Many real estate sites, name a few www.clickstay.com, www.bodrum.org, www.gundoganvillas.co.uk, in unison share the same information, which involves an ancient rock-carved animals zoo in Gundogan, Bodrum. The same story, written by Sara Sellar, also appears in www.mymerhaba.com blog site about Turkey.
Below is the same text covered by these sites (I included my photographs of Gundogan):
“Covered with colorful flowers all year round, Gundogan means `the Sunrise`. Famous for its ancient rock cemeteries and rock formations, it is a small town on the Bodrum Peninsula.
Some imaginative people believe that these rock formations are, in fact, the remains of an ancient zoo built of stone. There may be truth in this. as Gundogan is located very near to the ancient Lelegian city of Madnasa. These historians of antiquity say that the Lelegians were skilled in stone work. If you look carefully at these rock formations with a little imagination thrown in, then you may see the wild animals of the ancient zoo carved in stone!
It is an important town for fishing, sponge diving, olive and tangerine growing. The old and new settlers have protected the character of the place. They have not touched the houses surrounded with trees of olive, mandarins, bananas, pomegranates and oak. The scent of orange trees welcoming visitors along the seaside still remains. Gundogan has 4000 inhabitants.
Restaurants and cafes among tangerine, olive and pine trees situated and built on jetties circle the Bay offering traditional Turkish cuisine. Gundogan is also less expensive than other parts of the peninsula. Relax and take it easy with the local delicacies or a chilled glass of wine. There are large colourful cushions provided to sit on, on the many jetties circulating the Bay where you can chill out, people watch, sip a refreshing drink children playing in the crystal blue waters and watch the waves breaking on the rocks.”
What really intrigued us in this text is ”the ancient zoo carved in stone.” Everything else said about Gundogan is true. It is a beautiful town. But, we are not sure if we believe the story about skilled stone carvers during the Lelegian times carving stones to create an animal zoo.
Well, this gives us an opportunity to explore the old village of Gundogan, not the one right on the water with vacation homes stretching all the way to the top of the hills, but the one away from the water with no water views.
We drive to Gundogan to figure out if there are rocks that look like animals in the zoo. It takes a while to find the old village perched on a hillside surrounded by rocks and cliffs.
The village of Gundogan looks untouched by all the hoopla of tourism explosion. We ask a few village men sitting at a café about how we can find these rocks that we heard about. They say they never heard of the animal rock zoo, but there are a few rocks that resemble some animals. They also mention rock tombs and rock churches, but since it is getting late, we will search those later.
We take pictures of the rocks and walk around the narrow streets of the village. We find a rock looks like a camel, although not as distinct as the camel rock in Devrent Valley (link to Cappadocia post), Cappadocia.
We see another one looking like a monkey sitting on his haunches. The villagers say it is actually the rock of the “crying bride”. I guess it depends on the way you look at it.
As the sun is getting ready to spread its beautiful evening colors, we drive back home. And the colors are just gorgeous on the rocks!