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Underground City of Sarhatli, Cappadocia, Turkey

In an area near the volcanic formations in Cappadocia, there are clusters of underground cities and settlements. One such city is Sarhatli.

These cities can typically go as deep as 13 storeys deep (!), but the safe depth for tourists was up to 3 storeys. It was pretty cool how ingenious the nomads were, burrowing air shafts and everything in the soft rock.

Here is my brother, playing around and going in and out of the carved doorways

The rooms are quite sparse and rough, but it was still so fascinating

We got to go down around 3 levels (not for the claustrophobic!), and the lower we got, the thinner the air was and the narrower the passages were. The steps were pretty slippery because the rock was soft and crumbly.

This is an example of their common room. Back then i think they probably used candles, with the smoke going out through the air shafts

One of the steep passages, now with a metal ladder so tourists can go through

One of the air shafts

Some of the passages were so low and narrow that you really had to walk sideways or duck your head! (That’s my mom down there btw)

Outside, the entrance to the city is blocked with boulders and the natural landscape

You can get souvenirs carved from the Cappadocian soft rock!

The famous Turkish “evil eye”—to watch over and protect you!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under turkey 2011 turkey turkiye sarhatli underground city ruins history site ancient archaeology travel travels cappadocia

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Aspendos, Turkey

Aspendos is the most well-preserved Roman Colosseum in Turkey, maybe in the world (I’m missing a couple of facts from what the tour guide said haha).

If you compare it to THE colosseo, in Rome, it’s a shrimp—modest and simple and small, compared to the dramatic grandeur of the Colosseo.

The great thing about this is indeed how intact it is—cut pieces here and there and you can fill in the blanks in the Colosseo.

As usual, we seem to have terrible luck when it comes to coliseums. It, again, rained. My brother and my parents decided to skip the dangerous, slippery steps to the top, but photo-hungry, my sister and i braved the precarious steps.

The view is amazing, especially because it seems so complete and whole. No big gaping holes of where things used to be, no piles of rocks waiting to be reinstalled. It could be a newly built, made-to-look-old concert hall even!

The steps were slippery and narrow, so we used our umbrellas as a walking stick to help us climb back down

Outside, camels!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm, Sony P200, Sony W380

Filed under turkey turkiye aspendos colosseo coliseum colosseum roman stadium ruins roman arena arena history turkey 2011

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Perge, Turkey

It’s not pronounced “perj” like “verge”, but rather “pehr-geh” (with a hard G). This is what we immediately found out at the start of the excursion.

Perge is located near Antalya, the coastal “riviera” of Turkey. It’s around 45 minutes by bus.

Now that’s new—graffiti carved into a plant?!

Perge is an ancient city, now mostly rubble and ruins. It’s strange to note that almost all of the ancient ruins in Turkey are Roman, which is why they look similar to ruins we visited in Italy, like Pompei.

There’s not much else to say about it really. We just had fun trekking around and taking photos.

We couldn’t resist taking photos of cool walls and columns and tons and tons of rocks!

Compared to Pompei, we were given much more liberty to explore and go around, since there weren’t as many tourists. It wasn’t as congested as Pompei, and there was less “red tape” in that rooms weren’t barred and you could roam freely.

This used to be the main road, a wide avenue lined with stalls of merchants selling their wares. I can see & hear the hustle and bustle, coins jangling and skirts swishing in my mind.

The Nymphaeum

My mom and my sister

Spidery veins on a marble column

I love ruins, even though they often look a lot alike, the Roman ones at least. It gives me such a Tomb Raidery feel, albeit not a jungle setting, and I can always imagine movie scenarios and high fashion photoshoots wherever I look. I also have a weird habit of taking photos of textures and cracks and ancient writing for my own stock photo collection, to use for digital artworks and photomanipulation. Random. Haha.

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under turkey turkiye perge ancient ruins roman romanesque roman empire ancient rome civilization history artifacts antalya turkey 2011

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Antalya Archaeology Museum, Turkey

One of the unexpectedly entertaining visits on the tour was the museum of archaeology in Antalya. I think we just decided that instead of being bored, as we usually are in museums, we would be goofy and try to have fun instead.

At the entrance hall before the museum proper, there are large 3D-ish bas relief type of maps

See how cool the details are, how some landmarks are carved out

Of course part of the museum’s collection were carpets!

And a (creepy) display of a typical Ottoman house

How realistic does that doll/mannequin look!

Me warming my hands in front of my hypothetical Ottoman tent

Aww, we’re not allowed

I love how artistic these old painted scrolls are. The texts don’t even look like texts, but part of a beautiful, ornate piece of art

Some interesting displays on Ottoman fashion/textiles

Look at that embroidery

More cool painted texts—this one of the Koran

We then proceeded to a wing that housed tons of sculptures, statues, sarcophagi, etc. Nothing left to do but make faces!

Is this not an eerie reminder of that place in Return to Oz with the headless statues?

Cool morbid/forlorn looking heads

And hall after hall of artifacts and incomplete statues that archaeologists have been piecing together

My sister copying his thinking pose

Trying to get my warrior pose on

Awesome how they managed to attach bits and pieces of the wings together to form what they would’ve looked like before, even when most pieces are missing!

Skeletons found in pots

A display on miniature dioramas depicting scenes of life, history, landmarks, etc.

All in all, we had a blast. Not because the museum itself was particularly mindblowing, although there were a lot of really cool and interesting pieces here, but because we pretty much acted like crazy goofballs and found fun photos to take. Go figure.

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under travel travels eurasia turkey turkiye antalya museum history ruins statues sculptures relics artifacts archaeology turkey 2011

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Roman Ampitheatre, Pamukkale, Turkey

During our free time in Hierapolis, we had the option of (literally) running up a small hill to visit a well-preserved Roman Theatre. Although in the photo it doesn’t look that far, we were lugging a ton of camera equipment, food, water and other personal stuff, AND it was a slippery/grainy/rocky uphill climb, AND the entrance to the theatre was at the very top (on the opposite of the side shown here—you enter from the top of the theatre). So, a “quick” fifteen minute climb was really fiteen minutes of intense cardio, or so it felt like.

Nearing the theatre! We were panting, legs sore from a full day’s worth of sightseeing, at this point.

Finally at the top! It doesn’t show, but I was totally drenched with sweat by then—my forehead was clammy with the wind, and my legs were really leaden. It was worth it for the panoramic view though! Haha

You can see not only the whole theatre (we didn’t go all the way down anymore—no time!) but the coast where the White Terraces are!

To go downhill they said it would only take five minutes—and to a certain degree, that was true. They forgot to mention that it would only take five minutes because you’d be practically slipping and sliding down the whole way! What a climb, and what an end to a long day. <3 Hierapolis+Pamukkale!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm, Sony W380

Filed under turkey turkiye pamukkale hierapolis eurasia asia europe roman theatre ruins history site ancient spa turkey 2011

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Pre Rup / East Mebon, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Pre Rup and East Mebon are similar (not sure if identical) temples built North and South of each other, and our driver brought us to one—I’m not sure which.

The most distinguishable aspect here is the red color on the brick—most of the other temples had natural stone-colors. These were a combination of mudbricks, minerals and bricks and rocks I think.

This was a more chill sort of temple, but maybe only because there weren’t as many tourists when we were here. It was a pain to climb, because at this point the sun was really on our backs. I had to use my umbrella as a climbing stick to keep from touching the hot rock. Still worth the visit (maybe you can just pick one, too!)

Photos: Sony P200 + Fuji Underwater Camera + Makeshift filter (my shades!)

Filed under cambodia cambodian siem reap pre rup east mebon asia travel travels adventure backpacking temple temples ruins history angkor bricks tomb raider asia 2010

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Thommanom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Thommanom is one of the first few temples we visited, and it was very understated (I can’t think of another word for it). It wasn’t grand like the Angkor Wat, or labyrinthine like Ta Prohm…it was laid out quite simply, with a few low-standing structures and steps which are humble compared to the stairways-to-heaven that other temples had.

I liked it, though. Maybe it was the novelty of the temples, or maybe there was just something about it being so small and disregarded that made me like it.

And of course we took this opportunity to pose as statues (this is one of the few pedestals that weren’t too high that we’d be dead if we fell off)

Photos: Sony P200

Filed under travel travels cambodia siem reap thommanom thommanum temple temples ruins cambodian asia history asia 2010