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Of History and its Remnants Part 3
Ankara: Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The existence of this museum on my wish list was reason enough to include Ankara on my Turkey itinerary. It's the only place in the country where I could grasp the full scope of Anatolia's preclassical-era human history.
The most important finds from the Neolithic village site of Çatalhöyük, near Konya, including the wall painting thought by some archaeologists to be the world's first town map and the famed fertility goddess statue, are displayed here in the first hall.
Farther on, halls are devoted to the Hittite Empire of the Bronze Age that had their capital at Hattusa and the Phrygian and Urartian Empires, which thrived on the Anatolian steppe during the Iron Age.
The central Stone Hall exhibits the most important stone reliefs and statuary from across the eras. There are a number of finely detailed orthostat reliefs from the Hittite site of Carchemish, renowned, long before its actual discovery, as the site of the Battle of Carchemish between Egypt and Babylonia relayed in the Old Testament.
Çanakkale: The Ruins of Troy
The city of Troy is one of the most famous ancient cities in history. Even if you don’t know much about it, you’ll have heard of the Trojan War, and the Trojan Horse, and you might have seen the epic (or epically bad, depending on your point of view) movie starring Brad Pitt. But what you might not know is that it’s not just a fictional location, it’s a real place. Yes, you can actually visit Troy and, so, I did. Visit to the city of Troy turned out to be quite informative and I relived through the tales of The Trojan Horse!
Next thing on my list was to become a daredevil and explore a range of adventure sports activities that Türkiye has on offer. Starting with Rock-climbing and then going on a trek to discover the hidden beauty of Türkiye.
The largest developed rock-climbing area in Türkiye is around Antalya, and more specifically, the sport climbing region of Geyikbayırı, which has over 700 routes of all grades. The crag itself is situated 25 km from Antalya, with the only "tourists" being rock climbers! The main crag is 1.5 km long, plus several other buttresses, providing over 700 routes across all grades. Excellent camping areas with unique climatic and geographical features just made me drool, so after I was done with the Rock-climbing part where I had a near death experience (Completely worth IT!), I decided to camp out in the open and breathe in the landscape which was no less than a mural on a sub-urban Café wall.
Roman Theatre of Aspendos
Just south of the resort city of Antalya, the jaw-dropping mammoth-like structure of the Roman Theatre of Aspendos celebrates the pomp and ceremony of Marcus Aurelius' rule.
Considered the finest surviving example of a classical age theatre still standing in the world, this highly restored, 15,000-seat theatre is one hell of a star attraction.
Although the theatre was the main reason for my visit here, there was plenty more to explore. There are remnants of an aqueduct, agora, stadium, and a Byzantine-era Basilica, all scattered over the vast hillside area here surrounding the theatre.
Belgrad Forest, Sarıyer, Şile in İstanbul
One of the best places to trek in İstanbul is the Belgrad Forest. Spanning 5,300 hectares, Belgrad Forest offers a variety of short and long trails.
The easiest place to start exploring the Forest is the small town of Bahçeköy which is almost in the middle of the Forest. I reached the town with the help of a public bus. Only carrying essentials such as protein bars, a compass, a bottle of water among others.
The GPS on my smartphone turned out to be quite handy since there were no maps on the Trek. And when the GPS had trouble connecting, the compass came out to be my saviour.
I came across one of the many Ottoman dams in the vicinity and it was such a spectacular perspective into the ecosystem.
After about 20 minutes of walk, I found myself in-front of the Atatürk Arboretum. In the facility, there are more than 2,000 plant species. The highlight of the Arboretum is the collection of Oak-Trees from all around the world. It could take up several hours to meticulously visit each section, Since I was already hungry, I decided to skip the Trees and head straight to the Food.
There are seven main picnic areas in the Forest; the most popular destination is Büyük Bent. This area has its own cafe where you are able to bring your own food and cook on the long wooden tables; drinks and snacks are also sold on-site. It is like a mini-metropolis in the heart of the Forest.
I was invited by a Turkish Family to join them in their BBQ feast and I frantically joined. It almost felt unreal when I recalled and shared my travel experience through the country with them. And I grasped the reality that my sabbatical was about to finish and I would be back to the conventional life in a week.
My travel through Türkiye has been remarkable and momentous in its own. So when are you travelling?
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