Amazing and Mystic Turkey

We list interesting people and places in Turkey reported by travelers from around the world.

From Van (A city in the Eastern Provinces) by Mustafa Sutlas :

If you ever visit Van, do not forget to stop by Cavustepe Hoyugu. The guard at this ancient site has been there the last 32 years. He says he has read more than one thousand books in the first 20 years he has guarded the site. Then, his eye sight got worsened. He quit reading and since 11 years he carves, on a special stone, Picture of Gods and writings in ancient (more than 3000 years old) Urartu alphabet. He sells them to visitors. Very interesting piece of work. In the mean time he sells touristic books. The person who has thought him how to carve the stone now lives in Antakya.

GHOST TOWN, By Egemen Demircioglu

Then I was working in Bodrum as a tour guide. One day, I decided to make a tour for myself. I knew that there were lots of archaeological sites rarely visited by tourists. I chose one, almost randomly, from the archaeological guide of Ekrem Akurgal. That was Stratonicea.

It was at about 2 hours from Bodrum by road. I took the side-way off the main road to the village Eskihisar. As usual, the archaeological site was within a modern village. Settlements are never completely abandoned; this is why archaeological sites are almost always within or very near by a modern settlement. After thousands of years, the capital of an ancient state becomes an Anatolian town or village, but it is still the same settlement. I like to think of it this way.

But this one was really extraordinary, indeed. Because the modern village was abandoned too, and very newly. (The lignite mines exploited for the nearby power station were too close to it.) A real ghost town !

Even the ropes used to dry washed clothes were there, in their place in the verandas. There were plenty of pomegranade trees, and the fruits were fully ripe, and splitted because nobody had picked them.

But there is more.

In the middle of the village was standing to a fair height a huge Roman temple. Not only the temple, but everywhere in the village, there was something from the old Roman town, including the arched gate and the theatre on the slopes of the hill.

It is not rare to see in Anatolia peasants playing cards on the socle of a Roman column, or a piece of stone from the architrave of a Roman building used as doorstep of a village house.

But this village, so mixed with the Roman town, was amazing.

And the only dweller of the village, a 90 year old crooked woman, using such crude words that not every man can use, was even more amazing. She was nice. She gave me food. And we talked a bit. She was just not very willing to leave her village for this nasty power station and preferred living there on her own, feeding her little kitten.

A Lycian Theater, by Mehmet Kurtkaya

Antalya is a well known, well visited town in the Southwestern Coast of Turkey. It is quite hot in summer time. Termessos, an ancient city about 30 minutes from Antalya has witnessed thousands of years of history. The remains of city are on top of the mountain in the Tauruses and is cooler than Antalya, burning under summer sun. Once you get there you have to climb about 2 km (1.5 miles) following the King Road. The ruins are mostly hidden in bushes and trees. And since it was one of the biggest capitals of the ancient times it is widely dispersed. The biggest surprise of the site is the theater one can reach following a small path in the bushes. The theater located on top of the hill shines grey under the sun, offers an eagle's eye view of the valley below. The rocky grey of the mountains in the background mixes to the green of the pine forests.

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Turkey, at Warp Speeds

(c) Published with the permission of the authors.