Saturday, 11 July 2015


Whenever you try to display or recreate something from a bygone era in Turkey, you will hear the word "nostalji". The dictionary, of course, says it means "nostalgia" but the Turks (in the towns if not the villages) often use it with a slight wry smile as if to say "why waste your money on such arty crafty tosh, you plonker?"

Although officialdom, rather belatedly, is recognising the importance of the country's rich heritage and old buildings are being lovingly restored, many Turks seem to put a greater value on the latest gadget, mobile phone app or having full central heating.

This is why you will see pieces of Greek or Roman columns used as flowerpot stands or to support door jambs as in the pictures below.

There is a wonderful story told in a blog called about a young photographer in the 1950s driving to Aydin to photograph a new dam. He lost his way and ended up in a village called Geyre.

As he sat there, drinking tea with the locals, he noticed houses built with odd-looking stones.

Locals shrugged their shoulders, said the stones had always been there and were amused at his excitement. He took photographs and eventually contacted the famous Turkish photographer Ara Guler, who alerted a Turkish archaeologist Prof Kenan T. Erim from New York University.

Erim came to Turkey and quickly realised that the wayward photographer had discovered the lost city of Aphrodisias. From there on Erim dedicated the rest of his life to excavation work. He died in 1990, but the Turkish government rewarded his dedication by burying him within the ancient city, next to the Tetrastoon, the gates welcoming pilgrims on their way to pay sacrifices at the Temple.

When we first arrived in Kaplan there were a number of artefacts and implements in the house that we vowed to restore and display. One was an old plough. I cleaned it up using a combination of baking powder, vinegar, some industrial cleaner and a wire brush. I then painted it. I am now waiting for a visitor to offer to buy it. Not for show, naturally, but to use on their allotment.

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