Bohemians of the Last Century took their rites of passage
The Grand Tour was very popular among the young Bohemians of the century. A kind of rite of passage prior to entry into adulthood. The stated goal was to learn the classical art, but in reality it was more, it was learning to live.
The usual tour included France and Italy, but some authors became fashionable more distant destinations. Thus, Goethe and Chateaubriand popular Middle Eastern Sicily. Adolfo Rivadeneyra, with Journey to PersiaWas continuation of the first travelogue about the region: The Anabasis Xenophon, where he narrated the vicissitudes of an army of ten thousand Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus to overthrow his brother Artaxerxes II.
Visiting the cradle of civilization throughout the Mediterranean is still one of the great journey of initiation. A genuine Grand Tour. Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and the Middle East provide a geographic circle (from the Bosphorus in Istanbul to the island of Chios) of deep experiences, people and diverse landscapes, and, why not say it a few hiccups.
Crossing the Bosporus and the Tigris
A bridge on the Bosphorus and a sign reading Welcome to Asia just leave you indifferent. From there walk along the beautiful southwestern coast from Cesme to Antalya. I stop in the Cappadocia region intriguing to finally address to Kurdistan in the far east of Turkey, conflicting social area that combines the no less contentious borders of Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Armenia.
Giant tubs of tomato paste in a bazaar in the city of Urmia,
Diyarbakir, On a promontory in the valley of the Tigris, has the second longest wall in the world, almost free, around the Old City. It was rebuilt by Emperor Constantius II in 349, ruling that a large fundamentalist violence unleashed against paganism. Have never been very peaceful these lands, so do not be surprised by the vehemence with which many Kurds talk politics. Its tenets are basic but immovable: Turkey is the enemy and denied their rights.
The landscape is mountainous. Bare hills and rough rocks. The territory is completely militarized. The Turkish Gendarmerie is omnipresent. There are countless checkpoints, however, go abroad on leave when they see one on a motorcycle. Some children threw stones, but most people are friendly.
The AraratWith over five thousand meters, is the highest mountain in Turkey. Also a national symbol of Armenia. It was his territory to the Ottomans decided to make it part of his empire, around the sixteenth. Something along the first organized genocide in history, have never forgiven. Even today, the Turkish government refuses to open the border, claiming its neighbor policy in the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh territory of Azerbaijan officially, although in practice an independent state by the Armenian troops and surreptitious Russian support.
Sleep in Dogubayacit, At the foot of the mountain where it’s supposed biblical Noah’s Ark landed. The area offers a horizon of ocher and purple. The blue sky is angry. An imposing castle watches over the plain from an eagle’s nest. Is Ishak Pasha Palace Built in 1685. Many Kurdish villagers up with the view and drink gallons of tea very sweet.
The border with Iran is on top of a mountain. I received grim soldiers armed with assault rifles and heavy beard. Despite its seriousness impostada can not avoid an enormous curiosity. Here are banned motorcycles over 200 cc and, as soon we will see, all the forbidden has a huge draw.
Laughter in the ‘free shop’
Bazargan. Moneychangers, smuggling and gas station. In a humble restaurant customers are engrossed watching a television that broadcasts a program in which Iraqi Kurdish women dance bare. It appears a slim, dark, almost ragged. I say with a laugh that is the free shop. The guy shows up jacket and pants tucked into a bottle of rum. Is a smugler or smuggler. All these are dying of laughter at my expression of amazement.
In a desert territory which refers plains between the mountain peaks is neglected Jooq Baqcheh PalaceBuilt by one of the commanders Mozaffaredin Shah, who reigned between 1896 and 1907. I addressed a guy with a motorcycle as ramshackle as his teeth. “I Pray” is presented, “the rider of the people.” He lives alone among archaic engine parts and movie posters. He shows me pictures of a rebellious youth. Pictures of the seventies in a pre-revolutionary Iran. Reza was a handsome young man with long hair and bell bottoms that would differ very little from any European thug.
Motel receipt of the Ministry of Tourism in Maku, Iran- M.
Maku, A small town enclosed by a high vertical walls of bare stone that looks pinkish in the morning. It seems an American western town articulated on a central avenue open in the space left by the gorge. The Ministry of Tourism motel serves a young deck. Speaks good English and ensures envy my luck free rider.
In Kelis Qhara There is an old Orthodox church built in 1329. The solid walled temple watching a deep valley between barren canyons and deep gorges. The air is so pure and cold, almost breathtaking. It is assumed that two martyrs are buried, St. Jude Thaddeus and Simon. Dead in 66 for trying to spread Christianity among the faithful of Zoroastrianism, the prevailing religion in Sassanian times.
Office of the Ministry of Tourism, says do not practice any religion in the Kelis church, But not because Christians have disappeared in the country, but because they are concentrated in the populous city of Urmia, next destination of this particular Anabasis.