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AHMETBEYLİ (CLAROS, KLAROS, NOTİON)

North of Kuşadası, the small town of Ahmetbeyli sits just inland from the coast on the road to İzmir although it has a satellite settlement on the seafront too. There is no particular reason why you would want to stop here except that the ruins of ancient Claros are close to the town while the scant remains of ancient Notion (Colophon) sit on the hill overlooking the beach. AhmetbeyliAhmetbeyli beach from Notion hill

The beach itself is spoilt by the amount of litter dropped behind it but there is a pretty inlet lined with boats beneath Notion hill to the south.

It's worth noting that some authorities believe that the great epic poet Homer was born here rather than in Smyrna (İzmir).

Claros (Klaros)

Claros was the site of a great temple to Apollo Claros with a famous oracle that bore the same sort of relationship to Notion (Colophon) as Didyma did to Miletus which means that you won't find extensive ruins here, just traces of the temple and the buildings that went with it, including a "katagogeoin" which seems to have been an early inn for visiting pilgrims. Excavations have uncovered a Sacred Way linking the two sites just as there was between Didyma and Miletus although it was beneath water when I visited.

Claros1The Temple of Apollo is believed to date back to the 3rd century BC and was the only temple in Ionia that was originally built in the Doric style although it was extensively remodelled in Hellenistic times and again during the reign of the Enperor Hadrian. It was adorned with huge statues of Apollo, his sister Artemis and his mother Leto; there are replicas of the pieces that have been recovered at the site.

The temple was built over a sacred spring and these days it stands like an island in water. In Roman times it also seems to have served as a temple to the emperors Augustus and Tiberius.  As with the great temple at Didyma building work here never seems to have been completely finished.

Near the temple were found the remains of a "hecatomb" where animals were tied up ready for slaughter (?).

Signs at the site suggest that there will probably be work to improve the presentation shortly. For the time being there is a small open-air "museum" of replicas of items found here.

This is a lovely, peaceful site in a quiet location. When I visited I had dozens of turtles swimming and sunbathing to keep me company. Claros2

There are two ways to get to the Claros ruins. The most obvious is to take the İzmir road from the Ahmetbeyli junction and watch for the sign on the right - it's less than 1km to the ruins.

Alternatively as you come into Ahmetbeyli from Kuşadası you can look for a minor road on the right beside the Motel Klaros. It's a pleasant 2km walk partly past mandarin orchards along it to the ruins - keep going straight on until you come to a bridge, then turn right across it and take the right fork on the far side of the bridge - the ruins are signed shortly afterwards. 

Notion (Colophon Harbour)

While the ruins at Claros are certainly worth visiting those at Notion are for die-hard enthusiasts only - the only visible remains are of the city wall and they can be seen from the beach at Ahmetbeyli without bothering to hack up the hill in the heat.

If, though, you do want to take a closer look there's a rough path (more of a goat-track) that starts from behind a sign which can be found by turning left towards the sea instead of right towards Claros from beside the Motel Klaros. 

notionWalls of Notion (Colophon Harbour)But even if the ruins are nothing to get excited about the views down onto the Ahmetbeyli beach on one side and out over the Kuşadası Körfezi (Gulf of Kuşadası) towards Kuşadası and Pamucak Beach near Selçuk (identifiable by the slab hotel building) are magnificent.

Transport info

There are at least hourly buses from Kuşadası to Seferihisar passing through Ahmetbeyli and vice versa.

Day trip destinations

Kuşadası

Özdere

Seferihisar

clarosturtlesSunbathing turtles at Claros

Claros3Giant imperial foot at Claros


 

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