Ottoman houses and ruins

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
Trip End Oct 15, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Safronbolu was meant to be the best place in Turkey to see original perfectly restored ottoman housing. It was a stop on the way east so we went for a look. I had grand aspirations of wonderful wooden houses with plenty of ornamentation; I mean it was a UNESCO world heritage site. In fact the houses from the out side were rather dull in my opinion. Don't get me wrong they we nice and almost evey house had been restored to perfection, but I suppose I had grand expectations.

Safronbolu once used to flavor their Turkish delight with saffron, and this is where the name came from. Because of this there was lots of Turkish delight to sample, and it was some of the best I have ever had. The town was also in a lovely spot surrounded by hills and mountains and gorges. Everything was rather dry too, and it was the first time since I have left Oz that I have seen such dryness.

We wandered around and got lost in the side streets. On one such occasion a man looked at us and said the usual where are you from. When we responded Australia he smacked his lips and grab Dave by the arm, quiet forcibly and said you follow me you come, we really didn't have a choice and were bundled into this mans little metal work shop. He proceeded to show Dave all of his newspaper clippings with him in them. It seems he is quiet well respected and quite good at making original metal furnishings for the restored houses. His English was very minimal, but he told us repeatedly how much he love Australians, and showed us his books where people had written him messages, and he showed us his coin collection which people had left him from all over the world. Kazim was his name, and I am sure if you find yourself down his little street you will end up in his work shop looking at all of his goodies. Before we were allowed to go he took us to his shop and showed us his wares, some were very good, and I was tempted to by a lantern.

We had pide for dinner and as we were heading back to our car (in a car park no camping here either) we ended up talking to a policeman in very broken English. Before we knew it we were being taken in to the station for a look. There were lots of photos on the walls of old Turkish police uniforms which we assumed we must look at very intently. Next we were being asked if we liked Turkish tea, and before we knew it we were being told we must sit and have some tea! They all seemed to disappear at this point and we were left in the police station sipping at our delicate Turkish tea cups enjoying the strange yet never ending Turkish hospitality.

The next day saw us driving to Bogazkale to view another UNESCO site. The drive was great taking us passed some very barren hilly country side where a myriad of browns and reds were laid out in front of you. We drove through some very small towns, some where mud bricks seemed to be the building material of choice. We also passed two little boys sat upon a donkey riding him down the road into town, it felt if we were in a different time zone.

Bogazkale was home to the ruins of one of the first major civilizations. These people used to deal with the Egyptians and even made the first ever peace treaty with them. The Hittites as they were known were here up to 2000 years BC! It was strange to see ruins that were made from such a long time ago, not much was left, and a lot of what was there was a reconstruction, but it was still amazing. The guardian of the site showed us around for free, and even refused our tip. It made it very informative and what we probably would have taken for stones, started to form into the city that once would have stood here. The highlights were the hieroglyphics (different to the type used by the Egyptians) and the tunnel which was still original!

We spent 2 nights here mainly because there was finally a camp site for us to stay at, which meant showers and electricity. We saw the Italians who had helped us stay at the camping in Istanbul, they were all very happy and jovial to see us again. We also had the best dinner we have had away in the camp site restaurant, it was so delicious, eggplant and mince meant, stuffed peppers, chicken............ oh it was all so good, and we were the only ones there! Next stop Amasya and Tokat and yet again not a camping place in site!

Miles so far: 8573
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