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x0x Monastery in the bosom of a mountain x0x NEZAHAT TURKAN

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    [See more at: http://www.TurkRadio.us/sumela ] x0x Monastery in the bosom of a mountain x0x NEZAHAT TURKAN Sharing the fate of Trabzon, it looms out of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2006
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      [See more at: http://www.TurkRadio.us/sumela ]

      x0x Monastery in the bosom of a mountain

      x0x NEZAHAT TURKAN

      Sharing the fate of Trabzon, it looms out of the mist from the heights
      of Karadag like a castle. At the beginning of the 90s, the minute
      class was over we used to dash down to the shore from the hill where
      our college stood, taking the first street we found. On our way we
      passed houses surrounded by tulip and rose gardens more beautiful than
      any I have seen since. As we splashed in the waves, someone in the
      group would shout, "The dolphins are coming!" This was the word we'd
      been waiting for, for they passed quickly, dipping in and out of the
      water. Later, wherever I looked at the sea, I always watched for
      dolphins passing like that in schools. And when I saw people catch
      sight of a single one and squeal with pleasure, I would feel sad. How
      could I have told them how dolphins once passed like that before my
      eyes. And for years. Time's rapid change turns all of us into
      witnesses of such rare moments. On days when the north wind blew, the
      waves would toss ancient coins ashore around Ganita. Its churches,
      mosques and city walls, the sketches of galleys on the walls of the
      Hagia Sophia, the sashes around the women's waists and the corn bread
      on the table -they have not changed.

      MINIBUS DEPARTING FROM COMLEKCI

      The castle, whose foundations were laid in the Byzantine period,
      divides the city along a north-south axis up to Boztepe, a
      300-meter-high vantage point sufficient for those who want a panoramic
      view of the city. Trabzon seems to rise in layers from the shore up to
      Boztepe, in narrow streets crammed with stone and wooden houses and
      endless steps going up and down. The square is the heart of the city.

      Its cobbled streets end here, where the people meet, sipping tea in a
      tea garden and casting glances at the crowds passing by the busts of
      Trabzon writers Sabahattin Eyuboglu and Hasan Izzet Dinamo. Suffice it
      to say that "Trabzon is a passion". Let's get on with it now. Let us
      jump into one of the minibuses that departs from Comlekci opposite
      Buyuk Liman and head for Macka. Black clouds have covered the sky and
      the birds have taken refuge on ships. This means a storm is imminent,
      followed by rain. And what a rain...

      SMOKY MOUNTAINS

      The road from Comlekci to Zigana Dag is one of Trabzon's most
      beautiful, and simultaneously the road to Gumushane. Village buses
      climb its steadily increasing gradient with difficulty. Emerald green
      mountains appear now on your left, now on your right, then suddenly
      loom in front of you and then are left behind. Even the streams, whose
      beds were badly damaged in the avalanches of 1993, look beautiful.

      Black Sea people refer to fog as 'smoke', and the folk song about the
      'smoky mountains' seems to have been written expressly for this area.

      where the mountaintops are always enveloped in mist, especially at
      this season. Tiny mosques and houses with woodpiles in their gardens
      line the roadside. But the true beauty lies in the mountain roads that
      fork off from the main road to the higher elevations, to plateaux like
      Paparza and Kiranoba. Each settlement has a distinctive identity: the
      people of Tonya are known for their weapons, those of Of for their
      cunning, those of Surmene for their knives and those of Macka for
      their crazy energy. But the trait they all share is an irrepressible
      cheerfulness despite all hardship.

      Weakness, tics and exaggerated behavior of every kind are cause for
      laughter along the Black Sea. Although a stranger unfamiliar with the
      Black Sea dialect may not understand a thing being said, he will join
      in the general merriment nonetheless. Nestled against the mountain,
      Macka is not a place to be passed over. To learn a thing or two, you
      have to live with the natives, catch a red-speckled trout in its
      streams, sautee it in the village butter and eat it, and then set out
      on the road to the monastery.

      WE'RE OFF TO CAPTURE A FORTRESS

      When you enter the National Park, you will see the Altindere, a
      rushing mountain stream, spanned at intervals by wooden bridges with
      picnic areas on either bank. Two roads lead up to the monastery, one a
      footpath (camel track) used since time immemorial, the other a road
      passable by car, which winds for some distance alongside the burbling
      Altindere. Those who take this route may reach the monastery following
      a short walk from where they park their car. The car road is more
      convenient in this season, but if you come on
      a sunny day, use the footpath and enjoy the pleasure of climbing the
      mountain. The moss-covered branches and roots, the earth's dark brown
      color, and the gaping green chasm beside you and the forests below
      that you'll see when you stop to catch your breath form a landscape
      beneath your feet, as the monastery, like a castle, appears and
      disappears as you approach. We're off to capture a fortress!

      WHERE EMPERORS WERE CROWNED

      Sumela, the most famous of the Black Sea monasteries, was built into
      the side of this 1300-meter-high mountain in the 4th century as a
      secret place of worship in the early days of Christianity. Acquiring
      in time a height of 17 m, a length of 40 m and a width of 14 m, with
      72 chambers adorned with frescoes of Jesus, Mary and the Apostles, it
      became the monastery where the Comnenus emperors were crowned. At
      times a famous religious center visited by leading men of religion, it
      was occasionally a place of exile and imprisonment as well. The fate
      with gazelle-skin covers, the manuscript books, and a wooden fragment
      claimed to have come from the cross on which Christ was crucified have
      all mingled with the legends that surround the building. Some of these
      Athens, but most have been lost. But let us discuss the meaning of the
      name 'Sumela'. Originating from the root 'melas', in Greek this word
      means dark or black. Semavi Eyice says the monastery was named for the
      icon of the 'Black Mary' once found there (now in Greece).

      Accordingly, the name of the mountain is also Oros Melas (Karadag or
      'black mountain' in Turkish). The frescoes seen today at the
      monastery, which was looted and burned, date from the restoration of
      1740. A restoration by the Turkish Ministry of Culture has also been
      under way for more than ten years. After touring the monastery, rest
      your bones in the garden next to the spring, a place where numerous
      Christians and Muslims come to find a cure for their maladies.

      Trabzon, melting pot of religions, haunt of rebels against oblivion.

      ----------------------
      [You can listen to the Turkish Cultural Hour at http://www.TurkRadio.us/arhives.html any time you wish! ]
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