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2 notes &

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

1 note &

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

4 notes &

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

3 notes &

Il Colosseo + Arco di Constantino, Roma, Italia

Arco di Constantino (left) and Il Colosseo (right)

Went back to the Colosseo three separate times during this trip, hoping to catch it without rain. No such luck. It rained every single time we went. There were dry spells but it never quite made it to full on sunshine. Ah well, what can you do.

The first visit was with the tour, similar to our 2002 visit when we also went with Trafalgar. We had a round of the inside after a long wait in line (and this was already the express line), followed by a visit of the upper level of the Colosseo. It was pouring the whole time, we had our cameras in ziploc bags, scarves wrapped around our heads, jumping puddles and trying to get shelter underneath broken archways.

In this second visit, we had just enough sunshine before it started going all gray and gloomy again, and just as we were finishing up, it started to once again pour.

We visited the Colosseo a third time, at night, but I’ll post those alien-like shots separately since they’re way too awesome and weird.

Me doing weird playful hand shots again.

After 4 visits, I really want to be able to come back to the Colosseo and explore the dungeons or pits or higher levels. I would love to do one of those helicopter things that allow you to get the cool bird’s eye view of the Colosseo. Here’s hoping!

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

Filed under travel travels colosseo coliseum arco di constantino roma italia rome italy europe unesco heritage ruins archaeology romans eternal city Colosseum italy 2010

0 notes &

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

1 note &

Roluos Group, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Another of the outlying temples, the Roluos Group is strangely laid out, as though still unfinished

Everywhere there seems to be piles of rocks like this

The temple itself is simple, a single tower surrounded by unfinished smaller structures

What I love about the temples is how you can find carvings and sculpted figures in the most obscure nooks and crannies. Every rock, whether standing or discarded, seems to bear some significance or hide some carved secret.

Me & Tara, enjoying a rare breeze atop the temple. Climbing temples all day is no easy feat under the scorching sun :|

Photos: Fuji underwater camera

Filed under cambodia siem reap rolous group roluos group asia travel travels temple temples ruins asia 2010

1 note &

Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia

After our waterfall trek to Kbal Spean, we visited the temples along the outlying areas of Siem Reap. One of these was the Banteay Srei, which also turned out to be another favourite of mine.

There was a marked decrease in number of tourists here. Maybe it was the sheer distance? It was farther out compared to the temples in the main loop (the ones we visited in the days before), so maybe tuktuks frequented these less? I don’t know, but in any case, I was grateful for the breathing room!

Happy li’l kids. They were nice enough to pose and smile for my camera

There was a small area along one wall where artifacts and such were displayed

Look at those gorgeous details

Now entering the main temple area (I’ve noticed that for most, if not all, temples, there is usually an entrance, followed by a long walk through a park or garden of sorts, before coming upon a second entrance that leads to the actual temple)

More beautiful ornate stone carvings

I love how you can always find little surprises in the carvings—like stories or special characters or unusual subjects marked into the stone

See the elephants framing the god/deity below? So many intricate details!

Through a little window, a peek into the temple—are those monkey men statues?

Those monkey-men-looking statues are everywhere. It’s a distinctive feature of Banteay Srei—I didn’t see any other temple with these monkey-like deities

How cool is this

Aside from the main temple, there are also all of these random smaller structures in ruins all around. Toolsheds and guardhouses, maybe? Haha

I love trees, especially leafless, branchy, spindly, veiny ones. Basically the ones that look mangled and old and like they came out of a tim burton film. So you can understand why I love this tree stump!

I think I’d like a chair like this in my room.

Another cheery kid cycling about

This is the entrance/tourist information center of sorts for the site. Interesting pattern the shadow makes from the bamboo-laden roof.

Photos: Sony P200, Fuji underwater camera

Filed under cambodia asia siem reap banteay srei travel travels asian cambodian temple temples ruins asia 2010

1 note &

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