en.infoglobe.cz » Turkey: In Caravan On the Silk Road

Turkey: In Caravan On the Silk Road

Published: 29.12.2012
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.

Kappadokie Údolí Lásky

We got on the Silk Road in front of Cappadocia . We walked to the leader of caravan and ask him for his protection. We paid him a fee he requested and hit the road. In the evening we reached one of caravanserais, i.e. caravan palace, which is something as a predecessor of modern hotels. These caravanserais were built by Seljuqs to support trade and to protect merchants. Our accommodation is comfortable. The walls of the palace seem unconquerable so we feel safe, as well as other members of caravan. The staff took care of us, and our animals – horses, camels, and mules. We had stayed for two days to relax and to get energy for the following day. We travel 30 kilometers per day. On the next day we are about to cross Cappadocia – a land of beautiful horses. We see volcanoes that made look surrounding landscape bizarre. We are astonished. We decide to stay here at least two weeks. We bid our caravan leader farewell and get lost in a labyrinth consisting of strange rock formations. We walk through the Rose Valley and an area around Goreme. We admired beautiful monasteries that have folk paintings. Since the 10th century A.D. master painters decorated the monasteries.

ČavusinČavusinSimeonovo údolí

We end up in the Valley of Simeon named after an old ascetic monk who never got out on the sun and endlessly prayed to God. Then, across a hill, we moved to Çavuşin , a village from Tufu that had been inhabited until the year 1950 when the half of the inhabited rock ripped off. Those who stayed were in a life threat.

The whole area of Cappadocia was once sought-after by many civilizations. Especially important were Hittites who started to build here large underground cities. Assyrians rented trade places from Hittites, since through the area led a king’s road, something like a grandma of the Silk Road. Next the area was a part of the Phrygia Empire and of its capital Gordion – a city ruled by King Midos with donkey ears. Later there were Pergamon Kingdom, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Seljuq Empire and the Ottoman Empire. During the time of the Roman Empire Cappadocia was a safe haven of persecuted Christians and under the reign of the Seljuq Empire Cappadocia was a place where the followers of Melvana (dervishes) stayed. Seljuq capital Konya, a city to which was invited also the family of Melvana give lectures at the university. There was nothing good for them in their home in Afghanistan, since they were in danger of Mongolian attack. Melvana’s father accepted the offer and Melvana, a small boy then, enjoyed the scholarly atmosphere, he listened to wandering monks, trying to understand a medley of eastern philosophies and religions. He himself spread a philosophy of tolerance, equality of men and women and love to one’s neighbor.

Tři krásky

Today an essential part of trip in Cappadocia is a balloon flight - an experience you will never forget! Take off is in the early morning and you will see a sunrise and a red sky. This experience will fill you with happiness and joy.

Behind Cappadocia the Silk Roads splits – north it leads to Ankara and Istanbul, west it leads to Ephesus and south it goes to Konya a Antalya. This time we decide to move north.

Ankara is a modern city where on a plateau live 6,5 million people. The city used to be one of many stops on the Silk Road. Today it is worth seeing a beautiful play of lights and together with a romantic, melancholic, playful, or a tragic Turkish music. This all takes place in a fountain in the central park. In Ankara is also a mausoleum of the first Turkish president - Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The whole Mausoleum is of marble. The entry road is lined with lions reminding of lions discovered in Boazkent, the former capital of the Hittite Empire Hattusa. The ceiling of the Mausoleum is decorated with gold. The soil where lies deceased Atatürk is composed of soil of all 81 Turkish provinces as a symbol of gratitude to this great leader.

UčhisarÚdolí velbloudaBospor

The most beautiful part comes now – the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. You can find here originals of items found by archeologists. Those are items that have they origin in the Hittite Empire, but there is a part of treasure of Troya, or Goddess Kybele reminding of Venus of Dolní Věstonice. A symbol of Hittite Empire – Eti representing the universe and planets, a beautiful sundial, and amazingly made 5000 years old deer.

Well, a caravan heading to Istanbul is getting closer to us. The leader of caravan takes us under his protection and after two weeks of hard travelling we reach the amazing, tempting, exciting, magical, living, growing and proud city of Istanbul or Constantinopol the heart of the Byzantine Empire …

Cities located on two continents are joined by two huge suspension bridges. We won’t miss a cruise on Bosporus that divides Istanbul. The Istanbul Strait is 31 kilometers long and it connects the Black Sea the Sea of Marmara. Due to the fact that the seas have different level of salinity and the Black Sea lies 20 centimeters higher than the Sea of Marmara, there are intensive heavy seas and torrents where frivolous swimmers can easily drown

Istanbul Hipodrom

We sail around a massive palace of Mehmed Fatih, the conqueror of Istanbul in 1453. In front of us emerges a romantic Golden Horn where is a majestic Süleymaniye Mosque, Galata Tower that saw the first Turkish flight of Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi in the 17th Century who was subsequently expelled from the country. The Sultan first admired him, however, he feared his act will weaken his authority and Celebi would be thought to have some supernatural powers. Because of this he was sent to exile where he died missing his country.

Now we see a beautiful complex of the Topkapi Palace, where Sultans put all their beautiful treasures such as an 86carat Diamond or Topkapi dagger. We also think of women of harem who were drowned in Bosporus by the order of a mad Sultan Ibrahim Deli who thought they were cheating on him. Only one survived. She were taken by a French ship and transported to Paris.

And in the end the BEST of Istanbul – a visit of amazing Hagia Sophia. A reward for waiting in a long queue of impatient visitors is an exalted impression you will have after you get inside. We admire an amazing construction, a heavenly atmosphere of huge dome, as if it is a cope of heaven. Two architects did the construction: Anthemius of Tralles a Isidore of Miletus. No wonder Emperor Justinian cried out enthusiastically: “Salomon, I have outmatched you!”


Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková

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