My sister calls in the morning and asks us if we would like to join them for breakfast at the Limon Cafe, the very famous cafe perched above the Gumusluk Cove in Bodrum. Knowing that we have a couple of hours before meeting them for breakfast, Al and I head for Gumusluk to find the ancient ruins of Myndos, one of the eight Lelegian cities built during the time of Halicarnassus.
The Gumusluk area has been famous for its beautiful bay and tranquility. There are many restaurants line up along the shore, giving you a beautiful spot right next to the water to dine and wine. It started to attract archaeologists since the excavations of the Myndos ruins started a few years ago.
One end of Kings Road is easy to find. It ends on a pathway, submerged into the sea, crossing to an island, named Rabbit Island. Due to excavations, the entry to the island is blocked. In a few years, it will be open to the public to see these ruins including a temple, a church, and some houses from the Byzantine times. Al and I decide to find the other end of this ancient road.
We park our car and start asking how we can find this “King’s Way”. After three inquiries, we find the dirt road going up the hill.
The air still has its morning coolness but it looks like it is going to be a very hot day. Cicadas are already singing their mating songs. In Turkey, cicadas are called August bugs – a very convenient term.
We walk up the road and start noticing marble pillars buried under our feet. It is a strange feeling to be able to walk on ancient ruins still to be excavated. Is it possible that those pillars might end up being the pillars for a temple for Zeus?
As we walk, we see some doorways, part of an aqueduct, and partial remains of a hamam. None of these are marked since the excavations are still in progress.
From a distance, I see the Limon Cafe’s colorful umbrellas dotting the hillside. We realize we can reach Limon Cafe if we walk up the King’s Road all the way to the main road and walk along the main road. It is actually a shorter walk for us.
As we reach the main road we feel the change in the centuries. Behind us, the ancient hamam is standing on its few walls, reminding us how people bathed thousand years ago. In front of us, cars made out of metal, fashionably shaped, carrying bikini-clad girls and tanned young boys rushing to go to the seaside and spend the entire day staring at each other or checking their messages on their “smart” phones. Nobody is aware that there is a tiny sign saying ”antik hamam” just off the road.
It is scary to walk on the main road with cars whizzing by and no shoulder to walk on. Luckily, a car stops and offers a ride. In two minutes, we are at the entrance of the Limon Cafe.
There have been hundreds of reviews, blogs, and articles written about the Limon Cafe. So, I am not going to describe their delicious breakfast, incredible view of the Gumusluk Bay, its friendly atmosphere, and its wonderful service.
What I want to talk about is that Limon Cafe is one of the rare places where an eatery is placed right on top of an ancient Lelegian City, Myndos. As I walk around the Limon Cafe to take pictures, I kept noticing ancient wall remains, a pillar standing in the middle of the path between the terraces where the tables are, and a few other signs showing there is something underneath.
After discovering these landmarks, I ask a waiter if I can talk to one of the managers. A friendly young man comes and walks me around showing me the remnants of Myndos. I learn from him that the excavations cover a huge area and it may take years to uncover ancient Myndos. Also it is possible that the excavations may stop due to the lack of funding. He says:
“Two years ago, while the main road was being expanded, the workers discovered an ancient tomb. The archaeologists were called in. They opened the tomb and discovered that the tomb probably belonged to an important figure. They transported all the ancient jewelry to a museum. It took months to decide whether to keep excavating around the tomb or just continue expanding the road, which was a huge bottleneck between Yalikavak and Gumusluk. They decided to cover the tomb with asphalt and continue expanding the road.”
So, the cars won!
As I discover the corners of Turkey, I hear that there are a lot of funding issues for excavations. One of the main reasons is that Turkey is absolutely filled with ancient sites and they cannot have the manpower and the money to excavate them all. The history keeps getting uncovered through many very famous sites such as Gobekli Tepe, Cappadocia, and Ephesus.