Davis & Geeta Davis Turkey Adventure – Part 2
All set to Explore more ….
Our visit to Troy the next morning was also interesting. We were amazed to see the excavations of consecutive civilizations dating back to 3500 BC. It reminded us of the legendary Trojan War – the Trojan horse that was used in the Hollywood movie Troy was displayed there. The siege of Troy took place in about 1200BC. After a brief visit to a factory, manufacturing products made from Onyx,semi-precious stones and jewellery, we continued to Kusadasi – a quaint and charming town skirting the Aegean Sea. From our hotel we could see the busy port right across the boulevard where cruise ships were docking everyday. It is a bustling town with the port handling about 650 ships a year. Hundreds of tourists disembarked and proceeded for the offshore excursion to Ephesus. Seeing the ships to the Greek Islands we longingly wished that we had time to visit these, though we had visas!
We left for Ephesus the next morning and we were literally transported to a bygone era of Roman civilization. Prior to occupation by the Romans, this was an ancient Greek city in the 6th century BC. It revealed to us a highly sophisticated Roman city with huge mansions, pathways, temples and theatres. We also saw the ruins of the temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the pillars which were incorporated in the structures of St. Sophia in Istanbul. We also visited the house of Virgin Mary, supposedly where St. John brought her to spend her final days.
On the way to Pamukkale the next day, we were taken to one of the famous leather garment production centres of the region. Later we visited the ancient Roman city of Hieropolis which is situated near the hot springs called the ‘Cotton Castle’ rising over 400 metres above the fertile Menderes Valley. Hot mineral water gushes out of the earth and cascades over cliffs forming limestone pools and streams – a very picturesque scene indeed. The therapeutic value of the springs was even known to the Romans! The hotel where we stayed had a thermal spa and was one of the best hotels in the region.
The following morning, we proceeded to our last destination – Cappadocia, the moonscape town. We enjoyed the drive from Denzile to Nevsehir in a luxury coach speeding through mountains dotted with villages, orchards, open fields and poplar trees. We traversed the town of Isparta and a few huge lakes before reaching the plains of Konya in the Central Anatolian region with snow-capped peaks at a distance. We were picked up by a travel representative at Nevsehir late in the evening and were taken to a lovely cave hotel in Cappadocia wherein every suite was carved into hillocks. The décor was keeping in touch with the archaic beauty and there was a personal touch and warmth about everything.
Cappadocia is a very unique place with fascinating conical volcanic formations created about 10 million years ago. It is a bizarre landscape with ravines and rock perched pinnacles spread over 400 square kilometres. We visited a number of caves on the cliff where people lived and worshipped. There were churches built within the caves which still have well preserved Byzantine frescoes. Another amazing place is the Derinkuyu underground city where early Christians lived in hiding from Romans. It was indeed a wonder how they managed to live in such a self-sufficient manner. There were various living quarters, areas for storage of grains, place for cattle, ventilation shafts and much more. There was even a winery! We were taken down to about 25 metres, beyond which is prohibited due to safety concerns. The walk through a beautiful narrow valley along the river was enjoyable though a bit lengthy.
The next day the ‘Rose Walk’ through volcanic formations was fascinating. In the afternoon, we were taken to a factory in Avanos which had a fantastic collection of pottery. Later in the evening, we were picked up for our flight from Kayseri to Istanbul. After a few hours of rest in the hotel we were back at Istanbul airport again for our second leg of our tour – Austria!
We had a wonderful tour of Turkey for 10 days and we cherish the memories! The tour was very well organized by Namaste Turkey, Mumbai, at a very competitive price!