Dr. Seuss’ Inspiration?

July 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

After a difficult farewell, we returned to Konya in time to meet the Fez bus for the trip to Cappadocia. On the way, they stopped at a remarkably intact Seljuk-era caravanseray. The spiral dome impressed us all.

So did the fascinating collection of heads, another in an astounding collection of Turkish public sculpture we have seen during our travels. Atatürk, of course, is in the center. Those behind him include an enlightening and eclectic collection of Turkish heros: Ottoman Sultans Mehmet the Conqueror and Sulayman the Magnificent, legendary Turkic hero Dede Korkut, mythic Turkic tribal leader Oǧuz Kaǧan, Seljuk Sultan Alparslan, famed architect Sinan, Turkish poet and MP Mehmet Akif Ersoy, and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), medieval scientist and philosopher.


In a few hours, we reached Uchisar, a small town in Cappadocia frequented by French and Italian tourists. The landscape is astonishing, carved by wind and water from the volcanic stone. Over the centuries, humans have helped with the carving, digging homes and public buildings into the rocks. The students insisted on staying in Kilim Pensiyon’s cave rooms.

View from the Terrace
View from the Terrace
Landscape by Dr. Seuss?

Landscape by Dr. Seuss?

For two days, we climbed over rocks and explored inside caves, walked along streams and admired the Byzantine churches that still exist around the area. We got to the point that we could actually identify most of the images in the cave churches, images most of us had seen for the first time in Istanbul.

Iconoclast Version

Iconoclast Version

But the walking was intermittently difficult, and the climbing a bit intimidating. After a difficult swim in a reedy, mud-bottomed lake formed inside a volcanic crater, I wondered whether this trip had somehow morphed into outward bound. I sat out the walk along the Ihlara valley, where William and the students explored more caves and admired more churches. I did get to listen in on the conversation in a village restaurant as the owner tried to convince two bureaucrats that they really did need cable and internet -–I was exhibit A, with my laptop and nothing to connect to. (They also wanted to be able to run credit cards, and needed a cable for that. Three months, they were promised.)

Outward Bound?
Outward Bound?
but when you go inside
And inside
but when you go inside

Everyone was a bit tired as we waited to be picked up by the Fez bus for the trip to Ankara that evening. Two weeks on the road is a long time.

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Entry filed under: Architecture, Byzantine, Natural Wonders, Uncategorized.

Eşenler Ankara

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