Safranbolu is a city in the northern part of Turkey’s Anatolian region, getting up close to the mountain ranges near the Black Sea. Safranbolu is named after the saffron flowers that grow there, but today it is mostly known for its early 19th-century Ottoman houses that led to the town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Found in a shop window in Jerusalem.
A visitor looks through a sunlit window into a cave full of centuries-old Jewish ossuaries, or bone boxes, on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Ossuaries have been used for the internment of skeletal remains by many different cultures throughout history, but they were especially popular among Jews of the Second Temple Period (40 B.C. – 135 A.D.). These date to that time.
Looking over the outskirts of Antakya (Antioch), Turkey, near the Syrian border, as the sun sets in May.
“One city does not greet another, but one man greets another.”
– Sumerian proverb from Ur, c. 2000 B.C.
This proverb, quoted in Rory Stewart’s excellent book The Prince Of The Marshes, does a pretty good job of explaining how I think relationships are most genuinely formed on the international stage. In our case, we usually leave the greeting to our children. These pictures should give you an idea of the scene a year or so ago when we went on a walk with our kids through the historic Ulus neighborhood in downtown Ankara. Kaya is the little blonde two-year-old in the picture above; at that age he was still loving the attention and hadn’t gotten sick of it yet, whereas his older brother Moses (in the stroller below) was starting to develop some reservations. Perhaps it’s just a personality thing – international diplomacy can’t be every preschooler’s job.
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.
Saklıkent Gorge is near Kaş in southwestern Turkey. The canyon extends between cliffs like this for close to two miles, covered with running water up to your knees or deeper the entire way. It’s possible to hike through the water, crossing from bank to bank to get a brief respite standing on the rocks. The boy in the picture is my five year old son Moses (Musa to the Turks), who was a real trooper and made it the whole way in and back under his own power.
A Catholic souvenir shop within Jerusalem’s old city.
Murat and Servet’s wedding in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş was a typically chaotic celebration with plenty of dancing, attended by just about as many people as could comfortably fit on the (very large) dance floor. The entire town is often invited to a wedding in Turkey, and the more people come the greater the honor for the father of the groom.