The clear brilliant light accents form and colour inspiring creativity in the most inspirational locations, far away from tourist intrusion. Here we find ourselves in Iassos, a haven of calm. Our group enjoyed sketching with water colour pencils, where they can titivate their efforts on their return.
Iasos has a special atmosphere that you cannot fail to feel as you first enter the Agora through the arch and past the curious cows and goats on either side.
The warmth, the peace and smell of dried earth and thyme fill the air, it is breathtaking to come out from the shaded archway into the bright light of the day and see before you, the senate, the white marble roads and the soaring apricot- coloured columns, arms pointing upwards, welcoming us to this deserted haven.
Hardly a soul visits this place except in high season, so we have the perfect place to paint and draw. Personally I find the sense of history and adventure pressing on me from all around. How could it not? So much has happened here,
This ancient Carian city has had an extraordinary and eventful history and once fully-excavated will prove to be as huge a discovery and as important as the great city of Ephesus, or even more so, as my friend the Italian archeologist told me as we chatted during one of his ‘stone numbering’ sessions.
Caria was a Greek region that covered most of the Aegean and part of the Mediterranean coasts during the 11th to 6th century B.C. and seemed to be a force for good, (all things being equal in the ancient world)
Situated alongside the newer harbour of the current day village of Kiyikislacik, Iasos was once an island and a member of the Delian league of 468 B.C, of which its main aim was to fight invasion by the Persian Empire. It is obvious to see how the geography of this location made it so strategically important and how the natural harbour although changed and silted, would have made it a great commercial port.
It eventually came under the rule of the Byzantine empire but by the 15th century, when the Ottomans ruled the city, it lay deserted.
Iasos was most famous as an exporter of the beautiful pink marble quarried nearby and still can be seen carved into the columns and walls of some of the most well-known Roman municipal buildings. Examples of this marble can be seen in the incredible Iasos museum set into collonades around an ancient temple in what used to be the city’s fish market. This is not a museum as you and I know it, no glass boxes, no “do not touch” signs, the sole curator is a stern young woman, who will open up for you on demand whilst still chivvying her young children, who enjoy the museum corridors as an extension of their playground. It is a pleasure to amble around and mix youthful exuberance with the ancient headless statues to revered forgotten grandees of long ago.