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A walking tour of Ağlasun
|Description||This tour of Ağlasun gives you a taste of the traditional architecture of the area and the attractive mix of town, village, and countryside to be found within the city limits. Sharp-eyed walkers will also find a few remnants of Sagalassos built into the contemporary town!
The tour begins at the Sagaleri Visitors’ Centre, where you can find further information about Sagalassos and Ağlasun. From the Sagaleri, walk uphill past the market to the monumental plane tree (Çinar) in Ağlasun’s central plaza. This ancient tree is estimated to be 500-700 years old and may be a remnant of Selcuk Ağlasun! From the tree proceed in the same direction downhill along XX Street. A small Seljuk hamam discovered by the Sagalassos project in 2002 lies below a present-day home in the first courtyard on your left. Walk 15m inside and look for a small wooden door on the lower floor of the house in front of you. Behind the door is the hamam, which probably dates from the 2nd quarter of the 13th century AD. The bath was part of a Seljuk han, which may have constituted the marketplace of several small-scale settlements in the area.
Continuing downhill, you wıll arrive at a small plaza. You are now in Sakarca Mahallesi, one of the five neighborhoods of Ağlasun. The small pink building in front of you is the office of the Muhtar, the elected head of the neighborhood.
Turn left, keeping the pink building on your right. The road goes downhill for about 150m until it reaches a fork. Turn left here and walk uphill. To the right views over fields afford glimpses of Sagalassos on the mountainside. Along this route several roads enter from the left. Continue straight until the third one and look to the right: a dirt road enters the fields behind a gate, next to a low stone wall. Turn right and follow this road under the trees.
This path cuts through some of the rich small farms of Ağlasun. You can see cherries, apples, plums, roses, and other crops growing, and beautiful views of the mountains open up at surprising moments. The path forks several times, but you should always keep left. After about 500m you will reach a T junction with a dirt road. You will see a small light green metal structure on your left. Turn left and proceed uphill.
The road passes a dormitory on the right and exits into Kiraç Mahallesi, the smallest of Ağlasun’s neighborhoods. If you look to the right, you can see the monuments of Sagalassos on the mountainside. Turn left and proceed downhill, noticing the well-preserved traditional stone and mud brick houses. If your eyes are sharp you can find a Latin inscription on your left, built into the wall of a house! The inscription honors one of the Roman emperors. When you reach the first junction, turn right onto Eskisaray Sokak (‘Old Palace Street’) and go downhill.
Across the fields there is a great view of Düzen Tepe (‘Flat Hill’), where archaeologists have discovered a town predating Sagalassos. The two towns existed simultaneously in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Continue on Eskisaray Sokak. The road crosses a stream and then continues uphill into a dense group of well-preserved mud brick houses. Despite the name of the street, no one is sure where the palace was, if there was one!
When you reach the end of Eskisaray Sokak, turn left and then immediately right to continue on Yukarı Sokak (signpost missing). You are now in Bala Mahallesi, which is probably the oldest of Ağlasun’s neighborhoods and has the best-preserved traditional houses. You’ll see the Bektaş Abdullah Cami (Bektaş Abdullah Mosque) on the right. Though a new mosque, the interior is beautifully decorated with blue and white tile (visitors are welcome outside of prayer times, though modest dress and hair coverings for women guests are required). Go down the small street opposite the mosque, Bulut Sokak. When you reach the junction below, take a sharp right onto Sipahi Sokak (no sign) and ascend again through old stone houses. On your right you can see a fountain partly built of ancient stones.
Sipahi Sokak exits at Yukarı Sokak, next to the neighborhood tea house. Cross the street and find an alley opposite and slightly to the right, called Atasoy Sokak. This street bends to the left as it turns through dense and well-preserved mudbrick and stone houses. Look for the sign for Fidan Sokak. Immediately behind this sign there is a small dirt alley that turns sharply to the left.
It doesn’t look like much, but one of Ağlasun’s best-kept secrets is down this path behind a wooden gate. It’s polite to call out, but feel free to open the door and enter if no one responds. You are entering the courtyard of Ibrahim???, who is mostly known by his nickname ‘Tatlises’. The courtyard is full of creative reuse of ancient stones, including a fountain built of beautiful ancient architectural fragments, a Roman sarcophagus, and an oven partly made from an ancient ostotheka (cremation urn). One of the cemeteries of Sagalassos was located in what is now Bala Mahallesi, and the Sagalassos project has located other burial monuments in the area. The house is a great example of local wooden architecture, with an upper loft and lower area for animals. While visitors are welcome in the courtyard, please respect the privacy of the residents (and don’t trample the garden!).
Close the gate behind you and return to Atasoy Sokak, continuing until it ends at a larger road near a playground. Turn right and walk uphill. You will see a large arch ahead of you; take a sharp right just before you reach the arch and turn downhill again. Through the plane trees on the left you can see great views of the mountains around Sagalassos. The street bends to the left as it reenters a group of houses. The road narrows. Continue straight, keeping the mosque on your right. As you descend a small alley onto the main road, you will see a great view of Akdağ (2276 m), the tallest mountain in the region.
At the main road turn downhill and walk straight toward the center of Ağlasun. As you walk south you will pass the Kaymakamlik (County Government), Ağlasun Vocational College (a branch of Mehmet Akif Ersoy University in Burdur), and the municipal tea garden before returning to the giant plane tree. From here it’s a short walk to the minibuses or the Sagaleri, or you can have a glass of tea and rest your feet in the tea garden, which is also full of ancient architectural fragments!
|Remark||Long trousers and sturdy shoes recommended!|
|Distance||The walk is about 4 km / 1.5 hours.|
|Rating (difficulty)||(easy walk)|
|Authors||Daniel Shoup and Marijke Van Looy|