Turkey – part 2: Pamukkale

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People come to Pamukkale in order to soak themselves under the hot springs at special place: the white travertines.

Next to the entrance, beneath the hill, there is a wide picturesque view with the crystal lake and mallards.

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It’s in the winter, but the white color isn’t snow. Yes, it’s white limestone hill.

We walked up by bare feet, and there were many places we felt like bitten by needles because of cold water (the temp outside was 1-3 degree Celsius in mid of December), but fortunately, there were some place the water was warm (I guess because of the reaction between lime and water).

the travertine

the travertine

On top of the hill, there is an ancient ruin: the Hierapolis
We could see the temple of Apollo:

Apollo temple @ Hierapolis

Apollo temple @ Hierapolis

And this is the Plutonium (Gate to Hell), which is believed the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition:

Gate to Hell (Plutonium)

Gate to Hell (Plutonium)

It’s quite calm in the villages/towns around Pamukkale. If you have chance to visit there, we would suggest to come to any small coffee shop and give sahlep a try. We had a good time with this kind of drink, from an old lovely couples 🙂

(to be continued)

Turkey – part 1: Selcuk & Ephesus

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It was a great time in Turkey, and off-season travelling was a good choice for us. Even it’s a bit cold, but there were not many people, and we did enjoy 4 weeks in this charming country.

Landing Ataturk airport at mid-night, and sleeping at airport is always convenient, money-and-time saving 🙂

sleeping @ Ataturk airport

sleeping @ Ataturk airport

We took the early flight to Izmir next morning, then moved ahead to Selcuk by train.

This small square really impressed us: blue sky, ancient pillar, and many locals gathered for coffee and tea.

Selcuk square

Selcuk square

There are also many restaurants around here, with good price and good food.

14-km far from Selcuk is Sirince village, where we could get there by bus (there are many buses, hourly, to connect these 2 points).
The ambiance here was great, and we felt relax wandering there in the afternoon.

Sirince corner

Sirince corner

On the way moving from Selcuk to Ephesus, we would pass-by the Temple of Artemis (Artemision), one of the Seven Ancient Wonders. But all available today is here, unfortunately, because of arson by Herostratus and plundering.

Temple of Artemis

Temple of Artemis

 

And Ancient City of Ephesus was very worthy spending a day, especially for ones who love ruin sites.

Walking through/across Arcadian Way and Curetes Street, we could see the Ephesus Theatre. I think it’s less monumental then arenas in Italy, but this was the first of this type I’ve ever seen.

Ephesus theatre

Ephesus theatre

Selcuk Library is the 3rd biggest library in the ancient time. We stood there wondering how people could build it from the stone, and imagined how was the atmosphere when people came there to study/read.

Selcuk Library

Selcuk Library

There are 4 statues in front of the gates of the Library, who are: Sophia (Wisdom), Arete (Virtue), Ennoia (Intelligence), and Episteme (Knowledge).

Sophia (Wisdom)

Sophia (Wisdom)

Arete (Virtue)

Arete (Virtue)

Ennoia (Intelligence)

Ennoia (Intelligence)

Episteme (Knowledge)

Episteme (Knowledge)

Next by the Library, there is an ancient market, where the trading rules were set in stone.

Ancient market in Ephesus

Ancient market in Ephesus

And we wish to have time-travel-machine, in order to see how ancient people exchanged goods at least once in our lives ^^

(to be continued)

Transylvania: Sighisoara

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With a quick glance, you might think that Sighisoara is just like other medieval cities in Transylvania which consists of citadel, tower, fortified church… mm… Sighisoara has all of them, but there are some special things that make Sighisoara become unique, indeed!

1. Sighisoara is colorful, incredibly colorful. Orange/green/blue colors of the houses, pink color of flowers, yellow color of the autumn leaves. You will feel as if you are brightened up when walking around the city on the winding cobbled-stone alleys.

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2.  Sighisoara has a stunning view because it was developed on the plateau. The historic center of Sighisoara is recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site [i forget in what year]. It’s fantastic to walk up and down on the paved old streets passing through the history of sighisoara. It’s said that the architecture is not different from 500 years ago.

The landmark of Sighisoara citadel is Clock Tower built in 14th century. It was the main gate of the citadel.
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A night shot of Clock Tower:
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We can reach to the top of the tower after paying the entrance fee. There’s a small museum of artifacts/tools of medieval time inside the tower. From the top of the tower, we can look all over the city from 4 sides. Here is one example of panoramic view of the city from the tower.

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An interesting thing in the top of the Clock Tower is the signs on small brass plaques to show you how far from the tower is to different cities around the world.

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Another highlight not far from Clock Tower is Church on the Hill [Bergkirche] [need to hill up a little bit]

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Or Covered Stairs – a covered wooden stairway or schoolboy stairway built in 17th century to facilitate a way for kids to school on the hill or churchgoers on the hill during winter. We had a good moment of listening to acoustic guitar from the old lady. She has played so well and we were likely absorbed in her music.

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3. It’s believed that Sighisoara was the birthplace of Dracula? His name was Vlad Tepes. His house was close to Clock Tower.

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4. Sighisoara has a lot of towers. From what we’ve ever read, the city was founded by Saxon merchants and craftsmen. To protect a city from enemy raids, each guild of craftsmen constructed each tower and played as a defender. So from tower’s name, we can know who built it. Butcher’s Tower, Ropemaker’s Tower, Blacksmith’s tower…

Here’s the photo of picturesque Shoemaker’s tower:
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We reached Sighisoara from Sibiu by a sluggish train, and stayed in the very lovely Christina and Pavel pension inside the old city.

Sighisoara in autumn is really amazing. Heard that it has the biggest medieval festival in the world in Summer. I think it’s incredible to visit too.