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  • Writer's pictureConstantinos Koushiappis

Turkey 2014 (part 3)

Leaving Smirni behind we continued to Pergama. The Kingdom of Pergama was one of the most important of the Ancient world and it was the center of Greek and Roman culture. It was the Birthplace of Attalos that founded the city of Attaleia.

The Ancient city is located on a hill that is 300m above than todays’ city Bergama of Turkey, and that strategic point allowed the city to watch from a higher ground the plains around it. That’s why it has the name Acropolis of Pergama.

There are 2 ways to get up there. There is the option of the teleferic that starts from the city, and there is the option of the road that goes around the hill until it reaches the top, and allows you to enjoy the view around Acropolis with the city on one side and the rivers Selinountas and Kitios on the other side.

Pergama was one of the most historical and rich cities of the Greek era on Asia Minor.

During that era it flourished, becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Pergama, and got famous for the Medical center that was established there, since Galinos, a famous ancient doctor was working there.

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The amphitheatre at Pergama had a capacity of 10,000 people and it is the steepest theatre know in the ancient world.

The most important building of Pergama was the Great Altar that was built by King Eumenes after his victory against the Galatians. The Altar is now at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin since it was transferred there from the German Archaeologists in 1886.

The City is referenced in the Book of Revelation, because there is a Christian Church that Saint John refers to as one of the seven churches of Asia Minor. The church was dedicated to the Egyptian God Serapis, after was transformed to a Christian temple and then to a mosque.

We chose to follow the back route from Pergama to Aivali.

The road was amazing. The asphalt was good and allowed us to enjoy the route. No traffic at all, a lot of green around and lots of animals, cows mostly, and sheep. We pass a lot of stone-built natural springs on the side of the road. After 200km we reached Aivali that we adored!

Aivali could fill up a chapter by itself in this trip. A small fishermen village that now has some tourism but still keeps the charm of the old village in the narrow stonebuild roads. We went around to see it and we took a lot of pictures of the traditional coffee shops, teashops and the numerous backstreets of the village.

Even the locals have trouble finding the correct road, therefore all those small roads have numbers instead of names. If you are visiting as a tourist you can get a free map of the village with the road numbers and the sightseeing marked on it, like the Greek Orthodox churches that are mosques now, or just out of order.

In Aivali we saw Greek signs at some of the stores and we met the owner of a Cretan restaurant, which she lives there, and we had the chance to speak in Greek.

There are 5 Greek Orthodox churches in Aivali. Some of them were transformed into mosques, one it’s out of order and the fifth is a Greek Orthodox Museum.

Kato Panayia - Greek Orthodox church unlit 1922

Ayia Triada - Greek Orthodox church unlit 1922. After it became a tobacco depot.

Ayios Giorgis -Greek Orthodox church unlit 1922

Ayios Yiannis - Greek Orthodox church unlit 1922

Taksiarchis Church - Greek Orthodox church unlit 1922

We stayed at Insambul Pansion. It was a Greek house that got renovated from the lady who lives there now, and has the traditional Inside yard. The owner was speaking fluent English and she offered breakfast in the price that was 45Euro for both of us. Including 5 more Euros she made some laundry for us.

Leaving Aivali we choose a secondary road again since we had the time to enjoy the nature and see some villages. We made a stop at Troy before we reached Canakkale.

The Ancient Troy is located at Northwest Turkey, a few kilometres South of the city of Çanakkale, very close to Hellespont strait, widely known as Dardanelles

Walking through the ancient city, which is the theater of the battles described by Homer in the Iliad, the images created in your imagination by reading the Iliad, come alive. The greatness of this city unfolds as you walk besides the impregnable walls, which for centuries protected it from its enemies. You can walk through the ruins from various periods that begin from the 3rd millennium BC and continued until the 1st century BC.

On the same day we arrived in Çanakkale.

It is the town at the beginning of the Strait of Hellespont and it is the westernmost city in Turkey not only geographically, but also in habits. There we saw for the first time youth with earrings and tattoos, extravagant hairstyles and beards, women in skirts and cigarette, couples walking on the street holding hands.

Not that this does not happen elsewhere, but in Canakkale happens everywhere and continually.

Even most drivers respected the traffic laws and stopped at the zebra crossings, but there were those who reminded you where you are.

Çanakkale is good place to enjoy a beer in the area where the bars and cafes are situated near the port, overlooking the Straits of Hellespont. After finding a place to stay we got permission to leave the motorcycles at a taxi station across the street for the night, and we went to find food and drink.

We ate at a local galley various homemade stews for which we paid only 4 euros approximately and we proceeded to the bars where we enjoyed a beer.

We started to go East to Balikezir. We chose to use secondary roads again to enjoy nature.

We moved through villages and mountains with very dense vegetation. All shades of green have been around for more than three hours on the road. We went through dozens of villages cut off from the cities, several lakes and rivers.

Arriving just outside Akchisar we made a stop and after we had time we decided to ride until Salihli where we stayed overnight to visit the Sardis first thing in the morning.

In Salihli we found a great hotel to stay with only 100TL (36 Euro) after some haggling of course. The hotel looked like 5 stars in our eyes. 2 double beds and a 50 inches cable TV. The guys there were friendly and helped us a lot in what we needed.

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