Back to Cappadocia
Metin Sepetcioglou was born in a cave in Cappadokia and lived there till 16. Since then, he has lived an adventourous life, he has been a travelling hippie in Europe anc Central Asia, a truckdriver in Iran, an entrepreneur, hotel director, carpet merchant and musician. He has been a travel agency director for the last 15 years.
But he is missing the life on the road. He is a storyteller and a traveller, he was not meant to be a businessman. After having passed 60, he will turn to what makes life meaningful again.
- I will buy a minibus and go myself. with small groups of dedicated people! He says. - Back to Cappasdocia. For, after having seen the world, I have discovered how important the stories of my own homeground is.
Nobody knows for how long time there has been humans living in Cappadocia. But historical time is at least 6.500 years long. That old are the first findings of culture there. One of those findings is mankind's first known map.
The area has always been at the main road between east and west. People living there, have got impulses and stories from all cultures, like Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, Rome, India, China and Mongolia - not to talk about the last centuries, when the Anglophone world has dominated.
- People at home are used to fundamental changes, says Metin. - Every seond or third century, things have olways altered......
The castle in Ortahisar (picture above) tells the story of awareness through thousands of years. Approaching armies or caravans or pilgrims or refugees have been met in the number of ways required: By hospitality, by flight - or by fight.
The Great Mother herself gave the Cappadocians what they needed for all those strategies. Millions of years ago, she erupted, by the vulcano Hasan Dagi - very far away from Ortahisar or the other most famous parts of Cappadokia. The eruptions must have been enormous, for most of the great Konya Plain was covered by a lava ocean.
But this lava proved to be a blessing when humans arrived the area: It was soft on the inside, like sandstone. It could easily be carved out for housing. But once carved - when the stone surface was exposed to humidity, it changed. It did not erode - it became hard almost like marble. The caves, that so easily could be carved out, could also be stongholds and inconqueralble fortresses.
And when approoaching armies looked too strong to fight - the caves were places to seek refuge. During the centuries, they carved out underground cities. They could be closed by round stones in narrow niches, impossible to destroy or to open in any other way but calling the secret words to the guards on the inside: "Open Sesame!"
Guess where are the roots of t the story about Ali Baba and the forty thieves?
"Been there - done that"
Today's Turkey is changing rapidly. Economy is growing fast, culture and art is blooming, political and military influence grow. It is important to understand this former - and future? - power, this synthesis of the East and the West.
- I do not like the usual way tourists are offered Cappadocia, says Metin. - Too many visitors come by a long, direct bus drive from the coast, stops for a few minutes at the most famous attractions - and leaves. They learn nothing that way. Neither do we.
He wants time. Five days, at least. He wants friendship to grow in the group he goes with, and stories to be exchanged. Himself, he speaks enough English, French, Italian and German (and he is learning Russian now) to catch stories from his guests, and to take part in the discussions.
- Cappadocia is a lanscape for wondering, reflexions and discourse. It is a place to sit or to walk slowly, to experience nature, history and culture. It is not a place for rushing.
On the following pages, I will tell more about this remarquable man, his landscape - and his ideas.