Friday, June 26, 2009

Tolkien's Inspiration? Not the Loo! Merhaba from Anatolia

Cappadocia, in the central part of Turkey, reminds me of the images I envisioned when reading Lord of the Rings. The spires are created by volcanic tuff (my geology prof's pronounced it toof), covered by basalt, and eroded. A thousand years ago or more, people excavated their homes and churches into the tuff. The painting in the one photo dates to the 11th century and is in one of the churches.

There are many (around 40) underground cities excavated into the hardened ash (these and the other features of the area are UNESCO World Heritage sites) that held thousands of people to escape armies, winter and animals. They are at least two thousand years old The one I visited is excavated down to 80 meters below grade and has eight levels.

I stayed in a cave (modern excavation) in Goreme, which is a laid back town in the middle of Cappadocia. There is one photo of three pots - these are "pottery kabobs" which include meat and vegies poured into a small hole in the top, covered with bread and baked for several hours. The pot is broken open at the table and served with bread and rice - great food.

Tom and Jill - you asked for an infrastructure picture, so of course I shot the loo. The nice thing about this common type of loo is there is no arguing over leaving the seat up.

The blue amulets (nazar boncuk) in the tree are worn or hung to ward off Evil Eye.

The columns that I am holding up are said to cure headaches if you push out really, really hard. That photo is at Pumakkale, where the travertine terraces are also shown.

Allaha ismarladik. Oh, and tesekkur (thanks) for the comments. I really appreciate your thoughts and communication.