Sleepy Lycian ruins in idyllic village

Occasional signs off the highway between Fethiye and Kalkan direct drivers to this remote site, though as it’s on the long-distance Lycian Way a couple of days’ walk beyond Kabak it’s as often visited by hikers. This is a delightful small city, not least on account of its wooded and bucolic location; oak-shaded paths lead among fields where stands of wheat run up against magnificent mausolea, often with exquisite carved detailing and coffered ceilings, some of them now used as hay stores. The centre of the site is now occupied by the current village of Dodurga; current, but not in attitude, for the villagers appear traditional to a fault. The elderly men are mostly seen on their regular visits to the mosque, its walls raised from ancient inscribed blocks removed from the adjacent bath houses.

The courteous Özcan, until recently the local imam, was an exemplary host. His wife provided excellent country lunches under the great plane tree in the main square where their daughter was often seen working a carpet on a loom. They also offered simple overnight accommodation to passing hikers. Recently, however, the family was moved on, following complaints by some villagers that Özcan was an infidel-loving radical whose call to prayer was not up to scratch; his final heresy was said to be the installation in his guest premises of a western-style toilet. Reaction evidently remains engrained in rural Turkey. These are souring events; even so, Sidyma remains an idyllic spot.  You might even think about staying at the delightful Sidyma Homes.

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