Friday, October 11, 2013

Gerga or bust!

Now there is a special site in Caria called Gerga, I wrote a few college papers on the place and have always desired to have a visit. Michelle and I tried three times to find it in the past and Greg and I also tried, all to no avail. There are no clear directions and the writer who wrote the most on Gerga, George Bean, seems to have given the wrong directions as well. If it wasn't for old images of the place we could have begun to believe the place didn't really exist but there is a sign for Gerga off the hwy so it must be there somewhere!
   Our trip this te began with some google Earth notes and maps and George Bean's directions. We tried to get a bead on the place but could not. We drove to the bridge Bean mentioned but nothing he said made sense like before so we decided beating our heads against the wall and expecting different results would be stupid. We then trashed our notes and just decided to ask every human being we could find in this rather lonely area. One guy pointed opposite of where we believed the site was and indicated we had to walk, but to where and from where? On illiterate old lady we asked clung to the car and continually declared Michelle her daughter and asked why she didn't speak Turkish. She was extremely vivacious and friendly but didn't seem to know what we were talking about when we mentioned Gerga. It took us ten minutes to extract her from the side of our car! Another guy just basically said 'forget it, you'll never find it.' Finally we stopped in front of a lonely house where a man walked with a wheelbarrow with apparently his mom. We asked him about Gerga, he pointed back the way we had come and gestured that we had to walk. We tried to find out more but we could see in his eyes the feeling that 'these two idiots don't have the slightest chance of finding the place on their own!" So he immediately dropped what he was doing and offered to lead us there. We were thrilled and he changed his shoes, grabbed some water, snacks and a hat and got in our car. We turned around and no where near where we were looking he had us stop at the side of the road, absolutely nothing around. We got out and walked down the embankment, then up and down for 4-5 kilometers, no trails just cow paths and gullies. Eventually we saw the hut-like stone structure and goodness we were there- Gerga at last! It was like a pilgrimage for us and we hugged each other with joy. Our guide, nice but very quiet, just lead us around to the various parts.
   See Gerga was either the name of the town or a local deity who was worshipped there. The name Gerga is oddly written in Greek in like 20 places, which is odd, but the style of much of the walls and such are obviously Carian. My studies have pointed to this place having aired than likely older Carian history but the structures visible belong to the 4th -3rd centuries BC to thé Roman périod. Part of a large statue, perhaps of Kybele, lay below the main terrace. It is such a remote place with a road or even a foot path leading to it. It is as if time has forgotten Gerga and it is rather sad this very curious place has been left to the elements. At least this remoteness also seems to protect the place from harm.
   We were so happy to finally find the place and this made the long hike to the car a lot better. I gave the guy 100 TL for taking us which seemed to shock him, but we truly appreciated him taking the time to lead us. He probably thought we were a comple of nuts, but who cares, we made it to Gerga!!!!
   We finally made it back to the hwy and saw that sign "Gerga16." First of all at the 16 km point you are past the closest point the road gets to Gerga (where we hiked from), second there are no further info signs or anything to aid someone turning off the hwy seeking the place or to tell them the site is 4-5 km from the road!!! Who the hell decided to put a sign there and why? What an odd thing to do and it has caused us repeated frustration but this time we prevailed! Michelle extensively documented and photographed the mileage, locale and hike so we can now go there on our own next time.
That was an awesome day!!'

No comments:

Post a Comment