Turkey: Cappadocia – Land of Beautiful Horses I
I wanted to visit Cappadocia, a land of beautiful horses as the Hittites. I bought a ticket bus and rode from Bodrum to Antalya where I slept over. On the following day I rode across the town of Konya where I visited caravanserai (an oriental pub by main roads where members of caravans and their animals ate) and the museum of Mevlana.
I sleep over here as well. I did not want to be in hurry and I wanted to have free time to explore the city. Then I go to Nevsehir (i.e. new capital) and to the village of Goreme – the center of Kappadokie. I am happy about my trip decision. I don’t want to miss a balloon flight across Cappadocia waking up to another day.
The bus rides fast on almost new roads. The land changes and my thoughts wander about in time and space. I imagine all those ancient generations of different nations that lived there. One becomes more and more certain that this land is a cultural crossroads. Almost any nation that walked in this diverse landscape set their imprint in its history. The Akkadians, Assyrians, Hittites, and Greeks – lived there until the times of Alexander the Great. The Byzantines and Romans followed. This long line of domination was ended by Turkish tribes of Seljuks and Ottomans.
Long droughts caused the Turkish peoples, the inhabitants of Far East, to find better lands. They settled in all Asia’s corners, merged with other nations. This caused two great empires to emerge. The Seljuks ruled here since the 11th century until the Mongolian invasion in the 13th century. Probably the strongest empire emerged in the 14th century, the Ottoman Empire . Hence, the historical and cultural treasures of Turkey thanks to sensitive approach to large number of preserved cities, churches and other historical and archeological localities we can admire to this day. Moreover, this large land of two continents, ten times the size of the Czech Republic, has been given beautiful and very diverse landscape that borders four seas in the east.
I taste almost 300 km2 on my journey from the Anatolian “pie”. Mostly geologists are happy about the diversity of terrain. Maybe the eight world’s wonder? Natural miracle? Or geological coincidence? Whatever is true, 30 milion years ago there was a hot lava of three volcanoes. Then, wind and people put unique shapes to the landscape unseen anywhere else.
The Hittites, the oldest settlers, called the land Cappadocia – a land of beautiful white horses they bred there. There are also formations called fairy-tale chimneys. They are up to 40 meters high and according to the first settlers they were chimneys from fireplaces of supernatural beings. The growth of the Hittite civilization that had seen even early Bronze Age was interrupted by an inflow of Indoeuropean immigrands from west Europe. Around the year 2000 B.C., they seized the region, merged with the original inhabitants, and joined their languages and cultures. 800 years later after the fall of the Hittite empire, the region was under the rule of various local kingdoms. Those who had power had Cappadocia.
To be continued...
Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková
As we mentioned in the previous, opening article, the most visitors are far from attracting its historic center to Istanbul. Whether it is the Hagia Sophia mosque, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Topkapi Palace, or just its unforgettable atmosphere in narrow, hilly streets with countless shops. Let's get rid of our article and video.
At the theater once again I try to hitchhike a dolmush and continue to Gumbet, another bay beyond Bodrum. I go there to see the Myndos gate. From there a road to the city of Myndos ran. The gate was on a strategically significant location.
We just enter the city of Konya, the capital of former Seljuk empire. I step off from a bus at a bus station. I pick up my map of the city and head to a tower that shows me the way to the museum of Mevlana. The city spreads on a plateau surrounded with mountains.
Many roads cross Central Anatolia. The most famous is the Silk Road. The Sejluks built there traveller’s inns or also called caravanserais to boost trade as it would protect travelling traders.
For many centuries, Anatolia was a center of Chrisianity, mostly thanks to Apostle Paul and his missionary expeditions. His activity took place mostly around the year 41 AD. Christianity spread due to fertile ground it found in Cappadocia.
My journey now goes across ticket barriers to the museum compound, and then to the St Barbora church, who became a Christian against the will of her father. Initially, he imprisoned her and then killed her. Legend has it that he was struck by lightning for this.
I had my balloon flight above Cappadocia at last. In my perspective, it is there where to do such thing is the best. We were at the place at 5.15 in the morning. There were more than 50 balloons being prepared for flights!
The ancient town of Afrodisias is one of Turkey’s most beautiful place, still not many tourists visit it. I decided I have to visit it...
Today I arrive from the historical town of Afrodisias to the small village of Pamukkale often visited by holidaymakers.
Efes is the most preserved antique city in Turkey and it is rightfully one of the most popular spots. This place was known already in the 2nd century BCE. More than 250 thousand people lived there during its greatest time. In the present, thousands of tourists come here to admire what is left of fascinating buildings. Today, you walk with us on its marble pavement.
I knew that Turkey's largest city offers a many things to do and to see. But it totally surprised me. One week there was like nothing. I can imagine that I would discover even more of local streets, monuments, gastronomy and modern parts much longer. Let's visit Istanbul through video and photos together.
When visiting Istanbul, you should definitely not miss one of the most interesting sights. Originally a cathedral, then a mosque and today the Hagia Sophia Museum, whose history dates back more than 1500 years. And perhaps much further. Hardly anywhere else in the world would you find a building with such history and atmosphere.
Many visitors to Istanbul make the mistake of staying in the "European" part of the city. However, just cruising across the Bosporus is one of the unforgettable experiences, on the other side there are plenty of interesting places to see. One of them is the cosmopolitan district of Kadiköy, where tradition blends with the modern way of life.
Right now I pass a shop with ice-cream made in Bodrum. I cant miss this place. I take sour cherry, watermelon, and tangerine called dondrumu in Turkish. I continue slightly uphill to less glamorous neighborhood in Bodrum. I go up until a low white wall that surrounds famous Mausoleum in Halikarnassos.
Orient – distant, attractive, and spicy land. Just close eyes and you can see it again… Stop thinking about workdays and become absorbed in an atmosphere of One Thousand and One Nights stories in land of bent sabers, reverse half-moon and belligerent sultans. It is a matter of far past when Turks were a menace to Europe and yet people are still fascinated by beauty of Turkey.
The cars on highway from Sabiha Airport, distant from Istanbul city a couple of kilometres, move slowly ahead. So, it is time enough for the first quick acquaintance with the biggest Turkish town and way of life there.
A small town Troy is located in Turkey, in western Anatolia. According to a mythos Troy, the Achaeans founded the town lying on the bank of the Scamander River. In front of the town’s entrance, on the parking lot with many free spaces, in a box office you can buy a ticket required to enter the town.
One of the most important cities of the world – that is Istanbul with its 16,5 million inhabitants. This city is the only one that is located on two continents – Europe and Asia.
With so many memories from yesterday we slept so well. Now we are about to have delicious Turkish breakfast, i.e. white cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, bread… And black tea with much sugar. And we are ready to go. It is like we are invited to see the sultan personally in his Topkapi Palace.
Izmir (also known as Smyrna) has been settled for five and half millennia. The city is located in Anatolia along the bay which is connected with the Mediterranean Sea. The location of the city mean it had experienced rule of many civilizations and empires. The last of them, the Ottoman Empire, conquered Izmir in 1389, in the time when it still was a part of the decaying Byzantine Empire.
Lets leave gray everydayness and take off on a flying carpet to the Köprülü National Park. There we will stay overnight in a pleasant camp by a river and on the next day we will move off to the spring of the Köprüçay River. After this we will continue through Antalya and Pamukkale to Dres.
Now we go downhill to the harbor. We embark a ferry and choose a bench on the upper deck. Soon the ship set sail. The name Bosporus means Cow ford. According the legend, there live beautiful princess Io in ancient Greece.
Pergamon King Attalos II gave the city its name after wife of Mysius Telephus, the founder of Pergamon Empire, Hieara. The city has thermal springs, the oldest is named Apollonis, in tribute to mother of a king of Pergamon.
It is another beautiful day, so I plan a journey to visit less-known Turkish sites. Come and visit together with me places as Priéné or half-flooded Myndos.
Once again I continue by dolmush to Turgutreis to a memorial to an admiral, and than I walk trough a green park to the port. Then I hitchhike another dolmush and go north to Gümüşlük where the flooded city of Myndos is located.
One of very interesting tourist targets for your holiday relax, there is Turkey. This country, situated on edge of Europe and Asia, has more and more suppositions to meet requirements of tourists. It became very popular thanks to combination of European and Moslem cultures.
We cruise around the Ortakoy Mosque built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1853. The construction was done by his architect Nokogos Balayn. It is in the baroque style and it is situated in the European part of the Bosporus. Now we flow under the Bosporus bridge built in 1973 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
Right now I have been sitting on a bench on a railroad station. I am waiting impatiently for our bus to get started on a direction to Istanbul. I will see it with my naked eye, finally! This magnificent city attracts every traveler looking forward to fabulous adventure!
Have you ever heard of the Silk Road? Do you know how long it is or its route? We will join one caravan and will see… We won’t start in China where the Silk Road begins because it would take us 9000 kilometers to its end in Istanbul. Except for Marco Polo not many people walked it through whole. Majority of merchants used just were using a part of the Silk Road, from bazar to bazar where they bought and sold goods.
We are at the horse market. If you have imagination, you can still hear horses. It is here where the Hippodrome used to stand, it was a racing circuit for chariots of four horses. The race took place every year and the Caesar attended it every time. The audience divided into two groups, greens – regular citizens; and blues – nobility.
We have just landed. I take a deep breath. Finally we are at the Bodrum Airport. We get into a bus and 40 minutes later ride downhill to Bodrum. The air has a salty smell of distant lends, colors have numerous shades, and azure horizon seamlessly changes to the sky.
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