Turkey

Istanbul – City of Seven Hills worth walking up and down.

Istanbul European Side

First Theodosian Wall at Golden Horn crossing between Europe and Asia, 4th century CE, Constantinople.
Hagia Sophia: church 5th century, mosque 6th century, museum 20th century, mosque again 21st century.
Medusa head holding up pilar at Basilica Cistern. Site of filtered water for 6th century CE Constantinople.
Istanbul’s archaeology museum, a throw-back in time. Like digging in the Raiders of the Lost Ark archives-tombs everywhere in the basement.
Istanbul’s 19th century CE Orient Express train station is still there.
Side door to 17th century CE spice market.
Back entrance to 15th century CE Grand Bazaar.
Best mosque to visit. 16th century CE Suleymaniye Mosque, built on the 3rd Hill next to the Sultan’s tomb.
Taking selfies outside Suleymaniye Mosque. Charming girls.
4th century CE Eastern Orthodox Chora Church, unlike other Christian depictions of Christ’s life.
17th Century CE, St. George’s Eastern Orthodox Church. Worth the hike up the hill.
Drying goat hides in the side yard, along the waterfront just down from St. Georges.
Constantinian Wall, built during the Byzantine Empire (14th-15th centuries CE), near 7th hill.
Looking at Asia Minor from atop Constantinian Wall on the European side of Istanbul.

Istanbul Asia Minor Side

View from Asia to European side with Galata Bridge crossing the Golden Horn.
19th century CE Pera Palace, where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express.
Traditional Turkish instruments. Eat, drink, and be merry in Istanbul.

North Aegean – Izmir

Pergamon, Temple of Tragen outside Izmir. Not on the beaten path. A bit of a drive.

Processional colonnade at Pergamon. The biggest city in the region during the 2nd century BCE.

 SOUTH AEGEAN – EPHESUS, DIDYMA, BODRUM, AND FETHIYE

Ephesus, 10th century BCE, once the most important Greek City in Ionian Asia Minor.
Restoration work inside the homes at Ephesus.
Ephesus’s Tomb of St. John. Like Knights of Templar, St. John Knights of Hospitaller, 14th century CE, crusaded against Muslims.
Ephesus, an ancient port city along the Silk Road, died once its harbor silted up.
Didyma Temple of Apollo, 5th century BCE. Worth a short stop.
15th century CE, Castle of Bodrum, a medieval fortress that housed the Knights of St. Johns
Bodrum harbor today. Jumping off point to visit ruins along the Aegean Sea.
Bodrum museum.
12th century BCE ruins from the Lycian City of Pinara, near Fethiye.
Monolithic tombs, honeycombed in cliffs outside Fethiye.

HIKING THE LYCIAN WAY

Following the map in Kate Clow’s, The Lycian Way, Turkey’s First Long Distance Walking Trail, we covered only a portion of the -550 km hike.

Beautiful views of bays along the Aegean Sea during the day. You can camp or glamp at night.
Lace or crocheted cloth, anyone?
Typical scene along the Lycian Way.
Burial tomb along the path.
Red markers on rocks are not always there. Use mapsme or a satellite-based GPS so you don’t get lost.
Letoon, 1st century BCE religious-cult city near Xanthos.
Xanthos 8th century BCE amphitheater.
Xanthos Hellenistic style tombs.
The sunken city of Kekova, near Kas, was destroyed by an earthquake, 2nd century CE. Not much to see.
Myra, 5th century BCE cave community, near modern Kale, Demre.

TURQUOISE COAST – Antalya Province

Antalya coast, once clustered with ports serving the Silk Road, is now filled with resorts.
The Museum of Antalya is worth the visit.
Aspendos Roman amphitheater, 2nd century CE.
Basilica at Aspendos. A short drive from Antalya.

SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA

We were going to fly into Diyarbakir to visit the Coptic churches in the areas around Batman, Midyat, and Mardin, but tensions at the Syrian border got out of control so we changed our flight to Malatya. Upon landing in Malatya, I noticed all the fighter planes on the tarmac but figured they were part of the Turkish military. The next day we drove down to a place outside Mt. Nemrut. At midnight I heard the rumble of planes overhead. The next day we learned of the bombings in Syria. That’s when the great exodus from Syria began.

Malatya, a world leader in apricot production.
The Turkish tobacco water pipes, hookas, have been around 500 years.
Driving to Mt. Nemrut on the ONLY road from Malatya required a satellite viewer. No maps are available.
Roman bridge over a tributary to the Euphrates River was wide enough to handle Taurus Mtn. flooding.
This is the road from Kahta to 2100 meters-high Mt. Nemrut.
1st century BCE decapitated heads of the gods Zeus, Tyche (Fortuna), and Apollo on Mt. Nemrut.
Five 8-9 meter-tall statues whose fallen heads of Zeus, Heracles, Tyche, Apollo, and King Antiochus I plus two lions and two eagles can be found on both eastern and western sides of the 50-meter burial tumulus.
Inscriptions on the back of the Mt. Nemrut statues.
Outside Kahta, 1st century BCE Arsemia Antik, shows King Antiochus, who built Mt. Nemrut, with a god.
Mesopotamia with winding Euphrates River as seen from an Arsemia Antik rock outcrop.
View from the playground of the gods.

CAPPADOCIA CENTRAL ANATOLIA

11th century CE Open Air Museum in the Goreme Valley includes painted cave churches from Crusaders.
Rose Valley chimneys, formed when volcanic eruptions rained ash on the porous rock.
Cappadocia cave house.
View from inside cave house.
Inside cave house.
6.5-mile hike through the Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia, near Aksaray.
View of Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley hillside cave house.
Muslim prayer mat inside Ihlara Valley cave house.
View down to Ihlara Valley trail from Muslim cave house.
Shepherd taking a tea break in the Ihlara Valley.
Cave paintings inside Ihlara Valley’s St. George cave church.
Caravanserai, caravan resting spot along the Silk Road, with rooms for travelers and space for camels.
Whirling Dervish at Saruhan Caravanserai.

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