Turkey: From Köprülü to Ephesus
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.
We descend a narrow pathway all the way to a stream bed. We reach a cliff where is no other option than to jump down. Fear is not necessary; the height is only 8 meters. A jump is exciting; we fall down to a crystal clear and freezing cold water (despite the fact that the temperature is attacking 50 degrees Celsius) and another jump… Relieved we swim casually onwards. Rocks surround us, there is no way back and our way onwards disappeared. The thing is we have to submerge and swim under a cliff to the other side, says the instructor. We crawl through and we start feeling freezing cold water, even in neoprene and brakes with tea that carries our instructor Hassan. We hear teeth clacking of other people and you think, when you start trembling too. Lips are getting blue color and suddenly we jump into rapids enriched with falls that streams from cliffs on our right side. A torrent gives us out to shallow lakes, which are warmed by the sun. These lakes remind us of thermal springs . We let them warm us up and we feel warmth in our bones. We continue by rafts on rapids 14 kilometers through beautiful secluded places and nature. Mountains surround us. Once in a while we can see minarets and mosques. So we hurry into wild rapids and when we lift up our heads we can see beautiful cliffs along the river, tall pine trees, and you eyes will feast on crystal blue green water in the river that glitters under the sun.
To have another adventure we go to Antalye, a city 50 kilometers away and we continue to on a direction to Denizli. 10 kilometers after we see a turn to a strange city of Thermessos that lies high in the mountains. Not even Alexander the Great didn’t conquer this city. We park our car and we start our tour in this city forgotten by touristic industry. During our steep moving up we pass by Roman spa, agora (marketplace), gate, houses of rich until we get to the city’s highest place where is an impressive theater. The theater is above a wild valley not far from which is a glittering sea. We feel like eagles flying above us. The road starts to descend and we return to our parking lot. We pass by a necropolis where are beautiful sarcophaguses decorated with reliefs and many spells devoted to those who would try to interrupt an eternal rest of dead. Full of impressions, we continue north to Denizli city. The nature is very dramatic – endless plains lined with mountains and almonds, which look like rest places of migratory birds on they way from Europe due South.
In Denizli they have well-known species of rooster that is able to crow the longest time of all rooster species. That is the reason why they have one beautiful rooster at a roundabout. In distance we can see white cliffs that look like a hillside covered with snow. Finally we reach Pamukkale aka cotton castle. It is a well-known attraction with hot springs flowing through a limestone canyon and creating adorable lakes. You can paddle there and enjoying a spa atmosphere of the ancient city of Hierapolis. King Eumenes II built the city above these terraces.
In the evening we accommodate in one of thermal hotels and on the next day we head west to Dres. On the road we notice turns to the beautiful city Afrodisias - unfairly forgotten by many tourists. There is almost no one, as in case of the city Thermesos. Thus we have an opportunity to take beautiful pictures of a stadium, probably the one that is in the best condition in whole Turkey. We also make photos of monumental Athena and Apollo temple and “absolutely necessary” shopping center. Worth visiting is also museum where you can admire beautiful works of well-known sculptors and stonemasons. Next we continue straight on an old Roman road leading from Ephesus to Pamukkale. The road was first a part of a king’s road, later known as the Silky Road .
We are here! It is an unforgettable experience for all fans of history. The monumental city Ephesus . It is a birthplace of Heraclitus (“you cannot step into the same river twice”), a notorious haven of early Christians, a residence of the cult of Artemis, and also a place, where you can find one of Herodotus’ 7 Wonders – the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Ephesus – a glorified place of education and scholars, where is a monumental library (the third largest during ancient times). The city had also night lightning. The city was a center of various cultures, philosophies and religions. A cosmopolitan city where an equality of men and women was preserved, and where any new opinion and thinking were welcomed.
During the history of men the city was built fie times. For the first time, Amazons, women warriors who cut one of their breasts off to have better accuracy during firing from bows, built it. For the second time, Androklos who sought the sign of fire, fish and a boar built the city. For the third time, one of Alexander the Great generals built the city that is admired by tourists today… Seljuqs built the fourth city – a castle on a hill reminds their rule to us. And the fifth city is today town of Seljuq.
The name Ephesus means a bee bearing honey. The same name had a queen of Amazons who founded the city. But that was a long time ago…
Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Topkapi Palace, oficially named as Palace with Cannon Gate, was living nerve of Ottoman Empire in past. It was an official seat of Ottoman sultans and government centre of the Empire within 1465 and 1853. It is situated on place of Greek town of Byzantium, later re-named to Constantinople and consequently Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom, in past the holiest building in Constantinople, capital of Byzantion Empire, is shocking, first of all, with its high and wide inside spaceas well as illumination effects, making an impression that the cupola is rising in an air.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
This popular destination is to be found on two continents – Europe and Asia.
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