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x0x Narman Canyon

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    [See the following for more: http://www.erzurum-bld.gov.tr/res/abm/1103538478_1.jpg ] x0x Narman Canyon By MEHMET GÜNGÖR It all began millions of year ago
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2005
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      [See the following for more:
      http://www.erzurum-bld.gov.tr/res/abm/1103538478_1.jpg ]

      x0x Narman Canyon

      By MEHMET GÜNGÖR

      It all began millions of year ago when red hot magma
      gushed from the depths of the earth and hardened on its
      crust. Battered by the wind, rock fragments broke off
      and were carried by rainwater down to lakes, where,
      over several million years, they were deposited in
      layers hundreds of meters thick. Since the world never
      stops evolving, the process continued until drought
      eventually dried up the lakes. The rocks that once
      filled the lake were again eroded and rainwater soon
      cut deep valleys in the loose soil. Then the wind
      entered the picture again and the red fairy chimneys
      started to show their heads. Some natural phenomena are
      special, their likes encountered in only a few places
      on earth. Their evolution, forms and stories are all
      different. We marvel at them, but we don't understand
      the mystery of how they originated and evolved up to
      now, and the wind whispers a different story to us on
      every square inch of their surface.

      RED FAIRY CHIMNEYS

      We had 1300 km before us when we set out from Istanbul,
      filled with the thrill of the unknown. As we pass
      Niksar and Susehri, the Kelkit Çayi accompanies us a
      large part of the way, its banks lined with a thousand
      and one beautiful sights. Leaving the stream behind, we
      head now for Erzurum. Nestled in the Palandöken
      Mountains, Erzurum, home of the Dadas Turks, is not yet
      dusted with snow. Passing Erzurum as well, we proceed
      to our real destination.

      Travelling to Narman via Tortum, we will try to explore
      a valley discovered only a year ago. We first leave
      Tortum behind us and five km later turn off the main
      road following the sign for Narman. Wistful autumn hues
      line the road, burnt siena and dusty pinks, in a
      rainbow of color. The landscape is so overwhelming here
      that we don't realize we're there already. We ask the
      way to the valley, but nobody knows. Finally somebody
      realizes we're looking for the fairy chimneys! "It's
      not far," he says. We soon find ourselves on the
      Narman-Pasinler road.

      MYSTERIOUS SHAPES

      We inch forward as slowly as possible. Eyes wide open,
      the four of us are watching for the fairy chimneys,
      which could come into view any minute. It's as if
      they're playing hide-and-seek with us. For 10 km we see
      nothing but plain earth.

      Suddenly the colors at the roadside change. On either
      side of us things are beginning to turn red. The
      topography is changing too. We encounter a new shape at
      every meter. It's like being in the Grand Canyon. We
      turn right at the first road. Half a km further on two
      fairy chimneys greet us. One has two heads, the other
      is about to fall over. Every passing day means further
      erosion of the fairy chimneys. The one further back
      looks like a creature from outer space, bent and
      scowling as he surveys an alien world. Some ways ahead
      the other one, who sports an Ottoman turban, seems to
      guard the valley from his hilltop post.

      Sometimes the shapes assume humorous poses. A few in
      the distance resemble cartoon-heroes with long noses.

      FAIRY TEARS

      Alone in the vast silence, the fairy chimneys seem to
      weep at every breath of wind that diminishes them. And
      the pebbles that fall around them are their tears. We
      proceed through the valley with increasing awe and
      astonishment. Every ravine conceals five or six more.
      We try to climb a hill to get our bearings. There is no
      time to walk the entire area, which would take five
      days at least. Descending again we delve into one of
      the ravines and are surrounded by red fairy chimneys of
      all sizes.

      On one side those who once stood proud, worn down now
      by erosion, on the other the new candidates, just
      beginning to show their heads. Following close on the
      rain, the wind leaves its mark in many places. Evidence
      of erosion is unmistakable on the cylindrical caves
      that have formed in some of the ravines. We duck into
      one of them. It feels as if the wind has taken refuge
      here. Cooling the cave, it continues the erosion
      process that nature has assigned it.
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