Moonlight over the “Karasu” or Euphrates River, Erzincan, Turkey.
Silk Road bridge
Part of the Ancient Silk Road near the outskirts of the town of Eğin/Kemaliye (pictured above and below)
Danny and one of his small travel buddies from the village at Venk Monastery, near a small Silk Road outpost village.
Annie and I traveled out to Erzincan Province back in November 2013. As I sat in the truck watching Turkey’s terrain transform from Istanbul, Safranbolu, Cappadocia and finally to the Euphrates River Canyon I imagined all of the civilizations which preceded the current Turkish Republic. Hittite, Assyrian, Armenian, Classical Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Empires have at one time or another in history left their footprint upon the landscape. We stayed in a little hotel in the village of Eğin as it has been known for centuries also having the modern official name of Kemaliye. Eğin was a beautiful little village nestled in the “Karanlık” or Dark Canyon along the banks of the Euphrates River. Most Americans at the sound of the word village tend to think of tribal people living in animal skin tents and taking orders from the elders or chieftain. But Turkish villages are normally more modern than this sort of idea. In fact the village of Eğin is more akin to a 1950s Texas town or the small town in the movie “American Graffiti”. We pulled into the main drag with it’s hotel, tea house, gas station, city hall, butcher, baker, candlestick maker etc. Since Eğin rests inside the Dark Canyon it is built alongside a steep hill and the houses surrounding the village rest on natural springs which flow into the Euphrates. A series of three mosques are situated on one of the streams which provide water for the ablution practices necessary before entering the mosque.
One of the many streams routed to flow comfortably through the town
The November we spent in Eğin the temperatures stayed in the 40s F, for this reason many of the homes in the village had a constant plume of smoke rising from the wood or coal burning stove. The sights and smells are some that couldn’t say that I have ever experienced. So much history, such rich culture, the smell of coal burning lingering in the air made me think of eastern people groups, trade caravans, dances, hospitality and the entertaining of guests continuing late into the night.
Another tiny Turkish village along the Silk Road, the name of which I do not know. The entire village is fit into the picture along with the single minaret of the mosque.