Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A foretaste of what's to come

 Streaks of paint from a destroyed frescoes, probably one thousand years old...We had to climb over bags of feed to view this.

 Byzantine church archway
A chapel dome

 Niches, carved into the caves, probably ecclesiastical.
 A Latin cross
 A trench, a grave was here before.
What are we seeing here? That same evening we met with our guide for dinner. He interviews his clients to see their interests, their physical fitness because a tour of Goreme involves hiking and climbing and if one's interest is frescoed churches, then he'll include more churches with frescoes or if one's interest is architecture, then he'll tailored the tour to include more of that. After dinner we walked around Goreme, it was a moonlight night, there was a full moon. He said that there are about just 4 times a year when you can comfortably hike under a moonlight night around Cappadocia. It was a moonlight night, illuminated by a full moon. He took us to some one's barn, a cave and the family lives above but they don't know that he's been taking his clients to this barn. We had to be very quiet, he's asked us not to disclose any of the locations of the places he has taken us to because his specialty is the hidden churches of Cappadocia. I can't tell you where anyone of them is because the topography was so complicated. If this family knew we and a host of other people has been snooping in their barn, there will be padlocks and access will be barred.
The place was smelly because they keep their animals and feed in there. Once inside, and a light shone on the ceiling revealed there was a church here, dug into the rocky hillside, it resembled a free standing basilica except this was carved into the rock. It was so amazing to see it. I've never seen anything like this before. Many of the other cave houses could be hiding chapels and churches like this also. The Turkish government will confiscate property having Byzantine churches. The only way one can see this and a few others is to hire guides who specialise in this kind of tour, not the locals. The locals are Muslims and couldn't care less and the local owners wouldn't trust their own people either. Our guide is one of a kind and I don't know of another like him in Cappadocia.
We knew we were in for a huge treat. Stay on this site for more exciting stories.

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