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ORTAKLAR (MAGNESIA AD MAEANDRUM)

"The Partners"

copsis1Why would you stop in the small town of Ortaklar midway between Aydın and Selçuk?

No reason really except that it's a handy place to sample a popular Aegean meat treat, çöp şiş, which consists of small pieces of lamb about half the size of the usual chunks grilled on a skewer together with a piece of fat. 

Which restaurant to choose? Take your pick. They're all big and obviously designed with the coach party trade in mind. What's more they do their best to outshout each other with their signs. I ate at Necdet'in Yeri and was very happy with my meal. 

BUT just down the road (4km) from Ortaklar as you head for Söke you'll come to the wonderful and under-visited site of ancient Magnesia ad Maeandrum. There's so much to enjoy here even if the the main temple to Artemis is little more than a pile of rubble. In the main part of the site which may well be partially submerged don't miss a 32-seater toilet block with a fine mosaic backdrop. The ruins of an early 15th-century mosque attest to the site's continued use into the late Middle Ages. magnes1

It would be easy to miss the remains of the stadium that must be accessed along a track just a little way further along the road to Söke. This is the real gem of Magnesia, outstripping even the stadium at Aphrodisias in magnificence although work on clearing it of mud is yet to be completed. Marble seats still run along the top of the tiered rows and crude carvings still adorn the lowest level, protected behind bars to prevent them being stolen or vandalised as happened at Nysa. 

On the way to the stadium you'll pass remains of a huge gymnasium although they are mainly fenced off and difficult to appreciate. A fork in the path leads to a small theatre (possibly an odeon rather than a fully fledged theatre?). The path itself is a delight with fig trees filling the fields on either side and small abandoned cottages and drystone made using spolia from the site. 

stad2Transport info

Half-hourly buses connect Söke to Aydın passing through Ortaklar and the main entrance to the ruins. 

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