhodian Fort at Loryma and Triopium

Lycian: The Lion Tomb, Kas
Roman: Lydae
Byzantine: Gemile, two large necropoli

1st      Loryma, Rhodian
2nd     Caunus, the stoa, Greek
SM      Heraclaeia under Latmus, Hellenistic

1st      The Myndus Gate, Halicarnassus
2nd     Triopium, the entrance gate to the acropolis
SM      Perge, the twin towers

Ionic: Dibyma. Priene, Temple of Athena Polias
Corinthian: Euromus

1st      Temple of Athena Polias, Priene
2nd     The altar of the temple of Apollo, Cnidus, a few perfect stones

Vaults & Domes:
1st      Myra, the enormous vomitaria
2nd     Aspendus the main entrance
SM      The Roman Mausoleum at Lydae the remains of a dome on pendentives

Early Christian Churches:
1st      Xanthus, large basilican church with mosaics
2nd     Caunus the only 3rd generation church, a late but small masterpiece
SM      Gemile which had a baldachino over the altar

SM      Aphrodite of Cnidus, but she is not there! – only the memory of ‘the shadow of her  smile’. Read Lucian for a first-hand description

My favourite books on this subject:

Plutarch, ‘The Age of Alexander’, Penguin Books, London, 1973.

Boardman, Griffin & Murray ‘ The Oxford History of the Greek & The Hellenistic World’ OUP, Oxford, 1991.

AW. Lawrence, ‘Greek Architecture’, revised by R.A.Tomlinson, Yale, New Haven & London, 1983.

Boardman, Griffin & Murray, ‘The Oxford History of the Roman World’, OUP, Oxford, 1991.

JB Ward-Perkins, ‘Roman Imperial Architecture’, Yale, New Haven and London, 1981.

Vitruvius, ‘The Ten Books of Architecture’ translated by Dr. Morris Hicky Morgan, Dover Publications, NY, 1914, republished 1960.

Francis Beaufort, Captain of HMS ‘Frederiksteen’, ‘Karamania, the South Coast of Asia Minor’, Hunter, London, 1818.

Freya Stark, ‘The Lycian Shore’, John Murray, London, 1956.

Lord Kinross, ‘Europa Minor, Journeys in Coastal Turkey’, John Murray, London, 1956.

Brain Sewell ‘South from Ephesus , an Escape from the Tyranny of Western Art’, Gibson Square, London, 1988, 2002.

Rupert Scott, ‘Turkish Coast, The South-Western Shore through Writers’ Eyes’, Eland, London, 2008.