Ruined Ruins

Mark tries to paddle board to shore every morning for a jog—he’s been consistently running for about 15 years, and only the wildest of wind or waves will stop him from paddling to shore and going for a run. I love his jogging because he often previews everything surrounding our anchorage and then takes me back in the afternoon to see all the highlights.


Mark will tell you that running in Türkiye is like jogging in a time machine. He’ll jog a few miles but go back centuries. On this day’s route, he found some ruins up on top of a hill that were just around the corner from our anchorage in Ildir. 


Across Türkiye, there are hundreds of scattered remnants of ancient cities—most of them Roman—they dot the landscape of every town, valley, and hilltop. Seeing so many lately, we have discovered there are wildly varying degrees of ruined-ness. And today’s highlight was a very ruined ruin. (We’ve developed a “Crumble Scale” for ruins and this one was a nine.)


Once Mark was done with his jogger preview, he brought Karen, Marcel, and I back to see it. He scuttled us through the small town, past the men sipping coffee and playing backgammon, and guided us along an obscure trail through tall grasses, and fields of artichokes, until the hodgepodge remnants of a Roman theater came into view. Most of its pieces had been carried off and what was left sat wearied under the hot sun like aching disjointed bones.


We clamored our way up the fractured steps that in its day were the theater’s main staircase. Centuries later, it was now the trail used to reach a marvelous view of the bay below. Time had turned the theater’s focal point 180’.  With our backs now turned away from the stage, we clamored up the jumble of steps to see the view which now upstages the stage itself.


Center stage is now the view from atop the rising hill which overlooks the bay where we were anchored. At its precipice, of course, was Türkiye’s flag, proudly waving to the sea, as if to give Mother Nature an ovation. 


To be in Türkiye is to be among a million brazen crescent flags, bold and red, saturating the sky with patriotism. Some of these flags are as MASSIVE as the country itself. And from any place you stand in this country, you will see its landscape dotted with a million ancient cities and its skies ablaze with windswept red. 


And Mark gets to jog through it all and preview it for me. Lucky me.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *