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Turkey Trip Pictures (Page 2 of 2) from April 02 to 16, 2010

To return to the 2010 Turkey Photos Pg. 1 or proceed to Turkey Journal.

To read and see the photos of our 2006 Turkey Trip follow these links Turkey Photos Pg. 1, Turkey Photos Pg. 2 and
Turkey Photos Pg. 3 and Turkey Journal.

The Ihlara Valley starts at Selime.

En-route to Ihlara Village we stop at the Selime Monastery for a quick picture.

We would be back to explore the Monastery in a couple of days.

Three (3) Spanish Amigos arrived on a BMW and two (2) Suzuki V-Storms on their way to the coast.

April 09, 2010. We take a minibus from Ihlara Valley to the turn-off to Belisirma.

Another 3km walk and we reach the town of Belisirma.

The IHLARA VALLEY looking south...

...follows the Melendiz Suyu River... does the walking path. It is approx. 5km walk to Ihlara Village.

The main attraction beside the beautiful canyon is the rock-cut churches along the way.

We start of with the Direkli (Columned) Kilise.

The cross-shaped church as six columns.

The adjoining chamber used to have two storeys.

Almost directly beside the Direkli Kilise is the Bahattin'in Samanligi Kilise.

This church has some of the best preserved frescos,...

...depicting scenes from the life of Christ.

We continue along the base of the towering cliffs,...

...poking our heads into ancient dwellings.

Some of the rooms are still intact.

We stay on the west side of the river for about 500m...

...before returning to Belisirma and...

...starting our actual tracking following the east side of the river.

We are early in the season and the leave are just starting to bud.

Along the hiking trail we only meet a lonely dog, which joins us for most of the exploration.

Inside one of the dwellings...

...a tunnel leads deeper into the cliff. Mike stands beside one of the "milestone" doors.

The facade of this church is still well preserved and the entrance again is blocked by a massive milestone door.

The heavy millstones recessed into the walls and could be rolled into place to seal off strategic areas.

Both sides of the canyon have dwellings. Some of the walls of these rock-cut homes have given away.

The Karagedik (Blak Collar) Kilise.

A few colorful frescos remain.

Ruby walks along the path looking for interesting dwelling to check out.

It is up and down. The valley is dotted with the remains of up to 60 rock-cut churches.

This settlement has several rooms.

We take a break here and have a snack.

Mike infront of a dwelling.

Here we entered the Yilanli (Serpent) Kilise.

This church has many frescos.

The Sumubulu (Hyacinth) Kilise has a well perserved facade.

The interior is simple...

...with only a few frescos remaining.

The Agacalti Kilisesi has many ligher colored frescos.

The ceiling is decorated with motives.

One of the dwelling is still occupied.

The Purenli Seki (Platform) Kilise,...

...located on the west side of the river.

The last church we visit is the Kokar (Fragrant) Kilise.

The frescos in this church are well preserved.

The floors show evidence of tombs being buried here at one time.

As we come toward the end of our trail...

...a small waterfall appears.

And at last the village of Ihlara.

Another steep uphill walk and we make it back to our hotel.

We did not have a cake with candles on Mike's Birthday, but are catching up now with chocolate cake and even little umbrellas.

April 10, 2010. We look out of our hotel window and see the Hasan Dagi (Hasan Mountain) in its full glory.

We are the only quests at the Akar Motel.

It had gotten quite cold during the night as the bikes have frost on them.

There is a lot of snow still in the mountains.

We planned another day trip of about 200km. En-route to Nigde we pass through Guzelyurt.

Perched on a rock overlooking Guzelyurt Lake is the Yuksek Kilise & Manastir.

80km further down the road lies Nigde.

In the centre of town is the Sungur Bey Camii (Mosque) and covered Marketplace.

10km north-east of Nigde is the ancient rock-hewn...

...ESKI GUMUSLER MONASTERY. Mike stands at the edge looking down ...

...into the enclosed courtyard cut out of the rock.

The courtyard can only be entered through a rock-cut passage.

Crypts in the centre of the courtyard.

The facade of the main church.

Inside the first chamber of the church are more tombs found in the floor.

Entrance to the main part of the church.

Large pillars are cut out of the rock.

Colorful Byzantine frescoes... from the 7th and 11th Centuries...

...decorate the walls of the church.

As the monastery was only rediscovered in 1963 most of the frescos have not been vandalised.

Virgin Mary with Child. It is said to be the only smiling Mary in existence.

The courtyard opens up to rock-cut dwellings.

Reservoirs for wine ...

...and oil.

Entering the dwelling, we are able... decend into the subterranean rooms via these steps.

9m deep ventilation shafts lead to the lower levels.

Children herd the sheep above the dwellings.

The entire length of this ridge is covered in rock-cut dwellings.

Some show evidence of a kitchen or storage rooms with steps leading to another room.

Another crypt...

...and facade of a church.

Taking a glimpse inside the church reveals another large interior nave.

From the Eski Gumusler Monastery we return to Selime to explore the SELIME MONASTERY.

The entire rock mountain is covered in rock-hewn churches and dwellings.

Long tunnels act as passage ways.

Steep steps lead us higher and higher up the cliff.

These are dwellings the monks used to live in.

This monastery has an amazing view of the Ihlara Valley.

The church complex is really impressive.

Once gallery leads into another.

The upstairs is accessible via separate steps and tunnels.

Mike looks down from the second level of the gallery.

The vast room of another part of the church...

...with carved windows.

The most impressive is the main part of the church...

...with it many pillars...

...all still intact carved out of the rock.

A millstone in the background and ladder which leads further up into the cliff dwellings.

Accross from the Monastery is the Ali Pasa Tomb.

April 11, 2010. We continue our journey along the ancient silk route (D-300), stopping along the way at numerous caravanserais.

The AGZIKARA HANI was unfortunately not open,...

...but we were able to glimpse through a keyhole.

The ALAY HANI is currently under going restoration and we took a picture from the road.

Between Nevsehir and Kayseri is ...

...the well restored AD 1249 SARUHAN, ...

...another Seljuk caravanserais.

Whirling Dervish Ceremony's are held at this location in the evening.

The storage hall with the lantern tower to allow light into the interior.

Central courtyard with the small raised mosque.

Past Kayseri on D-260 towards Sivas ... the SULTAN HAN, built in the 1230's, the doors were unfortunately locked.

There are many more caravanserais that dot the ancient silk road...

...some are only ruins, other are in a state of repair and some have been totally restored.

This was the last of the caravanserais we had planned to visit for the day. The weather took a turn to the worse.

12km north-east of Kangal is the resort of Balikli Kaplica (at 1500m), a health spa, which built a entire industry around promoting the mineral water...

...inhabited by "doctor fish". The hot springs are full of small tiny fish that nibble on any patch of flesh.

April 12, 2010. We were only approx. 100km from a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the town of Divrigi. The road from Kangal winds its way slowly to the 1950m pass.

The town was a dead end, a small 200km detour, but was it ever worth it.

DIVRIGI, lies at the eastern edge of the central Anatolia.

The village has one of the best example of 13th century Seljuk stonecarving in Turkey.

The ULU CAMI & DARUSSIFA (Grand Mosque and Mental Hospital)... back to AD 1228.

The interior of the hospital is unadorned.

The octagonal pool in the court has a sprial run-off, which allowed the tinkle of running water to break the silence of the room and soothe patients' nerves.

A side room has several tombs.

This place does not get many tourists due to its remoteness.

Steps lead upstears.

780-year old stone doorways, intricately carved...

...depicting geometric patterns, stars, medallions and Arabic inscriptions.

An old wooden door leads into the mosque.

The interior of the mosque is carpeted and prayers are held to this day.

The door that is easily missed as it facing east, hidden from the main courtyard.

This doorway is probably the most intricately carved.

We are not sure if workmanship like this still exists.

A view of the ruined walls of a 9th century castle from the Mosque and Mental Hosptial.

We travel south to Matalya to wait out a major storm. The doorman at our hotel covered the motorcycle with plastic to protect it from the rain.

We spent a day in Matalya as the weather forecast for eastern Turkey was for fresh snow at high elevations.

April 13, 2010. Matalya, population of over 400,000 people lies at around 900m elevation.

We stroll around downtown, hang-out at the central mosque...

...and have a Kebab from this local restaurant.

Matalya has a large Bazaar.

The COPPER BAZAAR is especially noteworthy.

This water pitcher is handmade out of copper and chrome plated. We bought it.

There were so many items to choose from, but only so much room on the motorcycle.

We continue wandering each alleyway.

Here you can find anything your heart desires.

This is much more fun then going to a mall.

It always amazes us how much fits into a store.

In front of our hotel is the main city minibus stop. The line of buses never end.

We had tea with this traffic police officer in the lobby.

For dinner we take a quick walk across the road to this restaurant.

We order pide, while waiting for the food...

...we of course have more tea.

The finished product and some happy employees.

April 14, 2010. The cold spell had past over Turkey and we awoke to clear blue sky.

From Malatya we rode east on the D-300 through Elazig to Bingol along the Karakaya Dam.

A 168km mountain road connects Bingol to Erzurum. It is a very scenic drive with lots of small villages along the way.

A few close calls with sheep, goats, cows and dogs, but nothing we could not handle. We climbed to an elevation of 2305m on the GPS.

The road has deteriorated to dirt at that point and there was plenty of snow in the ditch.

We stayed at an elevation between 1900m to 2300m for another 300km.

We were glad for a nice day to make this journey, as it would have been pretty cold in the rain.

In Erzurum we fueled up and continued on the E80 east toward Horasan and then north-east to Kars.

April 15, 2010. 45km east of Kars lies the once Armenian capital, ANI.

It became the Armenian capital in AD 961 and then was destroyed by an earthquake in 1319.

The main entry gate (Arslan Kapisi). Double walls protect the northern side of the city.

A relief of Lions.

Symbol of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) required to sustain life.

Our first sight of Ani.

The off-limit Citadel purched on a hill and in the foreground the Kervansaray and Church of St. Gregory.

The remnants of the northern city walls.

An old oil press and in the distance the Cathedral.

The Church of the Redeemer.

Armenian inscriptions on the facade relay its history.

Through partially collapsed one can still imagine its former glory.

In 2006 we gave this site a miss due to its hassle trying to get permits to visit the ruins, as well as obtaining security clearance from the police.

This is a must see place.

The Seljuk Baths.

This Church is easy to miss, as it is hidden on the slopes of the canyon.

It is the best preserved church at Ani...

... called the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator.

Ani lies on a high plateau, surrounded by a deep gorge on either side, right across from the Armenian-Turkish border.

The outer walls have Armenian inscriptions..

...and the interior some reliefs.

The frescos in this church...

...depict scenes from the Bible and Armenian church history.

The Convent of the Virgins is off-limits and ...

...a sign points to this road as being part of the ancient silk road.

We approach the Ani Cathedral, renamed later the Fethiye Camii (Victory Mosque).

King Smbat II started the Cathedral in AD 987 and Gagik I completed it in 1010.

One of the three (3) separate doorways.

Decorative arches.

The dome colapse centuries ago...

...but the four (4) massive columns remain intact.

Slender windows with elegant fretwork.

A view of Ani Cathedral, the Church of the Redeemer and the Gorge. We stand on the Turkish side, across the river is Armenia.

A ruined bridge that once spanned the Barley River is still visible.

The Menucer Camii, is said to be the first mosque in Ani.

Inside the main gallery of the mosque.

Polychrome stone inlays adorn the ceilings.

Ruins of houses.

We are now walking along the eastern banks of the gorge.

The Church of St. Gregory of Aburgramentz.

Armenian inscriptions above the door entrance.

The church is a twelve-sided rotunda topped by a concial roof dating to late 900s.

Originally the Church of the Holy Apostles (Arak Elots Kilisesi) dating from 1031... later was converted to a caravanserai by the Seljuks.

The Church of St. Gregory (Gagik II).

Not much is left of this church, as the dome colapse shortly after completion.

By the size of the columns it would have been another large Cathedral.

The Zoroastrian Temple (Fire Temple), is the oldest structure at Ani.

Ruby walks toward the city walls.

The Seljuk Palace.

The only original portion of the palace.

April 16, 2010. Another clear day and we had no idea what the road ahead would bring. We are at 2640m.

From Kars, we make our way to Ardahan and then to Artvin, remaining at over 1900m for most of it, ...

...except of one major pass which took us up to 2650m.

The snow was amazing and luckily for us not on the road.

The descent is breath-takingly beautiful. White capped mountains and hair-pin switchbacks.

This is it for us in Turkey as we descend toward the Black Sea and Georgia.

Good-bye Turkey, until we see each other again.