Sands of White

Over the years, many hundreds of thousands of people have eagerly clambered over the low, rocky slopes of ancient Kedrai (Cedrea) on a mission to see "the beach".... they came in by boat, whether as a day-tripping tourist seeking to take photos of a place touched by some history's greatest legends, or a seasoned sailor stopping by for a quick photo opportunity during his circumnavigation, or a New York businessman, who had chartered a yacht out of Bodrum and weighed anchor from nearby Cati Bay... seeking to swim in the clear blue waters that wash the islands of the Gulf of Gokova.

Perhaps the immense attraction of "the beach" was such, that in their haste to get there, all of these folk may have overlooked the important archeological site that stood, nestled in the olive groves that spread out to the south. This is Sedir Island — translated as "the island of cedar trees" and its name, Cedraea bears testimony to it having offered a plentiful supply for cedar trees — a hardy wood from which to construct the frame of ships in ancient times. Today, we can see how important this settlement was to the Rhodian Peraea... it had temple dedicated to Apollo, a tower and city walls for defence, an open-air market place (also known as an agora) and large amphitheatre which today remains in a good state of preservation. It's noted in history books that the whole place was ransacked by the Spartan Admiral, Lysander, in 405 BC. Lysnader enslaved the island's population... so as to prevent an uprising no doubt.

Imagine being drawn to a beach that has been named,"Cleopatra's Beach" in an effort to grab the attention of the area's holidaymakers? It's not really Cleopatra's beach, but the name is very romantic... as is the story that goes with it of Marc Antony wanting to fill his lover's request by bringing her white sands from Africa and creating a private beach for her. There is a little truth about the sands... although it's not as the legend has it. Each grain of sand is actually a calcium carbonate ooid, a perfect sphere, formed over millions of years and only found in two places in the world: here on Sedir Island and near Alexandria, Egypt. The sand is creamy beige and white and very soft to touch. When my folks first walked upon it in 1994, they told me that they sank almost knee-deep.... at the time, people were free to roam across the beach. Alas, there's not much of the sand left these days, so it is carefully protected.

It's fascinating to see the sands, and take a dip in waters that are such a delicate shade of blue... and to think of the millions of sunrises and sunsets that the area has witnessed... the sands .


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