Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Antioch, Turkey (also known as Antakya and Hatay)


The city of Antioch, or modern day Antakya, was founded in 300 BC. Later it became the 3rd largest city of the Roman Empire.

Since Roman times, Antioch has been ruled by Arabs, Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Mamelukes, the Ottomans, and the Turks.

Antakya is located on the Asi (Orontes) River. After WWI, it was part of French-ruled Syria, then returned to Turkey.

We stayed in a Catholic church hostel in the old town, so we could walk to many interesting parts.

These mortar and pestles are very heavy, and used for grinding spices.

A nice collection of tiny sultan statues for sale.

I love all the antiques, but of course I wouldn't want to carry them for another month, even if I could afford to buy them.

Fancy children's clothing for sale.

Repairing shoes is a lost art in the U.S., but still going strong in Turkey.






Backgammon is a very popular game in Turkey. I've been used to dominoes in the Caribbean.
My friend Gwenn took this shot of a produce vender.
In the mountains of Santa Cruz county, there used to be a Tree Circus. It eventually made its way to the Gilroy Gardens amusement park. I was surprised to see so many of these in the pedestrian shopping area in Antioch.
I love the traditional clothing in Turkey.
We walked to the archaeological museum across the river from the bazaar. They had many mosaics and sculptures.
More relics from the archaeological museum.
Since it was Ramadan we splurged and ordered a sweet dessert called künefe.
They brought us two pieces with a glop of clotted cream on top.
Künefe is sweet and chewy because of the cheese they add.
Even though I'm not usually a fan of white bread, it's hard to resist when it comes out of the oven.
Then we drove out of town to a mountaintop monastery. The windmills were huge and constructed by the US and Israel to provide power to the nearby towns.
The Monastery of San Symeon the Younger is mostly in ruins.
Phyllis in the ruins of the monastery. Note the wind mill on the hillside nearby.
The Monastery of San Symeon is very close to the Syrian border.
Michelle and I in the ruins.
The intricacy of the stone carvings was very impressive.
A watchman took us around and showed us the mosaic under the dirt. He says there are mosaics everywhere, but they leave them covered up to protect them.
Next we drove from the monastery to the Roman tunnels called Titus Tunnels.
Here's the sign directing us to the Titus Tunnels. All of the brown signs indicate historic sites, just as in the US.
We hiked into the tunnels and tombs.
Roman ruins were everywhere.
Here's a cool antique bridge that shows the strength of an arch.
Michelle took this picture of us on the bridge with our new friend Aisha.
The tunnels were built during Emperor Verpasian's rule to divert floodwaters from the coastal town of Samandagi.
The tunnels were completed by Vespasian's son Titus. This impressive cutting runs 4,527 ft through solid rock.
The tunnel is 23 feet high and 20 feet wide.
The Besikli Cave Tomb Monument is located next to Titus' Tunnels.
Here are some of the tombs.
The view from the tombs down to the Mediterranean Sea.
I bought a little jar of natural massage oil from Aisha and her husband.
When I asked them for a picture together, Aisha was embarrassed when her husband tried to steal a kiss.
Aisha pointed out that we had matching pants, so her husband took a picture of us together.
The view of Samandagi, an Arabic-speaking resort town near the Syrian border.
Michelle, Phyllis and I went in for a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. The water was perfect and so refreshing after such a hot hike.
My "modest" bathing suit for the Muslim country of Turkey. On the west coast, European women wear bikinis at the beach, but I try not to call attention to me.



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