And Back Home
Our journey continues, now returning back to the coast, and then along it until we reach Fethiye. Because it is the winter, we are expecting the roads to be very quiet, and hopefully with little traffic. Just Before we reach the coast however, we will stop at the Turkish city of Nigde.
The city hasn’t had the affects of tourism -unlike its neighbours – however, there are still many interesting and fun things to do. During its time under the Seljuks, the ruling empire before the Ottomans the city flourished as a capital of the region. They filled the city with fine architecture, most notably, the Aleaddin Mosque, which was built in 1223. Not to be confused with the Aleaddin mosque in Konya, The mosque includes all features of the Classical Seljukian Mosque Architecture in their period. Also in the Nigde area is the Sultansazligi Bird Sanctuary, which is a paradise for bird watchers. At the sanctuary, we should be able to see birds such as ducks, flamingoes, terns, cranes, and Pelicans, because they all come here to breed.
The bazaar in Nigde has a fine clock tower, overlooking the whole area. There are many authentic Turkish shops in the bazaar in Nigde, and not too far away is the Folklore and Country museum, which is split up throughout. The museum ethnography is the scientific description of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences. Relics of Asian civilisations, and preserved remains of a Nun found in the Ihlara Valley are also on view here. Nigde is also well known for its delicious and creamy Ewes milk cheese, called Tulum peyniri, which you can buy packaged in a woolly sheeps skin.
As our trip continues on, the next stop is back on the coast to the large port of Mersin. The main reason travelers stop at Mersin is to catch a ferry to Northern Cyprus. Mersin is an important hub of Turkey’s economy, and Turkey’s largest seaport is located in the city. Mersin’s nickname within Turkey is “Pearl of the Mediterranean” and the city hosted the 2013 Mediterranean games. Mersin is the provincial capital of the eponymous Mersin Province of Turkey.
In 1812, Captain Francis Beaufort described the city as a “beautiful Harbour which is so imposing” In 1852, the city had three main areas, which were the Armenian quarter, the Turkish quarter, and the Greek quarter.
In 1918, Mersin was occupied by French and British troops in accordance with the Treaty Of Sevres. It was recovered by the Turkish Army in 1920. In 1924, Mersin was made a province, and in 1933 Mersin and İçel provinces were joined to form the (greater Mersin) İçel province.
Mersin has three museums. They are the Mersin museum which has many artifacts and history about the city, the Mersin Navy museumwhich explains how this small ottoman village rose up to became a great naval port, and of course the famous Atatürks house, where you can learn all about the life of Atatürk. The city also has a large bazaar, and also a castle which is on an island 36 miles down the coast from Merisn, and 400 meters off the shore, and was built in the early 12 century.
Also in the region are the Cennet and Cehennem sinkholes , the English translation for these names are: Heaven and Hell and are the largest sinkholes in the Taurus Mountains. The sinkholes are among the main tourist attractions of the province. At the bottom of the Cennet sinkhole, it is possible to walk down and look inside into a 5th century monastery, which is beleived to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
In mythology, Zeuz was thought to have kept Typhon in Cehennem before imprisoning him under Mt. Etna, on the Italian island of Sicily.
From Mersin, we follow the coast around until we reach the city of Anamur. Located on the most southerly point on the Turkish coastline, the city of Anamur has many good, sandy beaches which are known for the turtle nesting. 6km south west of Anamur, is the ancient settlement of Anemurium, which translates at “Place of the Wind”. There is a museum in the town that focuses on the past of the Turkish people in Anamur. And not that far away is an ancient Roman bridge, which, during its time, was a great feat in architectural advancement.
The castle in Anamur, called the Mamure Castle, is very large and and was a used fortress for the Ottoman Empire until 1921. What was so great about the castle, was the fact all of it was undeniable better than any other castle in the rest of Europe. The outside towers were circler, meaning they were stronger, the walls had two, strong, brick layers, and the shallow moat on the outside meant that if attackers came down into the moat, they could easily be shot by the Ottoman archers. The castle these days is a much quieter place. Now a great tourist attraction and sometimes even a film set.
From here, our route has two options.They are:
1)We keep driving along the coast towards Antalya, where there are many historical sites.
2)From Anamur, we drive back eastwards to a town called Silifke, where, we get on a car ferry to Northern Cyprus.
At this point in time we are unsure of what our plans are.
If we do continue along the Turkish coast line, we will stay for a few nights in the bustling city of Antalya. The largest city on the Mediterranean is a thriving coastal resort, and has a large Bazzar with many shops and stalls, selling all authentic gifts like ceramics, pottery, towels, leathers, and genuine fakes. What also makes the city a great marvel are the amount of historical sites.
There is just one museum, which is the Antalya Archeological Museum, and there are I many artefacts from the surronding historical sites such as the Aspendos ruins, Phasalis, Termessos and Perge, all of which, date back before Christ. If we decide not to enjoy going around all of the ruins and important historical sites, there are two beaches in the area!
Finally, on our way back, we will stop for a night in Finike, and for a night in Kas, before heading back to Fethiye.
whew, sounds like a great trip!