1998 STUDY TOUR TO TURKEY


In the early hours of the morning of May 1, following a night of celebration for Israel's 50th independence day, 22 students, faculty and staff departed for the Department of Maritime Civilization's 1998 study tour to the shores of Turkey - from Izmir to the Black Sea.

There was little time to rest on the short flight to Izmir, where a bus waited to transport us to Sardis. The fabulous remains at Sardis, which include a synagogue, became the first of many sites to be viewed and studied. One of our students served as a guide - a practice that was repeated at other sites (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. A student guiding the group at Sardis (Photo: E. Menashe)

Izmir - ancient Smyrna - was our next stop before the short trip to the even more ancient Early Bronze harbor site of Liman Tepe, in Urla. We arrived at dusk and were guided by Vasif Sahoglu, an assistant to Professor Hayat Erkanal from Ankara University. Professor Erkanal and his wife, Professor Armagan Erkanal from Hacettepe University in Ankara, are directors of the Izmir Region Excavations and Research Project.

The two Turkish boats, Hera and Leda, awaited us in Urla, as did our guests, Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner from London. A reception for the group was held in town, at which the Vice-Mayor of Urla provided refreshments and presented the head of our team, Michal Artzy, with a bouquet of flowers. Life aboard the boats, which were equipped with 'unusual' facilities, took a little getting used to, but nonetheless our hardy group was ready to go early the next morning. First we visited the museum in Manissa, which houses many of the finds from the area. We then went on to the Bronze Age site of Panaztepe, where we were guided by Vasif. This was merely a taste of what was to come. We were brought to a house in the village, used by Izmir Project excavators for processing their material. The resident caretakers provided us with a treat to be savored, a freshly prepared borek served in the fragrant rose garden.

At Foca, ancient Phocaea, a fortress on a verdant hillside, we stopped to discuss the Phocaeans and their shipbuilding traditions. This was followed by a visit to the first of many fish markets, where Ehud Spanier gave us a running commentary (Fig. 2). We continued along the coast to Dikili attempting to view the elusive 'seals' along the way, and meanwhile learning about the geological formations of the coast as observed by Dorit Sivan. Stops near Nimrut, where we looked for the assumed port of Pergamon, and alongside a rather odorous Hamam, hot spring, gave us our first experience of the independent nature of Turkish 'dinghies', as exemplified by the two attached to our boats.


Fig. 2. Ehud Spanier provides a commentary at the fish market (Photo: E. Menashe)

From Dikili we travelled by bus to Pergamon, where we were ably guided by yet another of our talented students. Upon returning to our 'moving hotel', we were reminded of our dependence on the sea. The boats met us at Ayvalik where, instead of continuing with our schedule, we spent the afternoon and evening supplying ourselves with fresh produce, 'checking-out' the local Hamam, listening to lectures, drinking tea and looking for functioning telephones. We departed Ayvalik in the early hours of the morning for a visit to Assos, the largely restored temple of Athena, guided by Sariel Shalev. This grand site will be remembered by all.

The shielding affect of the island of Lesbos was distinctly felt once we headed north towards Alexandria Troas. Southwesterly winds reminded us that we were in the hands of Poseidon. Only one boat, the Leda, Zeus's 'White Swan', with the active help of Ya'acov Kahanov, managed to sail near the site, while the Hera continued directly to the island of Bozcaada, ancient Tenedos. We reached the small harbor town of only 200 inhabitants following the departure of the guards from the Venetian fort that protects the entrance. A two-man mission managed to establish contact however, and a visit was arranged.

A misty 'cloud bearing' early morning, saw us on our way to the Dardanelles. The hardy souls amongst us were on deck to view the coastal geography and the ancient sites. The currents, the winds and other difficulties hampered our planned entrance under sail into the Dardanelles. The position of the Plain of Ilium and hence Troy, Galipoli and ancient Greek colonization, were topics of interest which were discussed and experienced in a 'hands on' manner. From our next stop in canakkale, we proceeded to Troy, guided by Ezra Marcus. From here we could see the coast that we had passed but a few hours before. The coastal nature of Troy, in its various periods of habitation, became easier to visualize.

The night was spent in Erdek, in front of a row of restaurants, which at this time of year and in this weather seemed just waiting for tourists. The early morning brought a surprise in the form of fishermen with a catch of anchovies (Fig. 3). From Erdek it was a short bus ride to Cisicus, its unexcavated theater, and Hadrian's Temple with its wealth of marble, guided by Nadav Kashtan. A short sail brought us to Saraylar, on the island of Marmara, where even the quay was constructed of marble, the namesake of the sea. Saraylar boasts a collection of marble remnants from different periods, including sculpture and other elements.


Fig. 3. A fisherman at Erdek (Photo: Y. Tur Caspa)

The wealth of the marble island seems to have escaped the understanding of the local population. Our next stop was to have been Mudanya, but the sea was too rough for docking and the two yachts followed a pilot boat ("my friend", boasted Hera's captain, Yavus) to Gemlik, arriving at midnight. Our next destination, Bursa, as explained to us by Hassan Khalilieh, was the revered Ottoman capital and contains examples of Seljuk architecture. The mosques and graves of the first sultans were our introduction to the decorated tile work. The botanists among us noted the abundance of mulberry trees, an important component of the prevalent silk industry. The 'shoppers' among us spent a short while at the 'Emir Han', a caravanserai used for silk brokering. The rest of us searched for other local specialties - candied chestnuts and shadow theater puppets. Iznik was our next stop, with its museum containing a lovely collection of tiles, the Green Mosque and a gate to the city walls, part of which is dated by an inscription, to the Roman period.

We were granted another view of the exquisite lake on our way to Yalova, where the boats were to await us. But the sea was too rough, and the mighty Hera and the 'white swan' Leda got no further than a small village west of Cinarcik. The Hera's front window was broken and our 'library' was drenched, as were some of the mattresses in both boats. It was a damp Kabalat Shabbat that night.

Morning made it clear that we would not sail to Yalova, or Istanbul, which was our next destination. A dolmosh, equipped with a 'perfume dispenser' was hired to get us to Yalova. Once there, tickets were purchased for the departing ferry to Istanbul by Yossi Tur-Caspa, our trusted 'economist', who managed to leap on board at the last second to join the rest of us. The usual visits were made to the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the bazaar, Topkapi, the fish market, the sea walls and, most exciting for us, a visit to the maritime museum and the 17th century boat, the Kadirga.

It was only early the next morning, our last day of sailing that we headed towards the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. Our plan to reach Sile by boat was foiled by the high waves and cold northerly winds so we returned to Sarayar, a center of the Black Sea fishery industry. From there we traveled by bus to Sile and back to Istanbul, to the waiting Hera and Leda for our final night.

We wish to thank all those who made this highly successful study tour possible: Irene and Maurice Hatter, Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner, the CMS, the Faculty of Humanities and the Dean for Advanced Studies at the University of Haifa.

Michal Artzy



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