Ok off we go.......
The first thing that we noticed on turning the corner from the car park to start the fairly steep climb to the site is that the dirt path has been blocked paved. Um... good or bad. Good because this is a particularly tough walk for a lot of the visitors to make even before they get to the good stuff and probably puts some people off from venturing into the site, but does mean that the site is becoming more commercial, which is always a worry with such pretty sites, but hey ho, that is progress I guess...
As you look across to your left you can see where recent excavations have been carried out on a area that had previously untouched, I wonder what treasures are waiting under there to be discovered?
As you get to the top of the very uneven and well trodden steps you can also see where intervention is needed as this particular section of wall is having to be propped up as the weight of the earth behind is starting to push it over. This is another of the daily problems faced by ancient sites as to how best retain the ancient features.
After writing about the Sacred Stoa, I had realised that I did not have a shot looking across the length so here is a picture rectifying this, even so, it still hard to visualise how impressive this structure must have looked. The overall size of the Sacred Stoa is recorded as 12 meters wide by 116 meters long.
I am still amazed by the detail in the carved stone that you see laying about on the site.
This one has what looks like a lions head with a hole in its mouth. I have read that water was directed out of their mouths either as part of an ornamental fountain or water spouts in the Gymnasiums.
We came across a small acorn tree loaded with acorns. Although acorns have high levels of leaching out the bitter tannins, it is recorded that they were eaten by humans and certainly by animals and cattle as they are rich in nutrients.
I am not sure what this circular piece of stone was for with a hole in the centre, it could have been part of a small column, as a lot of these were made up of sections of stone.
Here you can see a narrow pathway with steps leading off West-gate Street between some of the houses. You will notice that some recent work has been carried out to stabilise some of the walls with mortar. This type of work always raises the question of whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. My opinion is that as long as it is obvious that it has been done for preservation and not to just make the wall look impressive, then it is a good thing.
Here you can clearly see a doorway leading from one room to another in this house.
Every now and then if you stop and look up between the trees you get to see the plateau that towers above the site. I love the way the stone contrasts with the blue of the sky and the green of the pine trees.
We are now at the mid part of West-gate Street where the shops start that were part of the Sacred Stoa. These makeshift benches are a good place to stop for a rest after the long steep climb from the bottom of West-gate Street.
On the back wall of some of the shops that make up this end of the Sacred Stoa you can still make out some areas of plaster, will with some colour to them. They also seem to contain some score marks, maybe to give the plaster the look of tiles?
Across the road from us is the Meat and Fish Market where some more excavation works has been carried out, uncovering some more substantial wall blocks. You can also see where the natural rock has been used as part of the wall.
This is one hefty carved piece of stone with a hole in one end, which I think would have contained a dowel to connect this piece of stone to another.
This piece of carved stone looks like a large hammer, but I would like to see anyone that could lift it.