Location: Turkey straddles the borders of Europe and Asia with the majority of the country in Southwest Asia. It has a total area of 780,580 sq.km. that lies within Europe. The country is bordered at the east by Georgia, Armenia and Iran with Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. The Aegean Sea, Greece and Bulgaria are to the west, and the Black Sea forms the northern border. Turkey's geographical coordinates are 36o 00' to 42o 00' north latitude and 26o 00' to 45o 00' east longitude.
The old city of Avanos overlooks the longest river the Turkey, the Kizilirmak (Red River). Located 18 km north of Nevsehir, the ancient name of this city used to be Venessa. The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery. The 13th century Sarihan caravanserai and the Ottoman Aladdin mosque are interesting pieces of architecture in the area. In Avanos we also find interesting examples of housing architect monumental structures. Avanos is known for the art of pottery by using kick wheel since the Hittites. This craftsmenship has come to this day by passing on from people to people and from father to son. Soft and oily clay soil gathered from Avanos mountains and old beds of Kızılırmak is sifted and is turned into mud after a neat pugging. The desired pottery is created by shaping the mud with some skill on a bench called kick wheel and steered by using your feet. After the potteries, which are created in workshops called işlik, are dried first in the sun and then in the shadow, they are fired into the ovens that burn with straw and chippings between 800 and 1200 degrees with great care. Food dishes, water jugs, pots and jars for preserving food for winter, water jars are some kinds of potteries. Avanos is known as the The Craftsmenship and Shopping Center of Cappadocia. As for the origin and meaning of the Ouenasa / Venasa, we know that Vanassa means queen in the Anatolian Pamphillian language, a successor of the Luwi language of 1000 BC. We can mention the script on the town coins (Pergessus) which describe Artemis of Pergessus as Vanassa Prella (the hill of Pergessus). Most probably, the Venasa in the Cappadocian language, which is another successor of the Luwi language, is not anything other than the mentioned Venassa, which signifies the Mother Goddess. It is again probable that the Mother Goddess temple in this area in the Morimene region, which proves by its name that this was a centre of Mother Goddess worship dominant at Cappadocia, had been owned, as seen in many regions, by a Hellenistic goddess during the Hellenization age. While this owning is generally attributed to Artemis or Apollo (sometimes both jointly), here as in Euromos and few other places, the temple of Mother Goddess was owned by Zeus.
Did you know that One of the first most accurate world maps were drawn by the well-known Turkish cartographer and navigator Piri Reis in 1513. The map known today as Piri Reis Map skillfully depicted Europe, Asia, Africa and the then known portions of America as well as the places which were yet to be discovered. Erich von Daniken in his famous book The Chariots of the Gods suggests that the accuracy of the Piri Reis Map could only be explained by considering the possibility of an extraterresterial help.
Herewith I would like to emphasize again the excellent experience we had last week with our guide Yildirim on the climbing of the Ararat. He was taking care of us with a lot of attention and we could really trust on him. Also after the climbing he was escorting us very kindly and all appointments were taken accurately. It was really a great pleasure for us.
We should also congratulate Celam who prepared nice meals, always with enthousiasm, and we will remind him as our good cook forever.
As soon as we have the opportunity, we will send you some pictures about this expedition.
Be assured we are happy about the way it was organised.
Pierre Kockerols / Brussel