25 December 2012

Kurdistan revealed

Having Iranian visas secured we were again free to visit places. And as the weather in Trabzon was cold and rainy we headed towards south coast.


Kind of magical, relaxed town full of bananas greenhouses made us stay there for almost two weeks! Thanks to very kind German lady living there we could rest much better than we could imagine.

Mersin Big, rapidly expanding coastal, non-touristic city full of tall, new apartment buildings.
Antep First significantly Kurdish city on our way. Few historical places, nice bazaar (market). We had opportunity to meet two German cyclists also going to far east.
Urfa Much more historical city with older architecture. We again met those Germans but this time totally by the chance! Nice old town full of narrow streets and the most important tourist attraction - the fish lake. If you ever happen to come there you may wish to meet an old couchsurfer - man who loves old mopeds and more than this, he travels with his old Solex! Unfortunately we already left Urfa when he replied to our message.
Mardin Real pearl in Kurdistan! City placed on a tall hill overlooking plains of Mesopotamia. In good weather you can actually see Sirian border. Before reaching Mardin we had not pleasant opportunity to meet Turkish police. We were taken to police station in order to have our backpack searched for bombs. But later it turned out that policeman just wanted to talk with travellers. We spent there two hours waiting in vain. Happily we were offered a ride to our destination in armoured police car. But in Mardin we met nice people and we got invited for tea by kind old man.
... and Midyat
Hasankeyf Happily we decided to go there. The historical place is to be destroyed because of new dam constructuion nearby. Place where people used to live in carved caves. Some of them are still habitated as you can see satelite dishes or lightbulbs switched on inside. Unfortunately we couldn't visit main part of it due to its recent closure.
Batman New city built some 20 years ago only because oil was found nearby. Center of Kurdistan. Lots of truely hospitable people.
Van lake Our last destinations in Turkey - Tatvan and Van. Cities located on two opposite sides of large Van lake. Beutiful mountains around at this part of year covered with snow. For interested in travelling by trains, there are two different railroads. First coming from Istanbul to Tatvan and second from Van towards Tehran. Both are connected by weekly ferry service. One way ticket from Istanbul to Tehran should cost bit more than 50 Euro!
Our over two months stay in Turkey is coming to the end. I learned and experienced a lot and seen much more than on those pictures. But next country seems to be even more exotic and magical.


  1. Dearest Alan Hynek,
    I hope this time its works and you can take my comment. Firstly, I wish I would write different thinks about your writing. I have just read this and I want to ask some questions. While asking I try to be kind also I hope you will be enough polite to reply. As I know the world is 5 million age. In the history I don't know a state called kurdistan especially in mezapotamya. TÜRKİYE is consist of 7 different region and that region is called east anatolian region. Do you think in east of TÜRKİYE only kürdish people live. In that region türkish and kürdish people live together and in TÜRKİYE there isn't any city called kürdishcity. From edirne to van every part is TÜRKİYE. I wonder why you prefered to use that name ? Really why? Although I am a citizen of TÜRKİYE (also Türkish), do you know something different from me. From where you took visa. I suggest you to look a map, and first learn where you are. You don't have to love TÜRKİSH people and TÜRKİYE but you have to be respectful because this borders pictured with the blood of MY ANCESTORS. And still Türkish soldiers are killed by terrorists who wants a part of land from my country. Also thanks for this deja vu second time ı felt myself silly :)). I hope you will give an answer because I really wonder. Maybe I can learn something from you about my country.

    1. Dear EMEL,

      Very sorry for replying so late, but blogger is blocked now in Iran, so I couldn't really post anything.

      I understand reasons why you have different views about Kudrs. You were taught much different history than Kurds tell. There is quite strong propaganda in Turkey showing Ataturk only as a hero. But you can learn much more about him from people living in east of your country. Moreover, you can find much more than in school on the Internet nowadays. I suppose nobody told you how Ataturk cheated other nations living now in Turkey. He only cared about Turks. Unfortunately government's policy is to change the history teaching only part of truth.

      I guess you believe that country called Poland exist. But in last centuries it didn't existed for many years on maps. Polish nation was commited enough to rise up, but Kurds generally are happy in Turkey. Only small part of them are extremist and want to create their own country. Another thing is Kurdish language. It's have some similarities to Farsi, Slavic and also another European languages as it comes from Indo-European group of languages. Turkish on the other hand is totally different so it means Turks came from other part of the world.

      It seems that it was perfectly ok for your ancestors to kill other people previously living in this part of world now called Turkey. But you're seem to be at least a bit upset when your ancestors were and Turkish soldiers are killed by some Kurds fighting for independence commonly called terrorists.

      Happily I had really good time in Turkey and met great people there, but the further East I went, the poorer and nicer people I met. It doesn't mean that there was no nice people in the West, but meeting kind and hospitable people was exception rather than rule.

      The name Kurdistan gives the picture what kind of people and culture you can meet there. When you go to North of UK you are in Scotland. When you visit Barcelona and Costa Brava in Spain you can say you are in Catalonia. If you ever happen to come to North of Poland you might be lucky to meet Kashubians with their separate culture, traditional food and music, and their original language. The way you write about Turkey and Kurdistan makes me feel like Kurds are invading your country not the opposite.

      If both Turks and PKK were more respectful and understanding, the problem with terrorists in your country could be solved.

      All the best