Eastern Turkey: Day 9 - Tuesday, 27 June 2000
We departed Diyarbirkir after breakfast, driving by city walls that are second only to the Great Wall of China in standing length of ancient walls.
A bridge with goats, and a brickmaker's yard got equal treatment from photographers. In the brickyard, boys on summer vacation were earning money by carrying loads of bricks on their backs.
We entered the land of the cotton fields, growing thrifty with irrigated water - water from the Tigris River.
Meli told us some of the history of the Kurdish people, and how the British tried to use them to destabilize Turkey.
One hours' drive from Diyarbarkir, fields of grapevines dominated the countryside.
We came upon Mardin quite suddenly, as we reached to top of a road. Before us the town spread out, snuggled against the other side of the mountain. The Mardin population is mostly Arab - the fortress on top of the hill in center is a dome of American radar which is watching Iraq.
We visited a monastery that is built on top of an ancient sun goddess temple. The basement level of the current building is the old sun goddess worship room. A narrow opening in the east wall channels the sunbeams at the right time of morning - when the sun comes through the opening, it was the ancient time for worship. We were told that Jesus' saying "I am the light" was a teaching to replace this religious practice. To eliminate an old religion, use something that they have and replace it with something more powerful.
Father Gabriel read to us from his Bible in the Aramaic language Bible. First he read a selection chosen by Meli, then he read to us a selection chosen by Mike. Father Abraham is pictured above.
We went to Harran before our hotel. The conical mud roofs were interesting, 4 cones to a building. They help keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter.
One building is a combination museum, shop and refreshment stand.
The children here were aggressive, trying to sell simple handicraft items.
The ruins of a castle seemed forbidding, especially since there were women who angrily reacted to having their pictures taken.
Meli says that all the men in Harran are named Ibrahim. Either their first name or their middle name.