Well, I'm taking over the story in Gazi Antep, the baklava capital of the world, but this isn't the food post, so I won't mention the amazing baklava. Instead, let us turn our attention to more interesting subjects.
In the fight for Turkish independence after World War I, Gazi Antep got hammered. They asked Ataturk to send them help and he basically replied that they weren't important enough and that they would have to fend for themselves. After the war ended, Ataturk felt sort of bad, so he added the name "Gazi" to the city Antep, which means "Veteran" for their valor. This apparently satisfied them because now the citadel is a museum that is mostly devoted to singing the praises of Ataturk. It also has some nice bronzes of the people who kept fighting in very miserable circumstances.
That seems to be the only non-baklava picture we have from Gazi Antep. Next stop: Sanliurfa. That has some weird Turkish characters in it, but I won't use them for fear that they won't show up on many computers. Sanliurfa is most famous as the site where both Abraham and Job spent time. Apparently, while trying to destroy pagan gods, Abraham angered Nimrod, the local king. So, Nimrod settled their differences like any good king and ordered Abraham burned at the stake. Unfortunately for Nimrod, God objected to this plan and turned the fire to water and coals to fish. The sudden change propelled Abraham off a massive cliff into a bed of roses below, which, of course, broke his fall. This mosque is located by one of the two pools that is symbolic of the water and fish. The fish are sacred, so everyone feeds them. Yet, no one seemed happy when I jumped in to play with the fish.
From Sanliurfa, we took a side trip to Harran, which turned out to be a bit less exciting than expected. Possibly the most exciting part was seeing them make yogurt in this goat skin. Yum!
This is what remains of one of the world's oldest universities in Harran. Or at least this part has been reconstructed most recently. The tower was an observatory once.
The most famous part of Harran is the beehive houses. However, modern innovations like electricity mean that no one lives in them anymore. Just a few remain for tourists. They do look neat.
For those who don't know the story of Job, he angered God by living during the Old Testament years when God was angry with everyone. God smite Job by killing his whole family and giving Job terrible diseases. So, Job ran away to a cave--this cave--to pray for seven years. Eventually, God let Job come out of the corner and gave him some magical water to make his diseases go away and to find a new, hotter wife. These people are either praying for the patience of Job or for God to give them a new, hotter wife, too.
Purple is the color of choice in Sanliurfa. Both men and women normally wear purple head coverings if they are religious. Sorry that we couldn't get a better picture, but spy shots are hard to take.
Here I am drinking the same magic water that cured Job. Not literally the same water, but from the same well. It hasn't made me sick yet, so that's a good start.
After getting us just a bit lost, but not really so lost, we came out at the highest point in the city and had great views of the city. Good job, me.
A shot of the holy carp by day. That's a lot of gefilte fish just waiting to be made.
After Sanliurfa, our next destination was Mount Nimrut and its surroundings. This mountain was built by a local king, who wanted to be like the Egyptians 1000 years before, but didn't have the know-how. He built some massive statues of himself and his god relatives and then ordered stones piled up to make a fake mountain peak. That's right--no pyramid, just a pile of rubble.
This one is of the king's uncle, Sam the Eagle.
The heads have all fallen off the statues in earthquakes. It's always the earthquakes. My monumental building will be built somewhere with no many earthquakes.
Is this a gnome or a king? You decide.
Near the mountain is one of the oldest Roman bridges around. Built in the 2nd century, the four columns were meant to honor the emperor, his wife, and the two kids. One of the kids died, so they tore down the column. By this logic, it seems that they all should have been torn down by now since I am fairly certain that none of them are still alive.
Who is scarier: the lion or me? No need to answer. I know it's me.
And one last picture. The Grand Bazaar in Turkey is sort of how I would have pictured a bazaar if Las Vegas created it. Clean, shiny, covered from the rain, and lots of expensive stores and stalls. This picture is the nicest part, but the whole massive bazaar is much fancier than any we have been to.
That finishes Turkey. We enjoyed Cappadocia the most, but the entire country was nice. Now, however, we are ready to move on to a dirtier, cheaper place like India!