Our team of four, consisting of us Aussie volunteers (Callum and I), Onat and Culture Routes Society’s newest member Esra, recently set out for an adventure along the Phrygian Way. Our goal was to take footage of the trail, capturing its beauty, and put together a film for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of exploring it. We were never at loss of stunning views,unique ancient sights and friendly locals so I have no doubt the film will inspire many watchers to visit too!
We left early one morning to begin the approximately 5 hour drive from Antalya to our starting point on Route 1 of the Phrygian way, which extends from Seydiler to Yazilikaya. The Phyrygian civilisation, dating back to the 7th Century BCE, carved ancient roads, castles, tombs and churches out of the soft tuff rock iconic for the area. All these monuments make the trail an open air museum, a feature which both Callum and I greatly enjoyed.
Our first filming spot, pictured below, granted us not only great views of the rock formations and carvings but also of a Turkish wedding photoshoot. As we tried to avoid being in the frame alongside the bride in her huge white dress we noticed that we were not alone, locals were also enjoying both views! On a little scarier note, it was in this area where we met our first Shepherd dogs (adorned with their huge, spiked metal collars) watching over the sleeping Shepherd and a herd of goats. It was a unique insight into the life of rural farmers but one we are happy to avoid in the future.
As always, the Turkish locals were unbelievably kind and generous. They would regularly offer food, a smile for the camera (once the appropriate headscarf was put on of course) and willingly give directions when needed. You couldn’t leave without a chat, which Onat informed us normally consists of your life story, and we would nod along happily with our almost non-existent turkish. Some of the beautiful people we met along the way are captured in the pictures below.
On the three days we were away we had some incredible breakfasts, another given in Turkey. This one shown below was at Midas Han pension, a beautiful place to stay near Yazilikaya. It definitely did the job of keeping us going through the long days of walking and filming. My stomach starts to grumble just looking at this picture.
One of the most jaw dropping structures was the Yazilikaya, meaning ‘inscribed rock’ in Turkish, which met us at our last stop. A large religious structure, it was a place where the Phrygian people worshiped Madar, the goddess of hunting and prosperity. Sitting a few meters from this monument was a castle, pictured below. The force of nature was very prevalent there, with hundreds of small birds circling the amazing structures. Let’s just say that neither Callum nor I were surprised that it was a place of worship.