North Central Anatolia

The two key sites here seem to be Ankara and Hattusa.

The Museum of Anatolian Civilization may well be worth a couple of visits.  It's the main Ankara draw, though they are also various sites Ataturkian as well.  A hotel close to the museum would be convenient.  One such possibility is the Divan Cukurhan Boutique Hotel.

Hattusa is 150 kilometers east of Ankara at Bogazkale: Hattusas Pension And Hotel Baykal:

The important Hittite site of Alaca Hoyuk is only half an hour from Hattusa and may well be worth a visit.

It's then three hours plus from Bogazkale to Cappadocia.  It would seem to make sense to stay overnight for one or two nights close to Hattusa before driving to Cappadocia.  A detour to the east to visit Kultepe, the site of ancient Kanesh, could easily be accommodated into a travel day.  There is not much here in the way of ruins.  Thousands of clay tablets have been found.  Several of these are on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

South Central Anatolia

I was somewhat overwhelmed researching Cappadocia.  One key may be to find a comfortable base to explore the region, though you may be more comfortable moving around.  I personally liked the sounds of Guzelyurt (I think Anne stayed there a number of years ago).  But there are so many options, only a few of which are listed on my Accommodations page.

Here are some Cappadocia resources.  So many possibilities for open-air church exploration and hikes.

Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are the best-known underground settlements.  It's recommended to get to these sites early before the crowds arrive.

A day trip exploring the Ihlara Valley is heavily recommended.  One reason I highlighted Guzelyurt as a possible base is that it is very close to the Ihlara Valley (15 minutes).

It is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Cappadocia to Konya.  The Mevlana Museum contains the tomb of Rumi but there are other notable sites in the city as well.  A number of hotels are located very close to the museum, including the three listed on my Accommodations page.

Konya could become a convenient base for one or two day trips

Catal Hoyuk is just an hour away.  I think it would be wonderful to find an AirBnb or other accommodation on the edge of the ruins if one is available so that you could experience the place in solitude.

The Esrefoglu Camii, a late thirteenth century mosque with 48 wooden interior columns, is in Beysehir 90 minutes to the west of Konya, and may well be worth a detour as you move on to your next location.

Mediterranean Coast

I'm not sure what the best route is from here, but have chosen from south to north on the coast, ending up in the Izmir region.  There are many cities and towns to choose from for accommodations all along the coast.  You may want to try to locate a few bases or travel from site to site.

I'm intrigued by Saint Simeon's pillar and other sites in Antakya, but think it makes sense to push the southern terminus further north.

One possibility would be to drive the four hours from Konya to Silifke, and stay there for a night.  A plaque nine kilometers north of town marks the spot where the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa drowned on June 10, 1190 attempting to cross the Goksu River en route to Palestine during the Third Crusade.  Silifke is then only 20 minutes from Turkey's Corycian Cave (Cennet ve Cehennem or the Caves of Heaven and Hell and the Cave of Typhon).  The Cennet Deresi includes a Byzantine chapel to Mary built over the former site of a Temple to Zeus.

It's then four and a half hours up the coast from Silifke to Side.

Despite my passion for the story of Zeus and the Typhon, it may make more sense to drive the three and half hours from Konya to Side or the four and a half hours from Konya to Antalya.  I like the idea of driving to Side, spending the night there, and then moving slowly the next day to Cirali, visiting Termessos, and possibly another site, on the way, before going to the fire-fields that evening.

Side, the theatre at Aspendos, Perge and Termessos are located close together.  Termessos looks spectacular.  Side, Aspendos and Perge look interesting, but are not must-see and are not central to the Gods and Heroes theme.

Turquoise Coast

The resort town of Cirali is promoted as an excellent spot to stay to gain access to the burning flames in the forest behind sacred to Hephaestus.  According to myth, it was here that Bellerophon, riding the winged horse Pegasus, dropped lead into the mouth of the Chimaera from the air.  It is best to climb from Cirali to The Chimaera (aka Yanartes) at dusk.

Cirali is an hour and a half north of Antalya. 

The Letoon, a shrine to the goddess Leto and the official religious sanctuary and oracle site for the Lycian Federation, is in the Xanthos Valley.  It is located three hours up the coast from Cirali.  Demre, the home of Santa Claus, is half-way between Cirali and the Letoon.

Visiting the Letoon is a must.  A couple of seemingly interesting sites are located nearby in the Xanthos Valley -- Tlos (an ancient Lycian citadel city that was built on a Hittite site) and Oenoanda, amongst the highest of the Lycian cities.  Tlos is 45 minutes inland from the Letoon, while Oenoanda is 50 kilometers northeast of Tlos.  Perhaps you can find wonderful village accommodations near Tlos.

Central And Southern Aegean

There are a wealth of possible choices here, including Ephesus, Miletus, Didyma, Priene, Aphrodisias, and lesser-visited sites such as Heracleia ad Latmos and Labranda.

Possible bases include Ancient Didyma, Priene, and Selcuk.  My recommendation might be to spend time at Ancient Didyma and at Selcuk.  The Bahab Guest House in Priene is also a possibility.

It is just over three hours from Tlos to Aphrodisias.  This is a site central to our theme, and you may want to spend a couple of nights at Aphrodisias.

Another possibility is to skip Aphrodisias and drive the five hours from the Letoon to Ancient Didyma.  You might want to visit the Underwater Archaeology museum at Bodrum castle on the way if you choose that option.

The sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma was one of the major oracle sites of the Greek world.  Note that there are limited accommodations near the Didyma ruins themselves as opposed to the party town down below.  Rough Guide describes the Medusa House as the best place available.  Three nights at Didyma would provide the opportunity to explore the sanctuary; to wander the swampy grounds of Miletus; and to figure out where and how to walk the extant 13 kilometers of the Sacred Way.

Selcuk is now a tourist town built up around Ephesus.  But it offers excellent access to the ruins, as well as to a number of other sites that connect to our theme, including the scant remains of the Temple of Artemis, the Ephesus Museum, the ruins of the Basilica of St. John, and the House of the Virgin Mary.

Aphrodisias is two hours inland from Selcuk and two hours 45 minutes from Didyma, while Didyma and Selcuk are 90 minutes apart.  I recommend going from Aphrodisias to Didyma, before continuing up the coast to Selcuk.

North Aegean

Possible North Aegean bases include Behramkale, Yesilyurt or Adatepe.  Behramkale is the village up above where we stayed in 2013, though it is more traditional and much closer to the Assos ruins than we were.  The Assos ruins are wonderful.  The Zeus Altari, a carved rock platform 15 minutes from Adatepe, is said to have been the place from which the Greek god watched the Trojan War.

It is a four hour drive from Selcuk to Assos.  Pergamum (modern Bergama) is just a short detour away half-way through the trip.

I was hoping that we could quiz locals above Yesilyurt and Adatepe whether they knew of whether there are local traditions that link specific spots in the foothills of the Kazdagi range (Mount Ida) to such myths as the Judgment of Paris or to the meeting of Anchises and Aphrodite.

It is an hour from Assos to Troy.

It is then three hours and 20 minutes from Assos to Izmir


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