Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 4: Gordion & Ankara

We left Bursa early this morning to prepare for the long drive to Ankara (the capital of Turkey). During this drive we got to see many of the various landscapes across the different regions of Turkey. Bursa was located in a Mountainous region with more vegetation. We then crossed into a drier region that was more flat and rocky. On the trip, Carrie loaned her sunglasses to our guide, Sel├žuk who forgot his at the last hotel. Many farms were located in this area, and we also got to see many smaller towns instead of the larger cities. Some of the members started to get a little crazy, and even took the microphone to give us an unrelated, awkward fact of the day! =)

On the way, we stopped in the town of Gordion, home to the King Gordius and the fabled Gordion Knot; Gordius had tied an ox cart to a pole in the city center when he was hailed king of the Phrygians. It was prophesized that whoever would be able to untie this knot would conquer all of Asia. Alexander the great slashed this knot and surely enough went on to conquer much of the world, but unfortunately died at the early age of 33 supposedly for not actually untying the knot as the prophecy required. At this city we visited the Gordion Museum which displayed many artifacts that were discovered in the area as well as the Tumulus of Midas, the king who was said to turn anything into gold upon touching it. A tumulus was a large artificial hill that served as a tomb, which we were able to go inside. In Gordion, we also visited an archaeological site of a Phrygian center, whence some of the artifacts found were on display in the museum. 

Turkish Army Base

After this, it was not long before we reached Ankara and got to see another museum in the older quarter of the city. Known as the Anatolian Museum, every member of the group was asked to document 10 pieces that each found interesting. This museum had artifacts from many different time periods, so we got to understand more of the history of the area. Most excitingly, we got to visit Ankara on April 23rd, the anniversary of the foundation of the current government in Turkey in 1920. This is similar to the 4th of July in the United States. Because of this, many buildings, especially the government offices in the capital displayed Turkish flags and flags of Ataturk, the “George Washington of Turkey". 

Original Turkish Government Building
Turkish Flag
Back at the hotel, we discovered the balconies and were able to have a relaxing night with a buffet dinner and spend our time journaling.

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