Friday, July 11, 2008

A Day and a Half in Eastern Turkey

Yesterday at 11:00 am the Mopsos team boarded a bus for Sanliurfa. The drive was a little long, a touch over six hours each way, but we entertained ourselves. Our journey took us through the Turkish countryside and across the Euphrates River. We stopped in Beracik on the Euphrates and had Turkish tea and coffee. It took little time for Juan and I to strip of our shirts and shoes and dive right in. The water was incredibly cold but completely worth it. On the way back Jeff, Andrea, Amanda, Juan, and I all jumped in. After tea, coffee, and ice cream we boarded the bus and made it to Sanliurfa.
Despite the 125 degree heat from the previous day, we took in as many sites as possible. The first was Abraham’s Pool, which according to the Biblical tradition is the place where Abraham was saved from the Assyrian king Nimrod. Today it is a small lake with many fish. The second major site was Gobekli Tepe, which boasts the world’s oldest monumental architecture. Sandra Scham, a Mopsos Survey staff member, will be writing an article about the site in an upcoming issue of Archaeology magazine. The third and final major stop was Kapali Carsi, a large bazaar dating to the Ottoman period. The bazaar was full of locally produced goods including spices, scarves, other textiles, and various fruits and vegetables. A great time was had by all.