A harrowing series of tunnels that seem to go on forever or a winding
passageway through the life and history of people before us. Whichever way you
choose to describe our next stop, those words hardly serve justice to the Underground
City of Kaymakli.
Continuing on our tour through the region of Turkey known as Cappadocia, we
ventured away from the tourist hotspots and closer towards a site that known for not
having seen the light of day for hundreds of years. The Underground City of Kaymakli
was opened to tourists in 1964, and features over a hundred different tunnels. While
only four floors are opened for tourists to explore, the remaining tunnels are still used
today as storage areas, cellars, and stables for the people in the neighboring village.
Since the inner tunnels of the city are narrow and steep, some people in the
group decided to sit out once we went deeper in. As I was exploring the different
passageways and tunnels, it amazed me how a whole village of people could find their
way through the twists and turns of the area. Although there were arrows signifying
which way the exit was located, I’m sure that one wrong turn into a passageway could
have been very stressful for anyone in the group. Through steep stairs, long tunnels, and
twisting corridors, our tour group finally came back to where we started, eager for our
Tuz Golu, or Salt Lake, was our next stop in the tour and offered a beautiful
view of one of the world’s biggest salt lakes. Salt Lake is located approximately 65 miles
from the town of Konya. The lake covers 580 sq. miles of land, but is very shallow for
most of the year. During the summer, most of the water actually evaporates causing a
crust of salt to appear that is about 30 centimeters. Surrounding towns use the lake as
its main source of economy. The salt from the lake is used to create beauty, spa, and
health products that are sold in the neighboring towns. While our tour bus took a rest,
our group took a look out onto the peaceful lake. If you look near the shore, you can
see grains of salt clumped up like snow. We enjoyed the scenery all the way to our next
Ankara is the not only the capital of Turkey, but also the second largest city in Turkey,
second only to Istanbul. Our first stop in Ankara was AnÄ±tkabir, the mausoleum of
Mustafa Kemal AtatÃk. In addition to Mustafa Kemal Atatak’s tomb,
Turkey’s second president, also has a tomb across the square. While we were there,
our group was also able to witness a change of the guards. Regardless of the impressive
ceremony, the main attraction was the museum. The museum allowed visitors to freely
walk around and see the story of the Turkish War of Independence. Not only were there
vivid scenes of the war reenacted through posed wax statues complete with sound
effects and props, but there were also collections of paintings and art depicting scenes
of the war. A section in the museum was dedicated to personal items of the presidents,
some of the items included books, journals, and swords. As we walked through the
museum, we were fascinated by Turkey’s history and the progression it made into
becoming the modern day republic it is today. This trip to the mausoleum really told me
the story of Turkey, and it was a great opportunity to look at the political side of Turkey.
Our group ate our dinner at the Koru Hotel, where we gave a ceremonious toast.
Dr. Irawan gave a speech on behalf of the group thanking our tour guide, Murat, and
our tour bus driver. In addition, we thanked Mr. Li for helping take control of the hectic
situation with the airport delays, and Butce for offering to write articles about Turkey.
We toasted off the night and went to sleep to await the rest of our trip that was growing
shorter by the day. Gorusucez or for those who don’t know Turkish, see you next time.