Monday, January 3, 2011

How did you spend your New Years?

Some people may have heard a lot about Turkey’s beautiful and diverse countryside.  I assure you, these stories are factual.  We all have experienced seeing landscape so breath-taking with hopes to freeze that moment in time so it may last forever. Inevitably, being disappointed with the photograph and finding that the picture does not encompass the same effect that the real experience offers (unless you are a professional photographer with amazing capabilities; which I do not).  None-the-less, here is my effort to share with the world my amazing New Years adventures. 
 My cousin, Leah, blessed our family with her trip to Adana, Turkey from her home in Ankara.  We got to give her a tour around the base and show her how we live on a Turkish military base. 
The following day, we decided to take a half-day trip and picnic just a few miles from base to witness the illustrious Yilankale (Snake) Castle for ourselves.  I had never been, but was told it was close and a must-see.  Rumor said Yilankale is a very easy find and we soon found that it was in fact, nearly impossible to miss. 

Feeling self-assured at our successful spotting of the castle without any real directions, we ventured up a windy gravel road towards the base of the hill.  We found parking area and began our hike.  The path began very wide and paved but soon transformed into a rocky trail.  We followed this trail, until there was nothing of the sort left. 

 We were not going to give up quite so easily, as Arion was in favor of a nice climb.  So climb we did; and began the next part of our journey up the castle.  

As we ventured up, the trail became more obsolete and eventually disappeared all together.  There were no safety signs, equipment or guard rails of any sort on this climb so each climber was on their own while exploring this area. 

The view from Yilankale is breath-taking.  As I said before, snap-shots are frustrating in that they just don't give the same ombiance as being there in person.  Standing so high above everything else made it pretty clear why this castle was built on this very location. 

The precise history of this castle is unknown; however it is suspected that it was build by Armenian Crown Prince Leo III sometime between 1270-1289.  This castle contains a cistern, storerooms, chapel, other rooms and several interior gates. Ancient mythology states that the castle was owned by a ruler who was half man and half snake and used snakes to enforce his will.

There were many obscure passageways and stairwells we discovered in the castle.  Arion enjoyed imagining that a beautiful princess and a handsome prince once ruled this castle.

The view from any window in this castle could hold the attention of even a child for a long time.  There simply is nothing else like it.

Arion looks forward to going back to Yilankale again soon to show Michael.  He, unfortnatley was not able to go along on this trip, but I plan to get him there in the very near future.  Our next adventure, Kizkaleski was equally as amazing, for many different reasons.  But I will talk more about that in a later blog. 

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