Welcome to the Via Eurasia
The CRS has extended a major European cultural route, the Via Francigena to Turkey to make a new Cultural Route called the Via Eurasia. The route is an ambitious project to link Europe to Turkey using sections of existing routes plus new joining sections. It consists of historical roads, mainly Roman or even earlier constructions repaired by the Ottomans. These roads, which linked old and new Rome and other parts of the Empires, were used for millenia as trade and military routes.
The Via Eurasia were also used by famous travellers, ranging from St Paul, travelling in Roman times, to the famous Ottoman gentleman traveller Evliya Çelebi. The sea routes from Bari and Istanbul via Myra to the east were of major importance for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, the holy city of three religions, and from there onwards to Mecca. Bari Cathedral, in Italy, is the resting-place for the bones of St Nicholas, but his bishopric was at Demre (Myra) in southern Turkey, the final point of the route.
Components of the route
The route is made up of many sections of different routes:
From Britain to Italy, it consists of the Via Francigena, once used as a pilgrimage road from Canterbury to Rome.
From Rome to Bari, it is known as the Via Francigena del Sud.
From Dürres to İstanbul, the route follows the line of the Via Egnatia, a Roman road constructed in the 1st C BC and later repaired by the Ottomans. Known as the sol kol (left arm), opposed to the sağ kol (right arm), which went from İstanbul to the Danube, it was used by the military on campaign in the Balkans and as a trade route supplying İstanbul.
From Istanbul to Bursa, the route has not yet been established. This area is very difficult because Istanbul is expanding so fast and green urban corridors do not exist.
From Bursa to Kütahya, the Evliya Çelebi Way marks part of the route used by the traveller Evliya Çelebi on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
From Kütahya to Afyon, the west arm of the Phrygian Way forms the route, through a landscape of fairy chimneys and rock tombs.
Afyon to Yalvaç is still unknown territory.
Yalvaç to Perge/Antalya is the route used by St Paul on his 1st journey in Asia Minor.
Finally, the Lycian Way takes the route from Antalya to Demre, on Turkey’s south coast.
See the website: www.viaeurasia.org.