Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Our trip to the ancient Cadianda site

Winter picnic on the stadium seats at Cadianda
Years ago I lived in a village in Norfolk, just four miles away from the National Trust Property Oxborough Hall. I lived there for eleven years before I finally managed to visit this property. During that eleven years I drove hundreds of miles to visit other historical sites much further away, so why is it that you never seem to look at what is nearly next door?

True to form we have been staying in Uzumlu for the last three years, and living here since last April but had never visited Cadianda which is only about 6 kilometres up the road. Last week on a lovely winters day we finally decided to give it  a look, so we packed a picnic and set off to see what the site had to offer.

I gather that it is possible to walk up to Cadianda from Uzumlu village itself, but not being as fit as we should be, we opted to drive up. We had heard that the drive to Cadianda which is on a single track road is fairly horrendous so we set off with some trepidation. But although some parts had to be taken very carfeully, due to rocks and divets, on the whole it was not too bad and we managed it fine in a normal small saloon car. Luckily we didn't meet anyone coming the other way, which could have been interesting as there are some tight bends as you would expect from a track that climbs so quickly, and only some places where it would be possible to pass another vehicle.

One of the information boards in the parking area

We finally arrived at the car park where there are three information boards - two carry details of the site, one in Turkish and the other in English, the third is a rather scant map of the site. In the summer months there is a man in the hut to take money from you to visit the site , but in the winter his hut is closed and empty, as are the toilets also locked up.

So carrying our picnic we set off along the well marked route, through the woodland that has grown up in and among the ruins. The track started with a gentle incline which after a short while steepened as it headed off to the right. We followed it's direction and suddenly we were high enough to enjoy the most spectacular views of Fethiye town and the sea down below us.

Fantastic views of Fethiye, the harbour and out to sea
We carried on climbing and eventually reached the stadium area, which still has the carved stone seats and a large grass area running along the front of it. I was fascinated how they had carved the stone to make a stairway up the middle of the seating area. This seemed a good place to stop for our picnic and a rest as the stones offered seating and a table.

The stadium - our choice of picnic spot

After refreshments we looked at the ruins of the Hamam (bath house) before heading off to see the Sarnıç - water cistern. The remains of the large underground water tanks were clearly visible, and one must assume that a constant supply of water must have been quite a problem for them to have gone to so much effort.

Substantial remains of the old city wall
Moving on we passed some underground rooms which clearly originally had painted walls. We really didn't know whether these were the remains of the older civilisation (pre-Roman) or were tombs.
We carried along the track now bending back towards the parking area and next we came to the old city walls. We weren't expecting to see the walls in such good order nor were we prepared for the stunning views over towards Ortaköy and Ören. The mountains in the distance were covered in snow, which seemed ridiculous when were standing in the sunshine. The drop from the city walls was a steep and sheer drop so quite a feat of early engineering, and not necessarily a spot for those who suffer from vertigo to be standing.

Stunning views across the hills to the snow capped mountains

Next we came to the Roman Theatre of which a remarkable amount was still intact, including the entrance and you could so well imagine an evening of entertainment taking place.

The Roman Theatre at Cadianda

Then back to the car parking area for a well earned beer and a slice of cake before heading back down the hill  enjoying the views over the valley to home.

Views over Uzumlu and Incirkoy
Roman tile
So what did we think of our first trip to Cadianda -we loved it. We are both interested in historical sites so we were fascinated by the ruins themselves. We were amazed at the size of the place, it was obviously a vast city in its heyday. We were surprised how intact parts of it were as we had been told it was just a few stones laying around! It was amazing to walk amongst such history, seeing columns and Roman tiles just laying there to touch and enjoy, not just to see behind the glass of a museum display case.

Roman tiles lay around the site
The track was rough at times and wouldn't suit anyone with walking difficulties and it is quite a long walk round, so you need to allow time.

You need to be careful in parts as there are lots of holes some of which are quite deep. Some of the track is also quite steep so you would need to be fairly fit to view it in the summer heat.  But the track is clearly marked and their are signs in stategic positions to inform you of what you are seeing. All all things considered we had a wonderful day and I am sure we will visit the site again.

Columns left where they have fallen over the years

It is worth the effort for the stunning views alone. I bet there are thousands of visitors to the area on holiday who don't even know it's there, this gem in the mountains only 24 kilometres from Fethiye.

Cadianda dates back to the 3rd-century BC although apparently there are no remains older than 5th-century BC visible on the surface of the site.

For those wishing to visit Cadianda you head to Yesil Uzumlu. Turn right into the village and when you reach the village centre turn left at the mosque, after about 6 kilometres there is a sign on the right for Cadianda, you then follow the mountain road for a few kilometres before finally reaching the site. It is possible to walk to the sight from the village centre, but it is a 5 kilometre uphill hike so only for those fitter than we are. You can get a dolmus from Fethiye (20 minutes) then walking up the hill past the Uzumlu Winehouse you will find a track at the top of the road, follow the signs. There are also organised trips by jeep to Cadianda, and during the mushroom Festival which Uzumlu holds in April transport is provided to visit the site.


  1. Exactly the same as you - we'd been here for years before we got up there and yet we'd taken ourselves off to Ephesus and the like. Everyone kept telling us about the views so we went up there mainly for that. It's a fascinating site though, sat hihg up all on its own.

    We've heard about the path up there, too. Would like to hunt that down. :)

  2. If you ever do the walk up Julia let us know how it goes, would love to do it ourselves - one day! Yes this site is so high you have to wonder at the blood sweat and tears that must have been involved in building such a large city.

  3. Thanks for this description. We are planning a trip to Fethiye and Dalyan in March so this site will be on our itinerary.

    1. Yes you'll enjoy the trip and March will be a good time weather wise, as it won't be too hot for all that walking.