One of these areas was the Ihlara Valley. The valley, which lies at the bottom of a 100 meter-deep, stream-lined gorge, contains thousands of ancient cave dwellings and hundreds of ancient churches along its ten mile length. Constructed in the Byzantine era (330-1453 A.D.), the cave structures were used by the early Christians who sought escape from Roman soldiers.
|Me and Ferit, in one of the cave churches.|
Notice the ancient paintings on the wall behind us.
|Here we are balancing on two of four possible legs...|
|...and now we're balancing on only one of four possible legs.|
|And I jump, too.|
|A painting on the ceiling of another one of the cave churches in the valley.|
|While Ferit and I hiked in the valley, my mom enjoyed the views from up above.|
In addition to hiking in the Ihlara Valley, we visited Derinkuyu, the site of one of the many multi-level underground cities in the area. Extending nearly 60 meters below ground, it is the largest underground city in Turkey. It was thought to once house up to 20,000 people.
|This hole, 55 meters deep,|
served as both a ventilation shaft and as a means of obtaining water.
|This was one of many large stone doors that could|
be rolled to block off a corridor within the city.
|Ferit rests peacefully|
in one the graves of the underground cemetery.
As we drove about, we saw a bunch of folks working in a field. Curious as to the nature of the fieldwork, our Turkish tour guide (Ferit) pulled over to inquire.
|The people working in the fields.|
|The field workers first lined up the squash into rows.|
|As the tractor drove by, the workers picked up the squash|
and threw them into this machine.
The machine separated the seeds, collected the seeds in the green bag,
and then excreted the rest of the vegetable into the field.
|We were given some seeds to eat. Yummy!|
In the evening, we watched a performance of the whirling dervishes. The dance is part of a formal ceremony by the Sufis (founded by the Islamic theologian and poet, Rumi) in an attempt to reach religious ecstacy.