Posts from a trip Marion and I took to Turkey in May, 2014.

May 16, 2014

Random stretch of beach.

Thıs ıs ın Lycıa. They call thıs stretch the Turquoıse Coast. Hey! Turquoıse! turns out, saıth Wıkıpedıa,

The substance has been known by many names, but the word turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an Old French word for “Turkish”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey,

Speakıng of whıch, Why does a country have the same name as a holıday feast bırd?

When Europeans first encountered turkeys in America, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guineafowl (Numididae). Guineafowl were also known as turkey fowl (or turkey hen and turkey cock) because they were imported to Central Europe through Turkey. The name turkey fowl, shortened to just the name of the country, stuck as the name of the North American bird.  In 1550, the English navigator William Strickland, who had introduced the turkey into England, was granted a coat of arms including a “turkey-cock in his pride proper”.[6]

See the undotted i ın the prevıous sentence? The turkısh keyboard has a specıal key for that letter, they use the undotted versıon a lot, and ıts ın the place we put our i’s.. Don’t even ask what ıt takes to make the @ sıgn. Stıll havent found quote marks, hence the ıtalıcs above.


Efe agaın

Lobby of our hotel. No pıcture of Ataturk around eıther. Hmmm.

Hıstory of Relıgıon 101


Mosaıc on floor of temple to Apollo, pretty much all that ıs left of the thıng. Just rıght there ın the open. We could have walked on ıt.


May 7, 2014

Obligatory herd of sheep

Many sheep in Turkey. On the freeway, too.



Sarcophagus/ I think thats Heracles


We see these all over. No idea why. The blue things are from plastic water bottles.


He is everywhere. This is by the freeway at Izmir.



The story goes that after the crucifixion, Mary went, where else, to Turkey, specifically Ephesus. The apostle John took care of her, Because we were raised to literally worship Mary (and lets just think about that for a minute), we went. The factual basis for this being the house of Mary is pretty thin,

This is not the Post Alley gum wall, and it is not the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It is a place near Mary`s house where pilgrims tourists write their wishes for Mary`s consideration.




This is Yoruk Ali Efe. We visited the house where he lived. Major figure in the Turkish War of Independence, In this part of Turkey you see almost as many representations of Efe as of Ataturk, and one is never far from a picture or statue of Ataturk anywhere. They put up a statue of him in Aydin and there was unrest because it failed to show him with a mustache. They had to take it down and redo it. Little statues of him are sold in souvenir shops. There is an Efe pizza chain.



This is my favorite mens room icon in the world. Mr. Cool.



This is probably the oldest site we have been to. It was settled in the late stone age and has been a fortified settlement from the time of the Hittites in 1600 BC or so.

That columned structure is actually carved into the rock. Its a burial place where tradition says the ancient greek hero Bellerophon was buried. He`s the guy who rode Pegasus around, dropping heavy objects on his adversaries.




This was a roman city founded by Julius Caesar`s right hand slave, freed by Octavian and set up with a city in return for support against Marc Antony in the Civil War of that period,

Marion at the temple of Aphrodite

This was basically molding

This is so weird. It was the temple reserved for the worship of Roman emperors who had been officially declared to be gods. Hard to imagine what their idea of worship, gods or religion could have been.


Marketing Lesson

On the way into the parking lot at Tlos

After you have parked

Hey, Phil!

This is where, according to tradition, St. Philip was martyred. The Byzantines built a church here/ This was a big pilgrim destination in its time. Lots of miraculous healings.

This is at the top of a hill in a place called Hierapolis, the biggest ancient ruin I have seen. It goes on and on. We spent all day climbing around.



There is more than a superficial resemblence between these two places, both are gruelling.

On the left is the path up to a place called Pamukkale, on the right is the famous Chilkoot trail used by prospectors in the Klondike gold rush. Pamukkale is not made of soft, fluffy snow, but of calcium carbonate rock deposited over the ages from hot springs. Very pretty with fine fingerprint like ridges. In order to protect the rock, visitors must go barefoot for about 1/3 mile, the ridges biting into soft flesh. Agonizing, It was three days ago and my feet still throb when I think about it. I`d prefer the Klondike. They do not mention that one can drive right to the top, and they have blocked, ineffectively I`m pleased to say, the entrance to a trail we took back down. I`m sure this makes sense to someone.

Still and all, an amazing place once at the top.

Alas, soaking in the pools is no longer allowed, another thing that goes unmentioned.

They are serious about no walking on the calcium deposits, a Japanese guy with the standard issue giant camera was busted walkng with shoes where he should`t have and was carted off by the guards on a motorbike, with the exact expression on his face I would have at the prospect of going to a Turkish jail.

This place has been a resort are since the end of the Bronze age. There was a huge city with temples and agorae and theaters and everything. Probably the largest ancient site we have been to, called Hieropolis.


May 4, 2014


This is whats left of what was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient world, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. There are temples of Artemis all over Ionia.



At 3 or 4 of the places we have been is a marker identifying the place as one of the  Seven Churches of Asia from the Book of Revelation. This is one of them, at Laodikeia. I have to say, this shot does have an apocalyptic feel to it.

I have never gotten through Revelation. Its just so psycho. I do know that for 2000 years credulous believers have been convinced by it that they they are living in the end times.


May 4, 2014

This is only a test

I love hearing the call to prayer, even at 4:00 in the morning. Thats what the minarets attached to mosques are for. But I have to say, my knee jerk thought whenever I see one is, “ICBM”.


Now Playing

I read somewhere that when looking at finds archeologists can be pretty certain they have evidence of human activity when they see signs of trade, religion or warfare. I think we can safely add to that list, “entertainment”. Every site we have been to has one of these.


May 3, 2014


April 29, 2014

Agean Sea

If, like me you have never seen or felt the Agean Sea, here is what it’s like.

The exact location is in dispute, but Homer says that very near here Agamemnon came ashore to rest up from the Trojan war. As things turned out, he shoulda stayed here.

April 28, 2014


This was the largest theater in Ionia, the part of ancient Greece that was in Turkey.
Paul the apostle had a gig here that did not go well. There is an earlier post on VisCon about this period. As a change of pace, Paul was chased out of town by an angry mob of pagans rather than of Jews. It seems he violated the precept set out best by Guido the killer pimp in the movie “Risky Business” (played by the great Joe Pantiolano): in uncertain times never fuck with another man’s livelihood. Here is Pauls account, from Acts
19:23 About that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen, 19:25 whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth. 19:26 You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands. 19:27 Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”
19:28 When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 19:29 The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel. 19:30 When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn’t allow him. 19:31 Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater. 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn’t know why they had come together. 19:33 They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people. 19:34 But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
19:35 When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 19:36 Seeing then that these things can’t be denied, you ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rash. 19:37 For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 19:38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another. 19:39 But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly. 19:40For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning this day’s riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we wouldn’t be able to give an account of this commotion.” 19:41 When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
20:1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, took leave of them, and departed to go into Macedonia.

April 26, 2014

Basilica of St. John

Built in The 200-300’s. Rebuilt in the 6th century by Justinian, the great lawgiver. John the apostle, to whom the Book of Revelation is attributed was said to be buried there

This is the view from the deck where we are staying, in Selcuk, Izmir, Turkey.