Saturday, 22 June 2013

Lagina




A successful trip can be measured in many ways but an early start to an unspoilt temple enclosure with no entry fee and a very friendly guardian ticks most of the boxes.Yesterday we left home at 7:15am in the camper van and by 8:30 we were parked at the entrance to Lagina, breakfasting on simits and tea.


The route is an easy one as the site is off the main road between Milas and Muğla. I've passed the brown sign to Lagina hundreds of times which is lucky as the signpost is no more, so you have to follow the sign to Turgut beside the power station in Yatağan. 



Lagina is a temple sanctuary dedicated to Hecate, a goddess reigning over land, sea and air and usually depicted with 3 heads.  She is a very busy lady as she also presides over fire, light, the moon, witchcraft, magic, herbs and poisonous plants, childbirth, soldiers at war and sailors on rough seas.  A shrine to Hecate was often found at entrance doors to protect a building from restless spirits.  


The dog is the animal most associated with Hecate. I'm sure Jake wouldn't have roamed so freely over fallen columns if he'd know that his ancestors had been sacrificed here. 



Lagina was connected to the city of Stratonikea by a sacred way and Strabo writes that in the 1st century BC during the festivities celebrating Hecate, a key was carried from the temple to the city.  The sacred road still exists in places but has been mostly destroyed by the large lignite mine supplying fuel to the Yatağan power station.  This May, a symbolic reconstruction of the key carrying ceremony took place with young girls dressed in white Grecian garb carrying a key as far as the main road where presumably they hopped onto a minibus. 



We were the only visitors and spent an uninterrupted couple of hours wandering around the minimally  reconstructed site.  The monumental friezes were long ago taken to Istanbul but the grandeur of the site is still evident in the complex decoration of the altar ceiling and the distance between the monumental gate and the temple gives an idea how large the walled complex was. 




Back at the car park, the guardian of the site, Abdullah Demirel had come on duty and invited us to join him for a glass of tea and a chat about the site.  We found out that excavation was currently on hold as the director of the dig was fighting a court case (a bit of non-archaeological digging on google turned up plenty of Turkish archaeologists  and museum workers subject to legal investigation so I'm glad I don't ply this trade in Turkey). He also told us that the site is very popular with pagans and showed us a couple of the flags they had left behind.  He recommended we come back at full moon and wait to catch a glimpse of Hecate herself. I think we would more likely be arrested by the Jandarmes.


As a parting shot he suggested we take a photo of the olive tree next to the car park.  Transplanted from beside the sacred way to avoid destruction, it has been dated to 2,500 years old.  As we drove away from the Lagina we realised that we were visiting on the summer solstice, the day before the super moon. We really should have made proper use of the van, camped overnight and waited for the goddess of sorcery and necromancy to flit by.





24 comments:

  1. As someone who previously had no interest in archaeology, the way you tell these stories has whetted my appetite.

    Dear gorgeous Jake...how well he fits in with everything you do xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't resist the picture of him in the camper van

      Delete
  2. . . thought Hecate was the goddess of big holes in the ground and pollution - I live and learn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She seems to be the goddess of everything. I forgot to mention crossroads.

      Delete
  3. Oooh, this one had shivers going down my spine - it oozes ancient vibes, even through the photos. What a wonderful place, Annie. You describe it so well.
    The photo that tickled me was the first one with Jake at his place at the breakfast table! He's so gorgeous - like a clean and respectable Darwin!
    Axxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He isn't actually at the breakfast table, he is on the seat opposite but the photo was too good to ignore..

      Delete
  4. B to B, Lovely, very evocative post. We'll be looking for her this evening 'by the light of the silvery moon.'

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful read, you wet my apetite to hit the road and visit these amazing sites again, I hope soon : ) Selamlar, Ozlem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get down here soon. Any chance of joining your mother?

      Delete
  6. enjoyed your post...it's so much fun to visit these sites vicariously through the photos and words of someone else...since it's extremely doubtful I'd ever visit this site myself :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too enjoy vitally visiting the USA with you.

      Delete
  7. That looks amazing! We shall have to get there and experience it for ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love this post...amazingly interesting for me. How lucky you were to be wandering around without any bus loads :-( of tourists around. I love love love visiting these sites, I can't get enough of them when in Turkey.
    I got a chuckle when you said that the Jandarmes are going to come and arrset you if you come out at night to see Hecate herself.
    Great 'old' olive tree...just can't imagine what that olive tree has seen if only it could talk...
    Jake looks like he's having a jolly time exploring.

    Thanks for sharing...can hardy wait to read your posts on whatever else you have seen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are so lucky to be the only visitors in many of the sites we visit.

      Delete
  9. Hello . I'm Alex.
    I would like to publish a sponsored post (with one link) on your great blog - http://backtobodrum.blogspot.com. Could you please give me the price for the placement of it?
    Also i would like to show you some examples of my work:
    http://indietravels.com/things-to-do-in-bodrum/
    http://www.vagabondish.com/alternative-themed-hen-weekend-london/
    http://indohoy.com/keeping-the-kids-protected-top-sun-care-options-the-tropics/
    Thank you and I look forward to your reply.
    Have a nice day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dear Annie, there is within me something that responds to the "old" ways. I'm working on the first draft of a novel that takes place in Bronze-Age Greece and I'm discovering my mind wondering far and wee among the ruins of that time. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your book will be available through kindle

      Delete
    2. Dear Annie, I hope that it will be published as both a paper book and an e-book. All that is in the future. But I feel compelled to write it and that's where I am in the process right now. Peace.

      Delete
  11. Hecate sounds like a very put-upon goddess, Annie. I wonder what the rest of the crowd were doing while she was chasing round keeping the world on track? :-)

    Another fascinating glimpse of a corner of Turkey's archaeological riches. I can't believe you had somewhere like this to yourselves. Sigh....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hectate seems to have most things covered.

      Delete