(being continued from 16/10/2017)
See the Konya site with the Mevlana Turbe and Akça Konak
Alternate: From Bursa to Cay
Güzelyali – Bursa – Inegol – Eskisehir – Dervispasa – Cay
Leave Bursa for Kestel, Inegol, Bozoyuk Eskisehir, Seyitgazi, Kesenler, Akin, Yarbasan, Gokbahce, Dervişpaşa to meet up with pilgrims from the Geliboluroad at Afyon or Cay.
From Malatya to Karaman: The Mevlana Way
Malatya – Erzincan – Sivas – Kayseri – Gumusler – Nigde – Karaman
This is the track of Mevlana himself on Turkish soil. According to tradition, Rumi was born in Balkh in contemporary Afghanistan. At that time part of the Persian Khwarezmian Empire and hometown of his father’s family. Scholars believe that he was born in Wakhsh, a small town located at the river Wakhsh in what is now Tajikistan. Wakhsh belonged to the larger province of Balkh, and in the year Rumi was born, his father was an appointed scholar there. His father decided to migrate. Rumi’s family first performing the Hajj and the first place we find Mevlana on Turkish soil is Malatya. From there the caravan with the young master went to Erzincan, Sivas, Kayseri, Gumusler and Nigde, to arrive in 1222 in Larende, now known as Karaman. Mevlana stayed in Karaman, where his mother died. After Karaman he left for Konya.
Read the biography of Mevlana Rumi
From Selifke to Konya: The Karaman Way
Tassucu – Selifke – Mut – Karaman – Çumra – Çatalhöyük – Icençumra – Konya
In Konya itself The Karaman Way was the main track of the long-distance Sufipaths to Konya, as Mevlana himself walked (part of) this way. The name refers to the main city among this trail: Karaman, but It was actually a sea-gate to the Miditarean. The Karaman Way starts from the Tassucu-harbour near Selifke, runs up north to Mut, to the shrine of Sheikh Edebali near Karaman. After Karaman the road leads to the 1001 churches of Binbir Kilisi. This is very old soil. Near Çumra we pass, 50km southeast of Konya, the Neolithic site Çatalhöyük. From Icençumra to Konya is the last part of the Karaman Way.
The Silk Road
Istanbul – Ankara
This is a fraction of the historical Silk Road alignment entering Anatolia that trespasses Istanbul to reach the European Continent and the cities of Adapazari, Bolu and Ankara found on its alignment. Also encompassing the remote disticts of Sapanca, Geyve, Tarakli, Goynuk, Mudurnu, Beypazari, Gudul and Ayas.
The Lycian Way
Fethiye – Antalya
The Lycian Way is a 500 km long footpath that stretches from Fethiye to Antalya, around part of the coast of ancient Lycia. It takes its name from this civilisation which once ruled the area. The route is graded medium to hard; it is not level walking, but has many ascents and descents as it approaches and veers away from the sea. It is easier at the start near Fethiye and gets more difficult as it progresses. Summer in Lycia is too hot, although you could walk short, shady sections.
List of places on the trail: Ölü Deniz, Kabak, Kınık (Xanthos), Akbel, (detour for the Gelemiş village and ruins of Patara), Kalkan, Kaş (Antiphellos), Üçağız, Kale, Demre (Myra), Kutluca, Zeytin and Alakilise. Here the trail reach a height of 1811 meters at İncegeriş T. Then on to Belos, Finike, Kumluca, Mavikenic, Karaöz, Adrasan, Olympos, Çıralı. Here the trail splits into:
Coastal route: Tekirova, Phaselis, Asagikuzdere (just outside Kemer)
Inland route: Ulupınar, Beycik, Yukari Beycik, Yayla Kuzdere, Gedelme
The route is mainly over footpaths and mule trails; mostly limestone and often hard and stony underfoot. It is waymarked with red and white stripes, the Grande Randonnee convention. The Sunday Times has listed it as one of the world’s top ten walks. Starting in 2009, an ultramarathon will be annually organized at the historical lycian way with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. See Lycian Way UltraMarathon
More on the Lycian Way
The Saint Paul Trail
Perge (Antalya) – Yalvaç – Isparta + Aspendos – Adada
After Jesus, St Paul the Apostle is most probably the most important person in the history of western Christianity. The name of the trail derives from the fact that it follows approximately 500 kilometers the route of the Apostle on his first recorded missionary journey into his homeland. Saint Paul was born in Tarsus and on his 1st Journey he traveled to Antioch, Seleucia, Cyprus (Salamis and Paphos), Perge, Antioch in Pisidia, Konya (Iconium), Derbe, Lystra, Antalya and Antioch.
St Pauls Trail goes from Perge, 10 kilometers east of Antalya, to Yalvaç, Isparta, northeast of Lake Eğirdir. It starts at sea level and climbs to 2200 meters in elevation. A second branch starts at Aspendos, 40 kilometers east of Antalya, and joins the main route at the ancient Roman site of Adada. It is marked along the way with red and white stripes to Grande Randonnée standards.
More on the Saint Paul Trail
The Cappadocian Trials
Kapadokya – Avanos – Göreme – Ürgüp
The Bible’s New Testament tells of Cappadocia, but in fact this is Turkey’s most visually striking region, especially the “moonscape” area around the towns of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, Avanos and Mustafapasa (Sinasos), where erosion has formed “fairy chimneys”, clefts, caves and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock. A number of short trails wend through the volcanic Cappadocian landscape near Avanos, Göreme and Ürgüp.
More on the Cappadocia Trials
Ayder – Yusufeli
The Kaçkars stretch along the Black Sea coast in extreme northeastern Turkey. Dotted with historic Georgian churches, the mountains offer fine trekking possibilities from Ayder and Yusufeli. Yusufeli, 130 km (81 miles) north of Erzurum, is right across the summits from Ayder on the Black Sea slope and a more pleasant town than the nearby provincial capital of Artvin.
More on the Kaçkar Mountaintrekkings
Güngör: In the year 1005 earl Dirk III of Holland visited Istanbul, Konya and Antakya. Not as Crusader, such as later continuators as Floris II would do, but as peaceful pilgrim, on the gone to Palestine. Dirk III is the oldest known Dutch visitor to current Turkey. It is time the world should know that among the historic European longtrack walkingpaths, Sufipath and Caminos cross each other on many places.
The Historic Via Comitis
Route of Dirk III to Konya
The Dutch earl Dirk III (981-1039) was five years old as his father, Arnoud of Ghent, earl of Holland, dies in 993 during one of that ‘boerenriots’ , that occurred in the early history of the Dutch county. Dirks mother, Liutgarde of Luxembourg, sister of the powerful German emperor Hendrik II observed the governing board concerning the Netherlands for him as a regentes.
Dirk develops into a tree of a guy. He is already of age when his county Holland is threatened to be attacked by the Frisians. Then Dirk makes a vow and promise to god. that if his country will be saved of the Frisians, he makes a pilgrimage to Palestine.
His mother is less pious. Instead to wait for celestial aid, she calls for the aid of her brother, the Holy Roman emperor. He travelled with an army from Utrecht by ship to the Friese area in the winter of 1004/1005. When the Frisian attacks has ended, Dirk III temporarily hands over the governing board of Holland to his mother and brother Sicco.
Right then, in spring of 1005, spends Sicco a castle at Santpoort (Sancta Porta) and thus Dirk could discharge on his ‘promessa’ and leave on pilgrimage.
By the mid 5th century, as the Roman Empire began to crumble, Thracia fell from the authority of Rome and into the hands of Germanic tribal rulers. With the fall of Rome, Thracia turned into a battleground territory for the better part of the next 1,000 years. The eastern successor of the Roman Empire in the Balkans, the Byzantine Empire, retained control over Thrace until the beginning of the 9th century when most of the region was incorporated into Bulgaria.
Cities n Trace:
Çerkezköy (56 km from Tekirdağ and 110 km from Istanbul. Until the 1800s this was a village called ‘Türbedere’. ‘Türbe’ is the Turkish for ‘tomb’ and the village took its name from the tomb of the eldest son of sultan Bayezid I, Suleiman Çelebi, who was murdered here in 1410 when fleeing from his brothers during the Ottoman Interregnum. The tomb was destroyed by Bulgarian troops when they occupied the town for nine months during the war for Bulgarian Independence in 1912. The land here is flat, watered by the River Çorlu and good soil for farming, so until the 1970s Çerkezköy was a pleasant small town in a rural setting. Today an industrial area with hundreds of factories surround Çerkezköy town centre, a typical Turkish collection of rows of grey low-rise blocks containing public buildings, small supermarkets, banks, and kebab restaurants, with a square in the middle containing a statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and nearby a large central mosque. The military base in Çerkezköy is Turkey’s biggest centre for basic training in military service. The town is well-equipped with schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.
Uzunköprü is a small town on the railway line from Istanbul towards Sofia and a frontier post on the Greek border. The “Long Bridge” (Turkish: Uzunköprü) gave its name to the town. The bridge was built between 1426 and 1443 by head architect Muslihiddin on the orders of Ottoman Sultan Murad II. The ancient stone-built bridge, which has 174 arches, is 1,329 m (4,360 ft) long and up to 6.80 m (22.3 ft) wide. Some of the arches are pointed and some are round. Uzunköprü is the longest stone bridge in Turkey.
Edirne close to the borders with Greece (7 km) and Bulgaria (20 km), is famed for its many mosques, the elegant domes and minarets, which dominate the panoramic appearance of the province. Adrianople contains the ruins of the ancient palace of the Sultans, and has many beautiful mosques. One of the most important monuments in this ancient province is the Selimiye Mosque, built in 1575 and designed by Turkey’s greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan, which has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.9 meters, of an altogether grandiose appearance and with a cupola three or four feet higher than that of St. Sophia in Istanbul. Carrying the name of the then reigning the Ottoman Sultan Selim II, this mosque magnificently represents Turkish marble handicrafts and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings. Edirne was founded as Hadrianopolis, named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges, from the days of the ancient Greeks. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine in 323, and Valens killed by the Goths in 378. In 813 the city was seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands to the north of the Danube.
During the existence of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Crusaders were decisively defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the battle of Adrianople (1205). Later Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, and three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Asen, Emperor of the Bulgarians. It was captured by Sultan Murat I in 1365, the city served as capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 until 1453. Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, was born in Adrianople. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, lived in Edirne from 1863 to 1868. He was exiled there by the Ottoman Empire before being banished further to the Ottoman penal colony in Akka.
Symbolic inscription consisting of two “waw” letters on the walls of the ‘Ulu Mosque’
Also needing mention are the Trakya University Bayezid II Külliye Health Museum, a great monument with its complex construction comprising many facilities used in those times.
Besides the fascinating mosques, there are different sites to be visited in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. There are attractive palaces, the most prominent one being the Edirne Palace, which was the “Palace of the Empire” built during the reign of Murat II. There are the amazing caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.
Of Edirne’s Christian heritage, there remain two Bulgarian Orthodox churches: Saint George and Saints Constantine and Helena. Saint George has a Bulgarian library and an ethnographic collection. The two Bulgarian churches are the only functioning Christian places of worship in the city today. Every year in end of June there is an oil-wrestling festival called Kırkpınar, the oldest active sport organization after the Olympic Games (which were refounded after centuries of inactivity).
Kırklareli area may have been the location of the first organized settlement on the European continent. It is not clearly known when the city was founded, nor under what name. Byzantines called it “Forty Churches” In the XIV Century, this was translated to Turkish and called “Kırk Kilise” . During the Republican Period, Sanjaks became cities and on December 20, 1924, Kırk Kilise’s name was changed to Kırklareli. The Bulgarian name of the town is Lozengrad, which means “vineyard town”. Located at the center of the city is the 1383 built Hızır Bey religious compound (külliye). This consists of a Mosque, Bath and Arasta (Bazaar), built by Köse Mihalzade Hızırbey. Kırklareli is also host to the only cave that is open to tourists in Thrace, the Dupnisa Cave (which is believed to have formed 4 million years ago). Dupnisa Cave was used for Dionysian Rituals (Sparagmos) in ancient times. Even the name of Dionysus is believed to have come from Mount Nisa that is above the cave of Dupnisa.
Lüleburgaz has a population of 98,000 and is known for its sixteenth-century mosque and bridge, both named after the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Paşa and purportedly designed by the Ottoman chief architect Sinan.
Tekirdağ is situated on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, 135 km west of Istanbul. The picturesque bay of Tekirdağ is enclosed by the great promontory of the mountain which gives its name to the city, a spur about 2000 ft. in height from the hilly plateau to the north. Between Tekirdağ and Şarköy is another mountain, Ganos Dağı. In 813 and again in 1206 it was sacked by the Bulgarians after the Battle of Rodosto, but it continued to appear as a place of considerable note in later Byzantine history. It is the capital of Tekirdağ Province and it is seen by many as a smaller, quieter town than the industrial centre of Çorlu, which it administers. The population as of 2007 was 134,000.
Tekirdağ’s historical name was Rodosto and during the Byzantine era, it was also called Bisanthi. During the Ottoman era, it was called Tekfur Dağ, based on the Turkish word tekfur, which designates generally the Byzantine feudal lords. In time, the name mutated into Tekirdağ. Today the Tekirdağ area is the site of many holiday homes, as the area is 90 minutes by road or train from nearby Istanbul. The road follows the coast and the villages of Şarköy, Mürefte and Kumbağ are particularly popular. Much of this holiday property has been built in an unregulated and unplanned manner and thus much of the coast seems very crowded and over-built. And the sea is not all that clean either, but there are still places to access the seaside near Tekirdağ.
Tekirdağ itself is a typical Turkish commercial town centre with a little harbour and little to offer to visitors. Of all the statues of Atatürk in Turkey the town centre of Tekirdağ holds the only one that was made exactly life-size. Most of the Ottoman wooden buildings have been replaced by practical concrete blocks but the town has neither modern sophistication, nor antique charm, nor any night-life. The Rakoczi Museum, a 17th century Turkish house where the Hungarian national hero, Francis II Rákóczi lived during his exile, from 1720 till his death in 1735 is a property of the State of Hungary and is widely visited, having become a place of national pilgrimage.
The church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Rheumatocratissa contains the graves, with long Latin inscriptions, of other Hungarians who took refuge here with their leader.
Çorlu today is larger in population than the provincial center of Tekirdağ, owing to a population growth initially caused by the emigration of Turks from Bulgaria that complemented the traditional left-leaning, industrial working-class of Çorlu, and a second wave of migrants from rural Anatolia in the 1990s who came to work in the factories, who now make up the conservative populace of the city. Another group, albeit smaller in numbers, is the Romani community. The town center bears the hallmarks of a typical migration-accepting Turkish rural town, with traditional structures coexisting with a collection of concrete apartment blocks providing public housing, as well as amenities such as basic shopping and fast-food restaurants, and essential infrastructure but little in the way of culture except for cinemas and large rooms hired out for wedding parties. Çorlu’s shopping facilities have recently been enhanced by the completion of the 25 km² Orion Mall. While there is little to no nightlife, save for the town’s now-infamous red light activities, as Çorlu is close to Istanbul, locals can and often do easily go to “the city” for the weekend.
(TO BE CONTINUED)