Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Turkey - Caravanseray

At the end of day, we got into our tour bus once again and headed off to the area of capadochia. During the journey, our tour guide said something about giving us a surprise. What happened was that he brought us to this old 'caravanseray'. The caravanseray is not the surprise though, as it was part of the itenary. More about the surprise later.

During ancient times, long before globalization, when there were no planes, no large container cargo ships plying the sea routes wrecking damage to the environment and poorer countries with their conspicuous consumption, there was this famous route called the silkroad.

The silk road was not a road made of silk, my dear students, but a famous path where goods from the east was carried to the west to be sold and vice versa. These goods were carried on camels, who could travel long distance. For safety reasons, these traders and their camels travel in large groups called caravans.

These caravans look out for safe places to spend the night, refuel their camels and themselves with water and food and sheltered themselves, their camels and their goods from bandits and the weather.

The Ottomans and many other nations recognise the economic importance of these caravans and therefore made safe stop-overs for them. In the Ottoman Empire, these camel hotels are called 'caravanserays'. As you can see from the above photo, the Muslims were very proud craftsmen and are aesthetically inclined people, so even a camel resting place were nicely crafted.

It was behind one of the two caravanserays that we visited was the real surprise. A huge crater with super black water can be seen. According to the guide, it was a volcanic crater. I can just imagine the camels giong down here to drink. It was a nice surprise. As a geography student, I truly appreciate this humungous geomorphological feature. I don't think it is a volcanic crater though. It looks like either a mined quarry or an meteorite hit landscape. I need to check this out with my geog lecturer.

After that, we continued to travel to cappadochia. More of that later.

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