|The day started with high cloud but remarkably warm after a spot of rain during the night. Our first stop was the viewing area of the biggest dam in Turkey. The Ataturk dam is the 6th largest in the world but by what measure we are not sure. It cost 2 billion dollars to construct and provides water for irrigation and generates electricity for this area and provides 40% of Turkey’s power. The dam wall is quite low in comparison to some dams I have seen but it holds back an enormous amount of water.
After the dam we headed for a boat trip to see the results of some of the flooding that occurred when the dam was filled. To get there we travelled through what I would call the boonies which were the back roads through farming country which looked a bit like the Darling Downs, a large flat plain between hills with rich dark soil and cultivated for various crops. However the villages and houses looked like we are back in Greece or Indonesian, the general look was the same, mainly concrete or stone houses with stone fences. There were many unfinished buildings that reminded us of Greece and a lot of very dilapidated looking ones which reminded us of Indonesia. After all we are travelling in Asia minor which certainly is the poorer side of the Bosphorus. The roads here are in poor condition and we were constantly slowing for car sized potholes, make that looked bus sized potholes.
After an hour of dodging potholes we wound our way down to a river which we found out was the Euphrates (Firat), which in a couple of hundred kilometres from here joins the Tigris. These are rivers you read about in the bible and history books and it is awesome just to be here. We took a boat ride down stream to a sunken village which was half inundated when the Ataturk dam was filled. On the way we saw the ruins of a castle which was 3,000 years old and built by the Assyrians. This in itself is mind boggling but we were also told that John from the bible wrote part of his gospel here. We will have to check this assumption with our resident theological expert, Heather, when we get back. After a look at what remained above the water line of the village we went back for some lunch. The lunch again was very good. We have been lucky that all the food we have had on tour has been of a high standard and always fresh. Apart from some likes and dislikes we could not complain.
The next part of the tour today was a visit to a wildlife preservation and breeding project for bald ibises. I have a particular interest in protection of anything bald so I was keen to go along. These ibises are different to the Australian ibis in that they are all black apart from some red areas around the neck. There are only 100 left in Turkey and this project is trying to breed a sustainable colony. This is the only place in the world where they come to nest.
Then back to the bus for a trip to the mosaic museum in Gaziantep, however when we got there the museum was just closing because the contents were being moved into the new museum. They said we could come back tomorrow so for those that are on the edge of their seats waiting for info on the mosaic museum, tough, you will have to wait till tomorrow.
We reached the motel and all I need to say is that it is the type Bev believe she deserves., 5 stars!
Wait for tomorrow Love Ed & Bev.