Afternoon stroll from Goreme

Went for a stoll in the afternoon. Just the usual sort of thing really.

I thought I'd see if I could get up the top of that hill type thing surrounded by cliffs and weird rocks in the picture below. If you ever saw Starship Troopers this is actually the place where they filmed the bit on the evil aliens planet where they have a big battle.

These are the pictures I took on the way.

Entrance to an old cave church. 1000 years ago Christians lived here and carved their homes and churches into the rocks. It was a great place to hide from the invading Arab armies. All these high cliffs and steep gorges are virtually invisible from the vasy prairieland plateau above.

They carved really high. They must have absailed or something. Its impressive.

Its an impenetrable landscape.

Inside of a really beautiful church with original frescoes. These are very old.

Then it started thundering. A big storm was coming in. I decided to carry on to the top of the mountain anyway. İt was pretty scary!

These valleys were cut into the prairie by old tributaries of the Kizilirmak River. One of the biggest rivers inthe region. It flows north into the Black Sea and may be one of the four rivers mentioned in Genesis in the Bible as watering the Garden of Eden. (Biblical river Gihon?) In which case this is the edge of Eden! It looks like it might be.

There was alot of thunder and lightning. It got very windy and dust and stones blew about. But I carried on. Cloudy in one direction. Still sunny in the other. İ felt like moses or something going up this mountain in a thunderstorm. İ helped me to focus on the nature of my relationship to nature and investigate my own concept faith.

A deep deep gorge! Wouldnt want to fall down there!

Near the top!

When I got to the top I could see what looks like a burial mound (tumulus)?

View from the top.

Looking back at Goreme, the town where I, staying and where I walked from.

İ made it back down.

An early christian underground road junction.

A fairytale castle?

I got a lift back some of the way on the back of a motorbike along the paths in the rain which was fun. no helmet of course! :-)
Dinner! Delicious Guvec with fresh Pide Bread mmmmm! And a coke.

Haci Bektaş-i Vali, Alevis the Qezelbaşi and the Saffavids

Haci Bektaş-i Vali

Yeah, so pparently Alevis used to be called Qizilbaşı. İ read about the Qezelbaş when looking into the history of İran. They were based in Ardabil and allied with Sayk Safi Od-Din and Esmail and conquered the Timurid-Seljuk Persian Empire giving rise to the Safavid Dynasty under Shah Abbas. So there is a strong Bektaşi mystical influence in İranian culture too. And we will be in Ardabil in a couple of weeks time. İm looking forward to Ardabil even more now.



27th June 2010.

Today I got up early and got the 9.00 but from Kirsehir to Nevsehir. But on the way I jumped out at Hacibektas. A small village in the wide open plains where Haci Bektas established the Bektasi Order.

Haci Bektas (1209-1271) came to Anatolia from Khorosan in NE Iran in the 13th century and established the Bektasi Sufi Order. He was an Islamic mystic, humanist and philosopher. He is one of the principal teachers of Alevism. He is also an important figure in the history and culture of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.

Bektashi Veli says
"Whatever you’re searching for, search in yourself,
It’s neither in Jerusalem, Mecca nor in the Hadj".

“There is no need to discriminate between religions. Religions cause disputes among people. In fact, all religions aim to provide peace and brotherhood on earth”.

Alevism teaches:
-) Love and respect for all people (“The important thing is not religion, but being a human being”)
-) Tolerance towards other religions and ethnic groups (“If you hurt another person, the ritual prayers you have done are counted as worthless”)
-) Respect for working people ("The greatest act of worship is to work”)
-) Equality of men and women, who pray side by side. Monogamy is practiced.

Bektashism, which originates from Haji Bektashi Veli’s ideas, aims to comprehend the unity of “Universe, God and Man”. The first step to success is to know yourself and love yourself. The man who loves himself also loves God".


Entrance to the tomb of Haci Bektas. Lots of people were going in and out. Kissing the doors and walls. Whispering and muttering prayers/incantations. Those coming out came backwards. Some were crawling on their hands and knees, like a pennance or a pilgrimmage. I felt like I was on a pilgrimmage. I was the only foreign 'tourist' there. And I have a lot of respect and even admiration and wonder for people like Haci Bektas. I am glad of them.

On the way in there was a small opening on the left. Inside was a plain room with alot of women going in and out. Many on their hands and knees. In the corner of the small room was a hole about 30cm tall. They were taking turns. They were putting their arms inside. One person put their head into it. One old lady was rubbing the side of it and then rubbing her legs. I asked her what it was. I couldnt understand her reply. I can only assume it was supposed to have healing properties. I gave it a try and rubbed my ribs and back. I crawled out of the room backwards like everybody else. Out of respect if nothing else.

This is an amulet worn by Sufis.

Tombs of sufis.

Entrance to the actual tomb of Haci Bektas.

People inside the tomb were crawling around the tombstone. Rubbing it, kissing it, and kneeling around it praying.

People were getting up inside the cloth and rubbing it on themselves.

İ felt really revitalized and refreshed after learning about Haci Bektaş and the Alevis. İ have met Alevi people before but never knew much about their culture or faith. İt seems pretty good to me.

Then I had some soup mmmmm!

...and got the bus onwards to Goreme.
When I got to Goreme I found someone who I hadn't seen in 15 years! Ibrahim who I met when I travelled to India when I was 18. I recognised him and went and said hello! He runs his families pansion. I stayed there in 1997. I'm staying there for the next 2 nights. We had a nice chat and ate watermelon and drank tea. He showed me his pet pigeons, dog and bees. Its really nice to see him again! I have fond memories of that trip in 1997.

This is the room where Im staying. Its 200 years old and was built by his family who were ottomans.

The courtyard.

İt is such a beautifully calm and peaceful place to stay and İbrahim is so nice. He has a cute puppy dog aswell :o) ...pictures of that later.