Friday, 13 March 2015

Patara Caretta Caretta

Patara awaits to be strolled, on the Lycian part of Turkey, rests a beach of 18 kilometers where Caretta Carettas ("loggerhead" turtles) lay their eggs.

Every year, in spring, thousands of female Caretta Carettas arrive at this "delivery beach" to secure their genes beneath the sand. About two months later, hatchings leave their incubation spot under the sand. They dig out their ways to the surface, preferably at night, when darkness keeps them safe from predators, and crawl towards the horizon, using the guidance of the moonlight and starlight reflected by the water to reach the waves.

Their genders are determined by the temperature. Eggs kept at a constant incubating temperature of 32°C become females; at 28°C they become males!

The Caretta Carettas have been on this planet assumbly for over 100 million years! Young Homo Sapiens versus old Caretta Caretta. The oldest finding from the ancient city of Patara (until 2015) is a figurine from 3000 BC. Homo Sapiens record their own history for some thousands of years, while Caretta Carettas lay eggs for millions of years; they are indeed historical.

Homo Sapiens take showers or go swimming if possible; male Caretta Carettas never get out of the water and females do only to lay eggs.

Patara had once used to be home to Homo Sapiens; Caretta Carettas never stopped using its beach to breed and to kick-off their world tour there.

Caretta Carettas don't have democracy and a parliament; some Homo Sapiens say they want democracy and parliaments (among billions of other good things).

Homo Sapiens kill millions of their own kind and heavily contribute in the extinction of any other species from flies to elephants; Caretta Carettas are among them and don't fight back. They look neither for democracy nor parliaments. They simply keep surviving all cruelty by the Homo Sapiens.
Caretta Carettas eat whenever they are hungry; they don't order in, take away or cook.
Caretta Carettas are extincting; Homo Sapiens are overpopulating.

You can be one of the many volunteers at Patara and witness the female Caretta Carettas laying their eggs in the spring... This is a tremendous survival story and it's repeating its miracle every year on a beach just a few steps away from the oldest parliament building in the world.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Temple of Athena in Assos, Behramkale - Acropolis

Temples are built on the highest points of ancient cities; the name Acropolis comes from Greek, Acro means for “the highest”, and “polis” means city. In a time with no GPS systems, no radar and no binoculars, they were built on the highest point, on top of a hill for safety and defense reasons.

While looking out on the endless Aegean Sea, Lesbos and Mount Ida views from the Acropolis of Assos, one should recall that a temple is built not only for worship  , it is also a status symbol and reflects the society’s culture it once belonged to.

The temple of Athena in Assos was built 238 meters above sea level, between 540-530BC. Short after, due to an earthquake, it was renovated and had major repairs between 520-470BC. It is the only known archaic Doric temple in Asia Minor. It is surrounded by 34 Doric styled columns. It has Doric columns and triglyphs , but also has sculpted friezes. Holding Ionic and Doric features at the same time the temple of Athena in Assos thus resides a unique place in the history of ancient Greek Architecture, it is eclectic and innovative in a time where architectural orders are conservatively followed.

In the construction and later in the repair, a gray volcanic andesite rock, formed by the cooling of lava and softer volcanic rock, formed by the ashes, were used. This type of andesite is quarried right from Assos. Also today all construction within the ancient village of Assos is made from these rocks, including AssosAlarga.

Each ancient Greek temple is dedicated to a specific god or goddess and the temple in Assos is dedicated to Athena. Athena is one of the multitude of children of Zeus, believed to be the warrior goddess, protecting the land against enemies from outside. So it is common in the ancient world to build temples in her name. Turkey alone is home to ten of Athena’s temples. The goddess Athena symbolizes wisdom, humility and intelligence; she is the helper of some well known mythological heroes, like Hercules and ubiquitous in most of the Greek mythology.

She took part in two major competitions. In the contest for beauty she lost out against Aphrodite, thus triggering the Trojan War. But she won as “patron god of Athens” against Poseidon by creating the olive tree as a gift to Cecrops, the first king of Athens.
Unlike churches, Greek temples were not common meeting places for the public; they were dedicated to their gods and goddesses.    They had an inner chamber called the Cella where usually the cult where only temple clerks were allowed to go in. The land surrounding the temples was used for religious ceremonies. Murderers, drunks and people with birth defects weren’t allowed to enter the temple.

During the Hellenistic period, the pavement of the temple was covered with black and white mosaics.

During the Byzantine period the acropolis was surrounded by thick walls, serving primarily as a fortress. The other remains, such as cisterns, storerooms and houses you see in the acropolis aside from the temple, are remains of the Byzantine area.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Turkish Writers

Yasar Kemal, our favorite Turkish writer passed away yesterday. We always recommended his books for our guests. Reading Yasar Kemal, is a true journey into Turkey, meeting faces from Anatolia. Memed mein Falke, Memed My Hawk is a masterpiece and is more guiding then any guidebook for travels in Anatolia. 
Along with Yasar Kemal, we also recommended reading Necati Cumali and Nazim Hikmet. Recently I read on a board at a bookstore in New York; bestsellers are not supposedly the good reads.

Hangi kitaplari okumaliyiz diye soran yabanci misafirlerimize, hep Ince Memed'i yazdik, hep Yasar Kemal'in ismini verdik. Gercek rehberler, bizim icin; Yasar Kemal' dir, Necati Cumali'dir, Nazim Hikmet'tir  Onlarin isimlerini yazdik kucuk kagit parcalarina, kimi yabanci misafirlerimiz onlarla okudu Turkiye'yi. Yazamadik ne yazik ki baska dillere cevrilememis yazar ve sairlerimizin isimlerini. New York'ta buyuk bir kitapcida, bir panoda: 'En cok satanlar, en iyi kitaplar olmayabilir'. diyordu. Bir Ferhan Sensoy da cevrilebilseydi.