Sunday, December 20, 2009


I see and envy all the snowy pictures on the blogs of this side of the world. As of today we still do not have any snow, not a bit. As I also want to post some snow photos, here is an old post for you. I wrote this piece for another blog after my 2 weeks long travel on the Southeastern part of Turkey.Year was 2007.

''In the second half of April I went to southeastern Turkey that is also part of ancient Mesopotamia. When we left the house very early on April 20 to catch the Van airplane, there was a warm and bright air in Istanbul. After two hours, when we landed at Van, I was shivering. The weather was really cold.

Van museum that is displaying the important Urartian artifacts was closed due to renovation and no body knew when it would be opened again. So we went to the Van castle that was built by the Urartian King of Sardur the 1. It was almost noon and the weather was just freezing. I put on my hat and gloves that I did not have the chance to use in Istanbul during winter and tried to remember the Van of 20 years ago, when I visited right after my graduation from the university. There was no park arrangement around the castle at that time and I think there were more children around. The children I photographed at that time might have their own child right now.
After visiting Kaya Çelebi mosque and Hüsrev Pasha Külliyesi, which look like two identical buildings from the castle, we returned to the city. Restoration works were done at both mosques. After lunch we hit the internationally named bazaars of the city and finally it was started to snow. Ironically Iran, Russia, Japan and Europe bazaars were crowded with Chinese and Indian goods, you could find some interesting stuff if you could dig the stalls long enough.

In the afternoon we went to the food markets in order to taste Van. Although they are only mentioning cheese in the name of the Grand Cheese Makers Market, shops selling viscera occupied almost half the market. After viewing the heads, legs, brains and tongues that were displayed on the stalls in neat ways, we purchased the famous cheese of Van prepared with different herbs. After buying warm flat bread from the Küçük Yıldız Pide Fırını, we ate them at the coffee house of İzzet with hot tea. They were just delicious. When we heard that the honey of the honey producer Behçet is worth tasting, we also found his store and bought a jar of honey.

When we took a minibus to go to our hotel located near the Lake Van, the ladies I chatted at the bus told that this weather was also a surprise for them as they also had a very mild winter. After the snow and the hard wind during night, I was almost sure that we would not be able to make our trip to the island of Akdamar on the lake. But the morning of April 21 welcomed us with a bright and sunny day on a blue lake, although everywhere was covered with snow. The snow we did not have the chance to see whole winter in Istanbul was just in front of us with all its beauty.

As there was no other group visiting the island and the 10th century Armenian church of Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross that was restored and reopened at the beginning of April, we had all the chance to enjoy the island, castle and the beautiful weather. The church was built between the years 915-921 by architect monk Manuel during the reign of the Vaspurakan King Gagik the 1. When I look at the photographs of the church that I took 20 years ago the difference between today and the time with its partly ruined roof covered with weed was quite striking. But this time I spent more time taking the pictures of snow covered almond tree flowers.

While we were traveling near the lake towards Ahlat where we were going to spend the night, the triplets of sun, snow and lake were with us showing their most beautiful faces all the way. When we reached Ahlat where the largest Seljuk cemetery from 11-12th century located, snow only remained on the tops of the far away mountains.


  1. Turquoise: Amazing photos and commentary. You must have an astounding archive of photographs of historique sites. Love the photo here with the tall, bare trees and the mountain covered in snow in the background.

  2. Hi
    I too have envy for all the snow covered posts on your side of the globe, but this wonderful post helps! What dreamy pictures... so beautiful. You could've titled this Freesias and Friezes! [well they look like Freesias but they must be your Almond Tree] At any rate both are beautiful.

    How incredible to be so close to all this amazing history.... Hope you are enjoying your winter and that hubby and puppy are too. Take care xx Julie

  3. Beautiful pictures! Looks very peaceful, quiet...
    It's funny when have snow we don't want it and when without we want it.
    I don't miss snow nor cold weather at all.

  4. Hi Turquoise,
    You certainly have some great photos in the archives. I also enjoy the history on these interesting places you take us to. Fabulous post!

  5. What an adventure! And so beautiful pictures!
    Love it.

  6. Thank you for showing wonderful scenery.

    From the Far East.

  7. Gorgeous snow covered pictures. I find the cemetery pictures so stunning, 11th -12th century that is amazing. I love the flower and the history of all the places is so interesting. We just had a lot of snow and it is beautiful but now I don't know if we are going to make it into Manhattan today, oh well maybe tomorrow.

  8. Great photos and the commentary so good!

  9. What a stunning little church! An interesting post!

  10. Wonderful photos! I've learned so much from your post. Looking forward to reading more.

  11. wonderful place , nice photos!!!!!

  12. snow covered, almond tree flowers! Deep, cold winter doesn't allow such things! I love the snow on the eastern rooftops...exotic home of Christmas past. Big flakes coming down here. Exotic home of my christmas present! Best!

  13. What beautiful snowy pictures of the church and the almond trees... we have been lucky, no snow here yet! But they are forecasting a big storm later this week... my fingers are crossed that they will be wrong!!!

    I love your travel posts... I always learn so much from them, and I am always in awe at the old age of the buildings. So very ancient, hard to imagine!

  14. I've stared for a long time at the close-up photo of the outside of the church. I'm looking into the eyes of a man who looks right back at me across the centuries. No time has elapsed.

  15. I'm not terribly fond of snow, but seeing it through your enchanted eye it seems much more appealing. No matter what you photograph, Aysegul, you are always able to make me want to explore every corner of the shot so I won't miss anything.

  16. how amazing.........all those places you see! and for you sharing them; thank you.....

    how have you been? hope well -

    Boldog Karácsonyt

  17. Lovely photos of a most interesting journey. The very last photo is the one that captures my heart. The snow on the mountains, so hard and resolute. And then the clear blue water, flowing and moving, like life always does... despite the most bitter winter. Beautiful!


  18. Snow is no tall it's cracked up to be.
    I would much prefer to be in your pictures than in mine

  19. Amazing pictures!!! The landscapes are fantastic!!!!

  20. When you are used to it you take it for granted. The snow. I grew up all my life in NY and now live in Florida where we get all the cold some days in winter with no snowy payoff! Love the pictures...and the imagery...

    My best, Lynn

  21. aysegul,
    these are such beautiful photos. that must have been a wonderful trip, even 20 years before.
    i love how you describe each thing in detail.

    happy solstice

  22. If I could package and mail you some snow, I would!
    Lovely photos.

  23. It don't snow here in my neck of the woods either.Its very rare.I don't mind a bit.
    Your photos are just out of this world.I wish I could go into each of these old places.Thanks Hon for sharing these with us.
    Merry Christmas and May god bless you and your family,
    XXOO Marie Antionette

  24. Hi Aysegul! Lovely post with excellent pictures!! The ones with the blue sky are unbeatable!!

    Thanks for your commentas at Blogtrotter, which is waiting for you in London! Enjoy and have a great holiday season!

  25. I need to find another way of saying..."what a beautiful place!"

  26. snowy mountain tops are my favorite images here! amazing!!

  27. Turkey is such a stunningly beautiful and historic country, your photo's and commentary do it great justice.

  28. I use to live in Van over 1 year and couldn’t go to see Akdamar Adası, but finally last year I went to ısland, awesome place. On spring season best time to see Akdamar Adasi.

    Akdamar Adası, Van:



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