Erzincan, Turkey
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
22/02/1999 Buyuk Erzincan Oteli 670 KM 9028 KM

We finally reached a hotel after driving through three mountain passes in a blizzard.

We lucked onto the best drive through the mountains of northeastern Turkey – we'd been warned the roads were too bad and not to take this pass. Thank goodness we did.

Not only was the drive stunning, but the road was good too.

Great mountains behind us inspired this photo.

Stone does not last forever.

Notice the angle of the mountain showing the extreme tectonic upsurge.

The glorious mountain drive offered many photo opportunities.

The photo does not do justice to the tropical blue color of the water.

Cappadochia: Our guide told us that each family (there were 3000 people below ground) was responsible for digging maybe 10 centimeters. The underground city was built to protect the people from warriors passing above ground. Since Central Turkey has valleys between the mountains and Turkey divides Asia and Europe, soldiers passed through this area in battle. The village moved below ground in wartime and came up in peacetime. They grew food during peace which carried them through wartime below ground. The underground city is the best example we've seen yet that man can adapt to the world around him and survive.

Cappadoccia: We visited Derinkuyu, which has 8 stories underneath. The first began 4000 years ago, and then between 400 and 1200, the Greek Orthodox Christians developed the other seven floors.

22 February 1999 - Early morning drive to Cappadoccia, where underground cities in Central Turkey began 4000 years ago to protect against warriors passing above ground. Valleys between the Black Sea and Taura Mountain allowed soldiers easy passage to and from battle in Asia and Europe. Wisely, the ancient community moved below ground in wartime and above during peace - a perfect example of necessity serving as the mother of invention.

We explored bits of the eight underground floors, the first one begun by the Hittites. Later between 400 and 1200 AD, Greek Orthodox Christians developed the lower levels digging far enough to uncover an underground stream to source a well. Another shaft enabled underground dwellers to see above ground, thus knowing when to begin and halt days. Each family dug about 10 centimeters a year, or else, they went to the punishment chamber for hanging. That’s incentive.


  The Turkey/Georgia border (Paige)
  Extensive comments on Turkey - Part 2 (Jim and Paige)
  Extensive comments on Turkey - Part 1 (Jim)
  The drive through Erzincan (Jim)