After my second day of scuba-diving lessons in the turquoise Turkish sea, my experienced diving pals from Ankara Aqua Club knew what to do, dinner at Alanya. Hard work makes hungry and what would be better than a tasty sandwich outside a cafeteria in the street of this still winter sleepy tourist town on an early spring evening?
At the present day village of Sart, in the Turkish province of Izmir (Smyrna), are found the ruins of the temple of Artemis Of Sardis. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the wild animals, the twin-sister of Apollo, who is the god of the domesticated herds, siblings of Zeus and Leto. This holy place was part of the former capital of the Iron Age kingdom of Lydia, which last ruler was the proverbially rich Croesus, defeated by Cyrus the Great from Persia around 2500 years ago, after the Delphi oracle had ambiguously foretold that if he attacked the Persians, a great empire would be destroyed. Continue reading
In the center of Turkey, in its capital, on a hill at Ankara Anitkabir, rests the national heart of Turkey. This is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of all Turks, born 1881 in Thessaloniki (Greece). A particularly brave soldier during World War I, he rebelled against allied forces on 23 April 1920, while establishing a new parliament (Grand National Assembly) in order to defend the remains of the Ottoman Empire against Greek and Armenian occupying forces advancing from the west and east. Emerging victorious as commander in chief of the Turkish army, he declared independence on 29 October 1923, and the Turkish Republic was born.
The question is, now that I am slowly petrifying, do I get closer to heaven or hell? As a young geologist it seemed simpler, when heaven was walking unknown wilderness, cooking on campfire and sleeping in a tent. Growing older meant moving to a room above a bar in a god-forsaken village, followed by a run-down three-star hotel from a glorious past in some provincial town. And now that I am Key Expert in Turkey chasing ministerial office tigers, I lay low along infinite buffets, wallow in four star luxury and while bathing in hot hydro-thermal fluids rising-up from deep realms, I really wonder whether I am getting closer to heaven or hell.