Accepted paper:

From Obsoleted Footpaths to Heritage: Reconfiguration of Old Roads in the Context of Tourism Development in South Turkey


Eisuke Tanaka (Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores interrelationships between roads, tourism and the notion of heritage in the case of the 'Lycian Way' in south Turkey. It attempts to show that the notion of heritage plays an important role in the reconfiguration of the obsoleted roads and footpaths, to trekkers' destination.

Paper long abstract:

As transport infrastructure, roads play an important role in facilitating the mobility of tourists. At the same time, roads themselves are often seen as an attraction for tourists like the Santiago De Compostela Pilgrim Routes. Such an interrelationship between roads and tourism impacts on the socio-economic relations of local communities. This paper explores how development of the road network facilitates tourism and transform economic relations of local communities, focusing on the development of a trekking route called 'Lycian Way,' a 540 km footpath along the western Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The 'Lycian Way,' which was waymarked by a British woman from the late 1990s, consists mainly of ancient Roman roads and local footpaths used by goat shepherds, connecting various ancient ruins in the region, some of which are already tourist destinations (such as Xanthos, Myra and Olympos) while others are unexcavated temples and early Christian churches and monasteries. The route gradually became popular imbuing these ancient city remains, both well-known and unknown, with new meanings as trekkers' destinations. As the number of the tourists walking on the Lycian Way grew in the 2000s, the locals started seeing the trail as a resource for tourism development. Examining the development of the Lycian Way trekking tourism, this paper attempts to show that, in this particular case, the notion of heritage plays an important role in the reconfiguration of the old roads and footpaths, which became obsoleted through the development of modern road network, to trekkers' destination.

panel P107
From paths to roads: the transformative capacities of roads on movement and relationships