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Tuesday, August 20: Day 120 – Terrific Neolithic

Konya is in central Anatolya. It is the largest city according to the land size and is a crossroad. It is flat with golden wheatfields and irrigated farmlands. Having lots of land meant there are also many warehouses and manufacturing.

Konya is the most conservative city in Turkey meaning close followers of Muslim and would more be associated with the Ottoman history rather than modern Atatürk. (What Atatürk accomplished in 1923 was inconceivable and admirable. He brought Turkey into the modern world and Turks today enjoy great freedom because of it.) I asked Ertunga if anyone named their child Atatürk, he said no; that it was illegal.

Atatürk: The Rebirth Of A Nation
by John Patrick Douglas Balfour is a book that I will read someday.

Konya was a different than other cities that we had seen in Turkey. When we first got out of the car, there was a call to prayer…except there must have been five LOUD voices screaming across the speakers. I don’t know if they were competing to be heard or if they REALLY wanted you to pray. Listen to this video.

The call to prayer everywhere is always in Arabic and 90% of the people don’t know what is said. Imams have different songs and go to the university to become one.

Our hotel room must have been some type of romantic room as there was a circular bed. (My first…well maybe second… thought was where do you get sheets for that?) Curiously, on the other side of the room is a double bed. Who is that for?

We are always amused by guests at our hotel visits. Several nights ago at 11:15pm, someone decided to practice piano next door. The first time was pleasant but they played it over and over with pauses and corrections. The tune got into my head and I found myself humming the tune later.

We went to the Melvana Museum. This was a school or madras for Sufism. This was the center for Sufism. There are Sufi in India and Iran. Atatürk shut down all religious schools and today they are museums.

In the 13th century, Sufi Rumi (Founder of Whirling Dervish) arrived in Konya from Afghanistan. His ways were more humanistic and different and tolerant of people.

“Come to my place whoever you are.”

Everything was symbolic. Their hat is like a tombstone. They wear white in preparation for death.

Music is very important to this peaceful sect of Islam. The bamboo flute and drum were used.

Men applied to the school and were here for 1001 days to study the Koran and philosophy. They were required to do any task, menial or mundane, that was needed without complaint.

Some left, some made it until the end where they went to their rooms for three days of prayer and fasting. If they were accepted, their shoes were placed outside their rooms with the points inward; outward if they were to go. It was a lifetime commitment.

It s not classical Islam. This is not in the Koran. They pray differently. It was not me or I, but you.

There are three levels of you.

1. Toward God

2. With God

3. In God

Everything is the reflection of God. This man is all about God.

Sultans did not mess with the Sufi who were harmless and peaceful. Sultans visited them and would often take them as advisors. They were educated and Sultans would not harm them.

There is a special book written in a mixture of 3 languages: Turkish, Farsi and Arabic. One has to know all three to read it.

Everything has balance, harmony, and meaning. This picture shows that one is born alone, married, has a child, the child leaves and you die alone.

Rob and I are on stage 4. I also wondered how triplets fit into the balance since they were “wombmates” and born together. It blows zodiac astrology out of the water as well.

I think that the shell on the bottom shows a full life lived well.

The leader of the Sufi is called Dede which means grandfather. (Baba means father.)

This beautifully carved door is not held together by glue. It is like a puzzle.

During the Persian and Ottoman war, the Sultans would stop here and give the Sufi gifts.

The tomb of Melvane is here along with his blood relatives. There is also a Muslim relic of Muhammud’s hair that seemed to draw a crowd with kisses.


In the 1950’s, an ancient city from 7500BC was discovered by some French men. This Neolithic discovery demonstrated that man had emerged from cave dwellers to forming communities.

This was the stone age – no metals. This event coincided with discovering fire. It gave them warmth and security from animals. They no longer had to live in caves or trees. They started to cook, domesticated animals, and planted crops.

They mixed mud and hay to build houses. When they wanted to build a bigger house, they would collapse their roofs, and build on top of the collapsed roofa. They had neither doors nor streets. The entrances to their houses were on the roofs. They used ladders and spent much of their time on the roofs.

A huge volcanic eruption from Mount Aegeis was drawn on the wall. That must have been a big deal to make the wall of fame. Other odd cave paintings are the headless men being eaten by large birds. Below is a replica.

They buried their dead in the floor of their houses like the ancient cultures in Troy. Ancestors were either revered or worshipped.

They worshipped a fertility god named Kibela. Kibela is a precursor to Artemis. Bulls may be important as well as many houses had horns on the walls.

Of course, this is a very precious fragile site and has the UNESCO distinction. This is the first time that I have seen the certificate posted.

Turkish Humor

Ertunga has told us some very funny jokes. He calls it Black Sea humor, and it kind of reminds us of Dumb and Dumber.

The star of these jokes is Temel. His name means concrete. His sidekick is named Dursen which means enough. When you have many children, and you don’t want to have anymore, you name him Dursen.


A German, American, and Temel think that their country was the first to invent computers. The Germans dig 25 feet and find computer cable and declare they are the first to invent computers. The American digs down further than that and finds earlier computer cable and declares that they are the first to invent computers. Temel digs down 75 feet and finds nothing, 100 feet and finds nothing. The others tell him to stop. He keeps digging and finally at 150 feet declares himself as the winner! “My ancestors invented wireless!”

Joke #2 Temel got a new job. They asked him to bring 6 headshots on his first day. He asked his friend Dursen to help him. They dug a hole for Temel’s head shot. Temel says that they need to dig 6 holes. Dursen said that was stupid. He brought 6 cameras.

Joke#3 Every Saturday, Temel would drink with his two friends and they would have 2 beers for each person so they would drink a total of 6 beers. The friends decided that whoever was able to be there on Saturday was to drink 6 beers. Temel drank 6 beers for several weeks when his friends were absent. One Saturday, he drank 4 beers. The bartender asked what happened. Did someone die? Temel said No. He had stopped drinking.

We saw tents of Syrian refugees in the field. Ironically, many of them work in a nearby Mercedes-Benz factory. The Turkish government is helping these people which sometimes means Turkish citizens have less. Turkey is perceived as a safe haven for refugees.

An Aksaray shepherd dog can kill a wolf and is named after the city. It is as large as a lion and one of the oldest breeds. We think this might be one.

We stopped to hike through the Ihlara Valley.

There was once a volcano eruption where lots of ash was deposited. (It must have been a massive volcano since the ruins of Çatalhöyök had a drawing of the eruption of Mount Aegeis on the wall so it was around 7500BC. After the ash, lava was deposited on top of the ash. Commercialized ash is pumice.

Early dwellers would carve into the ash. It was soft but when oxygen hits the ash, it becomes hard and strong.

Early churches were carved out here and they could hide from their persecutors here.

There were hermits and Basil encourage them to come together and live in a community.

Good wines were produced here since the roots go deep because of the ash. Pigeons (feral rock doves) are encouraged to live here because their droppings serve as a rich fertlizer.

We see cows walking side by side and one after the other down the highway. They only use females for milk and bulls for meat.

Underground City

In the Village: Derin Kuyu

We go to an underground city which is made up of 7 levels of caves. At one time, there were 20,000 people living there and they never went out. They estimate that there were around 200 cities, and they were connected by tunnels.

In prehistoric times it was for protection from wild animals. During Christian persecution, they went underground to survive. Even in modern times people would come live here to get out of the cold. And in the summer to get out of the heat.

We saw kitchens, stables, air vents, water mells, and oil lamp niches.

The cave walls absorb the smoke which prevents your enemy’s ability to find cave dwellers.

Cave dwellers had horrible bones as evidenced by their skeletons. They had a serious lack of Vitamin D due to lack of sunlight.

It is only fitting that after a day of exploring all types of caves that we should spend the night in a cave hotel.

You have heard of glamping. We call this glaving!

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