And Fethiyes Rock Tombs……
Known throughout Turkey for its strong Islamic leanings, the ancient city of Konya has an increasingly modern and prosperous atmosphere compared to many other city’s in the area. The city, located in the southern part of the central Anatolia, is famous for Rumi-(check previous post)-, the hypnotising whirling dervishes, the Aleaddin mosque-(famous amongst the Muslim people-),and the Karatay museum. All of this rich history and the spiritual atmosphere of Konya makes it the most enchanting places in Turkey, this is why we really want to visit.
The whirling dervishes are dancers who dress up in long white flowing robes and spin at high speeds. Originally a kind of monk who have advanced their whirling up to the level of worship. The whole Sema ( the name for the whirling) ritual consists of five parts. The first three of which are greetings, prayers and musical preparations. The instruments used for the music and the Dervishes rituals are a ‘Duvar’-(sometimes known as a ‘Duvlar’)-which is a large metal drum, the ‘Ud’ which is a small guitar with eleven strings, the ‘Ney’ a long flute, and there’s some ‘cymbals’.
The actual dervishes have no musical instruments themselves since they are spinning for, probably, half an hour, but their personal dress code is very strict. The have to wear long flowing skirts which dont have to be the famous white, it can actually be one of five colours. They are:Red, light blue, beige, White, or black. They also wear a long, furry hat called a ‘conical headdress’ these should be beige,
The two museums of Konya-(The Karatay museum and the Mevlâna museum) are fascinating places, since they hold many old and precious artefacts such as tiles, stone, jewellery, ceramics, and obviously hold tight links to the dervish life, and the Mevlâna actually has the tomb which holds Rumi and his son.
A magazine which we have gives you a 2 day tour for Konya, and it covers the whole city, so we are taking inspiration from this schedule.
Next on our road trip is a journey to the city of Aksaray which was an imprtant trading city on the Silk Road. The Silk Road use to be the main trading route between Europe and Asia before boats came along. The trading route meant that China, India and Arabia were all linked to Europe. The traders mainly made there journeys on horseback, and on the way through the other countries to trade, I was interested to discover that they would swap their tired horses for new ones all the way along the journey!
The trip would start in western China, were they would load their horses with valuable, unseen things in Europe such as spices, cotton, cashmere, sugar, paint and even foods that we eat everyday now, like ginger, lemon and peppers. The trip would then go through very old, unmodernised country’s that people these days do not go to, such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakstan, and from there, Iran, Iraq and Syria, until they were in Turkey. The whole journey would be as long as three months, but that’s if they didn’t die of thirst, starvation, heat exhaustion or pick up a virus which could be lethal for a tired traveller.
Aksaray for us, is where we finally enter the beautiful area of Cappadocia. The land is made from hardened ash, and the volcano it comes from is the Mt Erciyes. The haunting panorama which the Cappadocia area is renown for isn’t in Aksaray but it still appears fantastic. The town is relatively unknown to most tourists because the more wonderful experiences are in Goreme and Kayseri.
The sites worth seeing in Aksaray are the Great Mosque, which was built in 1314, the Egri minaret, part of the Kizil mosque. What’s interesting about this is the minaret was built in sand, and over time it caused the tower to lean since the sand kept shifting, perhaps a leaning tower of Pisa photo opportunity?!
From here, there are also tours going to the inactive volcano of Hasan Dagi, known as the little sister of Mount Erciyes.
As the trip continues we keep driving further inland, so we reach Goreme, which is in Cappadocia. mum has been dying to go here for years!
The Goreme valley has the largest amount of rock-cut chapels, fairy chimneys, and monasteries throughout Cappadocia. Most of them were made in the 9 century and hold many Byzantinian frescos, which show scenes from the Old and New Testament, mainly showing the life of Christ, and of Saints.
The Turkish government has seen the importance of the valley and they have put lots of money into restoring the caves to create the Goreme open air museum, and UNESCO has even made Goreme valley a world heritage site.
The rock formations of Cappadocia were created around 30 million years ago, when the volcano-(Mount Ericyes)-erupted and blanketed the region with ash. Over time, the ash solidified and became easily eroding material called “tuff”. The tuff was worn away after a long time of being stuck, and soon, capped-cone formations were created, most notable, the “fairy chimneys”. A man made creation people could do because the earth was soft, was to excavate deep into the land and build homes…..after a while the occasional home turned into towns, and then cities. A place were you can actually visit all of this is at Derinkuyu, where there are hole churches, stables, wells, ventilation systems, and even storage rooms! Overall, the underground city was thought to have homed 20,000 people at its hey-day.
Goreme is also known throughout the area for having one of the best views of the hot air balloons leaving Cappadocia.
As well as all the pre trip planning Today we hiked up to the tombs that are cut into the cliff faces high above Fethiye. They were built during the Lycian period, straight out of the rock face, rock tombs are quite a common and impressive sight around turkey. It was a great hike and both we and the dogs were pooped afterwards.