Eastern Turkey: Day 12 - Friday, 30 June 2000
We had a long (2 ½ hour) drive in the morning out to the ancient quarry of the Hittites. Stones here were cut out of the mountain, partially shaped, and then transported to the Hittite City where they would be finished by artists and set into place. Whenever it was that the Hittites ceased to use this site, the pieces that were in process were simply abandoned where they sat. Today they still wait, looking a little faded from the centuries of exposure. Completed pieces that have been excavated from ancient cities are in the museum in Ankara. Most people who have taken the Western Turkey tour went to that museum. Jim and I, however, were on the tour that missed the museum because of the Kurban Bayrami holiday. Instead, we got to visit the excavated ruins of an ancient Hittite city.
We left the quarry and went in search of a picnic site in a forest. Along the way we spotted this stork's nest (left). We found the picnic site only after going a little bit too far and having to turn back. If the bus had been a couple inches bigger, we would not have fit through the gate! Lunch was excellent and the location was beautiful.
Next stop, the museum! Several of the expected mosaics have been put into place for viewing, but dozens are stacked in the gardens outside, covered by tarps. We were not allowed to take photos of the newest and most stunning ones, but some of the older ones were permitted -without flash.
How I wish we could have photographed the new ones! They are truly classic Greek mosaics, telling the old mythological stories of Medusa, Dionysius, Bacchus, Achilles, Oceanus, Poseidon, Thetis, the Labyrinth and others. It is a comfort to know that there is still a large part of the city above the water line, yet to be excavated. The museum needs money to properly take care of these priceless treasures.
About this time, I began to realize it was time for me to return to the hotel. The tour was going on to see the artists who do mother-of-pearl inlay, but for me, a taxi to the hotel was the most urgent need. Mike and Carolyn were also going back, so a taxi for three was speedily ordered up. Carolyn has already been ill for several hours, and my stomach was feeling very shaky. Jim did go on to see the box makers, and brought back a beautiful box for me. I was happy to spend the rest of the day in the room, and skip dinner.
It was the "last dinner" and speeches were made, gifts were given, and I am told that everyone had a good time.