Photographer's Note

A photo from the monastery ruins in Lake Bafa.
The Bafa (Latmos) lake, located on the south slopes of Mount Latmos was originally a port on the narrow gulf. The mouth of the Gulf of Latmus began to fill with sediment from the Maeander (Büyük Menderes) river, which emptied into it, even in classical antiquity. By 300 CE Lake Bafa had formed behind the estuary marshes. It gradually diminished in salinity and would now be fresh water except that canals to the Aegean introduce a saline element.
In Byzantine times, the mountain, known as Latros, became a flourishing monastic centre. The isolation of the Latmos Mountains has attracted Christian hermits and monks alike. Monks driven out of the Sinai and the Arabic peninsula (today Yemen) sought refuge here in the 7th century AD. During the following centuries these groups of hermits grew into a centre of monastic life that was comparable with the Greek community in Athos. This is attested by numerous monasteries and eremite dwellings or prayer rooms decorated with frescoes. Thus, in view of the poor state of documentation of this epoch in Turkey, these monuments are of crucial importance for the history of Byzantine art. By the early 10th century, there were three monasteries, and by 1222, the monastic community of Latros numbered 11 monasteries. It began declining however towards the century's end due to increasing Turkish attacks, and disappeared in the 14th century.

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Additional Photos by Ecmel Erlat (ecmel) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 0 N: 255] (1760)
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