Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Tomb with a View.

Another funerary related post. In 1985, we moved from Bitez and bought a small house in the Kumbahçe district of Bodrum. We would have had a sea view, but for a large hillock in front of us, but the lack of a view made it the only house in Bodrum in our price range.  During the 80s, more and more houses were built and Kumbahçe became a desired address, but the bare mound remained. It was owned by Şalvarağa,  an unkempt  barrel of man who had a sea-facing shack, surrounded by mounds of fire wood, on his hill. If you met him in the street, you'd assume that he was on his uppers, but his shack sat on a goldmine in real estate terms.  It was understood that Şalvarağa was constantly offered great riches for his hill, but he refused to sell.
We moved away and I assume Şalvarağa died, because when we returned to Turkey in 2012 his land was being developed.  Last year, as a road was being excavated to access the incipient million-Euro -plus villas, the diggers unearthed a tomb, just under where  Şalvarağa had had his shack.  Work was stopped as archaeologists were called in to investigate.  A  gold leaf was found, enough to  date the tomb to the Roman Era, and suggest that its occupant was an important military man, as golden laurel leaf crowns were  a symbol of martial victory in Roman times.  Work on the construction was stopped for a while and I like to think that both the occupant of the tomb and Şalvarağa were looking down and having a joke at the expense of the construction company that was desecrating  their hill.

"Resting on one's laurels" - to rely on past success for continued respect. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Winter has arrived.

The flamingos are back.

 The beekeepers are busy 

and families are out in the fields in the middle of the day. 

All signs that winter is on the way and our cue to move back to town. 

But just before I shift the emphasis of this blog back to Bodrum town; a photo taken in the local village graveyard. 

An interestingly shaped stone used as a headstone,  different from the other graves but  not so you'd notice in passing. 

Looked at from the correct angle though, an Aeolic style capital from a Lelegian or Carian site, from the 6th or maybe even 7th century BC.  There is no inscription on the grave, so I have no idea when it was put here or where it originally came from but it's another teasing reminder of how much there is to discover. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Bodrum Offer - Buy Tomb, Get One Free.

Knowing you are walking in the steps of those so long ago must make even a trip to the shops quite a thrill.

This comment on Thursday's post jogged my memory and sent me on a trip to the supermarket, camera in hand.  I'm sure Helen could not have guessed how applicable her words are to shopping in Bodrum. 

This  rock cut tomb was discovered about 20 years ago, just North of the Mindos gate, on the site of Gima supermarket and after excavation, incorporated into the building.  The  store is now called CarrefourSA  and as I don't shop here I'd forgotten the tomb even existed.  

Unfortunately the tomb's six sarcophagi were robbed in antiquity but sufficient bones and pottery fragments were found to date it to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
If you visit, walk around the back and you'll see another tomb in the car park.  It's a shame there are no signs as I'm sure thousands of people drive by having no idea what they are missing. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Continuity - 3,400 Years.

Lots of people complain that Bodrum has changed too much in the last 30 years;  it has gone from a small fishing village to a busy international holiday resort, but if we take a very long view, Bodrum is actually just finding its way back to the glories of its past.  There is evidence of Mycenaean life in Bodrum which takes us to at least 1400BC and it appears that the site was continuously occupied for the next 3,400 years.  We know that it was an important city in the 5th century BC when it was home to Artemisia 1 and historian Herodotus, but it really took off in the 4th century BC when Satrap Mausolos made it his capital city.  In this century monuments were constructed that were so massive that they could be seen from the island of Kos; Bodrum and bling have obviously had a very long association.  

Halicarnassos  - University of Southern Denmark 
As I walk the dog through the streets of Bodrum, I do so with an awareness of the layers of history under my feet. It is one of the reasons I love living here.  Yesterday, in the Karia Princess Hotel, Prof. Poul Pedersen showed a fascinating slide of present day Bodrum Streets (left)  and the hypothetical street plan in the 4th century BC (right), showing that today's street plan follows Mausolos' city design.   It's exciting to think that we are still treading in the footsteps of those who lived over two millennia  ago.  My own address is telling.  I live on Mars Mabedi Caddesi - Temple of Mars Street.  I didn't choose the house because of the address, but as a lapsed archaeologist, I never tire of writing it down. 

University of Southern Denmark

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology - 50th Anniversary

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, housed in the Castle of St. Peter, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a seminar in the English tower on Wednesday.  A packed audience listened to  Prof. Dr. Fahri Işık talk about the newly discovered sarcophagus of Hekatomnos; Doç Dr. Cemal Pulak on the Kaş-Uluburun 14th century BC shipwreck and Prof. Dr. Poul Pedersen on the Danish Halikarnassos project.  I've been following the excavations of Hekatomnos' mausoleum in Milas with great interest and have been frustrated at the lack of information available so I was really keen to hear Dr. Işık talk. And he did entertainingly and in great detail but unfortunately I can't tell you anything about it as he made us all promise to keep it under our hats until he publishes his report.

The names of the above speakers will pass merrily over most people's heads but those of you interested in archaeology will understand how lucky we are living in Bodrum to listen to not just one of them, but all three on one afternoon, although my rear end was protesting a bit after 3 hours on a narrow bench.  As usual with these events, time ran on and as the 4:30 slot for the final concert approached and whizzed past, the second talk was only half way through.  In consequence, Prof. Pedersen's talk was occasionally overlaid with voluble protests from the concert goers and by appalling slow hand-clapping from outside.  However, I'm sure he will have a much more appreciative audience when he gives another lecture organised by H3A on Wednesday 12th November at 2pm at the Karia Princess Hotel.  If you are anywhere near Bodrum I would urge you to put this date in your diary. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Oben Kundura

I'm not swearing at you, although I think using "cobblers" as a pejorative term has probably passed into history, I'm celebrating that I still can wander down the road in Bodrum (Türk Kuyusu Caddesi in this case) and get my shoes and boots repaired.  I hate buying new shoes and get ridiculously attached to my old ones so I am never happier than when I hand my battered 10 year old lace-ups over to this man and 3 hours later, he hands me back a re-soled, re-laced version all for less than ten quid.  The shoes he has in front of him are ones I bought in Sweden last year. They never really felt comfortable, which just proves that buying new shoes is a bad idea, but with a bit of stretching and the heel built up inside I can now wear them without investing in a box of plasters first.  There are still several cobblers in Bodrum and long may they last.  When I was living in the UK it was almost impossible to get shoes repaired and just having a new heel and sole cover put on cost more than the shoes new.  It's the time of year when sandals have to be abandoned and socks come out of the drawer, so I'm sorting through the cupboard looking likely candidates for a make over.  In this house, re-booting has a completely different meaning. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

British Consulate Meeting in Bodrum - Wednesday 30th October

Brits in Bodrum got together again on Wednesday for the biannual Consulate Information meeting. Proceedings were opened by our Honorary British Consul in Bodrum, Neşe Coşkunsu who handed over to Timothy Fisher, Consul and Director of Consular Services in Turkey, who gave us an update on travel advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  There has been no change in the Mediterranean and Aegean areas, but there is a warning against all but essential travel to the Turkish provinces bordering Syria. This is a significant change as previously the warning was just to avoid the border, now the whole provinces are included.   To keep up to date, I suggest you visit the Gov.UK/Turkey page and sign up to their email service so that you can be sent the latest news.  If you are a Facebook user you can also keep in touch on the UK in Turkey Facebook page.

Consular Network Co-ordinator, Joanne Pietsch, gave us the latest passport news:
From 1st January 2015, the Turkish Government will require passports to be valid for 60 days after the end of a residents or visitors visa.  As the new on-line travel visa lasts for 6 months, this means that your passport needs have 8 months validity from your first day of travel.  I foresee this catching out many a visitor.   If you are in Turkey and worried about renewing your passport, this summer's big delay seems to be easing but the Passport Office is still suggesting you allow 6 weeks for the return of your passport.   If your passport ran out less than 6 months ago, or has less than 7 months to run, you have until the end of December this year to take advantage of the passport extension scheme, but this does involve making an appointment and travel to either Istanbul or Ankara.

Joanne then moved on to the Residency permit question:  On this she was extremely honest and said that there was little if anything to report since the last meeting.  Those of us living in Turkey know that communication between government departments is a pipe dream, and this lack of dialogue must be incredibly frustrating for those working in foreign consulates.  A new head has been appointed to the fledgling Turkish government department looking after foreigners in Turkey and Joanne has an appointment to hopefully get answers to a long list of questions, namely: When will the much heralded Migration Offices open and where will they be?;  How will Article 33 work - if someone on a 1 year residency permit stays out of Turkey for more that 120 days, will the permit be cancelled and will they be allowed to reapply?  What are the criteria for applying for a permanent residency permit?  On this latter note, one long-term residency has been issued in Izmir with an expiry days of 2099.  The issuing  office reported that they would only discuss the application with each applying individual so we are none the wiser, except that the recipient is married to a Turkish National.  Keep your eyes on the above websites for news as it comes in.

Finally Tim told us about some changes to the Bodrum office.  From the beginning of 2015, the Bodrum office will be closed, but all services will continue.  Telephone numbers are expected to stay the same and Aslı Erbektaş will continue her roll looking after the British community and visitors on a mobile basis.  Sadly, Pro Consul Deniz Korkmaz will be leaving the consulate after 18 years of sterling service. I felt as if we should have all broken into a  British "For she's a jolly good fellow" instead of the round of applause we gave her.