National Geographic : 1969 Dec
rose, the great walls and turrets seemed to float on watered silk. Yankee rode between the castles, and we wrote in her log this un qualified statement: "Klzkalesi, the most romantic anchorage in the world." Next day we had an easy run to Mersin, where the O'Briens left us. Joe and I hired a car for a 17-mile trip to Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul. Tarsus once offered all the glitter of the an cient world. Plutarch describes the most glam orous Tarsian moment, when Cleopatra's barge glided up the ancient Cydnus River for the Egyptian queen's first well-staged meet ing with Mark Antony. The scene had every thing-a barge with gilded stern, purple sails, Issum, or Alexan- Tempting array of fruits a dretta-Iskende- beguiling as any spoils of col run in Turkish. weary troops. Electa Johnson and silver oars... Cleopatra dressed as Venus under a canopy of cloth of gold... the music of flutes and harps... the air scented with perfume, and the hard-drinking Mark An tony waiting in the marketplace, as Plutarch reports, "while the word went through all the multitude that Venus was come to feast with Bacchus for the common good of Asia." Well, Tarsus has changed. It has a Roman "St. Paul's Gate" and a "Cleopatra Gate" and a bustling population of 65,000-but little remains of its ancient grandeur. Off to an early start next day, Yankee covered 85 miles, crossing the big Gulf of Iskenderun to the port once called Alexan dretta. Great mountains rose up to starboard. nd vegetables in Iskenderun's market appears as nquest that might have attracted Alexander's battle chooses farm-fresh bounty for Yankee's galley. 815'