Day 9

31 07 2015

Swimming in Antiquity
Our longest day of the trip began with a 7:15 a.m. departure and a stop at the natural wonder of Pamukkale. We walked among the travertine pools of the UNESCO World Heritage site and were amazed by the massive white cliffs that look like a calcium glacier. The Romans were also impressed by the this spot, and they built the ancient spa city of Hierapolis here. After walking in the pools, we headed to the site of one of the hotels that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s but was demolished along with the others in 2003 in an attempt to preserve the pools. While the hotel was
removed, a swimming pool remains. We were shocked to see tourists swimming among the ancient ruins. A small boy rested upon an ancient pillar while others splashed around him.
After a long bus journey with ample time for siestas, as well as lectures on geography, culture, and music by Orhan, we arrived in Konya at the Mevlana Museum, the former lodge of the whirling dervishes, and the Sufi mystic and philosopher, Rumi. We were delighted that it began to rain on our journey here and that the temperature dropped some 10 degrees. Rumi and his son are entombed in this colorful shrine. Around a lovely courtyard are the small rooms that once served as the living quarters of the dervishes. They now show off musical instruments, manuscripts, and
other dervish artifacts.
Our bus ride from Konya to Çatalhöyük allowed for an informative lecture from Orhan on the economics of Turkey, including a discussion of Turkey’s minimum wage, standard of living, and economic policies. Finally, we arrived on the plains of Anatolia at the site that Orhan noted would offer big excitement for some of us. That was certainly true. Every World History text mentions Çatalhöyük, a neolithic settlement that signaled the end of nomadic life, domestication of animals, and agricultural development. We were able to tour two of the excavations and see wall paintings, graves, and cupboards of this over 9000 year old settlement. According to the introductory film in the Visitor’s Center, Çatalhöyük is a place of ³inspiration, spirituality, and pride. As we
left this extraordinary site, the drive back to Konya included a beautiful sunset and theatrical production of King Midas on video.
One day, two UNESCO World Heritage sites! On to Cappadocia.

Cheryl


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