it's 1962 March 28th
I'm sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never new I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don't like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn't know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn't worked the earth love it
I've never worked the earth
it must be my only platonic love
and here I've loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can't wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you'll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly

as long as a crow
I know this has troubled people before
and will trouble those after me
I know all this has been said a thousand times before
and will be said after me
I didn't know I loved the sky
cloudy or clearthe blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodinoin
prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into
I hear voicesnot from the blue vault but from the yard
the guards are beating someone again
I didn't know I loved trees
bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino
they come upon me in winter noble and modest
beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish"the poplars of Izmir
losing their leaves...they call me The Knife...
lover like a young tree...
I blow stately mansions sky-high"in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen
handkerchief to a pine bough for luck
I never knew I loved road
seven the asphalt kind
Vera's behind the wheel we're driving from Moscow to
the Crimea Koktebel
formerly "Goktepé ili" in Turkish
the two of us inside a closed boxthe world
flows past on both sides distant and mute
I was never so close to anyone in my life
bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and
Geredé when I was eighteena
part from my life I didn't have anything in the wagon
they could take
and at eighteen our lives are what we value least
I've written this somewhere before
wading through a dark muddy street I'm going to the
shadow play Ramazan nighta paper lantern leading the way
maybe nothing like this ever happened
maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy going
to the shadow play Ramazan night in Istanbul holding
his grandfather's handhis grandfather has on a fez
and is wearing the fur coat
with a sable collar over his robe
and there is a lantern in the negro eunuch's hand
and I can't contain myself for joy
flowers come to mind for some reason
poppies cactuses jonquilsin the jonquil garden in Kadikoy Istanbul
I kissed Marika
fresh almonds on her breath
I was seventeenmy heart on a swing touched the sky
I didn't know I loved flowersfriends sent me three red carnations in prison 1948
I just remembered the stars
I didn't know
I loved them toowhether I'm floored watching them from belowor whether I'm flying at their side.I have some questions for the cosmonautswere the stars much bigger
did they look like huge jewels on black velvet
apricots on orange
did you feel proud to get closer to the stars
I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine
now don't be upset comrades but non figurative
shall we say or abstract well some of them looked just like
such paintings which is to say they were terribly
figurative and concretemy heart
was in my mouth looking at them
they are our endless desire to grasp things
seeing them I could even think of death and not feel
at all sad
I never knew I loved the cosmos
snow flashes in front of my eyesboth heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind
I didn't know I liked snow
I never knew
I loved the suneven when setting cherry-red
as nowin Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors
but you aren't about to paint it that way
I didn't know I loved the sea
and how muchexcept the seas of Aivazovsky
I didn't know I loved cloudswhether
I'm under or up above them
whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts
moonlight the falsest the most languid the most
petit-bourgeois strikes me
I didn't know I liked itI didn't know
I liked rain
whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass
my heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped
inside a drop and takes off for uncharted countries
I didn't know I liked rain
but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting
by the window on the Prague-Berlin trainis it because
I lit my sixth cigarette
one alone could kill meis it because
I'm half dead from thinking about someone
back in Moscow
her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue
the train plunges on through the pitch-black night
I never knew
I liked the night pitch-blacksparks fly from the engine
I didn't know I loved sparks
I didn't know I loved so many things and I had to wait
until sixty to find it out sitting by the window
on the Prague-Berlin train
watching the world disappearas if on a journey of no return
NAZIM HIKMET Moscow, 19 April 1962



Usually, there are snowmen made in the winter by kids in different snowy playgrounds, but not this time. Meet the snowhorse with the police “keep-out” tape in place of the bridle.

And if to look bit closer, it has five legs

KAMAZ (kamsky car )

As it has appeared, the first model of KAMAZ (Kamsky car factory) was also developed on ZIL factory in the late 70s (ZIL-175). One can see it on the picture below. It is necessary to notice, that the later KAMAZ models have become the winners of Paris-Dakar European race

LADA NIVA 2121 - 1979 MODEL

For example here is the prototype of the Soivet and Russian off-road car Lada Niva E2121 Crocodile and the original later serial model Lada Niva 2121 (1979).





Bridge NameMostar BridgeLocationMostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Neretva RiverBridge TypeStone and marble archSpan29 meters (95 ft)DesignerOttoman (Turkish) architect Mimar HayruddinDate of Construction1566, destroyed 1993, rebuilt 2004Outstanding FeatureBeauty


Bridge NameMostar
BridgeLocationMostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Neretva RiverBridge
TypeStone and marble archSpan29 meters (95 ft)
DesignerOttoman (Turkish) architect Mimar Hayruddin
Date of Construction1566,
destroyed 1993,
rebuilt 2004
Outstanding FeatureBeauty


Image: The Mostar bridge in Bosnia is blown-up by Croatian soldiers in 1993 cutting off the Croat population on one side of the river, from the Muslim population on the other. During Tito's rule these two groups had lived and worked together as neighbors. Note the date and time stamp in the lower left corner which pin-points this moment in history. (credit: amateur video shot during the event and broadcast over Serbian television).Sound: The sound of Tito's funeral train with an excerpt of music written to accompany television coverage. When he ruled Yugoslavia, Tito traveled the country on his "blue train" tirelessly selling his program of unity and brotherhood to peoples who had lived in mutual suspicion and hatred for centuries. When he died, his coffin was placed aboard this same train which then traveled throughout Yugoslavia so all could mourn him. Although some secretly feared unity could not now be maintained, grieving crowds lined the tracks singing songs and carrying signs which read "Tito we will follow you. From your path we will not stray."





Located between the Black Sea on the West and the Caspian Sea on the East, the Kavkaz mountain range of Eastern Europe represents a true melting pot of various cultures due to a number of nations calling it their home through the ages. Today these influences are still strong and a rich source of cultural wealth of the region, as well as numerous political conflicts. Encompassing the territories of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, Ossetia, Turkey, Chechnia, Ingushetia and Iran, the Caucasus mountains are also home to one of the oldest living Molossers, the magnificient Caucasian Shepherd Dog. In reality the term "Caucasian Dog" should stand for a group of breeds and not for a single breed or a favored type. There is a great variety of types among the Caucasian dogs depending on their home region, but due to the ignorance of many Westerners and strong national appetite of Russian and pro-Russian dog fanciers, a single type bearing a misleading name is being favored in the Show rings and literature, at the expence of truth and other breed variants. The exotic-sounding misnomer "Ovtcharka" is very popular in the West, thanks to the efforts of the Russian Kennel Club, even though it simply translates to "Sheepdog, Shepherd or Shepherd Dog", making it very unpopular and often insulting among the non-Russian Kavkaz nationals and dog enthusiasts.Considered a Russian breed, the Caucasian Ovtcharka is a part of the Troika, a threesome of recognized Russian sheepdogs, the other two being the bearded South-Russian Sheepdog and the highly controversial Central Asian Shepherd Dog. Read the full profile.



For millions of years, the mighty volcanoes of the Central Anatolian Plateau erupted and spewed their contents across the land that would become the cradle of civilization. Blessed with a moderate climate and fertile soil, one of the world's earliest known communities was founded 10,000 years ago at Catalhoyuk along the river banks of the Casambasuyu near Konya. Mankind's first nature painting was found here and it portrays the most recent eruption of Hasan Dagi almost 9000 years ago. Today, its snow capped peaks dominate the Konya plain, awash in golden hues where vast wheat fields blend subtly with the ochre colored soil and the monochromatic palette is interrupted only where rivers flow and tall poplars flaunt their greenery.

Another great volcano rises in the distance to the east of Hasan Dagi. Once called Mt. Argeus, the awesome presence of Erciyes Dagi inspired legends as the "Abode of the Gods" and the Persians built a Zoroastrian fire temple nearby. These two ancient volcanoes mark the western and eastern boundaries of a region known for its curious volcanic landscape that has been relentlessly carved by nature and by the people who have lived here. 'Fairy chimneys,' cones and strange rock formations have been sculpted by wind and rain while subterranean towns were excavated by a populace seeking shelter from the conquerors and would-be conquerors who crisscrossed the wide open steppes of the Central Anatolian Plateau. Ancient Anatolian tribes, Assyrians, Hittites, Phrygians, Turkic tribes from Central Asia, Mongols, Persians, Syrians, Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Slavs, Greeks, Romans and Western Europeans have all passed through leaving behind some of their traditions as well as their genes and rendering Cappadocians as exotic as their surreal surroundings.
Although the Hellenistic kingdom of Cappadocia once encompassed a much greater area, the name now refers to the region east of Konya that is defined by Aksaray to the west, Kayseri to the east, Nigde to the south and Kirsehir to the north. Guide books and tour buses focus on the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu as well as the rock formations and Byzantine churches found within the triangular area bounded by Avanos, Nevsehir and Urgup. For those who take the time to explore the less traveled byways, Cappadocia is a land of discovery. Away from Goreme, Zelve and the major tourist sites, there are partially excavated Hittite centers, cavetowns and hundreds of churches that are rarely seen, gorges to explore and some of the most vivid, pastoral scenes to be captured in all of Turkey.
Aksaray is located on the Melendiz Cayi (Melendiz River) along the old trade route that connected Persia to the Aegean Sea. It was once the city of Garsaura that was later renamed Archelais but little of its ancient past survives. During the Seljuk era (1071-1300), Aksaray was transformed into an exemplary Muslim city where a hospital and schools were built. One of the first two Islamic theological schools, the Ibrahim Kadiroglu Medrese was built here in the 12th century. The other was built in Konya, one of Turkey's oldest continuously inhabited cities and the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. These and later schools attracted some of the greatest Islamic scientists, philosophers and theologians of the age including Jelaluddin who escaped the Mongol invasion of Afghanistan. He is better known as Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, a renowned mystical Master and favorite saint of Konya.
The reign of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I (1219 - 1236) brought prosperity to the empire when he renovated the long neglected road system and constructed a series of hans (inns) along the way. Generally, they are massive fortress-like structures with impressive entrances framed by intricately carved honeycomb portals. Inside, a large courtyard with a central mescid (small mosque) is surrounded by arched porches where animals were tended. Another portal leads to the living quarters for travelers. Hans were located about a days distance apart by camel and they provided travelers with food, lodging, entertainment and protection. Twenty four miles to the west of Aksaray, the Sultanhan Caravanserai was the last overnight stop before reaching Konya. It was built about 1229 and has been partially restored. The Agzikarahan Caravanserai nine miles to the east of Aksaray retains its original features and is one of the best preserved in the area. This somnolent farming town now serves as a base for exploring the Ihlara Valley or as a rest stop on the way to Cappadocia but during the 13th century, it was an enclave of culture, refinement and scholarship that attracted visitors from all over the known world including the great Spanish scholar and mystic, Ibn El-Arabi.
A few miles past Aksaray, a good road leads to the main Nevsehir-Nigde highway by way of the Ihlara Valley and Guzelyurt. Rick Steves highlighted Guzelyurt in his Turkey travel video for television and now, even 'the pension where Rick Steves stayed' is offered as a place of interest for tourists! Guzelyurt is one of the most tourist friendly communities in Cappadocia with a multi-lingual aide who seems to materialize out of nowhere and whose job it is to assist visitors with practicalities like parking, food and lodging. Villagers and children will stop to chat and give directions to the 'antique city' of the old Greek quarter where the mosque was once an old Byzantine church that honored St. Gregory Nazianzus. He was born and died nearby and is prominent as one of the 4th century Cappadocian Fathers who defended the Nicene Creed against Arianism which denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Formerly known as Karballa then Gelvere, Guzelyurt means 'beautiful land.' It is built on the cliffs surrounding a narrow gorge that is but a small appendage of the more impressive Ihlara Gorge. There are over fifty rock cut churches inside Monastery Valley which lays beyond the old village, past semi-troglodytic houses that line a narrow, winding road. People still live in these old cave dwellings and visitors are apt to see women baking bread in 400 year old communal ovens or children making mud pies on the roofs of their cliff houses carved in the rocks below. Guzelyurt has been declared a conservation area requiring new buildings to be constructed of natural stone so as to maintain its distinct Cappadocian architecture. The boxy, stone buildings with flat roofs and large arched doorways are more similar to houses of Northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia than to structures in other parts of Turkey. This is hardly surprising because the earliest mention of Cappadocians by Herodotus in the 5th century BC refers to them as 'Syrians.'

The Melendiz River finds its source in the numerous springs of the Melendiz Daglari and the adjacent Hasan Dagi to its west. These mountains comprise a series of currently inactive volcanoes that, over millions of years, deposited a thick layer (1500 feet) of volcanic lava, ash and mud. This material hardened to form a soft volcanic rock known as tufa which was overlaid with a thinner layer of hard basalt. With the passing of time, the Melendiz River has carved a steep sided gorge on its way toward the marshes of Toz Golu (Salt Lake) leaving behind expanses of flat, basalt topped plateaus that characterize this region. Further erosion of the basalt layer expresses itself in the surrealistic landscape of Cappadocia but in the Ihlara Valley (Peristrema), rock cones are only seen near Yaprakhisar and Selime.
Throughout the years, this verdant valley has remained relatively untouched by the tides of invaders that have swept the land. Sheltered by a natural barrier, the massive Hasan Dagi to the south, the valley is located away from the major travel routes that are still evidenced by the main roads from Aksaray to Kayseri and Kirsehir to Nigde. It has therefore served as a physical and an intellectual oasis for the people who have lived here. Hittites found refuge from the Phrygian invaders while early Christian monks sought its isolation in a remote corner of the kingdom during the 2nd century Roman persecutions and were later sheltered from the Arab invasions in the 7th and 8th centuries.
The valley became an important center of monasticism that lasted from the 4th to the 14th centuries. There are an estimated 150 churches and several monasteries in the canyon between the villages of Ihlara and Selime. A walk through the tranquil 14 km gorge is a delight. The dappled light under poplars and wild olive trees as well as the constant murmur of the water provide relief from an unrelenting sun and the monotony of endless wheat fields that make up the Cappadocian landscape. Near villages, the river continues to be the focus of village life: women wash their laundry amid chatter and laughter, children splash nearby and shepherds bring their animals for a drink.
The main churches are marked although a few have been closed to the public. The most popular churches are those in the canyon area between the villages of Belisirma and Ihlara. However, Yaprakhisar and Selime are more interesting architecturally with stone houses that extend into the rock caves. The village of Selime is named after the sultan whose conical tomb stands on the river's bank and numerous facades are carved into the cliffs at Yaprakhisar. For the adventurous, the entire length of the Ihlara Valley is a wonderful place for exploration. The children know the hidden entryways and they offer some of the most incredible 'tours' to be found in Cappadocia as they share their extraordinary playground, scampering up tracks through the rocks to a labyrinth of caves and tunnels that open to unexpected hideaways.
Only nine miles from Ihlara, the village of Helvadere sits among the foothills of Hasan Dagi. Its peaks are both over 10,000 feet high and its northern face is threaded with ribbons of snow where ravines have etched the mighty volcano. The mountain beckons for it abounds in secrets and legends. It has witnessed the comings and goings of Central Anatolia since the dawn of civilization. Roman ruins, Byzantine churches and Seljuk graves lay scattered along its northern slopes and mountain villagers tell tales of intriguing snake legends. In his book, Caves of God: Cappadocia and Its Churches, Spiro Kostof interprets the symbolism of the paintings in the Yilani Kilise (Snake Church) located across the bridge from the Tourist Pavilion in the Ihlara gorge. For one painting, he suggests that a woman is being punished for not nursing her children because 2 snakes are attached to her nipples. It seems likely that the real meaning may be hidden within the snake legends of these mountain people. While we long to uncover the secrets of Hasan Dagi, there is only enough time for a half an hour hike behind Helvadere to visit the ruins of Viransehir (Destroyed City). There was a large monastic complex here and remnants of a Byzantine fortress and two churches can be seen.
A drive through the region to the north of the Aksaray-Nevsehir road is to visit the true heart of Turkey. Numerous farming communities are located along the streams and rivers that empty into the stalwart Kizilirmak, Turkey's longest river that is over 800 miles in length. Farming in Turkey is generally highly mechanized, but here, reapers still wield the scythe and plants are sometimes hand-watered with scoops dipped into nearby irrigation canals. When the sun reaches its zenith, workers gather under shade trees for their midday meal and a well earned rest in a scene reminiscent of Bruegel's 16th century painting, "The Harvesters." This centuries old way of life continues, seemingly indifferent to the encroachment of mass tourism.

There are cavetowns and rock formations scattered within this area. Tatlarinkoy boasts an extensive semi-troglodytic complex but only a few caves are available to the public. The small Byzantine church has not been vandalized and its original colors remain rich and vibrant. A typical cave dwelling with several rooms can be explored and it is complete with 'telephone' (a special chute for talking to those on another level), toilet, kitchen, shelves and a large, solid, wheel-shaped rock that serves as a rolling door. Above the doorway is a compartment from which to attack an intruder who may have broken through the barrier. The main features of this cave dwelling are duplicated throughout Cappadocia. In Tatlarinkoy, cave entrances speckle the surrounding cliffs carved by the Acisu River. Some caves are used by farmers for food storage and animal shelters but many seem to have been completely abandoned.

Kayseri was already an ancient Hittite settlement called Mazaca when it was renamed Caesarea of Cappadocia by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Nearby, archaeological excavations at Kultepe have revealed that the area was first occupied around 4000 BC and known as Kanesh in ancient times. It was a powerful commercial trade and mining center around 2000 BC and 4000 year old Assyrian silver mines can still be seen there. Most of the artifacts from Kultepe are housed in the Archaeological Museum in Kayseri.
During Byzantine times, Caesarea Mazaca maintained its prominence as a city of commerce and trade as well as a major metallurgical center that specialized in the manufacture of heavy cavalry armor. Its schools were ranked with those of Athens, Alexandria and Constantinople. It must have been an affluent city because historical references have been made to its beautiful homes, elegant cuisine and the many almshouses that were built by St. Basil the Great, another Cappadocian Father and friend of St. Gregory Nazianzus. Much of its Byzantine years has been lost because the city was razed in the 11th century when it was captured by the Seljuk Turks and it lay abandoned for fifty years. Ruins of a 4th century monastery and Justinian's 6th century citadel that has been extensively renovated by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, still remain. Surprisingly, one of Caesarea Mazaca's culinary traditions has survived. They developed a type of cured beef called paston which was introduced to Hungary and Romania as pastirma by the conquering Turks. It was then adapted and carried to New York as pastrami by Jewish immigrants.
Under the Seljuks, Kayseri became prominent once again as the second most important city in the empire with many architecturally important structures. Theological schools, a medical school and hospitals were built here. As an important center of learning and commerce, Kayseri attracted an intellectual elite, merchants, tradesmen and skilled artisans. Today, Kayseri is a university town, a major agricultural center and enjoys a bustling trade in carpets and kilims.
Birds of the Reed Forests To the south of Kayseri and Erciyes Dagi, the Sultansazligi or the Sultan Marshes is an extensive wetland area that envelops the Develi Plain. The road from Kayseri to the town of Develi affords a very scenic drive following the Karasu River to Tekir Yaylasi where a popular ski center is located on the eastern slopes of Erciyes Dagi. The road then descends the southern slopes of the mountain where the entire Sultan Marshes ecosystem spreads itself beneath the majestic, snow-capped mountain. On closer view, reeds sway to gentle breezes, iridescent blue waters shimmer in the sunlight and masses of pink flamingoes cavort in Yay Golu.
This wetland area consists of two reed-covered freshwater lakes, Egrigol and Col Golu, to the north and south of the Develi Plain, Yay Golu, a saltwater lake between them as well as the surrounding marshlands. It is the largest wetland ecosystem in Turkey and is fed by numerous springs and streams from the surrounding mountains. Its location at the juncture of three continents makes it an important breeding ground for birds and over 250 species are found here. While the Sultan Marshes are of special interest to ornithologists, the pink flamingoes of Yay Golu are as impressive to most travelers as those on Lake Nakuru in Kenya or Lake Manyara in Tanzania.
There is a lookout tower at Ovaciftlik just east of the Kayseri-Nigde highway along the connecting road to Yahyali, a village where local women weave distinctive patterned carpets of world renown. The villages of Sindelhuyuk near Develi and Ovaciftlik are convenient for making arrangements to view the flamingoes of Yay Golu but boat rides on the various lakes can generally be negotiated from any of the villages that surround the area.
Underground Cities Although referred to as "cities," the underground communities of Cappadocia probably served as temporary shelters rather than as permanent hidden cities. The incessant darkness is hardly conducive to life and some of the passageways are little more than crawling spaces that would have been intolerable in long-term situations. No one is certain as to the number of underground communities that exist or even by whom they were built.
The two largest communities that have been unearthed are located at Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, 20 and 30 kms. south of Nevsehir on the Nevsehir-Nigde road. It is thought that the Hittites may have excavated the first few levels in the rock when they came under attack from the Phrygians around 1200 BC. However, some archaeologists believe that the oldest caves, those hewn with stone rather than metal tools, are substantially older. These chambers were later expanded into an extensive troglodytic complex by Christians escaping the Arab invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries.
Discreet entrances give way to elaborate subterranean systems with air shafts, waste shafts, wells, chimneys and connecting passageways. The upper levels were used for living quarters while the lower levels were used for storage, wine making, flour grinding and worship in simple chapels. Everywhere, walls have been blackened from the use of torches. There is a connecting tunnel between Kaymakli and Derinkuyu that allowed three people to walk through at the same time but it is not available to the public as parts of the tunnel have collapsed.
0nly 10 kms. to the east of Kaymakli is another cavetown at Mazikoy that may be connected with Derinkuyu but this remains to be proven. This community was built within the walls of a cliff. Unlike Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, there are no stairs or grades that pass from one level to the next. Instead, the different levels are well defined with connecting tunnels through which people climbed up or let themselves down by means of footholds carved into the walls of the shafts. Mazikoy is often bypassed because it is a smaller community, its location is away from the main road and a certain agility is required to fully appreciate its features.
Rock Cut Churches and Monasteries Many settlements in Cappadocia were established primarily as monastic communities. As Bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in the 4th century, St. Basil the Great wrote the rules for monastic life that are still followed by monks and nuns of the Greek Orthodox Church. He advocated community life, prayer and physical labor rather than the solitary asceticism that was popular at the time and it was under his guidance that the first churches were built in Goreme Valley. Here, a number of small communities with their own churches formed the large monastic complex that is now the Open Air Museum. Hundreds of churches are reported to have been built in this valley but no churches from St. Basil's time remain. In Goreme, the Tokali Kilise or the "Buckle Church" is easily the loveliest of the churches with graceful arches and beautiful frescoes.
The most impressive monastery in Cappadocia is the Eskigumus Monastery to the east of Nigde off the Kayseri-Nigde road. It is the most southerly of the Cappadocian monasteries and lies close to the route taken by the invading Arabs who traversed the Tarsus Mountains from the south to plunder Kayseri in the 7th century. This route follows the Tarsus River through a precipitous defile called the Gulek Bogazi. It was known in the ancient world as the Cicilian Gates and was used by Alexander the Great in his eastward campaign against the Persians. The nondescript entrance to the Eskigumus Monastery was designed to shield the monastery complex from invaders passing by. It was so successful that the monastery was not discovered until 1963, having escaped the vandalism to which many of the Cappadocian churches and monasteries were subjected. The large inner courtyard boasts high walls surrounded by monastic rooms and storage chambers. The main church is spacious and airy and its well-preserved frescoes are considered to be the best example of Byzantine art in all of Cappadocia.
Pigeon Houses Near Uchisar is a valley that has become quite popular with hikers. It is known by many names (Valley of the Pigeon Lofts, Dovecote Valley, Pigeon Valley) but they all refer to the thousands of pigeon houses that have been carved into the soft tufa since ancient times. Although they can be found throughout Cappadocia, they are especially plentiful in this valley which must have one of the greatest collections of pigeon lofts in the world. They were carved wherever space allowed including abandoned caves and the walls of collapsed churches. They lack the architectural interest of the doocots of Scotland or the elaborate Persian pigeon towers but their sheer numbers are astonishing. In Cappadocia, pigeons have long been a source of food and fertilizer. The advent of chemical fertilizers has reduced the use of pigeon fertilizer. However, some farmers still maintain their lofts because they insist that the reputation of Cappadocian fruits as the sweetest and most succulent in Turkey is entirely due to the pigeons' droppings.
Best Times to Go: Cappadocia is generally cooler than the popular coastal areas of the Mediterranean and the Aegean. April to mid June and September to October are the best months for avoiding the intense heat and crowds of summer.
Getting There: Turkey has excellent bus and dolmus (minibus) service. Bus service to Cappadocia is available from Istanbul, Ankara, and the major cities of Turkey. Drop off points differ according to the city of origin so take a bus from wherever you are to whatever destination in Cappadocia is available then use a taxi or the dolmus service to get to the towns that you may want to visit.
Travel agents in major cities in Turkey all offer tours to Cappadocia. If time is an issue and you have no other options for visiting the area, it is better to take the tour rather than to forgo the region but be aware of the limitations of such tours which have a propensity for spending too much time at the carpet shops.
The main airport of the region is located in Kayseri and there are regular flights from Istanbul by Turkish Airlines (THY). Buses are available from Erkilet airport to the otogar in Kayseri. Argeus Tours (Tel. 90-384-214-2800) has a shuttle service from the Airport to Goreme and Urgup.
Clothing/Gear: Modest, season appropriate clothes are suggested for visits to Cappadocia. Immodest clothing for women (shorts, short skirts, tank tops, tight fitting clothes) still invites unwanted attention in this conservative region, especially in the less visited villages. Long pants are recommended for those who want to explore cave dwellings as some crawling may be necessary and the tufa surfaces can be quite rough. Be sure to bring a wide brimmed hat, sun tan lotion, and comfortable shoes.
When traveling in Turkey, it is a good idea for women to bring a long skirt, light sweater and pretty shawl. They can quickly be slipped on over casual clothes to dress up for dinner or to become appropriately dressed when visiting the mosques.
General Information:Those who plan to visit other areas of Turkey should consider flying since distances are so great between the different areas of interest. Bus travel within Turkey is easy and inexpensive. Smoking is prohibited but this is not always the reality, especially on long trips.
It is easy to get around the main areas of Cappadocia by dolmus service which is inexpensive and offers regularly scheduled trips. However, service to the less traveled areas is sporadic and not always convenient. A variety of one day tours are offered by numerous local tour companies at a cost of about $75 - $100 per person per day. It is better to rent your own vehicle or to hire a car and driver. A rental car costs $60 - $100 per day and hiring a car and driver costs about $75 - $125 per day. Putting together a small group will make this option more cost effective. Avis has an office in Urgup (tel. 90-384-341-2177) while local car rental companies or a car and driver may be found by asking at your hotel.
The excellent hotel rates of the Aegean coastline do not extend to Cappadocia where modern, western style hotels exist but are substantially more expensive. Fortunately, there is a good selection of reasonably priced pensions and small hotels, some of which provide unique lodgings such as cave dwellings and converted monasteries. Restaurants are plentiful and if you cannot read the menu, you are welcome to peer into the pots to make your selection.
Planning Tips:
Allocate more than two or three days to experience this truly unique area.
Do include Konya in your Cappadocian itinerary. It was the once known as Iconium under the Romans and later became the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. The best examples of Seljuk architecture and calligraphy can be seen here.
The culture of rural Turkey is conservative so modesty and polite manners are always appreciated.
Be sure to keep yourself hydrated and to pace yourself in the summertime as the heat can be quite fierce.
Try to vary your activities. Unless you are a Byzantine specialist, visiting the 50th rock cut church on the same day becomes a blur.
It is worthwhile to explore the area around Guzelyurt. Particularly interesting is the nearby Kizil Kilise (Red Church), a 6th century cruciform church with a dome that sits on top of an unusual, octagonal structure. This graceful, little church was constructed from red trachyte, a type of volcanic rock.
Do visit the rock fortress of Ortahisar, the spectacular Devrent Valley, the lush Soganli Valley and other well known sites. These areas have not been mentioned only because substantial information is already provided in most guidebooks.
Purchase a good road map prior to leaving home. They are difficult to find in Turkey, especially outside the main cities.
Important Resources:


Fethiye Körfezi içerisinde yeralan irili ufaklı adaların çoğunluğu Göcek koyu ile Kapıdağ yarımadası içerisinde yeralır. Jeolojik oluşum esnasında Kapıdağ yarımadasının anakaradan çekme-kopma etkisi ile oluşan adalar önceki devirlerin yüksek dağlarının su üzerinde kalan tepelerinden oluşmuştur. Bu özellikleri ile adalar arası bağlantılar gözle görülür biçimde açıkça fark edilebilir.
Su seviyesine rastgele inen yamaçlar bu sayede ilginç yüzey şekilleri oluşturarak bugünkü hoş geometrik şekilli adaları oluşturmuşlar. 3 büyük adanın dışında 10 a yakın ufak adacık ve kayalıklardan oluşan bu coğrafya arasında tekne ile dolaşmak, berrak sularda yüzmek bambaşka bir lezzet.
Göcek'e en yakın ada olan Göcek adası, güzel plajları, çam ormanlarından oluşan doğası ve ada sahilinde hizmet veren tesisleri ile mükemmel bir günübirlik yeridir.
Yassıca, Zeytinli, Şeytanlı ve Kızıl ada dan oluşan adacıklar ve kayalıklar topluluğu ise sizde kesinlikle tropikal bir atmosfer havası uyandıracak. Yassıca adasının denize bir fiyonk gibi uzanan sahili ve en ucunda yuvarlak minik bir göletin yer aldığı yüzey şekli ile bir doğa harikası olduğunu göreceksiniz. Yassıca ada sahilinde sizleri kıldan yapılma yörük çadırları karşılayacak. Burada yöreye özgü gözleme - ayran servisi yapılmakta. Diğer adalara da tekne ile yaklaşıp demirlemek ve adalara çıkmak mümkün. Bu adalar grubunun çember şeklinde dizilmesi ile aralarında oluşan sığ havza, durgun ve berrak suları ile aklınızı başınızdan alacak görsel zenginliğe sahiptir.Kapıdağ Yarımadasına yaklaşmaya başladığınızda sizi Tersane Adası karşılayacak. Girintili çıkıntılı yapısı içerisinde sahip olduğu iki koy adanın içlerine doğru olabildiğince girmiştir. Öyleki buralar yeterli derinliğe sahip olduğundan tekne ve gemilerin girmesine müsade eder. Bu yüzden önceki dönemlerde de tersane olarak kullanılmıştır. Günümüzde hala bu dönemlerden kalma binalar ve tersaneye ait dönemin kızakları kısmen görülebilmektedir.
Domuz adası ayrıca Prens Adası olarak ta bilinir. Tersane adası ile birlikte Kapıdağ Yarımadasının en son ucu arasında çok küçük kanal mesafeleri bırakarak anakaradan ayrıldıkları için inanılmaz güzellikte doğal yapılar oluştururlar. Domuz adasıda korunaklı koylara sahip aynı doğal güzellikleri barındırır. Göcek'ten hareketle tek tek gezerek, molalar verip, denizin , güneşin ve doğanın tadını çıkarabileceğiniz 12 adaların her biri diğerinden daha güzel gelecek. Adaları gezerken Akdenizin berrak sularında yolculuk edecek, bereketli topraklardan fırlamışçasına coşkulu çam ormanlarının temiz havasını soluyacaksınız.


Later you may enjoy the delicious and healthy food in Jurmala's many restaurants and cafes

In Jurmala, You will discover a combination of charming wooden houses built in the beginning of the last century and modern resort buildings

Jurmala – the largest resort city in the Baltic States is well-known for its natural treasures – the mild climate, sea, healthy air, curative mud and mineral water. The attraction of Jurmala hides in its almost 33 km long white sandy beaches, the large pine forest and the natural border of the city – the river Lielupe

Jurmala is a good place for international conferences and corporate meetings. People come here to recover or strengthen their health enjoying the healing effect of mud bathing and mineral waters. SPA Hotels offer a wide range of services and packages.Perhaps you will visit the famous concert hall Dzintari or simply watch the sunset on Jurmala beach!
In every season there are plenty of events for everyone – art exhibitions, local and international events and concerts. Enjoy the water attractions in the biggest aquapark in Northern Europe "Līvu Akvaparks" and "Nemo",
Start your visit to Jurmala by taking a walk along the central promenade of Jomas street