Wednesday, 29 May 2013

UNDERGROUND CITIES

29.05.2013
A day of leisure (at last) with no planned movement or excursion.
Since we had to cut short Monday's trip, we hired a taxi and went to Kaymakli on our own to see the underground city about which all the others had waxed lyrical. It is very hard to describe this phenomenon as it sheer size defies belief. The cities were mentioned as long ago as 400 BC and are like an ant colony carved from rock . There are over 100 tunnels here going down 7 levels but not in a way you can follow. Some levels are only accessible from 2 or 3 levels higher or even from levels lower. There are churches, wineries, food stores, stables, wells,   ventilation shafts and living quartets. Passages can be sealed with huge millstones that roll across in a groove. Some tunnels are too small to stand up in, others are enormous. They were apparently finally abandoned as bolt holes after the ending of oppression on Christian communities, about 1600 years ago. Fascinating.
Returning to camp we took a walk to a nearby rock church 8th century and unrestored according to the guardian who showed us around and then insisted that we share a pot of tea with him. Fresco's on the walls & ceilings, tortuous staircases & tunnels carved in the rock and the best millstone bolt stones we have seen.
Back at the ranch, we had a street party dinner down the road with everybody bringing their own thing, followed by boules which was finally floodlit .

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