Walking the sacred path of Miletus was an immense physical achievement for me. Not only did I do it with a raging hangover, garnered from a heavy night before, but as well as the long distance of 14 kilometers, the rugged path is a winding route of grass and stones, going up and down hills through the country land.
My walking partner that I met for the first time was Pat Yale, a famous author of many travel guide books about Turkey and former writer for Lonely Planet. Her current project is a book about Gertrude Bell, a woman who pioneered the travel industry in the early 1900s although many suspected that she was instead a spy for the British government.
Gertrude traveled extensively throughout Turkey when it was ruled by the Ottomans, and Pat is retracing her steps for her next book so by following the sacred path of Miletus, we would also gain more information about her time in the area.
Despite the vast amount of knowledge about Turkish travel that Pat and myself have garnered between us, walking the sacred path of Miletus was not easy since little is known about it and the Turkish government has yet to mark the path out officially. Luckily, we’d enlisted the help of local guide Erkin who lives in the small and rustic village of Akkoy, that is the beginning of the sacred path.
Likewise, Erkin has worked in the Turkish travel industry for most of his life so the meeting of the three of us was a joining of common interests and spending the day with like-minded people, was one of my most enjoyable times of 2015.
About the Miletus Sacred Path
The ancient city of Miletus was part of the iconic Ionian Empire and strategically important because of its position as a sea trading port. Also credited with having received a visit from Saint Paul, once the sea started to edge away, their importance died down and the city was left for ruins, along with the sacred path.
Annually the pagan people of Miletus used the path to made a pilgrim journey to the Temple of Apollo, of which the ruins are in the nearby resort of Didim. This was during the Hellenistic and Roman times, therefore, the path was quite elaborate with statues paving the way. Apparently it was also 90 feet wide yet none of this is visible these days.
Had it not been for our local and knowledgeable guide Erkin, I’m positive that we would have ended up wandering the green hillside aimlessly. Signs are nonexistent and due to the lack of artifacts and ruins, in very few areas, is it possible to realize that we were on the sacred path.
Anyone expecting the glory of ancient ruins and ambiance of a path previously used by pagans would be seriously disappointed. Having said that, ample opportunities sprang out everywhere for landscape photography and I was extremely happy to met the famous Pat Yale of whose books have crafted much of my travels throughout Turkey.
Note: Unless you are knowledgeable about the area, I don’t recommend walking the Sacred path alone. Local guide Erkin can be contacted on the Facebook page called “I Love Akkoy” or at the Cafe Olive in the village