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Goreme – the trip back in time

19/02/2020

The other night, the car took us from Konya to Cappadocia. The first stop was the Goreme museum. The sky was all dark and the temperature at that time was -2 degrees C making everyone huddled. We walked from the entrance to the 3D light performance area to watch the Zelve Mapping Show. Zelve is a Byzantine monastery carved on the rocks during the pre-war and now a World Heritage site named by UNESCO in Turkey.

No seat, no roof. Each person had to find a foothold on the steep slopes. The snow was about 5cm thick. I fumbled to follow the footprints on the snow of those who went in front of me, and finally climbing on a huge rock in an empty spot, sitting on the rock, waiting to see the performance everyone was all expected of. The longhaired white cat ran under my feet from the gate then curled up in my lap. “It’s warm!” – I thought.

At that moment, the music started, the lights began to shine towards the spectacular stones in front, forming vivid 3D pictures. My Italian friend once mentioned 3D Mapping Show – a kind of art using emotion from beams of light pouring over a large surface of buildings or historical sites to reconstruct a story, a historical period, but I didn’t see it until now. We were astonished at what we saw. The periods of development of Turkey since the Stone Age, the Roman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey today turned out like a magnificent historical drama in the fascinating music. Inside the majestic snow mountain, everyone silently enjoyed the impressive light performance with their appreciation as if they were welcoming a miracle.

In the morning, after the Cappadocia sightseeing from above by a hot air balloon, we went back to the Goreme museum. The strange feeling last night was still there. We walked around the caves – also the churches, chapels, and houses built from the 10th – 12th centuries. There were still intact colorful paintings inside, on the cliffs. Now, I really understand the significance of the caves often caught everywhere on every Christmas. Strictly speaking, now, I really believe people used to live in places like this.

One of the tourists we met along the journey of discovering Turkey showed his gladness to know we would come to Goreme. He comes from England, who is Christian, very devout, often volunteering at churches around the world and desiring to set foot in all places with the traces of Christianity. He expressed his appreciation towards Turkey for preserving and not demolishing the precious heritage of Christianity.

I have a close friend who is Christian, so I took a photo for her to see. She messaged me, “Oh I’m jealous!”. My friend used to go to the Vatican in Italy and said she felt like going back home, going into the heart of God, feeling very sacred. The way she described was like my British friend. I said that’s strange! She said that born as a Christian, from a young age, she has been loving Holy Mother as much as she loves her grandmother, though never meets. I was dumbfounded when I read the message. Perhaps, Goreme is a trip that takes us back in time, to really live with those moments in history. Standing in the heart of the valley, I felt a deep sense of my trips. Go, not only to watch, but to learn more about life, or for a few moments, to live another life-differing-from-yours.

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