The deserted, rock-cut village now called Açıksaray (Open Palace) is a fascinating place to explore, in my opinion one of the more interesting and relaxing in Cappadocia, and made more so by the small number of visitors. When we were there in October, we found probably about eight people besides ourselves in the entire site. The village, just outside the Turkish town of Gülşehir, dates to the 10th or 11th century and covers about a square kilometer, containing chapels, kitchens, mushroom-shaped rock formations, and dwellings, probably for monks. This is the facade of the largest complex.
Kayakoy, in the Mediterranean hills of southwest Turkey, was populated until the first part of the 20th century, when changing world events saw all Greeks depart for the western side of the Aegean Sea. Greek settlements like Kayakoy became ghost towns, their religious buildings empty monuments. The Lower Church shown here was built in the 17th century; frescoes of saints and carved crosses preside over crumbling plaster and a congregation long gone.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/10, 1/15 sec. (handheld, 18-200 Canon IS lens @ 18 mm)
Not everything in Anatolia’s history is mountain villages and Middle Eastern traditions. In the early 1900’s and the days of Ataturk, Ankara was just beginning to embrace the Western styles of the day prevalent throughout Europe, and especially France. Decades later, Ankara and Turkey now can be, when they want to, as thoroughly modern as anyplace Western Europe has to offer. Meanwhile, recalling the early days, this disused carriage sits outside a cafe down the hill from Ankara’s Museum of Civilizations.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/5.6, 1/50 sec.
Overlaid texture: American handwritten family records ca. 1880