THE SAILING STUDY TOUR TO CILICIA AND NORTHERN CYPRUS

Every alternate year, as part of the Department of Maritime Civilizations' curriculum, students and faculty members set sail along the coastal waters of the Mediterranean.

 An eleven day tour took place between April 27 and May  7, 2000. This time of year proved to be favorable in all respects (sea conditions, climate, spring vegetation, etc.) but one, the low water temperature, which did not permit lengthy snorkeling.

 Prior to the study tour, faculty members and students made a collaborative effort to properly utilize every lacuna in their weekly schedules in order to participate in and contribute to a series of introductory presentations and reading assignments. Each student received a personal research topic and a tutor to guide him or her in the preparation of an oral presentation, to be given in situ during the tour.


fig. 1. One of the Gullets in full sail (Photo: N. Kashtan)

 On April 27 we took a midday flight to the busy new airport of Antalya and then a bus to Alanya, some 150 km to the east, where our sailing boats awaited us. We stopped for some good strong Turkish chai (tea) at the rapids-washed setting of Manavgat, the very same site from which Israel intends to import water in the future. This was a good introduction to the differences between the two countries, both situated on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean: the lush Turkish coast with its plentiful waterways provides a stark contrast to our meager coastal creeks and rivers.

 Arriving at dusk at the quay of Alanya, in the shadow of the imposing castle, we were welcomed by the crews of the two gullets belonging to the Bodrum based sailing company Tussock. Unlike our previous experiences with motorized sailing vessels in Turkey and Greece, we had the pleasure of traveling in true sailing craft, manned by a real crew of seamen who, wind permitting, would cut off the motor and raise sails (Fig. 1). Though gullets are bulkier than racing yachts (and far more accommodating for passengers), these two boats were as close as one might come to experiencing the trading coasters of antiquity.

After finding our berths in the well-furnished cabins and having our first taste of the on-board cooking, we hurried to take a night walk. We visited the arsenal, built for the Seljuk Sultan of Konia by a Syrian architect in 1227, one of the best examples of naval architecture in the Levant. Next to it stands an impressive polygonal tower, the Kizil Kule (the Red Fort), built by the same architect a year earlier.

The next morning we set sail eastbound, stopping alongside the small promontory castle of Iotape, situated in a small na-tural cove typical of those used in antiquity as naval bases by the notorious pirates of Cilicia. We sailed on to Gazipa¸sa (Fig. 2), a country town in a flat river valley, the site of ancient Selinus. There we were surprised to find a newly built and still uncharted artificial haven, encircled by a gushing river, with the ashlar-built quays of the ancient port along its farther rocky bank. We visited the now demolished mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who died at this spot while on his way to our region in 117 CE. The aqueduct and impressive fortifications of the promontory protect the river plain and the harbor from the SE.


Fig. 2. Shipyard at Gazipasa (Photo: K. Ziv)



 Most of the afternoon was spent climbing the double promontories on both sides of a hidden cove, reached from the sea only by small boats via a cut in the rocks. This is the site of Antiochia ad Cragum (Fig. 3), the easternmost of the three coastal outposts established by Antiochus IV of Cumagenae, and undoubtedly the most impressively situated. This site includes an almost intact medieval castle and a group of vaulted houses reminiscent of early Byzantine tombs.


Fig. 3. The hidden cove at Antiochia ad Cragum (Photo: K. Ziv)



The afternoon breeze was strong enough to encourage a sailing race between the two gullets heading for Cape Anamur. It was late in the evening when we finally berthed at the large, virtually empty harbor of Bozyazi for a midnight dinner.

Next morning we sailed westwards, and dropped anchor under the lee of Cape Anamur, for a short visit to the well-preserved late Roman city of Anemurium. Returning eastwards we moored once again next to the beautiful, intact castle of Anamur Kalesi (Fig. 4), the main coastal outpost of the medieval kingdom of Little Armenia. The wind picked-up, but the direction was unfavorable, forcing us to sail for almost five hours before we made it to the packed quays of the fishing harbor of Aydincik, with its archaeological remains and friendly people.


Fig. 4.  A view of Anamur Castle (Photo: N. Kashtan)


A few mechanical problems kept us there until late afternoon, and it was pitch dark when we threaded our way through the narrow passage into the eastern bay of Ovacik. The bay is situated behind the conspicuous headland of Rough Cilicia, the Ovacik Ada Burnu, known during the medieval period as Cape Cavalie're.

Early next morning we took a short walk across the low-lying isthmus connecting the cape to the mainland and the site of the ancient port city of Aphrodisias. Here we visited the recently excavated small Byzantine church of St. Pantaleon, with its mosaics and Greek inscriptions mentioning contributions made by ship owners.

Leaving what was probably the most important harbor of Rough Cilicia, we stopped over at another coastal castle of Little Armenia, at Liman Kalesi, and entered the harbor of Ta¸sucu by midday. After refueling the gullets and following a short visit to a most interesting small museum near the harbor, we set sail again. We took the long way around, sailing through the broad delta of the Goksu, the ancient Calycadnos River, where the famous Emperor Frederick Barbarossa drowned while en route to the Holy Land during the third crusade in 1190 CE.

 Just before sunset the gullets laid anchor at the small bay of Kizkalesi (the maiden's castle), an Armenian double fort, one based on the mainland and another located 800 meters to the south, on a near-shore islet. Both forts protected the urban area of the 6th-century CE city of Korykos, a toponym derived from the Latin name 'crow's-nest', a reminder of the original pirate-base type of settlement. We spent the last minutes of sunlight visiting the picturesque castle. It was again late at night when our gullets attempted to find the unmarked entrance to the Marine Biology Institute's private marina at Limonlu. Next morning we visited the laboratories of the Oceanographic Institute. The rest of the day was spent visiting what seems to have been an almost uninterrupted series of Roman and Early Byzantine urban centers, situated along the coast and on the hills overlooking the sea. Driving SW from Limonlu and the outlet of a river of the same name which marks the eastern end of Rough Cilicia, we visited the deserted ancient city of Kanlidivane, established during the Early Hellenistic era, as the eastern city of the priest-kings of Zeus Olbios. The main feature of the site is the Holy Chasm, a rocky hollow with vertical walls (a karstic phenomenon) surrounded by four, virtually intact, large Byzantine basilicas, dated to the 5th - 6th century CE.

 Back on the main coastal road we stopped at Elaiussa-Sebaste. This city was established by Archelaus, a close friend of Herod the Great, who was appointed king of Cappadocia in 41 BCE. Caesar Augustus presented him with this region as a maritime outlet in 20 BCE (to be compared with our Caesarea Maritima). The coastal road crosses over the currently land-locked harbor basin of that fine city. Passing through the rich remains of Korykos, we walked down the 500 steps to the Chasm of Heaven, or the Paradise Grotto, with its beautifully built Byzantine Chapel of the Virgin Mary at the entrance.

 Returning to Silifke across the Calycadnos, we climbed the meandering scenic road to the north, all the way to the capital city of the Kingdom of Olba and its religious center at Uzuncaburc or Diocaesarea. There we visited and discussed the architectural virtues of the early temple of Zeus Olbios (Fig. 5), which still stands, built in 295 BCE in the Corinthian order (the earliest of this type outside Greece); the temple of Tyche; the parade gate; the city gate and the theater. Driving NE, we stopped at the artificial Hadrian harbor and naval base of the Imperial Roman fleet at Pompeiopolis just outside Mersin (Icel). This large oval complex, two-thirds of which is now silted up, gave us a good opportunity to discuss Roman harbor building techniques and the alternating relationship between land and sea. Admiring the magnificent colonnade nearby, we hurried to reach our final site of the day, Yumuktepe, situated on the riverbank of Aslankoy, some three kilometers from the sea. This almost 10,000-year-old settlement is of prime importance regarding the early phases of urban life, trade, and cultural connections with North Syria and Mesopotamia, and the beginning of social stratification and seaborne activities. An additional 300 km bus ride brought us to our gullets at the port of Iskenderun by midnight.


Fig. 5. Diocaesarea, the temple Zeos Olbios


 


 The following day was devoted to the region of Hatay, the northernmost part of the Levantine coast of the Mediterranean and the nucleus of the Seleucid Empire. Crossing the Amanus Range, separating the Bay of Iskenderun from the famous fertile Amuk Valley, we came to the historic city of Antiochia (Antakya), where we spent the morning visiting the wonderful museum with its magnificent collection of Roman mosaics. Following the lower course of the Orontes to the SW, we reached the coast at the site of ancient Seleucia Pieria, the port city of Antiochia and one of the most important harbors of the Roman Empire. There we surveyed the remains of the huge moles in what is now an almost entirely land-locked harbor basin.

 One of the highlights of our trip was the walk inside the 1,400 m long tunnel cut through the mountainside by thousands of Jews, prisoners of Vespasian and Titus, in the 1st century CE. The tunnel was bored in order to divert the winter floodwaters from the nearby river and thus prevent the silting of the harbor basin (Fig. 6). Traveling south towards the Syrian border, we stopped for lunch in the lush valley of Harbiye (ancient Daphne, the earthly paradise of the Roman era). From there we followed the Orontes east to Tel Atchana, ancient Alalakh, a site that was settled from the Chalcolithic to the Neo-Hittite periods, the capital of the Kingdom of Yamkhad. Driving north, we passed through the flat, well-watered Amuk Valley, whose numerous tells attest to its richness in antiquity.


Fig. 6. The tunnel near Seleucia Pieria (Photo: K. Ziv)


 The night was spent on board the boats in Mersin. In the morning we journeyed to the flourishing city of Adana and its wonderful archaeological museum. Continuing east to Isos, in the northern reaches of the Bay of Iskenderun, we passed the lava flows at the pediment of the Cilician Gates, the natural pass from the Anatolian Plateau to the Euphrates Valley. From Isos it was a short ride south to the important, newly excavated tell of Kinet Hoyuk, a maritime trading post from the Early Bronze Age, commercially and culturally connected to Canaan, Egypt, Cyprus, and the Aegean realms. From here we moved on to Osmaniye and then north to the Karatepe open-air museum, the fortress and royal residence of the Neo-Hittite (West-Semitic) Kingdom of Adana. The wooded hilltop site, overlooking the artificial lake on the Ceyhan River, with its beautifully preserved relief-decorated orthostats and long alphabetic inscriptions of almost biblical characters, enabled us to gain a real perspective of the expansion of the West-Semitic peoples during the 9th and the 8th centuries BCE.

 We made our last stop at the ancient port of Ayas, the medieval site at the much older marine outpost of Aegeae, on the eastern edge of the huge delta of the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers. Following a discussion about Genueses, Armenians and Seljuks, we left Smooth Cilicia on our way to Cyprus, reaching our boats at Ta¸sucu late in the evening. We had intended to set sail for the Turkish-held port of Cyprus, making the eight-hour, open-sea crossing during the night, but as it turned out the necessary formalities were only completed late the following morning. We turned this to our advantage by giving the students an opportunity to hold our course at the helm and to handle the running rig of the sails, in order to apply corrective navigation. Exhibiting good seamanship we entered the old port of Kyrenia in the late afternoon of a breezy and chilly day (Fig. 7).


Fig. 7. Kyrenia harbor (Photo: Y. Tur-Caspa)


Next morning we traveled by bus across the steep Karpas Range, with the Pentedaktilos peak hardly visible in the clouds, and then eastward towards Enkomi, the wonderful coastal settlement, with its ashlar residences, Cyclopean city-wall, metal industry and close affinities to our Levantine region. Faculty and students discussed the similarities between Enkomi and Akko, Dor, and Tel Nami, as we moved on to the nearby monumental Royal Tombs of the Kings of Salamis, with their Tholoi chambers, heavy vaulting, and articulated dromoi, the burial place of chariot horses. Nearby is the well kept cloister of St. Barnabas, with its well-displayed archaeological museum containing an excellent selection of the island's ancient material culture. Further on are the beautiful ruins of the Roman and Early Byzantine port-city of Salamis, with its public bath complex and palaestra, theater, gymnasium, and colonnaded streets.

Traveling along the shore we came to Famagusta (Gazi Ma*gusa), the capital of the Lusignians, who reigned in Cyprus from 1191 to 1489. We visited the impressive Royal Cathedral, built around 1300 CE, which now serves as the main city mosque, as well as the so called Othello Tower, the main stronghold of the Venetian harbor fortifications.


Fig. 8. The Abbey of Bellapais (Photo: N. Kashtan)


 


Taking a detour on the way back to Kyrenia, we came to the Abbey of Bellapais (Fig. 8), an elegant St. Augustine monastery, founded by King Hugh de Lusignan early in the 14th century. The view from this point and the impressive acoustics of the large praefectorium are quite overwhelming. Later we reached the Kyrenia Harbor Castle, with its museum and the conserved hull of the late 4th-century BCE Kyrenia Wreck, our last stop before our overnight crossing back to Alanya. Reaching landfall at Iotape, we moored beneath the imposing citadel of Alanya and rode up to the upper castle, which proved to be an excellent choice as the last site on our study trip (Fig. 9).


Fig. 9. Alanya harbour (Photo: K. Ziv)


I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues who did their utmost to keep morale high, maintain a stimulating academic atmosphere and provide professional guidance when needed, specifically Michal Artzy, the 'commander' of the other gullet and Yossi Tur-Caspa, our tireless administrative director. Special thanks are due to Sarah Arenson for sharing her knowledge and providing both moral and financial support. Finally, I would like to mention the contributions of the Faculty of Humanities, the Eastward Bound Travel Agency, the two excellent crews of the Musandira and Capitan Yarkin, our gullets and of course our devoted students, whose cooperation added immensely to the success of our common endeavor. Above all though, are our dear friends Lady Irene and Sir Maurice Hatter, whose long-lasting commitment and generosity made this trip possible.

Avner Raban
 
 
 
 


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