Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tarsus: Day 1

1 July 2015 - The group left behind the RCAC ('tatil bitti' - the holidays are over, according to the security guard!) to catch an early flight to Adana in order to reach Tarsus, the old ecclesiastical centre of the kingdom of Armenian Cilicia.

At the airport.

Today's tour begun with a visit to the Archaeological Museum where the finds from the excavations carried out in the city are displayed. Of particular interest was the incised tombstone of a knight unearthed in the vicinity of the Ulu Cami.

The tombstone of  the 'glorious' knight Sir Philippe, facing the wall in the museum's backyard (!).

They then proceeded to the Makam Cami, the site alleged to be the tomb of the prophet Daniel, a recent excavation that brought to light substantial remains from the Roman and later periods.


Resplendent Doris Behrens-Abouseif at the site of Daniel's tomb.
        Bob Ousterhout doing time in Daniel's tomb.

Right across the street lies the Eski Cami, a former Armenian church identified by certain scholars as the site of the old cathedral, dedicated to St Sophia, which served as the coronation church for the kings of Lesser Armenia.

The tour came to an end at the site of the Ulu Cami, where the group saw the tombs of Seth, the son of Adam, the eighth-century Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun and the mythical physician and holy man Luqman.

In the courtyard of Ulu Cami.

Back at the hotel, Scott Redford gave a foretaste of the excavations he directed at the medieval port of Kinet, a site located between the kingdom of Armenian Cilicia and the principality of Antioch. The site's material culture throws ample light on the coexistence of Christian communities of various stripes in the region.

Scott Redford's vivid presentation of the medieval site of Kinet.

Our visit to Tarsus concluded with a dinner by the beautiful waterfall of Cydnus River (Berdan or Tarsus Cayi).

Chilling by the waterfall.

Taming the beast with the power of raki.

1 comment:

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