One of the reasons for going to Eğirdir was that the town is a good base for exploring the local area. As mentioned previously we never got to lake Kovada, or for that matter to Çandir canyon, but we did get to Sagalassos. Getting to see Sagalassos was top of our list of things to do. It is about a one and a half hour ride from Eğirdir, the roads are fine, although the last bit, from Ağlasun up the mountain to the ruins was narrow and winding and very, very steep. The views were stupendous but Ashley couldn’t see them properly due to having to concentrate on the road.
At the entrance there are signs that a more permanent ticket booth and entry gates are in the process of being installed. Currently there is a hut which sells tickets, it also has a few leaflets, and we got a site guide in Italian. The site is huge and clearly there are aspirations to make it a major attraction, which left us wondering how visitors would be taken up the hill. The road would need development to handle tour buses, quite possibly impractical. There were signs that perhaps a cable car is being considered, what looked to be an anchor point near the entrance and a structure also being developed in the valley near Ağlasun.
The huge site is still being excavated, explored and restored – work which will be ongoing for many years. Because of the remote location much of the stone was never recycled which is what commonly happened, so restoration can be done mostly with the original stone. Like what is happening with Patara we are not positive we like the planned amount of restoration but this is a matter of personal taste.
At present, though, there is only a modest amount of restoration, allowing you to see how things fell, as well as how things used to look in Hadrian’s heyday. The restored structures are fabulous as would be expected of those dedicated to the divinity of Hadrian. One could say they were ostentatious, as that is what they were meant to be. They certainly impress.
One thing we could not understand… The theatre has a stunning natural backdrop, mountains rising into the distant mist, but the Romans built a proscenium and a backing wall. Maybe so that the audience would be sure to concentrate on whatever was happening on stage or to prevent whatever was on the stage from escaping.
Worth mentioning is that we saw several really pretty little lizards in the ruins. We saw some nearer to Eğirdir as well, but we got some good photos of the ones in the ruins. We’ve looked them up on the Internet and they seem to be juvenile Anatololacerta oertzeni budaki (Budak’s Oertzen Rock Lizard).