The Göksu valley (Fig. 1), which furnishes one of the two main routes from Turkey's southern shore through the Taurus to the Konya plain and the rest of the central plateau, must be deemed one of the country's national treasures. The clear turquoise ribbon of the river threads its way south-eastwards from high in the mountains west of Ermenek to reach the Mediterranean at Silifke, or rather at the mouth of the delta it has created to the south of the classical and modern town. The valley itself, however, is by no means uniform, nor is the road which follows it. Coming from the interior, the traveller leaves the Konya plain not far south of Karaman, and after a gentle climb to the pass at Sertavul, begins to descend thickly pine-grown slopes high on the eastern shoulders of the valley, with the Göksu itself glimpsed occasionally flowing far below. Dropping steeply down, leaving the monastery of Alahan high above one to the left, one passes into a very different landscape around the regional centre of Mut, Roman Claudiopolis (earlier Ninica, see Mitchell 1979). Here the Göksu is joined from the west by the Ermenek Su, and the narrow valleys of their upper courses give way to a wide, low-lying basin, where the stream has cut through one terrace after another, to yield a curiously desert landscape in which remaining patches of the geological terraces, harbouring olive groves and cereal crops in early summer, stand isolated from one another by high eroded scarps, whose steep bare yellow and white limestone slopes are studded only sparsely with pines and low evergreen bushes like prickly oak.