Mehmet who has been my host in Goreme, who I fondly think of as one of the Goreme mafia, seems to have his hands into a bit of everything here...By everything..I mean he has been my carpet guru, owns a travel agency, hotels and one of the hot air balloon companies. A few days ago he informed me I was to meet him in the lobby the next morning , he was putting me on his favorite tour of the area and the locations would unfold as I toured...
What a treat. It was a beautiful day and our guide was humorous, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable. He immediately began by introducing himself..."Hello my name is Jihad." According to the Qur'an and the Hadith, jihad is a duty that may be fulfilled in four ways: by the heart, the tongue, the hand, or the sword. The first way (known in Sufism as the “greater jihad”) involves struggling against evil desires. The ways of the tongue and hand call for verbal defense and right actions. The jihad of the sword involves waging war against enemies of Islam. Believers contend that those who die in combat become martyrs and are guaranteed a place in paradise. I assure you he had none of the latter in him!
|Soganli Valley, one of the most secluded and tranquil valleys in Cappadocia. We begin our hike along one side of the valley, visiting many cave churches and we returned along the other side of the valley to a quaint village.|
|Exploring 1000-year-old Rock Church and Monastery|
Archenclos rock church and Keslik monastery in the Soganli Valley dates back to at least the 10th century. It housed hundreds of monks. Inside the dwellings, you can see, carved from the stone, chimneys, fireplaces, bookshelves, a kitchen, and frescoes.
The extensive networks of passages, tunnels, stepped pits and inclined corridors link family rooms and communal spaces where people would meet, work and worship. The cities were complete with wells, chimneys for air circulation, niches for oil lamps, stores, water tanks, stables and areas where the dead could be placed until such time as conditions on the surface would allow their proper disposal. Most importantly, carefully balanced moving stone doors, resembling mill stones, were devised to quickly block the corridors in the event of an attack. Of course, these doors operated from one side only! There are said to be over 200 underground cities in this region with only a fraction of them discovered.
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