Once again, a delightful encounter with local Turkish people has sparked memories of our incredible journey around Turkey in the fall of 2003. One recent Saturday, the Amity Turkish Cultural Center here in Jacksonville, FL presented their monthly Turkish cooking lesson. My friend Dee and I enjoyed learning how to make a very sweet soft cookie-like dessert called seker pare. Then, we were served a delicious Turkish lunch--all free and all presented with grace and friendliness. We will definitely return for another cooking lesson! I wrote about another of their events in a recent post when they treated a group of us to a Ramadan style breaking-of-the-fast meal.
Today's photos show the strange landscape and early fortress and dwellings in a region of Cappadocia in central Turkey. It looks so much like another planet that it served as a location for the filming of several scenes from one of the original Star Wars movies.
In a photo above, I am standing in front of some volcanic rock formations on an overlook near our hotel in the region. The odd cap stones are a different type of rock that wears away more slowly in the elements than the softer rock lower down, resulting in the characteristic "fairy chimney" formations. Mark is looking out over the Goreme valley where people from about 4000 years ago in Hittite times carved out homes and villages from the rock. Early Christians also used them as places of refuge and worship; we saw some Biblical wall paintings in a large area once set up as a chapel. This entire area is preserved as an Open Air Museum, but we also saw villages where some of these old carved out cave-homes are still in use right beside much more modern structures. The vertical view is of The Citadel, the highest point in Cappadocia, which was carved out as a Hittite royal fortress. You can click on any photo to enlarge it and view more detail. It was truly amazing to see this unusual region--also humbling to realize how long there have been established civilizations in Turkey, unlike my Northern European ancestors, who were barbarians by comparison not so many centuries ago.
Question of the day: Can you believe that the New Testament chronicles Paul's journeys to Cappadocia without ever once mentioning the weird scenery?