We spent 2 nights at this very touristy town. On the drive there we stopped off at Troy and saw the remains of the city portrayed in the movie. The other difference to the movie is that the sea no longer reaches the city walls but has receded a couple of kilometers. There is a 'replica' of the trojan horse and you can climb into it but it is a little squishy. The current one also looks nothing like the one in the movie. Continued on driving to Pergamum which has more ancient remains, the most impressive here being some freestanding marble columns that were at least 10m high. The other main attraction was the amphitheatre. It could hold 10 000 people and was incredibly steep. The heat was getting to us so it was with relief that we jumped back on the bus and made it to the hotel.
Replica of the wooden horse from the movie TroyColumn at Pergamum
The Hercules gate at the top of the street. If you can touch the sides with simultaneously with flat palms then you are also Hercules.
Considering the 40 degree heat we did think it was a little crazy to be visiting thermal pools. Since it was so hot we opted not to pay the extra for a dip in the pool instead we headed to the calcium terraces to have a walk around. The terraces work their way down the mountain side and are filled with the thermal water. We weren't allowed to wear shoes on the terraces and surprisingly it wasn't hot to walk on. It was although very bright as everything is white. After leaving we all spent the afternoon sitting and swimming pool side at the hotel. This was also the last night for some of the group as they headed back to Istanbul the next day.
It was quite a long drive from Pamukkale and we had a break in Konya with a visit to the Mevlana Museum. Set in some really pretty gardens this museum is dedicated to the Whirling Dervishes and their teachings. We were able to see them later that day at 'Turkish Night' which also included belly dancing and a mock wedding ceremony.
Whirling DervishPart of the 'wedding'
Another of our highlights was a visit to a local potter. The guy made a plate out of the white clay for us and then a teapot out of the red. We can't remember what the difference was because they all get painted anyway. His work was very impressive and again we bought a few pieces. There was a Turkish Carpet shop across the road from our lunch stop so we had another go at bargaining and we finally made a deal. Steve even managed to get the carpet to fit into his backpack for the trip back to London and it is now safely in Brisbane, awaiting the perfect coffee table. The afternoon was spent in an underground city of Derinkya. We were able to go 8 levels down and were amazed at where the schools, animal pens, ventilation shafts, living areas and churches that had been created in the previous centuries. What was also amazing is that 8,000 people lived down there during times of war.
Inside the underground city, around level 8
Inside the school room
That night we stumbled into a real wedding party that was happening across the road. Claire and Mary were ushered into the married ladies section while Steve and Darryl managed to located the brides father and get an explanation of procedings. It turns out that it was 'womens night' where the bride was getting henna tattooed. There was a stage set up with a group of girls dancing with the bride, although as we found out it is only the single ladies that can dance. The married women all surround the stage and then the men stand behind and choose who their future wife from those dancing. We were made very welcome and even offered food. It turned out that the actual ceremony was the next day at the grooms village. We noticed on our way past the next morning that the entire area was spotless and no evidence that 400 people had been there a few hours earlier!Istanbul
It was a long drive back but we did make a fairly short stop as part of the drive back to Istanbul where we visited the Museum of Anatolian Civilisation in the Turkish capital of Ankara. The building is brand new and has some intesting architectural features.
As we were flying out the following day it was up early to hurry into the Grand Bazaar and snap up the last of our purchases. Claire's shopping spree was restricted after the carpet and pottery purchases, so only bought some small pieces of artwork and naturally some turkish delight. Sadly we had to return to London, but the African adventure wasn't far away.