Lycian rock sarcophagus in Kas, Turkey

By Douglas Praksti
This item appears on page 73 of the April 2014 issue.

While traveling solo in Turkey for 26 days in May ’09, I was in Olympos and wanted to visit the town of Kas (pronounced Kash). I waited near a small store at the top of a dirt road and took the first bus that had an open seat. The ride took three hours. In Kas, I got a room at the Ani Hotel (Recep Bilgin Caddesi No:12, Kas; phone 90 242 836 1791) for TRY25 (near $11) per night, including breakfast and free WiFi. The room was very nice, airy and bright, with facilities en suite. 

An ancient Lycian rock sarcophagus.

Hiking behind the motel, I found dozens of sarcophagus lids scattered across the hillside, along with a few Lycian rock-cut tombs. On the other side of the hill I saw an ancient Roman theater and walked down to check it out. The setting was spectacular, with the seats facing the ocean. 

In the morning, after breakfast on the motel’s rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the beautiful Mediterranean, I checked out an outside bazaar a block away. Colorful, noisy and lots of fun, the bazaar was quite large and had everything from bootleg DVDs to socks. Then I walked over the hill to the picturesque bay.

On day three, I hiked out four kilometers through lush green valleys to the top of a mountain that went straight down to the sea. In the evening, I explored the twisting backstreets of Kas, enjoying the swirl of people and languages. On a hillside street, I found an ancient Lycian rock sarcophagus (pictured) that had four lions and Lycian script carved into the sides. About 20 feet tall and about 3,000 years old, it was said to have belonged to a Lycian king.