On Saturday June 16, 2012 we drove from Kars, in the northeastern
part of Turkey, slightly southwest to Erzurum.
The drive from Kars was beautiful – mountainous valleys covered with
green grass, small lakes, and fields of wildflowers in purple, yellow and
occasionally pink. The highways were
decent, with patches of heavy construction.
We rarely drove more than 40 miles an hour. We passed many tiny villages strewn among the
hillsides and near to the road.
Herds of cattle, sheep and goats spotted the landscape,
minded by one or two Kurdish dressed shephards – men, women, and children. Occasionally depending the time of day, we
encountered cattle taking their naps in the middle of the highway. Funny thing – those cattle own the road. If one approaches in a vehicle, they stand their
ground, stare you straight in the face while chewing their cuds, and play
“chicken” with you and your vehicle. The
cow will win so it isn’t worth the battle – you basically swerve your way around
those beasts and hope you don’t run over one of their tails, or worse! The car will lose that battle!
Entering Erzurum from the north, we came in to a completely
modernized city. The highlight of this
particular visit was walking through the small streets of what is left of Old
Erzurum. The entire Armenian population
of this once heavily populated city is now gone. Many Armenians were marched south down the
Tigris River towards the desert of Der Zor in Syria and most died. In the mid-1800’s a large portion of Erzurum
Armenians migrated north to the area of Javakh in Georgia. After the 1895 Hamidian Massacres of
Armenians, more Armenians left Erzurum.
(More on Javakh later).
The following pictures show what is left of the old city of
Erzurum – this area is directly across the road from the fortress, where the
only remaining Armenian church exists.
As I noted in my 2009 blog, the Seljuk Turks took credit for building
that “church” which is now called a “mosque.”
The pictures from 2009 say otherwise.
|Dicko and Lisa in front of old residence|
|Villager at her dwelling|
|An Outdoor Living Room|
|Armenian Church inside fortress - only Armenian church left in Erzurum after Genocide|
|The neighborhood - what's left of it|
|Still standing 100 years later|
On a more positive note: one highlight of Erzurum and all of Turkey was the
breakfasts we had. This is a feast! The Hotel Dedeman in Erzurum had the best
breakfast without a doubt. Cooked
entrees – potatoes, eggs, tomatoes with cheese, sausages, etc.; fresh tomatoes and cucumbers; several kinds
of cheeses; fruits – melons, bananas, watermelon, apples, apricots, plums, chopped
fruit compote with fresh fruit, dried fruits; jams and honeys; yogurt
(traditional “madzoon) – thick and not
lowfat!; fresh butter (no salt!); olives of all sorts; halvahs of all sorts;
breads; nuts; and hot tea, coffee and juice!
We ate a healthy breakfast, and then drank water and snacked on fresh
bread, bananas, and rojik (dried mulberry juice with nuts – into a fruit
|Num Num Time|
Next stop: Old Kharpert
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