The ruins of Sagalossos rest high on Akdağ (“white mountain”) in the Taurus mountain range. At one point in its history, it was sacked by Alexander the Great. Like a lot of ancient places in Turkey, people decided to stop living here after one too many earthquakes. The site only began to be excavated in 1990 and as more sections are uncovered, it is expected to be larger than Ephesus.
One day, during our leisurely two weeks in Egirdir, we decided to visit it.
Turkish and Belgian archaeologists work here during the summer months. We came across two different groups of them, and they happily showed us the nails and bits of glass they were scraping from the soil, and told us what they were learning about the particular site they were working on. We thought they might be annoyed to stop and speak with us, but they were excited to have visitors who bothered to leave the path and come say hello to them. They also reminded us to watch out for snakes and scorpions.
The site is so full of artifacts and still has so much left to be discovered that it’s nearly impossible to walk across the ground without crunching bits of centuries-old pottery. Some of the ruins have been re-assembled, but most of the carved stones lay in orderly rows in the grass, like a giant’s puzzle pieces, waiting for the day when they will rise again.
We spent that whole day with the McLellands, a lovely couple from Glasgow who have already done the whole world travel thing and gave us lots of good tips for Asia and Oceania. We had lunch with them and another fellow traveler who knew a lot about Turkey told us all of his adventures working in the tropical fruit industry. He taught us some interesting things, including a useful bit of body language from that part of the world: the up-nod + tongue click combo. It means “no” and explained a confusing encounter we had with a local the previous week.