Middle East inSouth Turkey. 2012.
The road from Ysufely to Nemrut Dagi near Kahta is really long. It’s empty, near Erzurum very beautiful with Rock mountains and high altitude plateaus.
Then it’s begin yellow hills with herds of goats, sheep’s and cows. Petrol stations were absent.
Close to Diyarbakir starts grand development. Landscape around was quite ordinary. With rubbish all around every settlement.
By the way it was possible bought melons and watermelons. Every village has locanta with basic food and meat.
To get to Kahta you need cross Euphrate sriver by ferry boat. It’s scheduled but in real life ferry stops it’s service after finishing line of cars. In out case it’s stop working at 11pm
We waited for ferry 10 min. Get inside for 10TL per car. All trip wasn’t more then 30 min.
On the side of Kahta and Nemrut Dagi we decided to stop just near ferry. Beach here is not so steppe. There are some small cafe. We asked owner about possibility overnight on terrace of his cafe. He agreed quickly.
We prepared our food on gas and slept just without tents — not cold, no Mosquitoes.
At morning we swim inEuphrates. Very warm water. And dirty environment. We catch some fish and grill it in cafe on our gas.
We decided at first look around historical sites and only then follow to Nemrut Dagi at sunset time.
First we turn to sign Arasemia.3 km before it’s a perfect camping in granat garden. With swimming pool and owner in white shirt, who speaks English. Place was so peaceful and nice that we put om our tents and follow to Arasemia.
Price for camping is 40 TL for 6 persons with hot water and toilet.
Entrance ticket to Arasemia 8 TL pp. Ticket available for Nemrut Dsgi the same day! It must be stamped! Keep it well!
Arasemia is summer palace of Antioch1. Palace is not exist now. But there are to big stone relieves with Antioch alone and Antioch with Heracles. So beautiful! Relieves have from back side Greek notes. May be history of process. There is also tunnel. Endless to the center of Earth. But it stops by stone fall.
Other point isSeverSeptimaBridge. The place which I like the most. Like decoration in historical film!! The bridge is over the fast and clean river which escape in the narrow creek. Strange but it was possibility to get to the river and even swim in warm water.
We pass over columns and went to Kahta to buy some food.
From Kahta to Nemrut50 km.
Nemrut Dagi hidden in hills like tombs of pharaons in Valley of KingsinE gypt.
Antioch1 built his grave like huge artificial tumulus with temples on east and west sides. Temples were dedicated to Greek gods. It were statues of them. Among them was also Antioch1 like a God. Now all this statues beheaded by the time. And heads are on the slope. This is amazing and charming place. But overcrowded by tourists.
After sunset we were very hurry because the road is dangerous and curvy in mountains. To our granat campsite it was 4o km approx.
We slept perfect!
Morning take the Way around this huge lake, trying to rich Ataturk dumn. On vain. This is military zone.
Euphrates river is blew and clear but freeze cold!
Next our point was Sanilurfa with it’s sacred fish pond and Abraham cave.
Urfa is big, overcrowd and over transported city. We rich historical site. It was 38 C. Hot. Pond with fish is beautiful, all sacred zone is big and with parks, mosques and restaurants. We ate kebabs with salads. 170 TL and feed fish.
Then occasionally find cave of Abraham. May be it’s sacred for Muslims but I fill nothing. Just interest.
We returned to our cars follow row of jewelry shops. I like silver rings and sets. Not very expensive.
Next our stop must be in Hasankeyf. This is very old city on river Tiger. During next two years this city will be sunk because new dumn will be built. And old city with it’s cliffs and caved town will be underwater.
We arrived late at evening after sunset. GPS show only one place for overnight. It was small motel with facilities on the flour. 55 TL per night in triple room.
After we made small walk around the hilly steppe streets. It’s seems that we found small pass to castle. Officially it must open after 8am.
Early morning at 6-30 we slipped in official entrance and walked up. But next door and next gate had big locks. The pass wasn’t accessible. We went down and follow Tiger river trying to find pass into mountains. After 700 m we found old narrow round entrance. And after some efforts get on the top. It was nice view. Old buildings, mosque, caves. Near official exit one men Said to us, that we will have a problem and show big paper, that castle according to low is closed from 30.07.2012. We gave 20 TL. Men was completely happy.
At 12 am we arrived to Mardin. Old city has narrow steppe streets full of cars and repair works. Famous university was close to reconstruction. We just vagabonded around hill. In old medrece it’s a famous Fontanne. It has few parts — before birth, childhood, youth, middle, old years and another world.
Our dinner was in simple kebab doner cafe. Very testy! And cheaper then in Sanliurfa.
During last days we didn’t buy fresh meat. We prefer sheep meat. Usually it costs 19-25TL per kilo. Can be sell in supermarket or in special shop Kasap. Our evening portion approximately 2,5-3,2 kg. This is to be happy.
Overnight we decided to spent in Harran.
To get there we cut the road and appears in the endless cotton and corn fields. Everywhere worked people. Mostly children. We get to Harran by dirty roads.
This village is near the border with Syria. People mostly speak Turkish and Arabic. In bee-houses they live and some bee-houses now ethnic touristic hotels. Rest of village — ordinary village in east Turkey. As we appears local guides glued to our cars with different propositions. They follow us till house hotel. One of them was son of owner. Start price in common room with dinner and breakfast was 60 TL. Open air accommodation — same price. After discussion it was 40 TL with breakfast.
Our friend made small walk around and found near another hotel for 100 TL for all 6 persons in different rooms without breakfast.
It was the same type hotel.
We sleep on wooden open-air platform. Our friends in three different rooms. Night was cold. But owner gave us heavy cotton cover.
Morning we made very small round and return for typical breakfast. It were bread, cheese, olives and omelet. The best thing was marran cafe. As I asked, owner told me that coffee is preparing during 6-7 hours and need to drink without sugar and portions not bigger then 5-7 ml.
Last point of interest in our trip this time was Halfety. This is city on Euphrate river. After building the dumn city was sunk. The road there quit easy. Start 8:15 from Harran we were 12 am in Halfety.
There are many boats and restaurants.
We took all our staff — masks, tubes, hydro costumes, rented boat for 80 TL with unlimited time. Euphrates there is with very clean and with blue water. Fish jump from river. River flow slowly and it’s wide in this place.
There are tree places there — ancient caves, middle-aged castle and old village which were sunk. With first two it’s OK. The only thing — cliff with ruins of castle and another cliff with caves became smaller, not 150 m high but 90 m. With village it’s different — half of village on the slope appears underwater. The prominent thing — minaret of mosque now half in water. Everywhere long weeds and thousand of fishes. We saw even 2 eels.
After return to Halfety, just small ride along the shore and we found perfect place for camping. Water warm and clear, there are fishes everywhere, not hot now. And beautiful sunset with Euphrates view.Paradise!
The best thing was to stay one day more on Euphrates. But we didn’t do this.
By the way we stopped to watch how people pick up Phistashkes. Then find in Gaziantep Museum of mosaics. It’s on the main road ( not autobahn) right side direction Adana. No sign. Nothing. We found it completely occasionally. This museum is Jem ! It’s looks like inside like ancient city with rooms and gardens full of mosaic. The main thing Gipsy Girl. Miracle! We spend there may be two hours. Bookshop has some interesting books.
Then we turn toAntakyaand to Samandag. By the way police stopped us and hive penalty because of something wrong in car documents. The date of something was expire week before. Penalty 72 TL. But this is to rent a car company.
We arrived to Samadagi late evening. Near river on sea shore really rubbish kingdom. Even dead animals. Awful. We turned as fast as possible and tried to find smth on right side of city. It’s local rivera. But poor and with completely flat seashore. Nothing beautiful and interesting. Humidity and temperature are up the limits. We are wet all time and completely dead.
We rented two rooms in motel with condition and facilities. 100 TL for all. Just to overnight.
Morning was little bit better. But only very early.
We visited Titus Tunnel- engineering miracle of 300 BC. Titus wanted to save his upper city during floods and made on mountain this tunnel length more then km. Vespasian tried to finish tunnel and now after 9 am turkey collect money for entrance. We had been earlier.
Our place for swimming must be Karamagara- chain of small bays near big mountains just near Syrian border. First we rook direction Yayladagi and then turn according to my GPS points. We stopped to detalaised our way. In 1,5 hours we founded bay. The road made from breaks lead down. It was very curved and droped down dramatically and without any protection.
Just at the end of road we appears in charming place with clear water. There was also small cafe with just elementary. To overnight on the beach we need to pick up our luggage and go down approx 500 m more.
Water was 29 C. Humidity may be 100%, and temperature at least 35 C. The only way to survive — stay in water or to be in shadow of our tent.
There was one Turkish traditional family in the same beach. Fisherman crossed the bay. On the opposite side the small cruise boat with people came. After 5 pm we were completely alone.
Amount of flies and mosquitoes was awful and they bite us very painful.
The night was little bit less hot but same humid.
Morning was Sunday and we expected less people. We think that Muslims have two holidays — Friday and Saturday. It was mistake. Sunday also holiday. Very big. It was boat in our bay, many local families and people from Antakya. Hot and humid awful! Flies and mosquitoes. Toilet may be 200 m up the hill. I swam a lot, water clear. I found beautiful grotto with small blinking fish, old anchor and special equipment for fish. Next bay was without people. May be 15 min swimming.
At 5 pm all people disappeared. We stay in happiness. But not long time. New group of locals came for night barbeque. They were quiet, not aggressive and gave us pieces of chicken at 11:30 pm. They slept on the beach near us.
As early as possible we left Karamagara. We follow the way to Karatepe, where one of the Hettis capital had been at 8 century BC. Just after 20 min of driving we met two military cars full of soldiers. They stopped us and check the documents. Third time during this trip. They waited for us. We had been the only foreigners just near Syria border.
The road to Karatepe half we made by autobahn last part just by road. Near Iskanderun the air was smoggy and heavy. No beautiful places.
We arrived to Karatepe at 3-30. This place is hidden in small hills and mountains. With pine trees around. Now people build here barrage and made here huge lake.
We had been here alone. Entrance fee 3TL pp. Small museum with photos and figures of lions. Two lion figures near museum. The pass follow up.
Karatepe consist of long wall and two mail gates — North and South. They are both guarded by lion and sphinx sculptures and many stone carved reliefs are in the entrances. Here are scenes from military life of king, ordinary life of people, women breasting her child, God Bess, boat with sailors and soldiers and fish around and others. Some stones have only letters.
This is charming and quiet place.
Our overnight was on picnic area near lake. We paid officially 15 TL. Water in lake was comfort. Temperature of air much more less then near the sea.
Next day in the morning I again bought the tickets and visited Karatepe. I was with my friend Tatyana and we turned all stone wall and again observed the reliefs.
To Adana from this place only 100 km approximately. We were not in harry.
It’s nice hotel near Adana airport. 300 TL for 3 rooms without breakfast. Big rooms, air-conditioned and with all facilities.
There is also new beautiful and reach decorated mosque in the center ofAdana.
Next day early in the morning we net our drivers near departure gates and return them a cars.
This day we also had nice walking inIstanbulbefore our flight to home.