Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tues 21 Jun 2016. Around Goreme and Derinkuyu

Tues 21 Jun 2016. Around Goreme and Derinkuyu 
Chores done, we took a 60km round trip to Derinkuyu with its 7-layered Underground City (containing church, school, wine-stamping area etc), however signage strongly advised senior citizens, people suffering heart or respiratory problems, people on medications, people with knee or leg issues etc not to go underground. It also took no responsibility for any visitors safety at all.  Not unsurprisingly, BoyRob, as a recently retired Underground Mining Safety and Health State Manager who had prepared multiple fatality reports to the coroner, deemed it an unwise activity, so we wandered the above-ground ruins, the old mosque, and the town itself - all less than inspiring in the noonday heat. We did come away happy however BoyRob finding 5 different varieties of duct tape for the window-covering job. We had a basic pide lunch (weren't quite game enough to drink the local water though). A small group of Syrian kids (obviously less well-nourished than the local Turkish children who'd finished school for the day) came up to us shyly, but before we could offer anything were shooed away by shop owners from "bothering tourists".

Dinner anyone??

Drove back to Goreme to visit the UNESCO listed Open Air Museum, an awesome experience. The loop ever-upwards around 20 or more dwellings was demanding, each chimney had many levels, steep uneven stairs worn deeply in the middle, and low doorways. But the insides of the fairy chimneys were well worth the effort, especially the (mostly Christian) churches and chapels, some dating back as early as 10th Century, with their rock-hewn naves, carved pews and elaborate frescoes, in better than expected condition. Carikli Kilise, the Church with Sandals is so named because of the rock footprints under the Ascension fresco at the entrance.

The Nunnery
Carikli Kilise (The Church with Sandals)


The Church of St Barbara honours the Egyptian Saint imprisoned, tortured and eventually murdered by her father to protect her from the evils of Christianity.  Like some of the other churches it had simple motifs (geometric, mythological animals, military symbols) from the iconoclastic era painted in red directly onto the rock.

Mural on walls and dome of St Barbara's Chapel

The entrance to the Yilanli church was through a barrel shaped vault with murals telling the story of St George and St Theodore killing the snake (dragon).

A "comfy" nook with commanding views

Some of the churches had low interconnecting tunnels, some with millstone doors which could be barricaded in times of danger. Some churches contained elaborate frescoes from 11th and 12th centuries, in surprisingly good condition. One building actually had two intact skeletons laying in rough hewn graves. 

Seems a long way to go for water

Cant see function of patterned alcoves high on rock walls

Back once again to camp, and a most refreshing swim. Ahmed donated a large sturdy plastic sign for window-covering purposes, but advised we didn't display the political message on the outside! BoyRob taped up window to prevent dust from getting through house, but also to prevent further wind damage to insect screen and blind. It looks like his aerodynamic job will last awhile, however the Swiss biker in camp commented it may appear to be an easy way to break in, so for security we will aim to park that window facing the road. 

Spied our devout Muslim campground-owner eating apricots from the tree during Ramadan - with people working hard in this heat, wouldn't be surprised to find many "venial sins" occurring... GirlRob did her daily 14 laps in the pool before dressing in her (one and only) "going out outfit". Motorbikers have arrived - great camaraderie in the camp as they all took their beers and grill up to the campground lookout to watch the sun set and fairy lights come on around the rim and in the valleys below. No females, so GirlRob still has the "bayan" bathroom to herself. 

Our bus arrived at 8pm to transport us to Turkish Night, however "all you can drink" was not the enticement it sounded, but rather a challenge to finish even one glass given the weak/sweet taste of Turkish wine. The food was tasty, the nibbles varied, and the melon finish refreshing. It was so cool underground with vents in cavern that staff gave out pashminas to guests. The entertainment was a sample of Turkish dancing, starting with a Whirling Dervish welcome ceremony (GirlRob’s camera flash going off accidentally was embarrassing) followed by musicians, folk and national dancing. Although tart-ish, the belly dancer was entertaining, getting people up to copy her often suggestive moves. The photo Wanderoos bought was delivered pressed into a non breakable plate - we are at risk of becoming tourists!! The late finish was worth the fun evening.

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