The region of Van used to be the heartland of the Christian kingdom of Armenia. Today, it is the eastern most region of Turkey with a majority Kurdish population. The Armenian Christians in this region were nearly all massacred in the years leading up to and during WWI. The Church of the Holy Cross on the island Aghtamar in Lake Van stands as an eerie monument to this civilization that once flourished and is no more.

It was a supreme test of patience to get these three girls to finally stand for a picture.

This little White Fang couldn’t decide if I was his master or enemy. In the end, he decided on neither and dozed off. Lucky for me!

I spent the better portion of an afternoon in the fields along Lake Van shooting pictures of Tushpa, the ancient citadel of Uraratu. I came across a nesting bird, not sure what kind, but she wasn’t happy that I was there and let me know it by circling overhead. There was a yellow breasted something-or-other out there too.


I think one of my favorite places in Turkey was Sidyma, a village in the former Roman province of Lycia – the Lukka of Homeric fame. The ancient tombs in this region are quite impressive but what makes the place really special is its natural setting, in a small village high up in the Taurus mountains.

When Sarpedon, commander of the Lycians, was killed by Patroclus:

But once his soul and life force have left him, send Death to carry him home, send soothing Sleep, all the way till they reach the broad land of Lycia. There his brothers and countrymen will bury the prince with full royal rites, with mounded tomb and pillar. These are the solemn honors owed the dead.”  (Homer’s Iliad, translated by Fagles, 16.538-543)

Lycian pillar with inscription


I just finished a trip to Turkey to collect some images for a history curriculum. Put a few kilometers on a couple Peugeot 301’s. I’ll post a few pictures – non archaeology related – in the days to come.