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Rod and Kathy’s Excellent Adventure in Türkiye
(Cappadocia, Mediterranean Coast, and Ýistanbul)
Dedicated to Kathy, Lover, wife, friend, partner
Forward In 1988, I attended the reunion/homecoming of the class of '62-'63-'64 at my alma mater, Beloit College. On a tour of the campus, we stopped at the bookstore, and my TKE fraternity brother Jim Moon spotted the book, Hero of a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. "I think you would like this." I did! And so my fascination with mythology and ancient history began. In one of the many books I read on ancient Greece, the author commented that there were more ancient, Greek ruins to see in Türkiye than in Greece; and that the population of ancient Anatolia, or Asia Minor as the Romans called it, was greater in the Hellenistic period than today. And so I began to read and realize that much of Greek civilization was in Anatolia and all over the litoral of the Mediterranean Sea. Another fraternity brother, Jerry Gustafson, a professor of economics at Beloit College, had taught as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in '87-'88 and in '95-'96 in Istanbul. [He taught economic theory at Marmara University in Istanbul the first year and entrepreneurship and business at Middle East Technical University in Ankara the second.] He described the country and the people, and so I began to explore places to visit by browsing the Web. Kathy and I visited Türkiye in September-October, 2000. I had decided that we would visit Istanbul and then explore the Aegean (western) coast. However, I had made no reservations other than at the Hotel Nomad in Istanbul. We asked the manager, Esra Teker about tours, and he referred us to a travel agency around the corner on Divan Yolu where we met Gönül Acar. She advised us and made arrangements for hotels, tours, and transfers. So when we decided to make another excursion to Türkiye, I knew whom to call. I recommended to Kathy that we visit three places: Cappadocia, which is located in the south central part of Anatolia and noted for its unusual rock formations and rock caves that served as homes and monasteries for hundreds of years; the eastern portion of the Mediterranean coast that would not only provide us with ancient sites over which to clamor, but afford us beach and sun in order to relax; and lastly Istanbul, a city that is has an abundance of sites of historical significance related to Byzantine [east Roman], Ottoman, and Republican periods. Turkey is fascinating, friendly, and picturesque with so many places to explore. Luckily I had a companion with whom to share its sights and memories.
Rod Paolini December, 2005
Page -1Day 2: Cappadocia overview We started our trip in Türkiye in the central area of the country called Cappadocia. The name is derived from Persian Katpatuka and translated as the ‘land of beautiful horses.’ We chose to visit this area because of its unusual rock formations, and because people lived in the caves carved out of the formations and underground. Millions of years ago, volcanic activity deposited a thick layer (1500 feet) of volcanic lava, ash and mud. This material hardened to form a soft volcanic rock known as tufa. Erosion by water and wind created deep valleys and fissures, while the slopes were carved into astonishing cones and columns.
Figure 1 Red Valley in Cappadocia
Though the white dust from the rocks looks like sand, it is in fact much more fertile than the soil of the surrounding Central Anatolian steppes. Trees, vines and vegetable grow easily in it, attracting a population of farmers from the earliest times. And they quickly discovered that in breaking through the outer shell, the stone is relatively soft and easy to carve, yet hardens when it comes in contact with the air.
Figure 4 Bedroom of first room (#21) at Ürgüp Evi
Figure 3 Ürgüp Evi Guest House
People still live today in perfectly insulated rock dwellings, which are cool in summer and protect from the cold in winter. Our B&B hotel, Ürgüp Evi Guest House, has a number of rooms carved into the side of a mountain.
Figure 2 Second room (#24) at Ürgüp Evi
Page -3About a mile from Ürgüp is the town of Göreme where the monks lived in caves and sculptured churches in the cones. With the demise of the [eastern] Roman Empire [which we call Byzantine] in the 15th century, the Christian community abandoned the sites, and common people, both Greeks and Turks, occupied the cave-houses. We toured one of the houses which is now a home and a restaurant.
Figure 5 House and restaurant in Göreme Open Air Museum
Figure 6 Kathy in house and restaurant in Göreme Open Air Museum
Page -4Cappadocia began attracting Christians in the first century who were fleeing from persecution and/or to live the life of angels (Matt. 33:30), that is, a monastic life, living in special houses as a community. In contrast to ‘anchorites’, such as St. Anthony who lived as a hermit; the monks of Cappadocia are known as ‘cenobitics’ who lived a communal life. In the 4th century Cappadocia became known as the land of the three saints; St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Kayseri; his brother St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. George of Nazianzus. These three men created a new unity in Christian thought, and many of St. Basil's thoughts and actions are still important today.
Figure 7 Monastery in Göreme Open Air Park
We also inspected several of the carved churches. The original names of the churches have been lost through time. They are named according to currently existing characteristics. One early explorer saw an apple in one of the paintings in a church, and thus it became the Elmali Kilise (Church with an Apple).
Figure 8 Apple Church in Göreme
Figure 9 Apple Church in Göreme
Figure 10 Apple Church in Göreme
Another church in Göreme is Yilanli or Snake Church. [Given the prominence of the symbol of the snake in Christian mythology, there is more than one Snake Church.] In this one, there are several interesting frescoes. The two featured here are St. George and the Dragon; and Saint Onuphrius.
Figure 11 St. George and the Dragon
In Eastern Orthodoxy, Onuphrius is supposed to had been a virtuous young girl who, in order not to lose her virginity to a persistent suitor, had her wish to become a man granted by divine intervention; hence the image of a bearded woman. He then became a hermit--probably a wise decision.
Figure 12 St. Onuphrius in Snake (yilanlikilis) Church
Page -6Many of the frescoes have been damaged through the years when they lacked protection. Damage has come from wind and water, and from local people who, not aware of the paintings' historic and artistic value, saw them merely as examples of idolatry, that is, the worship of graven images. As good Muslims, they did their best to obscure the faces so that others would not be tempted to sin in idolatrous worship. In addition to living in caves, the local people created pigeon roosts in caves by sculpturing nesting spots. These nesting apartments can be identified by the small openings for the pigeons to enter. Pigeons were not a hobby but a source of dung fertilizer which the locals claim in the reason for the quality of their fruits and vegetables. The pigeons replaced the monks, and now the tourists are replacing the pigeons. Another town in the area is Uçhisar (OOCH-hee-sahr) in which there is a natural rock citadel that was used in ancient Roman and Medieval Byzantine periods.
Figure 13 Pigeon roosts
Figure 15 Uçhisar castle Figure 14 Town of Uçhisar its Citadel
Figure 20 Devrent Valley
Figure 19 Fairy chimneys of Devrent Valley
Figure 17 Fairy chimneys of Devrent Valley
Figure 18 Kathy and Devrent Valley Figure 16 Souvenir shop in Devrent Valley
Figure 21 Pasabag We then visited the village of Pasabag and hiked through the cone formations. In this area, a layer of igneous basalt had flowed over the tufa; being harder and more durable, the erosion occurred(es) at a faster rate in the fissures and then along the side of the tufa while the erosion on the top occurred(es) at a much slower rate. The result is a round, even column with a large head of basalt as opposed to a point.
Figure 23 Pasabag
Figure 22 Pasabag
Page -9Day 3: Red Valley Our tour took the group for a hike through the Red Valley and then up to some ancient cave dwellings with a church. The mountains and ridges have different colors depending upon their mineral content: iron produces red; calcium produces white; copper produces green; sulfur produces yellow. We inspected ‘houses’ and churches. In this picture, the rock has splintered and fallen away, leaving half the church exposed. Figure 24 Kathy in Red Valley
We continued our hike along a ridge which provided beautiful views of the valley and mountains.
Figure 25 Acik Hava (uncovered [church])
Figure 26 Hiking in Red Valley
Figure 27 Red Valley
We paid a quick visit to Çavusin, a town that was mostly Greek, though I was told by another guide that most towns were mixed. The ancient city experienced a devastating earthquake in 1969, and the buildings so severely damaged that the city was condemned and a new city built adjacent. While rock caves were used, building facades and in some cases, whole rooms fronted the cave portion. Figure 28 Çavusin
Figure 30 Çavusin vineyards Figure 29 Çavusin men
Page -11Day 3 continued: Underground City After lunch we drove south to Derinkuyu, a town that is the site of an underground city. There are more than 200 underground cities at least two levels deep that have been discovered in the area. It remains a mystery as to whom first started digging out the cities, although Hittite artifacts found around the caves -- and the fact that many of the towns' names go back to the Hittite or Sumerian language -- suggest they were inhabited as far back as 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. The early Christians probably sought temporary shelter from the persecution of Roman soldiers. After the 6th century, these dwellings provided protection from raiding Arab tribes.
Figure 31 First chamber
Because of the darkness, it is almost impossible to take a picture that is understandable. The crude carving of the surface levels of rock give way to a smoother, more refined face, which indicates that the levels were carved by different people at different times. Each rock settlement above ground had access to the safe haven of these underground dwellings by way of a secret underground passageway that would provide swift and unseen escape in times of emergency. In fact, an access tunnel can still be Figure 32 Room in underground city found on just about every villager's property. Additionally, the underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, about 9km (5½ miles) apart, are believed to be connected by an underground tunnel. If you are in any claustrophobic, you will not get through this tour. And many of the passage ways that descended/ascended to another level were extremely low, requiring one to walk hunched over, with the ever present fear of hitting one’s head. Every crucial entry point into the underground city was either camouflaged or blocked by a keystone, a large stone wheel that once fixed in place, was immovable. Keystones were fixed at every level of the city as well. As can be seen in the photograph, the stone is round, and can be rolled to block the passage. It is unlikely that the underground cities were ever intended as permanent, or even long stay, settlements, but they were clearly built to withstand attack and could support large numbers of people and their domestic animals, for long periods of time. Extensive networks of passages, tunnels, stepped pits and inclined corridors link family rooms and communal spaces where people would meet, work and worship. The cities were complete with wells, chimneys for air circulation, niches for oil lamps, stores, water tanks, stables and areas where the dead could be placed until such time as conditions on Figure 33 Rock wheel the surface would allow their proper disposal.
Page -12As the Ottoman Empire took over the region and all of Anatolia, it established defense at its boarders and so external threats abated thereby allowing the underground cities to be abandoned. Over the years, the cities were filled with debris in order to prevent children from playing inside and becoming lost or injured. Our guide told us that a reporter once visited the site and someone inadvertently closed a door that led to the exit; two days passed before he was found. Only the upper floor was left open and used for storage and stables. Our last stop was the town of Ortahisar, which means middle fortress in Turkish, because of a natural fortress of a rock formation, 90 m high, honeycombed with caves and tunnels, that served as a lookout tower during Roman and Byzantine periods.
Figure 34 View from rock cave tower
Figure 35 View of rock cave tower
Ortahisar also contains a rock cave that seems to have been used as a watch tower by Romans/Byzantines. We traveled by van and we were always assured that we could leave our items on the van as the driver would be in the van or lock. But I noticed from the tower that the van was neither locked nor the driver in site. I think that is evidence that Türkiye is quite safe.
Figure 36 Byzantine gate entrance
Page -13Day 4: Derinkuyu revisited The packaged tour for this day was a visit to the underground city in Derinkuyu which we had toured the day before; so Kathy and I decided to walk around the town until the group completed its tour. Across the square was a Greek Orthodox church that was obviously abandoned but did not seem that old. However, our guide said that it was built during the reign of Empress Theodora, (527-548) so I guess that I would reclassify it as old. As I mentioned before, the Greeks were deported in 1924, and so there are no parishioners and the church is closed. It was barred shut with iron panels and grates, but through an enlarged keyhole, we could see the blackened columns and walls inside. I could not determine the name of the church, neither then nor when I returned home and searched online. The rock-cut churches of the medieval era are a Figure 37 Women walking in Derinkuyu tourist attraction, but this church and its Greek parishioners are still within living memory which is too embarrassing and painful to be acknowledged. We later learned that some descendants of the parishioners had visited the church a few years earlier. As in many communities in all countries, a public area or structure is built as a public enhancement and/or dedication to some historical person or event, but also with the intention of fostering commerce. But for some reason, the structure is not used and so it sits forlornly. In Derinkuyu, there is a large plaza in which there are circular paved walkways, a raised platform with a portico partially encircling a sunken hole that was to be a fountain. Such are men’s dreams! Figure 38 Public square in Derinkuyu
We decided to have some Turkish coffee, and so searched for a cafè. We poked our heads into one place but it was not a cafè; but the proprietor spoke a little English and guided us to a cafè. Normally we would not have entered as it was filled only with elderly men sipping their Turkish tea and playing cards or tric track. Our coffee came, and our escort translated the charge as three dollars, then changed it to four. I suspect that he took a cut of the profit, but given the economic condition of the town, we were only too happy to contribute to its economic development. Possibly feeling a bit guilty, the owner offered a glass of Turkish tea gratis. Figure 39 Turkish tea With another fifteen minutes to pass, we decided to look at the wares on display outside the shops on the square. Turkish carpets are beautiful, although we prefer Persian, and we like to look, or in American parlance, window shop. But for the owners, selling is their livelihood which is just on the edge on subsistence, and so they constantly engage you in conversation and try to persuade you to come inside. Telling them that you already bought a rug does little to deter them. It is a frustrating situation for both.
We next traveled to the Ihlara Valley (Peristrema in Greek) for a four-kilometer hike. This deep gorge is traversed by the Melendiz River, and is the place of many churches cut into the sides of its sheer rock walls. The valley became an important center of monasticism that lasted from the 4th to the 14th century. There are an estimated 150 churches and several monasteries in the canyon between the villages of Ihlara and Selime.
Figure 41 Kathy in the Ihlara Valley
Figure 42 The gorge of Ihlara Valley
We hiked down into the gorge and followed the river under dappled sunlight or shaded by poplars and wild olive trees, stopping briefly to pick raspberries or gaze at rock formations and cave houses. At the end of our trek and at the river’s edge was our restaurant and lunch. One of the bonuses of traveling is meeting people of other nationalities. The day before we had lunch with an English couple, not terribly interesting frankly, but also a young woman from Turkistan, who, in hushed tones, told us that the origin of the Turkish peoples is her country, now a province of China called Xinjiang. Her hushed tone was due to the prohibition to references of Turkistan, and the existence of two Chinese women in the tour. While those two women looked ‘Chinese,’ she looked European. She also insisted that China discovered pasta and ice cream before the Italians, but I didn’t bite on those issues. Our lunch this day was with a young man from Mexico who was in advertizing. We discussed politics and relations between Mexico and the United States. A strong supporter of President Vicente Fox, he was not very fond of President Bush.
Figure 43 Caves and poppies in the Ihlara Valley
Thankfully our van was waiting just across the river, obviating the need to hike up to the canyon rim. A few kilometers up the road, we stopped briefly to look at a rock formation very similar to that shown as the home of Yoda in the movie Star Wars.
Figure 45 Landscape similar to that in movie Star Wars
Figure 44 Melendiz River in the Ihlara Vallley
Page -16A short distance further we visited a rock cave monastery called Yaprakhisar. [Hisar, and also kale, in Turkish means castle or fortress and thus the name seems to be a misnomer.] It was occupied by monks until the area was invaded by the Seljuk Turks in the 1300s. Across the road is a cemetery in which stands a conical tomb of Ali Pasha. Unfortunately I did not take a picture.
Figure 48 Yaprakhisar
Figure 46 Yaprakhisar
The purpose of each room can usually be identified, the most obvious being the kitchen. It has a hole about three feet in diameter and a foot and a half deep dug into the ground. There is a small trench out of the hole toward an opening, presumably to provide air to the fire. Over the hole is a opening for the smoke to escape, but given the blackness of the ceiling, it is obvious that not all the smoke went out. Our guide said that the tufa rock absorbed the smoke, but I would guess that it was still unhealthy for the lungs.
Figure 47 Kitchen of Yaprakhisar
Page -17Our final stop was a visit a caravan inn (caravanserai in Turkish) called Azikarahan. During the Seljuk Period (1071 - 1299) these caravanserais were established to foster trade. In addition to providing a resting place for the traders, it also provided for the care, feeding, and protection of the camels as well.
Figure 49 Agzikarahan Caravansarai The typical construction was a high wall for protection from brigands. An inner courtyard was surrounded with bedrooms, bath house, and bathrooms. In the center stood a ‘KöÕk Mescid’, a small mosque without a minaret or mimber . "Mangals" (braziers) or "tandirs" (oven in the ground) were used to heat the place whereas candles and lamps were used for light.
Figure 50 Entrance of Agzikarahan Caravansarai Services were provided by the people working in caravanserais; e.g., doctor, imam (prayer leader), depot officer, veterinarian, messenger, blacksmith, and cook.
These hostels were building about 40 km apart, about a day’s travel in those times. Lastly, the state provided insurance against loss of goods should the trader be robbed.
Figure 51 Inner room of Agzikarahan Caravansarai
Figure 52 Stonework of Agzikarahan Caravansarai
Page -18Day 5: Soanl2 Valley and Sinassos At breakfast we said farewell to our dinner companions for the past three evenings: Hannah and George Perko. Hannah is English and George is Hungarian; they now live in Australia. They were gracious, knowledgeable, especially of the United States, and with a sense of humor about life and themselves. They had fascinating stories to tell, yet they listened as well. George is writing a book about his life in Hungary under Communist rule and his internment in the ‘gulag.’ We consider them friends although it is unlikely that we will ever meet again. I had arranged a private tour for our last day to see the Soanl2 Valley and the town of MustafapÕa, formerly the Greek town of Sinassos. We drove south from Ürgüp, through a valley of brush and trees, climbed to a plateau, drove like the wind, and then partially descended to the valley. Our driver left us, and we hiked to a series of seven churches. It was a glorious sunny day, but the air was thin and cool, and the vistas of the valley, mountain range, and rock caves were magnificent. Figure 53 Soanl2 Valley The major churches in the Soanl2 Valley are Karabas (French lavender), Yilanli (snake), Kubbeli (domed), and Tahtali (Buckle). The churches are quite small, the inner dimensions approximately 10-15 feet wide and 20 feet in length. They were excavated between the 9th and 13th centuries, sometimes carved to have Byzantine architectural elements such as twisted columns, vaulted ceilings, apses, and domes with walls and ceilings adorned with frescoes. The first picture is of Kathy and our guide outside one of the churches. As we explored the inside, a gentleman entered the Figure 54 Kathy and our guide church and seemed to prepare for something. From across the valley, we could hear him singing, an indication that he was probably a priest conducting a mass.
Figure 55 Vaulted ceiling of Karabas
Page -19The St. Barbara Church, which was supposed to be built in the 10th century, is located at the end of the valley. This church, which is also called Tahtali (wooden) church, has a single apse and a barrel vault. Kubbeli (the domed) church was formed by carving into a chimney rock. It reveals a characteristic architecture with its vaults and apse. Kubbeli (the domed) church is of great importance in that it is one of the fine examples of its kind due to the carving made outside the rocks.
Figure 56 Three churches of Soanl2 Valley
Figure 57 Kubbeli (the domed) church
Figure 58 Rod & Kathy
Figure 59 Inside Kubbeli (the domed) church We had lunch alfresco in a restaurant situated in an apricot orchard and in which we were allowed to sample the crop. The typical Turkish meal consists of the following: çorba (soup), usually lentil or yourt based, and in which one adds lemon and Turkish red pepper; then the entré of meat, perhaps the customary kabop (kabab), rice, and vegetable, or a mixture of all three; dessert of melon--our cantaloupe– or yourt with honey. Because all these are fresh and not genetically engineered, they are delicious. The Italian phrase came to mind: saltemboca–melts in your mouth.
Page -20All the sites of Türkiye are fascinating but not all are picturesque. Most of the villages of Türkiye are obviously quite poor as indicated by the photograph to the left. Women of this village supplement their income by making and selling dolls that are associated with this town. A few women were waiting for us as we descended buy our guide took a route that bypassed them--much to their displeasure.
Figure 60 Village of Soanl2 Valley
MustafapÕa was one of the most picturesque towns that we visited. There is a main square surrounded by rock formations that shoot straight up so that there is no slope to the square. At high levels of the formations are buildings in the Greek style that often front rock cut rooms. At the lower level, and thus newer construction, are Ottoman style buildings Figure 61 Women waiting for tourists indicated by the various geometric designs.
Figure 62 Kathy in MustafapÕa/Sinassos
Figure 63 MustafapÕa/Sinassos
Figure 64 Street of MustafapÕa/Sinassos Day 6 From Cappadocia to Mersin Besides being a tour of Türkiye and trekking to archeological sites, our trip was to be a holiday with time spent relaxing in a resort area. To the south of Cappadocia is the Mediterranean with both historical sites and resort hotels on the beach. The coast is about 285 km (175 miles) south but one has to cross the Taurus Mountains which run east-west along the coast.
Figure 65 Greek Orthodox Church of Sinassos
Figure 66 Route from Cappadocia to Mediterranean Coast
Our bus from Ürgüp to the city of Mersin (MEHR-seen, pop.1.5 million) on the Mediterranean coast was scheduled at 12:00 noon; so we sat on the patio of Ürgüp Evi, read, and gazed at the valley below until it was time to leave.
Figure 67 View from Ürgüp Evi
The word ‘highway' does not accurately describe most roads in Türkiye. Think of a ‘country road' that was built in the 50's and that has been patched ever since. However, the Turkish buses are modern, comfortable, and with a very good suspension system that minimizes the bumps and pockets of the road. So the ‘cruise' to Mersin was rather pleasant, and allowed us to doze when the baby wasn't crying [Travelers can be assured that a baby is place on board every bus and plane.]. The province along the southeaster coast is Içel (EE-chel), but in ancient times it was called Cilicia ("Ki-LIK-ya"). It consisted of two areas: Cilicia Pedias (flat Cilicia); and Cilicia Trachea (rugged Cilicia). Cilicia Trachea became the haunt of pirates, who were subdued by the Roman general Pompey in 67 BCE, and the city of Tarsus (TAHR-sus) was made the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia. Tarsus was the birthplace of St. Paul. The province was held by Greeks then Romans until the 7th century CE when it was invaded by the Muslim Arabs, who held the country until it was re-occupied by the Romans (Byzantines) in 965 CE. During the time of the Crusades the area was controlled by the Armenians. Due to the Seljuk Turk invasion of Armenia in the north, the Armenians migrated to Cilicia for which their kingdom was called Lesser Armenia (1198-1375). This state had relatively good relations with the crusaders, and had trading ties with the great commercial cities of Italy. The last Armenian kingdom was weakened due to internal dissensions, and succumbed (1375) to the attacks of the Egyptian Mamelukes. The Ottomans then conquered the entire province in 1515 CE. The pass through the Taurus Mountains is called the Cilician Gates, used by three famous travelers: The armies of the Persians in their march westwards to engage the Greeks in the Second Greek-Persian war (480 BCE), led by their king, Xerxes (ZERK-sees); by Alexander the Great pursuing the Persian army in 333 BCE; and the apostle Paul must have passed through this area at the beginning of his second (51-53 CE) and third (54-58 CE) journeys.
Figure 68 The March of Alexander the Great
Figure 69 Journeys of St. Paul of Tarsus View of a Roman Mile stone displayed at Pelit Tesisleri (a service stop just north of the Cilician Gates at Pozanti). This milestones dates to AD 217 and states that Caracalla “repaired the Via Tauri.
Figure 70 Roman milestone
The small road running away from the viewer is the old road that ran through the Cilician Gates. The new road is a modern 6 lane highway.
Figure 71 Taurus Mountains
We arrived in Mersin about 7:00pm and checked into a downtown hotel called Nobel Hotel. We had dinner a few blocks from the hotel. The cheaper restaurants have prepared food in steam tables at the front of the restaurant so that it is in plain view of potential customers. It also allows those who enter to order by simply pointing rather than just using a menu; especially handy when one doesn’t know the language. Figure 72 View looking south of old road
Page -24Day 7: Mediterranean Coast With some trepidation, I had acceded to the advice of our travel agent, Gönül Acar, to rent an automobile in Mersin and drive the coast, thereby allowing us to do day tours of our choice. The representative of the rental agency arrived promptly at 9:30am, and we were off by 10:00am. It had been about forty years since I drove a stick shift, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Kathy tried to navigate by looking at the map and searching for street signs, but the attempt was mostly futile. But Mersin, like our former home town of Chicago, has water on one side. The sun was up, so we could determine compass directions. We headed south, hit the water, turned right and within a few minutes, we were on the right road.
Our first objective was the ancient site of Pompeiopolis formerly Solis, and now with the Turkish name of ViranÕehir, which unfortunately turned out to be a series of columns, possibly from a stoa, that was enclosed by an iron fence.
Figure 73 Pompeiopolis formerly Solis, Our second objective was Kanytelis, or in Turkish, Kanlidivane, which means, supposedly, ‘blood stained place of madness.’ How that many adjectives can be in one word is beyond me, but then I know neither Greek nor Turkish. At the center of the site is an enormous 60 m deep canyon with red-colored walls that gave rise to the local legend that criminals were once thrown to their deaths into the huge chasm .
Kanytelis originally was part of the ancient kingdom of Olbia and the chasm (a karstic phenomenon) was regarded as a sacred place reserved to the cult of Zeus Olbios. The first settlement began in the holy chasm for many hundred years before Christ and then gradually extended in all directions during the following centuries. Kanytelis thrived through Byzantine times as is indicated by the presence of several Byzantine churches/ basilicas (5th - 6th century CE) and inscriptions. The extensive necropolis has many Roman tombs built in the form miniature temples. Figure 74 Chasm at Kanytelis
Page -25Again the sun was bright but the air cool, and a gentle wind blew softly. We gazed continually at the magnificence of the site.
Figure 75 Ruins of Kanytelis Figure 76 Rod standing in arch at Kanytelis
The site was to host a music concert, and so seats and stage were being assembled. I assume this family had been awarded the concession for böreks or pita sandwiches as she had a stack-full and was making more as we passed. The dough is made like a pizza, then cooked on a hot convex metal disk.
Figure 77 Byzantine church at Kanytelis
Figure 78 Preparing for the concert at Kanytelis
Page -26Day 7continued: Castles on the Sea We resumed our drive west in order to reach our hotel at Kizkalesi, a resort town and site of the ancient town of Korykos (Corycos). The town may have been named after the nymphai Korykiai : "The whole of Parnassos [Mountain in Phokis, Greece] is esteemed as sacred [to Apollon], since it has caves and other places that are held in honor and deemed holy. Of these the best known and most beautiful is Korykion, a cave of the Nymphai bearing the same name as that in Kilikia [in Asia Minor]." Strabo, Geography 9.3.1 Ancient Korykos was founded by settlers from the Aegean in the fourth century BCE. Two castles were built to defend the town. The first is on the mainland and named after the town: Korykos. The second is 200 meters offshore, and at some point in time, given the name Kiz Kalesi or Maiden’s Castle. It received its name from the following legend: Once upon a time there was a king who had only one child, a daughter, whom he loved tenderly. When he learned that his daughter would die from a snakebite, the king built a palace in the sea where the princess would be in safety far away from snakes. However, a viper had hidden in a basket of fruit that was sent to her by her father. The snake bit her in the finger, bringing death to the princess.
Figure 79 Korykos Castle at Kizkalesi
In the 12th century, the castles were built over by the Byzantine admiral Eugenius in order to defend and protect the borders of Byzantium. The castles were a link in the chain of coastal fortifications along the Mediterranean. In the 13th century AD when Korykos was part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, the two castles were extensively rebuilt. Unfortunately, in building and rebuilding the castles, the builders pillaged the ruins of ancient Korycos. In 1482 Korykos became part of the Ottoman Empire. During this period the site became abandoned, until just some eighty years ago, when people began to settle here again, calling it Figure 80 Kizkalesi Castle Kiz Kalesi after the name of the sea castle.
Figure 81 Kiskalesi Castle at sunset
Page -27Day 8: Heaven and Hell While our guide book identified several specific ancient Greek/Roman sites, as we toured, it became evident that the entire coastal area of the province of Cilicia had been populated by such settlements. I suspect that the population of the first century was greater than that of the present century. A sign on the main highway before Kizkalesi stated ‘Adam Kayalar (Roman Reliefs)’. We drove 5 km on a paved road, then walked 2 km on a dirt road. We searched for the reliefs among the ruins which I thought might be a fortress, given that it was situated atop a hill. The search provided spectacular views, but it also required some agile climbing. From the hilltop, we spotted a woman climbing up the face of a cliff that look quite dangerous. “No doubt a German,” I said. We climbed down to talk to her, and she informed us that her husband was climbing down still further to see the reliefs. Discretion being the better part of valor, we declined to venture forth, only to wonder why the Romans had chosen to carve reliefs that would hardly ever be seen. From the hilltop, we spotted a woman climbing up the face of a cliff that look quite dangerous. “No doubt a German,” I said. We climbed down to talk to her, and she informed us that her husband was climbing down still further to see the reliefs.
Figure 82 Kathy at the top of Adamkayalar
Figure 83 Adamkayalar Discretion being the better part of valor, we declined to venture forth, only to wonder why the Romans had chosen to carve reliefs that would hardly ever be seen. Figure 84 Adamkayalar
Page -28We drove to Heaven and Hell (‘Cennet ve Cehennem Çökükler’ in Turkish), the names of two dolines (‘sinkholes’). Cennet Çökügü (Heaven) is a huge pit 250m long, 110m wide, and between 60 and 70m deep. Quite a strenuous visit, as it is entered on a limestone staircase of 426 steps. The floor of the pit is full of trees with birds nests. At the bottom of Cennet, there is a cave, announced by cool air from the entrance, which is also the place of a 5th century cave church, or better a cave chapel, which is ruined with only the lower meter of the walls remaining. This cave leads to an underground stream of cold water.
Figure 85 Cennet We descended the 426 steps to the chapel, and then failing to use discretion, and plunged further into the abyss in search of what we didn’t know. The marble rocks were wet and slippery, and so each step had to be calculated and tested. We reached a point that was too dark to see, though there were electric lights beyond, and so we decided to turn back.
Figure 86 5th Century church of St. Mary
Cehennem Çukuru (Hell) is located 75m northeast of Cennet. It is 60m wide and 120m deep, an almost circular daylight shaft. Because of its lesser diameter it is said to be smaller, but it is much deeper and frightening. Thankfully there was no way to descend the Cehennem though there was a platform that stood over the abyss which was more than a little scary. This is the doline in which Typhon, the offspring of Gaea (‘Mother Earth ‘) and Tartarus (‘the cavernous void beneath ‘) was born. But when Zeus had driven the Titans from heaven, huge Earth bare her youngest child Typhoeus of the love of Tartarus, by the aid of golden Aphrodite. —Hesiod, Theogony
Figure 87 Kathy in church It was in Cilicia that Zeus battled with the ancient monster, Typhon.
Page -29Day 8 continued: Uzuncaburç Our supply of Turkish lira was exhausted, and so we needed to find a bank in order to exchange our American dollars. We drove past several towns but could not locate a bank; so we decided to continue all the way to the provincial capital of Silifke. With the Turkish words of banka and lira, we were guided to a bank. The lobby resembled a McDonald’s counter at noon, but we succeeded in making the exchange. The Turkish lira had become so inflated that one U.S. dollar equaled 1,370,000.00 Turkish lira. Thankfully, the Turkish government had recently issued new (yeni) Turkish lira that knocked off the million, and so a dollar was about 1.33 YTL (Yeni Turkish Lira), a conversion that even I could compute in my head. After lunch, we drove north to the town of Demicili in order to see ancient Imbrigon. There being only two mausolea, we decided to go all the way to Uzuncaburç (Ooh-zoon-ja-burch), a remote village high in the Taurus Mountains (3,000 feet) about 28 km north of Silifke. The Kingdom of Olba (Oura) is said to have been founded by the Figure 90 Adjacent mausolea at legendary Ajax, one of the Greek heroes of the Trojan war and Demiçili (Imbrigon) son of Teucer. He also established there a famous temple of Zeus. The priests of the temple belonged to the so-called Teucrid dynasty; every man of this family was called Ajax or Teucer. Olba and its neighborhood were ruled by these priests; therefore it can be considered a small theocracy. The temple seen today was built about 300 BCE by Seleucus Nicator I, one of the three generals of Alexander’s army that took part of the Macedonian Empire and founded the Seleucid Empire. The temple was dedicated to Zeus Olbio (Blessed). This cult center was separated by the Romans from the Hellenistic city of Olba and was given city-state status with the new name of Diocaesarea in 72 CE. All the 36 columns of the Zeus Olbios Temple, which is 2,300 years old, surrounded by high walls and with a vast courtyard, are intact.
Figure 91 Kathy in front of temple One archeologist believes that the temple was converted to a church, probably in the 5th century. Note the apse at the far end which is peculiar to a church and not an ancient Greek temple.
Figure 94 Sarcophagus inside
the temple walls
Figure 93 Temple of Tyche
Figure 95 Beginning of colonnaded street
Figure 96 Carvings inside the
Figure 97 City gate tic tower gave the village its name, Uzuncaburc meaning “high tower”. It was a look out tower for the Roman army. Figure 98 Roman lookout tower
Page -31Day 9: Inside Korykos Castle We needed to relax in the morning, and so spent time reading and writing under the trees and gazing at the water. It was a beautiful setting marred only by the occasional elderly German gentleman with a stomach the size of a bowling ball, and wearing a Speedo brief. Our first excursion of the day was a kilometer down the road to Korykos castle. In building and rebuilding the fort, the blocks and columns of ancient town of Korykos were used, as evidenced by the columns protruding from the inner walls. We also found a church that had been added after the Roman Figure 100 Reading in the garden of Empire adopted Christianity as the state religion. Hotel Kilikya Obviously a small naval squadron was also stationed here as evidenced by the inner dock. Figure 99 Columns in Korykos
Figure 101 Church in Korykos
Figure 102 Entrance to sea gate
Page -32There were many scenic views of the castle of Kizkalesi and of the town of Kizkalesi. It was truly one of the most beautiful sites we visited: the sound of the sea gently breaking against the rocks, the cool breeze rustling the bushes, the sun absolutely brilliant, and Kizkalesi seeming to float in the sea in the distance.
Figure 103 Kizkalesi from Korykos
Figure 104 View from Korykos As I mentioned before, Greek/Roman ruins pervade the entire coast [The Greeks began to settle the coast as early as the 8th century BCE; the Roman Empire began taking control of Anatolia in the 3rd century BCE. Thus most sites contain buildings that are Greek, Roman, or a combination due to renovations.] We spotted some ruins across the road from Korykos castle, and drove gingerly up the dirt and rock roadway to inspect.
Figure 105 Ancient Korykos
We returned to our base camp for a lunch of Corba--soup-eating light in order to justify the innumerable, buffet selection of appetizers, entrés and deserts at the hotel in the evening.
Figure 106 Ancient Korykos
Page -33Continuing west to the town of Atakent (formerly Susanolu), we turned north to the village of Paslj to again find Greek/Roman ruins. The stone walls were solid--not filled with rock and mortar between the stone blocks, so I concluded that the site was early Greek. There were many lintels on pillars that gave the appearance of preserved doorways but the rest of the site was mostly ruble; so suspect the Turkish departments of Antiquities and Tourism put them in place to give a more grand appearance. However, the lintels are as solid as ever as my head can attest. Two kilometers away stood a mausoleum named Mezgit Kale or White Castle in English. We set out on foot and passed a friendly mother and her two children, the latter looking at us as though our space ship had just landed. At the next property, a family dog had much the same reaction except that he seemed to indicate that he did not want us stepping on his turf. Since neither the nor us spoke Turkish so as to negotiate, Kathy and I decided to drive the car instead. Figure 107 Paslj We proceeded about 1 3/4 km when we again encountered a canine who seemed to consider us a threat to the sheep he was guarding. We appealed to the shepherdess, who then yelled and threw a stone at the dog, and he reluctantly yielded.
Figure 108 Fields at Paslj
Figure 110 Mausoleum named Mezgit Kale The mausoleum is a bit ponderous for its size, but then it was built to last. The porch in front has a rather unusual architectural structure: wedge shaped beams held by a wedge-shaped columns of the portico. The deceased interred had one other architectural oddity to display: on the lower, outer wall: a relief of the god Priapus with his huge phallus. “Why him?” No doubt that it is a symbol of fertility and vitality, it seems rather incongruous on a mausoleum. Maybe it was just a joke!
Figure 109 A joke?
Page -34Day 10: Bir! We spent the morning conversing with Edgar Muller, a German who teaches English. The day before, we had met his wife, Gemma, an Armenian, while swimming. I had bluntly asked if he wanted to discuss the currently political situation and he assented. We talked about a number of political subjects but the most interesting was the problem concerning Turks living in Germany. Turks have worked under provisions of their visas for the past fifty years. But about fifteen years ago, they became eligible for benefits formerly reserved for citizens: unemployment compensation, social security, health care, etc. Consequently, many have chosen a life on the dole. In addition, they have not assimilated, but have chosen to maintain a separate identity. Not having lived in Turkiye for many years, and for some youth, never in their life, they are not comfortable nor accepted in Turkiye. Isolated, the younger people have turned to radical Islam. The German economy is no longer so robust that it can provide the welfare benefits to the degree it has in the past. Some politicians are urging to cut this support which will affect these Turks. However, since many of them can now vote, they are able to affect the political decisions and public policy. At Narlikuyu, a ‘town’ consisting of high rise apartments and fish restaurants at the edge of a lagoon, our purpose was to view a Roman mosaic of the Three Graces (Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer) in an ancient bath (Kislar Haman2). Not the best photograph as the mosaic seemed dull and/or dirty. One can discern a bird bath and a bird in the lower left corner, birds surrounding the maidens, and Euphrosyne holding a towel. We then returned to the town of Silifke, known in ancient times as Seleucia ad Calycadnus (Greek). It was founded by Figure 111 The Graces Seleucos Nicator, one of the three generals that divided the Macedonian Empire after Alexander's death in 323 BCE. As in most Greek cities, there are a lower city and an upper city, the latter called the acropolis. The latter is in evidence since a huge castle was built by the [eastern] Romans [whom we call Byzantines], but greatly altered by the Armenians and the Crusaders (Knights of St. John). [The Armenians were forced by the Romans from their home in Armenian southwards to Cilicia; hence, during their tenure, the area was called the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia.] The Turks finally conquered the area in the late 13th century and assumed the castle, making their own alterations.
We drove to the hilltop, and upon getting out of our car, a German couple recommended that we allow Ahmet, who was standing nearby, to serve as our guide. "He does it for free," said the German, but of course we would tip him.
Figure 112 Acropolis and castle of Silifke
Page -35I wanted to turn the car around and park in the shade next to the visitors center. I tried to shift into reverse, but went into fourth gear so that I started to move forward towards the precipice. Kathy became unduly alarmed; I was at least five feet from the edge. Ahmet spoke English quite well, and pointed out the various features of the castle. The most intriguing feature to me was the inscriptions in Greek, Armenian, and Arabic [the Turks used the Arabic alphabet until the 20th century]. From the castle walls, we could view the city and surrounding countryside. Most prominent was the Goksu River, known in ancient times as Calycadnus. About 16 km upstream is a memorial commemorating the place where the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, died while bathing in the river. He was leading the army of the Third Crusade to Jerusalem in Figure 113 Kathy and our guide 1190. In order to be buried in his home country, his body was Ahmet stored in a barrel of vinegar and taken to Antioch, then a shipped back to Germany. Thus, ended the Third Crusade. Also from the castle, we could see a large cistern that looked to be about a block square. Returning to the city, we drove through streets, alleys, and backyards, but we never could find the cistern. We decided to call Nicole and Jared just to stay in touch. We were told that one could buy a phone card for a particular telephone company to be used at its phone booth. We could only find the phone booth of the national telephone company (PTT) but the Figure 114 Cistern in Silifke instructions were not in English nor were the hieroglyphics’ understandable. So we went inside and saw that people used a phone to which a time meter was attached. After completing the call, they paid for the minutes used. Why not give it a try? How much could it cost? We called Jared and Nicole, and while neither were home, we left messages. The duration was about 10 minutes. Being an international call, I thought the charge would be about $20. "Bar!" said the attendant. I gave her one lira--about 75¢, and she gave me change! I was stunned. I had read about a tiny cove called Yapakl2 Eski, just east of Susanolu, where water of 28°C/82°F swirls over a lower current of 8°C/46°F. While it was a beautiful spot, the water was rather rough and the cold water chilling. We decided to resume our swim at the hotel's beach. Figure 115 Yapakl2 Eski At the hotel’s beach, there is a shallow area that projects in the shape of an arrow from the shore, thereby causing the wave of the surf to cross and collide. The sun was low in the sky, creating a soft orange glow. Sitting on a low walkway, we dangled our feet in the warm water and just gazed at the sea, the sky, and the Maiden's Castle. Figure 116 Kizkalesi at sunset
Page -36Day 11 and 12: Up and Down the Mediterranean Coast I had thought that, rather than returning the rental car to Adana, we would continue west, visit a number of sites on the way, and return the car in Antalya. However, the road from Silifke to Gazapasha is a two lane Figure 118 Silifke to affair along the coast that, while Antalya and Istanbul scenic, continually curves, rises and falls. The two-day drive was exhausting and a bit nauseating, literally, at times. It was great to do, but I wouldn’t do it again. Outside of Silifke, we stopped at a ruined basilica that marks the hermitage of St. Thelca, one of St. Paul’s first converts. The guidebook describes her life: On hearing Paul preach the virtues of chastity in Iconium (Konya), she promptly renounced her betrothal; on a later visit to the apostle in prison, she too was arrested and sentenced to be burned at the stake and tied naked to a pyre in the arena. A divinely inspired deluge doused the flames. Wild beasts were brought in to devour her, but “thee was about her a cloud, so that neither the beasts did touch her, nor was she seen to be naked,” according to Acts of Paul and Thecla, written in the 2nd century by an unknown Asian presbyter. Once the Romans had given up, she set up a nunnery near ancient Seleucia, where her miraculous cures were said to have taken business away from the town doctors. Eventually, she flew bodily up to heaven. Figure 119 Cave church of St. Thecla We drove all day from Anamur to Antalya, and at a restaurant, discovered that we had left our passports at the Hotel Anemonia. I immediately went into hysterics. The first problem might have been boarding the plane to Istanbul. The second problem was whether or not the passports would reach us in Istanbul by the time of our scheduled flight home five days hence. Without passports, we would not be able to board the plane. I was able to borrow a cell phone from the owner of the restaurant in order to call our travel agent Gönül Acar. She said she would check with airlines, call the hotel, etc. If there was any doubt about the value of a travel agent, it was removed by this crisis. We were allowed to board the flight to Istanbul because it was a domestic flight as we did have our driver's license for identification. You always see people at airports with the names of passengers arriving, and wonder how they get such treatment. Well in our case, it's arrange by our travel agent. So there was a driver with a 'Paolini' sign just outside the exit at the Istanbul airport in order to drive us to our hotel. I had chosen the Pera Palas Hotel for its history, being built in 1892 for travelers of the Orient Express railroad. Historical it was but the room was drab and stark. Still, it was exciting to think of the people who had stayed at the Pera: Mata Hari, Greta Garbo, Jackie Onassis, Josephine Baker and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. We visited the latter's suite one evening. Perhaps more famous to Americans, the writer Agatha Christie wrote her novel, Murder on the Orient Express, in her room at the Pera, also preserved for viewing. After the Great War, the occupying forces, principally Great Britain, used the Pera as their headquarters.
Figure 121 Pera Palas Hotel Figure 120 Front entrance Pera Palas Hotel
The architect of the population exchange of (Greek) Orthodox Christians and (Turkish) Muslims, Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian, sent a confidential letter from the Hotel to Eleftherios Venizelos, a former prime minister and then a representative of the Greek government, describing the ‘indescribably grave’ situation in Thrace and the need to find land on which they could be resettled and allowed to farm and support themselves. From this crisis sprang the ‘long-term’ solution of the population exchange in 1923. Figure 122 Ballroom at the Pera Palas Hotel
Figure 123 Elevator at the Pera Palas Hotel (manually operated)
Figure 124 The bar at the Pera Palas Hotel (We think some of the smoke from the days of Atatürk is still in the room)
Page -38Day 13: Fener There are four districts of Istanbul that we would tour. The first is called Fener, the origin of the name being the Turkish word for lantern, there having been a lighthouse in the district because of its high ground and adjacent to the Golden Horn, an estuary that flows into the Bosphorous. Fener was translated to English as Phanar, and the residents were/are called Phanariots. During Ottoman rule, the district Figure 125 Arial map became the residence of the privileged Greek and Jewish families, and the headquarters (1661) of the Orthodox Patriarchate of the Greek community. The privileged Greek families no longer exist due to deteriorated relations between Greeks and Turks. Briefly, before 1829, there was no nation-state of Greece; rather it was a territory of the Ottoman Empire. In 1821, the Greeks began their struggle for independence with a war that lasted until 1829 when independence was obtained. In 1919, Greece tried to capture the western portion of Anatolia so as to become part of Greece, but failed in the attempt. Due to the massacres, pillage and rapes that occurred, in 1924 the countries exchanged populations, that is Greeks in Türkiye went to Greece, and Turks in Greece went to Türkiye, with the exception of Greeks in Istanbul and Turks in Trace (northeastern Greece). W ith the invasion of Cyprus by Greece in 1955, there were riots in Fener in which the shops of Greeks were vandalized and pillaged. The privileged Greeks have left Fener, but the Patriarch remains along with a few poor and/or old Greeks and Jews. I thought that it would be worth hiring a guide for this tour, and it was one of my better decisions. Our guide was Yavuz Özdeniz who is knowledgeable of the district, spoke English that we could understand, and was very helpful in our shopping objectives. After a drive around the Theodosian walls of Stamboul, we stopped to visit the church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars.
Figure 126 Three walls
built by Septim ius Severus; Constantine; Theodosius respectively
During Ottoman rule, the Bulgarians were also under the Greek patriarch but in 1834, they petitioned for their own patriarch, and gradually separated and formed their own religious community. W ith the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870, St. Stephen Figure 127 St. Stephens of the Bulgars was built, or rather assembled: once in Vienna and once in Istanbul for the building is made of cast iron.
Figure 128 Interior St.
Page -39An empire is, by definition I think, rule over many ethnic groups, communities or nations. W ith the demise of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the sultan, Mehmet II appointed a monk name Gennadios to govern the Christian subjects of the empire regarding religious and civil matters such as inheritance, divorce, etc. Rank has its privileges, but rank has its responsibilities, a popular phrase I was taught regarding my commission in the U.S. Air Force. It also applied to the patriarch. Keeping the Greek community peaceful and loyal to the Ottoman Empire was his responsibility. In 1821, when the Greeks rebelled, Sultan Mahmud II had the Patriarch Gregorios V hung on the gate of the Phanar on Easter Day, 1821, as a reprisal for the Declaration of Greek Independence. W e visited the Patriarchate but we were unable to locate the gate. I later learned that they have been welded shut. However, they are a symbol and touchstone of politics between Turks and Greeks even today: A year ago, police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing nationalist Turks who staged a protest outside the Patriarchate protesting that the closed gate was a sign of its "anti-Turkish" sentiment. The protest came as the Patriarchate sought to reopen an Orthodox seminary that Turkish authorities closed in 1971. The seminary trained generations of church leaders, including the current patriarch, Figure 129 Church of St. George Bartholomew. Members of Türkiye's government, have expressed support for the proposal, which nationalists strongly oppose. So the gate becomes a symbolic issue for the conflict in the internal politics of Türkiye.
In addition to the church and office building, there is a boys high school.
Figure 131 Greek school in Fener patriarch was hung.
Still, I would have liked to have seen where the
Figure 130 Interior St. George
I was hoping to see the church of St. Savior in Chora but I thought that it would be outside the area. As it turned out, it was relatively close. Chora means countryside; so when the church was built in the 11 th century, it was in the countryside though still within the walls of Theodosius (there are two other walls built during earlier periods). As with most churches, it was converted to a mosque with the conquest, and to obliterate the images of the infidels, the Muslim Turks covered the mosaics that adorned almost every wall and arch. Converted to a museum and the whitewash removed, it contains the best preserved Christian mosaics.
Page -40The Holy Savior in Chora — The surviving building (now known as Kariye Camii) comprises the main church, two narthexes and the parecclesion of the Anastasis. It is considered as the most important monument in the Paleologan age and its unique iconographic program makes it an outstanding masterpiece of Byzantine art. The Holy Savior in Chora — The semicircular, main apse to the east is flanked by two smaller, three-sided apses. A large dome rises above the nave, two smaller domes above the esonarthex, and one above the parecclesion. The miracle-working icon of the Panagia Hodegetria, believed to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist, was kept at the monastery in Chora. This was the famous icon carried along the walls of the City to encourage the defenders in times of siege. During Lent the icon was taken to the Palace; and on Monday of the Easter W eek a procession carried it through the City's streets and returned Figure 132 St. Savior in Chora it to the monastery in Chora, where it was exposed to public veneration. In his account of the capture of Constantinople on 29 May 1453, the historian Ducas writes that as the site of Chora was very near the Xylokerkos Gate, through which the besiegers broke into the Capital, the first Turks who entered the City pillaged the monastery leaving it bare. The precious gems adorning the historic image of the Hodegetria were prized off and the icon was hacked into four pieces never to be seen again. At the close of the 15th century, the church of The Holy Savior in Chora was converted into a mosque known as Kariye Camii. Today it is a museum. After the Conquest, the mosaics and wall paintings of the church were apparently plastered over. This would explain why the descriptions left by Petrus Gyllius (1561) and other travellers speak of the beauty of the marble revetments but make no mention of the mosaic decoration. In the course of time the monument was severely damaged by fires and earthquakes. Figure 133 Dormition of the Virgin, over the entrance from the Narthex The gradual uncovering of the mosaics started in 1876, but it was only in 1948 that systematic works were undertaken by the Byzantine Institute of America in cooperation with the Dumbarton Oaks Center, W ashington D.C.
The entire chapel is storied with wall paintings related to the splendid scene of the Descent into Hell (most often referred to as the Anastasis), the Orthodox iconographic version of Christ’s resurrection, one of the greatest wall paintings of all time. Figure 136 Presentation of the Virgin to the Temple — Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Theotokos, led the infant Virgin Mary, where she is met by the High Priest
Figure 134 Parecclesion of the Anastasis
Figure 135 Parecclesion of the Anastasis
Page -42Day 13 continued: Fener Yavuz wanted to show us another church, but even he was unable to find it. Fener is a rabbit warren with streets and alleys that zig and zag, and that abruptly end.
Figure 137 W omen sitting in Fener In 1955 there were riots against the Greeks due to the Greek invasion of Cyprus, and so many Greeks left the area. Thus, many houses are vacant and abandoned. W hile UNESCO is providing some funds for restoration, most of the people here are poor. Some have turned to the most conservative Islam teachings, and we saw many women wearing the black, ankle-length çar Õaf, similar to the Iranian chador, and tüban, the tightly pinned headscarf that distinguishes the politically conscious Islamic woman, as compared with the normal ba Õörtü of rural women, which is loosely knotted under the chin.
Figure 138 Street in Fener
Figure 139 W omen wearing çarÕaf
Page -43W e finally came to the church of Christ Pantocrator ("Christ, Ruler of All"), now Mollazeyrek Camii, built about 900-1000. A brief tour required a 'donation' to the imam. It was built as three large, interconnected churches, the complex served as the core of the famed Pantokrator Monastery. Between the two main churches is a domed chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael, athe angel believed to be present at the moment of death. This was the mausoleum of the Comneni, and in the typikon (a detailed document written at the time) it is referenced as a heroön, an archaic term meaning the tomb of a hero. It was a spectacular church, and did (does?) contain the tombs of it’s imperial founders, Emperor John II Comnenus (1118-1143) and Irene--and possibly Aleix I and Manuel I, were buried in the funerary chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael. During the Latin occupation the monastery was apparently taken over by the Venetians. This would explain why Sgouropoulos when writing on the Council of Florence (Book IV, 16), describes the icons, sacred vessels and holy relics of the Pantocrator which were, and still are, in the church of S. Marco, Venice-including the famous Pala d'oro that had once adorned the templon of the church of Christ Pantocrator.
Figure 140 Pala d’oro, now in the Church of San Marco, Venice
This photograph of the rear of the church/museum is taken from a terraced restaurant which has placed these incongruous [and pagan] Roman columns in its garden next to tables and their folded umbrellas.
Figure 141 Church of Christ Pantocrator
Page -44It was time for lunch, but being Ramadan, many of the restaurants were closed. As we came to a street, a small herd of sheep passed in front of us. ‘W hy would someone have a herd of sheep in a city where there is hardly a blade of grass,’ I asked myself. A few moments later, we passed a butcher shop with carcasses hanging in the window. Let’s see: 2 + 2 = 4. To the side of the shop, Kathy witnessed an actual slaying by the butcher by slitting the animal’s throat and then allowing the blood to drain into the street. Somehow it didn’t seem particularly sanitary--but you Figure 142 Butcher shop knew it was fresh! in Fener Jared had given me the Sultan's Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook for a present last Christmas, and I have been cooking many Turkish meals. Often a recipe calls for ‘red Turkish pepper’ which, of course, I don’t have. So I told Yavuz that it was one of my shopping objectives. He led us to a spice shop where I had to decide which red pepper. “Not so hot!” was my only criterion.
Figure 143 Spice shop I had hoped also to purchase a brass tray table in Türkiye to serve as an end table in our new reading room. I am, however, no bargainer, and Turkish shopkeepers are known masters of the art and enjoy the joust. Bargaining with one of these matadors would put me in the same position as the aforementioned sheep. However, earlier in Cappadocia, I had examined some trays of copper covered with tin. The asking price was $300. I asked our hotel manager the cost of his tray, and he said $100. So I had a ballpark figure, and now I had Yavuz. W e visited two places, but found only copper trays. Still, the asking price was 60 YTL ($38). I felt victorious.
Page -45Yavuz wanted to show us a church that was converted to a mosque. The interior was whitewashed so there were no frescoes visible and thus little to see. The imam was very gracious and wanted to convey some concepts of the Koran. Since he spoke no English, Yavuz translated for us. After we left, Yavuz said that what the imam had conveyed made absolutely no sense, and that he, Yavuz, was just making up something that we could understand. I could make a comment on religion, but I will forbear so as not to offend my readers. W e were now ready for competition in the big league of shopping: the Grand Bazaar (Kapaliçarsi). It is one of the largest covered markets (bazaar) in the world with more than 58 streets and 3,000 shops. It is well-known for its jewelry, pottery, spice and carpet shops. The bazaar contains two bedestens, or domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping, the first of which was constructed in 1464 by the order of Mehmed II. In 1894, it underwent major restoration after an earthquake. It has 250,000-400,000 daily visitors. Kathy wanted to buy a ‘throw’ for Jared for his new apartment. W e think it quite ‘smashing,’ and when we heard the price, we decided it wasn’t worth the effort to bargain.
Figure 145 Grand Bazaar
Figure 147 Grand Bazaar
Figure 146 Old buildings in Fener
Page -46In returning to the van, we passed a demonstration at a monument to the Ottoman sultans. Yavuz description was that the group was a conservative religious group that was demanding more religious rights--the right to dictate the religious practices of others. Again, I forbear!
Figure 148 Monument to the Sultans Figure 149 Mehmet the Conqueror Yavuz also explained that the installation of the monument to the Ottoman sultans was in response to the nationalists and religious conservative groups which believe that Atatürk has been made a god in Türkiye. It is true that practically every village and town in Türkiye has a statue of Atatürk, usually in the main square.
On our way back, we passed through the Valen’s aqueduct.
Page -47Day 14: Stamboul I “Now its Istanbul, not Constantinople!” W hy the name change? Istanbul is widely recognized as the name of Turkey's most well known city, but it was not always this way, and even today some confusion over its proper name still exists. The confusion is rooted in the various names the city assumed under the Ottomans in the centuries after their conquest of the city in 1453. Although the Ottomans did not purposely change the city's name, they opted to make "Constantinople" into a more Turkish style name "Konstantiniye" (which loosely translates as "of Constantine"), however variations on Konstantiniye soon cropped up. “Is tin poli” (Greek for "to the city"), once commonly found on road signs directing travelers to the capital, was punned by devout Turks into Islambol, where "Islam abounds." The names Islambol and Konstantiniye were used interchangeably in Ottoman documents up until the empire's demise in 1923. W esterners continued to refer to the city as Constantinople well into the 20th century. In the 19th century, however, the city's large foreign expatriate community took to calling the old city Stamboul. W estern accounts of the old city during this period make regular references to the name. The walls of Theodosius circumscribe the city of Constantinople, although it included countryside. As such, in contains most of the historic artifacts of Byzantine and Ottoman periods. They are most heavy concentrated in the districts of Eminönü and Sultanahment (see map). In Pera/Beya lu, we walked down Istklal Caddesi to Tünel Square in order to take the underground funicular railway to Karaköy. Figure 152 Pera and Stamboul This funicular is the world's second oldest underground built in 1873 by French engineers. It has a length of about 500 meters and only two stops: one in Karakoy (Galata) and one in Pera/Beyo lu at Tünel Square. W hen most foreign businessmen and all the foreign embassies moved to Pera/Beyoglu, their business offices and companies stayed in Karakoy (Galata). This underground was built to avoid climbing up and down the Galata hill.
Figure 153 Tünel Square Figure 154 Funicular
Page -48To cross the Golden Horn by walking over the Atatürk Bridge though one is able to take a water taxi. The bridge hosts many restaurants on the lower level, and is a favorite haunt of fisherman. Our first stop: Sirkeci Station, the terminus of the Orient Express. Prior to the Express, travelers along the route from Constantinople to Paris had to change trains at the border of each country, bag and baggage, together with customs and passport processing. A Belgian, Georges Nagelmackers, founded La Compagnie Internationale des W agons-Lits, to operate luxury sleeping cars and dining cars all over Europe, much as George Mortimer Pullman did Figure 155 Atatürk Bridge and Stamboul in the USA. The various national railway companies provided the track, the stations and the locomotives. Thus with the Express, only the locomotive was changed at the borders. In addition to the cars and station, the Pera Palas Hotel was built for the passengers. A byword for exoticism and romance, the train was associated with the W estern view of Istanbul as a treacherous lair of diplomats, spies, and arms dealers. It has inspired no fewer than 19 books and six films. W e wove our way on Alemdar Cadessi which eventually runs next to a wall of Gulhane Park, which contains Topkapi Palace. W e first saw Alay Pavilion, a small domed building remarkable for its ar architecture. However, the more exciting ‘monument’ was just across the street: the Sublime Porte. It is the gate of entrance to the Ottoman government’s administrative buildings, and it became a synonym for the government of the Ottoman Empire (and distinctive of the sultan). Figure 156 Sirkeci Station The Sublime Porte was the open court of the sultan where the sultan held the greeting ceremony for foreign ambassadors. The sultan was led by the Grand Vizier who was his chancellor and later in Ottoman history became ‘prime minister.’ It thus became synonymous with the Ottoman government; for example, ambassadors were said to be posted to the ‘Sublime Porte.’ Later it became the Foreign Ministry and in contemporary times the office of the governor (Vali) of Istanbul Province.
Figure 157 The Sublime Porte
Page -49W e entered Gulhane Park in order to visit the Istanbul Archaeological museum, which contains mainly Roman statues. My favorite was this statue of a father showing his son how to throw a curve ball.
Next was the Tile Museum which not only contained beautiful tile, but also was a beautiful building. The first picture is of a fountain with a trough while the second is of one of the windows of the building.
Figure 158 Entrance to Gulhane Park
Figure 159 Instructions
Figure 160 W indow of Tile Museum
Figure 161 God Tarhunza and King W arpalas And finally, the Museum of the Ancient Orient. I had always wondered whether or not there were artifacts of the ancient Hittite Empire. It seems that there are many, and most are probably in this museum. The picture is that of W arpalas, king of Tyana (Hittite) praying in front of plant and storm god Tarhunza (8 th century BCE), in case you didn’t already know. Figure 162 Fountain in Tile Museum
Page -50Day 14 continued: Stamboul I W e had planned to tour the church of Hagia Sophia, the most spectacular church in Christendom; unfortunately, most of the tourist in Istanbul had the same idea, even the Turks! So we continued on in order to find the Milion, a stone pillar which is all that remains of a Byzantine triumphal arch from which road distances in the empire were measured. The first picture is a computerized drawing of how archeologists believed it looked; and sadly the second is how it looks today.
Com puterized drawing of the Milion as it m ight have been in 330CE
It was time for a rest, and so we walked a few steps to a ‘piazza’ in which stood a kiosk that sold nuts and beverages. As we munched, I noticed a small statue with an almost indistinguishable features of a human head, and on the base, some word in Turkish. It was Halidè Edib! She was a major figure in Turkish history, having been born in the Ottoman era and quite influential in the formation of the Republic. Not Figure 163 The Milion a politician but a writer who gave voice to today with a part of women in a male dominated era. She was one Valen’s aqueduct is in to speak her mind, disagreeing with Mustafa the background Kemal on occasion. [Mustafa Kemal is mostly known as Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic, akin to our George W ashington.] In reading the reports of persons in those days, mention is often made of meeting with Edib.
She wrote several books, the most famous being House with W isteria, which is a childhood biography, and Memoirs of Halidè Edib, which is a description of her adult Figure 166 Halidè life. It is one of the most disappointing books Edib (1882-1964) that I have ever read. It contains neither insight into her personal life (she covers her first divorce in one sentence) nor her opinions regarding the formation of the Republic. But there is no denying her influence regarding the position and expression of women, and for that I would recommend Halidè’s Gift by Francis Kazan.
Page -51Our last stop was the Great Palace Mosaic Museum. In this case, the reference is to the Roman/Byzantine palace. Its basic layout was first determined by Emperor Constantine, and it included state buildings with courtyards, throne rooms and audience rooms, churches and chapels, gardens and fountains, libraries, assembly buildings, thermal baths and stadiums. W ith the destruction caused by the 4 th Crusade and fires, earthquakes, and neglect, it was abandoned, with much of the area cleared for the Ottoman’s Topkapi Palace. In the early 50's, excavations began that uncovered a Figure 167 A m osaic from the Great Palace great mosaic with pictures of open-air scenes, the life of herdsmen, the labor of peasants and the prowess of huntsmen; scenes of children playing, wild beast and grazing animals alternate with mythological motifs animal fables and fabulous creatures from exotic countries, animals, hunting, games, bucolic scenes nature and myths. Day 15: Pera The day started on a bad note as Hotel Anemonia had not sent our passports on Friday for reasons that could not be understood. Gönül continued to work on our behalf, and suggested that they be sent by an overnight bus, and that she would have a courier pick them up. W e would have to pay for the service, but hoping that it would be less than $100, it was well worth the try. Today we were scheduled to tour Pera, the district in which our hotel was located. Soon after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the district of Galata, inhabited by Levantines, Greeks, Armenians and Jews , became too populous. The richer merchants and the first foreign embassies progressively moved to live beyond the walls of Galata to the hills above. Thus was born the new European district of Pera (Pera means "beyond in Greek). W hen the Ottomans opened to trading with the W est, Turkish Muslim families, also attracted by Galata, came and settled in the surroundings of the tower, but for the same reasons of overcrowding, they settled in Pera to which they gave the Turkish name Beyo lu (the Son of the Bey). The main street was originally called the Grand Rue de Pera, but is now called Istklal Caddesi, and runs from Taksim Square to Tünel Square, the later the terminus of an underground funicular that runs down to the Golden Horn at Karaköy. A tram runs down the middle on a single track. Figure 168 Galata and Pera
Figure 169 Istklal Caddesi
Page -52W orking our way south, our first point of interest was Taksim Square, Taksim being the name of the water pumping station for the fountains in Pera. "Is it still working?" asked Kathy. "I doubt it," I said, given its construction in 1732. W e walked past the little kiosk shaped building, and viewed the entire station, seeing water gushing from various founts. In the middle of the square is a statue commemorating the Turkish War of Independence in which Turkish nationalist forces defeated Armenians in the east, French and Armenians in the southeast, Italians, who wisely pleated no contest and withdrew, Greeks in the west, and the British, also withdrawing when confronted, and established the republic replacing the Ottoman dynasty.
I thought that Kathy took this picture with the cam era tilted, but then I notice that I’m standing straight. I checked photos on the web and those were tilted as well.
Figure 170 Pum ping station
Figure 171 W ar of Independence Monument
Figure 173 Taksim street
Figure 172 Atatürk and compatriots
Page -53Day 15 continued: Pera W e wandered through small, back streets, inspecting churches and gazing at the architecture. W e found the British Consulate for which repairs from a car-bomb blast in 2003 were in evidence. [Did I mention somewhere that Türkiye is safe?] Trying to return to Istiklal Caddesi , we found a small courtyard of restaurants and shops that was delightful. W e found an Orthodox Greek church and talked briefly to a parishioner who was just leaving. He explained that the church was closed, having been damaged by the bomb blast. The Çiçek Pasaji is the L-shaped courtyard of a building named Cité de Péra, one of the first European-style buildings constructed during the Ottoman Empire's late-19th-century effort to modernize. Façade of the Cité de Péra building (also the entrance to the Çiçek Pasaji).
After lunch, we tried to find art galleries behind the Galatasaray Lycée, but decided to descend to the Golden Horn to Tophane, a district named after the canon foundry and barracks, built in 1451. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic the Tophane-i Amire remained under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense until 1992, when it was transferred to Mimar Sinan University. Figure 174 Cité de Péra Figure 175 Çiçek Pasaji W e did not find the museum (which would have been closed, being Monday) but did discover Mimar Sinan University and the Kilic Ali Pasa Mosque, an example of the Rococo style built during the Tulip era in 1732.
Unfo rtuna Figure 177 Mimar Sinan University tely, the fountain was covered for repairs.
Figure 176 Kilic Ali Pasa Mosque and Fountain
Page -54W e walked along the port which was lined with cruise ships and through the throng of foreigners embarking and debarking. W e then reached a park on the Golden Horn, and gazed at Stamboul across the water. I had nothing to read on our return flight, and so we perused a bookstore in Pera. I bought Istanbul: Figure 178 Narghile Smokers Memories of a Ctiy by Orhan Pamuk, a famous Turkish writer who is controversial. First, he was considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. But he had recently had the temerity to suggest that Turks talk about the Armenian Massacres of 1915. I surmise that speech in Turkiye is free even if one criticizes the government or politicians; what is not allowed is criticism of the Republic as the state and of the Turkish people. For this, he was arrested.
Figure 179 View from Galata
Our final stop was the church of St. Anthony of Padua (he of famous Italian vignettes). The picture is of offices that front Istiklal and taken of the inner courtyard which face church proper. It is pure Italian, and it is simply beautiful.
Figure 180 Galata Tower Figure 181 Distant view of Tower
Figure 182 Courtyard of the church of St. Anthony Figure 183 Strolling on Istiklal
Page -55Choosing a place to eat always puts me a state of anxiety. I usually prefer to eat little and spend less. In Türkiye, there is no such thing as a small meal, but it is difficult to predict the cost although I must admit it is usually very reasonable. Upon returning to the Pera Palace Hotel, we decided to have cappuccino in the Pastry Shop. Sixteen YTL! W e then ventured out for dinner, and walked through a darkened alley toward Istiklal Caddesi. There was a chalk board sign that listed five items--no telling what they were-for 13YTL. "There must be a catch," I thought. The water will be 10YTL. W ith only four tables, it was a one woman operation. Everything was delicious and we were stuffed. W ith water, the total was 28 YTL. I felt embarrassed to pay so little. Day 16: Stamboul revisited W e had planned to visit the Scutari, a city across the Sea of Marmara on the Asian shore in order to visit the barracks in which Florence Nightingale administered to the wounded during the Crimean W ar (1853); and also the train station called Haydarpa Õa from which trains depart for the south into Anatolia and the Levant. But the barracks is still a military installation (Selimiye Barracks), and we needed to provide a copy of our passports in advanced. Not having our passports, we would not be admitted. W e would have to save that tour for another day. As it turned out, it was a rather blustery and rainy day, and not conducive to a boat trip. And so we would spend a second day in Stamboul. Our primary objective was Hagia Sophia but I had also planned a tour of Galata that included a visit to the Ottoman Bank. The Bank had the difficult task of serving as an intermediary between the sultans, (who made little distinction between the state fisc and their own bank account, having the philosophy that ‘you can’t have too many palaces’) and the European banks who lent money to the Ottoman government. For me, the most interesting aspect was the notorious episode that occurred on August 26, 1896 when Armenian revolutionaries [today we would call them terrorists] seized the bank and took hostages. The history of the Armenians and the Ottoman Empire is long, conflicting, and continuing. Suffice to say here that there were two Armenian revolutionary parties, one called the Dashnak Party. Their strategy was to conduct acts of terrorism against the government and Turks in order to cause an oppressive reaction. Appealing to their Christian brothers in Europe and Russia, they hoped these states would intervene on their behalf and force the Ottoman government to allow the establishment of an Armenian state in the six eastern provinces (viyalet). It didn’t happen! The seventeen insurgents probably expected the entire British and French fleets to turn up at Istanbul. The General Director of the bank, Sir Edgar Vincent, negotiated their release and deportation aboard his private yacht. W hile the attempt to provoke the Ottoman government was a failure, the Armenians still claimed 4,000 to 6,000 Armenians killed in rioting. Propaganda is almost as good as reality. Figure 184 Ottoman Bank Building
Page -56Across the street from the bank is the Camondo Stairway, which is a curved stairway that was named after the Jewish Sefarad Camondo family, originating from Galata, who became one of the wealthiest banking families (Abraham Camondo was banker to the Ottoman government before the founding of the Ottoman Bank) which earned them the nickname "the Rothschilds of the East." W e crossed Atatürk Bridge, again noting the great number of men and boys fishing, and proceeded directly to Hagia Sophia. Figure 185 Comondo Steps W e had seen the Hagia Sophia on our first visit. I had read mostly about ancient/pagan Roman history and architecture, and so I was unprepared for this masterpiece of Byzantine art and architecture. I was simply blown away.
Figure 186 Fishing on Atatürk Bridge Hagia Sophia is Greek for the ‘Divine W isdom.’ The church was completed in 537 CE during the reign of Justinian who commissioned its construction. Entering one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, he was heard to whisper, ‘Solomon, I have surpassed thee.’ (See postscript #1)
Figure 187 Church of Divine W isdom
Photographs cannot capture the majesty of Hagia Sophia. They simply show walls as flat barriers but not the interior space, and they fail to evoke the eery recesses, rising columns, vaulting arches, and dome ceiling that cause one to gaze upward with a gaping mouth.
Figure 189 Great space of Hagia Sophia
Figure 188 Eery Recesses
Page -57In a continual state of repair and restoration, it was designed to be lighted by candles, probably hundreds, so as to create a mysterious affect. But the light that shines through the arches supporting the dome still creates the effect of a halo, or as some ancient characterized it, ‘as the mirror of heaven.’
Figure 190 Dome of Hagia Sophia W e noted that the walls, frescoes, and mosaics all appeared cleaner and brighter than when we had visited in 2000. But restoration is a dilemma. W hile built by Christians as a church, and used as such for 916 years, it was used as a mosque for 482 years (which is why one sees the giant medallions with Arabic script).
So to what period should it be restored? For example, the upper walls, arches, and ceiling of the balcony are plastered with a pale yellow/gold to make a fresco with a red design. But then Kathy noticed a small section of the fresco, not larger than a foot square, that had been removed, thereby revealing mosaic. In all probability, the pious Muslims had covered the images of the entire church. Originally, Hagia Sophia probably looked like the Cathedral of San Marco in Venice!
Figure 192 Medallions
Figure 191 Emperors Constantine and Justinian offering models of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia to Virgin and Christ
Figure 193 Frescoed ceiling For more on connection between San Marco and the church of Saint Polyeuctus, see postscript #2.
Figure 194 Cathedral of San Marco
Page -58And speaking of Venice, we ended our tour at the tomb of Enrico Dandello. It is ironic that the man who was in large part responsible for the demise of the [East] Roman Empire, the plunder and vandalism of its capital city, and the desecration of its most holy and precious icon, should be buried within its sacred walls. In 1202 CE, Dandello, the Doge of Venice, along with Boniface of Montserrat and a Geoffrey of Villehardouin (Gaul), led an army of Franks to Constantinople in order to set a pretender on the Roman throne; in return the pretender promised ample funds to pay the Venetians for the ships that had been provided by Venice. W hen payment was not forthcoming, the Crusaders breached the walls of the city and sacked it. To think that a man 90 years old and ‘stone blind’ had leaped from a boat, planted a flag, and rallied his Venetian sailors in the assault is astonishing. Rather than being entombed in a magnificent mausoleum in the Piazza San Marco or the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace, he lies beneath the floor of the loge, almost unnoticed. Figure 195 Tomb of Enrico Dandello W e called Gönül to discern the status of our passports, and issued a great sigh of relief when we heard that they were safely in her desk drawer. Day 16: Stamboul revisited continued After a light lunch in the park that was once the hippodrome or circus maximus of Constantinople, we picked up our passports at Gönül’s office on Divan Yolu and then walked west. W e noticed a rather small, red brick building with the name of Pierre Loti on a side wall. Pierre Loti is the pseudonym of French author Julien Viaud. On his first arrival in the Figure 196 Picnic in Hippodrome Ottoman dominions as a naval officer (1876-1877), he fell in love with a young local girl called Aziyade. They met frequently in his house in Eyüp, and he recorded his affair in a journal published under the title of Aziyade shortly after his departure from the country. A Turcophile, Loti enjoyed going into Eyüp wearing the traditional fez and counting rosary beads like the natives. He frequently went to a coffeehouse on the upper parts of the Golden Horn and reminisced of days bygone as he watched the estuary and the quaint life of the boatsmen and fishermen. The coffeehouse since then has been known by the name of the author and is a frequently visited site. It offers a bird’s eye view of the entire Golden Horn and was restored several years ago to include an indoor area and souvenir shops. So what is this house? I could not discover, but it is a typical example of the intriguing things on finds in Istanbul.
Figure 197 View of Bosphorus from Loti Café in Eyup
Page -59Further on, we came to a site identified on the city map as “II Abdul Hamit Tomb.’ Abdulhamid II, who reigned from 1876 to 1909, was the most controversial sultan in the history of the Ottoman Empire. He had great successes--not solely due to his good looks-- and great failures. He succeeded in keeping the empire independent while the European powers, principally Great Britain, France, and Russia, waited to collect the spoils when the ‘sick man of Europe’ disintegrated.
Figure 198 Tomb of AbdulHamit II
He was dedicated to modernizing his empire. During his reign the postal service was started, city streets were paved and lit with gas lamps. He instituted public health measures, and plagues became a phenomenon of the past. Schools were founded throughout the empire. But in modernizing the army, he sent officers to France to learn new military techniques and technology. They did, but they also learned about things like parliaments, constitutions, rule of law, etc. They formed the ‘Young Turk’ movement in order to bring reforms to Türkiye. They forced Abdulhamid II to establish a constitution and a parliament, but he suspended both in the year of their founding. He ruled from seclusion in his palace at Yildiz for 40 years in a style that was paranoid and autocratic. It is believed that he had a force of 20,000 secret police by which he governed; he imposed severe censorship on his people. Figure 199 AbdulHamid II And so he was deposed in a coup in 1908--his good looks not able to save him this time; he was the last sultan to govern with any real power.
A bit further on we came to another cemetery, not as auspicious as that of Abulhamid, but containing the tombs of three sultans: Mahmut II, and his two sons, Abdul Mecid I and Abdulaziz. Mahmut II was a reformer, both skillful and ruthless. The Janissary Corp had become a useless fighting force and a corrupt parasite on the populous. He carefully planned their demise, and executed it by blowing up their barracks with them in it in 1826. W e continued to wander about the cemetery, noting that the tombs were above ground, and that each had two columns atop the tomb, one at the head and the other at the foot. I inquired of Figure 200 Mahmut II the symbolism of this funerary architecture, and was told that it symbolized nothing more than the place of the head, the taller or larger part, and the feet, shorter or smaller part. Apparently it was simply the fashion between the 15 th and 19 th century; today only a headstone is used. Figure 201 Cemetery of Mahmut II
Page -60I came to a tomb at the end of the path: “Ziya Gökalp.” This was exciting for me--to discover the resting of places of people who determined the course of history in Turkiye. Gökalp (1876 - 1924) was a sociologist, writer and poet, but most noted as a Turkish nationalist. But one man's nationalism is another man or nation's jingoism and racism, and so those who view the events and outcomes of the period, namely the Greeks and Armenians, view Gökalp with disdain. In either case, he played an important role as an intellectual after the Young Turk revolution in 1908. He wanted to modernize and westernize Turkiye. He was elected as a member of the Parliament of the new Turkish Republic in 1923. Enough for one day and our last, we took the tram back to Karakoy (Galata) and the funicular to Pera/Beyo lu.
Figure 202 Tomb of Ziya Gökalp
Figure 203 Modern tram on Divan Yolu
Figure 204 Arasta Bazaar
Figure 205 W oman preparing meal in restaurant
Figure 207 Simits seller Figure 206 Sultanahmet Camii
Page -61Postscript #1 There might be another meaning to Justinian’s statement. In his book entitled, A Byzantine Journey, the author John Ash identifies a formidable and immensely wealthy Lady Anicia Juliana who, in the early years of the sixth century, decided to build a shrine to the memory of Saint Polyeuctus, a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and was martyred (d. 259). Excavations of the site of the church began in 1960 after construction of a new road brought to light a fragment that scholars immediately recognized as part of the dedicatory inscription of Juliana’s church. “It consists of a floridly rhetorical poem of seventy-six lines that originally encircled the entire central space of the church; it praises Juliana’s distinguished lineage (she could claim descent from the Emperor Theodosius I) and proclaims that ‘She alone has conquered time and surpassed the wisdom of renowned Solomon.’ This is not an entirely idle boast: the church had roughly the same dimensions as Solomon’s temple as they are recorded in the Bible, and the excavators were astonished by the profuse and fantastically varied sculptural decoration that began to emerge from the ruble.” “Juliana must have hired master craftsmen from Isauria, Syria or Mesopotamia, and, as a result, all the elements of the mature Byzantine hybrid are present for the first time.” Thus Juliana is the patron of all later Byzantine art. Ash describes the statues of painted and gilded peacocks, and that these birds were traditinally associated with empresses. Possibly Juliana believed that she was destined to be an empress, or the mother of an emperor, but her family had been pushed aside by the family of Justinian, which was of extremely humble origins. Justinian is reported to have visited the church on at least one occasion, and could not have failed to read the dedicatory poem with irritation. Perhaps then his statement was intended to make it clear that he had finally outdone the Solomon-imitating Juliana.
Page -62Postscript #2 Ash further reports that “as the excavations proceeded, certain newly unearthed capitals and fragments of pilaster seemed strangely familiar to the archaeologists. It soon became apparent that the church had been very thoroughly plundered by the Venetians, some time shortly after 1204. Palmette capitals from Saint Polyeuctus surmount columns on the façade of San Marco, and the two sumptuously decorated pilasters that stand nearby in the piazzetta, which for long were (are!) thought to have come from Acre, were undoubtedly part of the same parcel of loot: the match with the fragments discovered in Istanbul is exact.”
Figure 208 Palmette capitals from Saint Polyeuctus Figure 209 Pilasters in San Marco