Erkan Kiraz's Memoires

Cumartesi, Temmuz 09, 2005

A Portugueseman In The City of Izmit

Kurucesme Upperhills Villages Trip & A Portugueseman In The City of Izmit

I got up earlier this morning but I could not get out of the bed. I did not insist on getting out. I collapsed back myself in the bed again. It was 08:50 when I woke up again. Speedily I got out of bed and started putting on my clothes. My handy phone was ringing when I entered in the saloon. It was Heyecan Kiraz, my elder sister calling me. She was wondering at which o’clock we are going to set our way to weekend trip. She had not yet her breakfast. I said her that Okay I will pick you up from 44 Evler district whenever I arrive that place. Shortly after that telephone conversation I gave a call to Muhittin Bakan (1). It was Yavuz Ulugun (2) who hung up the handy phone. He told that they were just departing from Acisu Parki. We would have met with Omer Keskin (3) in Kurucesme (4) district across the municipality building. “Okay” I said. I will pick up my elder sister from Derince District and drive to that place we agreed on for meeting.

This short trip we would set for was determined many weeks ago by a few friends of us. It was not realized due to some unexpected weather conditions such as hard rain, storm and the likes. In this trip scope, we would travel some near villages such as Akpinar, Kurfalli and Arizli that are located on the northern heights of Kurucesme district. Why we did not include Hatipkoy village into this trip I could not understand it. Those villages were known as Manav (5) villages however during the ancient and later on Ottoman times near or around those villages Roums (Greek origin Ottoman society) have inhabited according to some unknown sources and narrations. I visited and went around those villages in previous years together with my elder sister Heyecan Kiraz and my father-in law of Ali Osman Aykan (6).

We arrived at Kurucesme district at the same time with Yavuz Ulugun and other friends. I went for getting my car’s depot filled with gasoline (7). I drove from gasoline stating to a suitable parking place around the municipality of Kurucesme. Then I pulled my car just before the Sariyer Borekcisi (a special pie shop) for having a breakfast and I saw that Omer Keskin also arrived with his car. Both of us, me and my elder sister entered into the pie shop and Omer Keskin went for inviting other friends of Yavuz Ulugun and Muhittin Bakan. There seems there not exist any hungry person but only me. The gun trotted to the head, I made everybody ordered Turkish Tea and pie. It turned out that the shop’s owner and his wife were the students of Muhittin Bakan who was a teacher retiree. The owner was from the Kurfalli village to which we would pay a visit today. When he learnt that we are going to his village he said that maybe during the afternoon we might run there with each other.

Omer Keskin left his car at a suitable parking lot and got on Yavuz Ulugun’s car. He said there is no need going with three cars to the trip while there is enough available room. We started our trip with two cars. One was mine of Toyota Corolla 1.6 in white color and other was a Mercedes belong to Yavuz Ulugun, in black color. Our horses were in white and black colors. In essence their horsepower were stronger more than just two horses. The just petty difference between the horses was the number; the number of mine was not over 130. We drove ahead through Ataturk Street to the eastward. We took to the right after a while and kept going on like snakes through the road and after a point arrived a two-way intersection across the Kurucesme Valley just under the highway bridge. There was unused dyke wall at the southern side of valley. Once this wall was built for preventing the downer dwellings in the farther southwards from the overflows of Kurucesme Brook during once hard winter over snowing times. Unfortunately and it is pity today that the empty sections of this water reservoir barrage wall and the surrounding places of highway viaduct’s bigger and longer legs are used as a free dumping place whoever wants to throw away his wastes, garbage including waste tires. There were many waste tires accumulated one by one in piles on the right side of the road. The people of my land are so sensitive in protecting their environments and nature (!).

We turned to the right heading to Akpinar village from the point two-way intersection. Akpinar village has been established on the upper western side heights of Kurucesme Valley. In the time, residents of this village like other villages’ residents have moved to and around of Kurucesme district. Many of them still have close connections with their native villages, which they have left previously. In the villages of Hatipkoy, Akpinar, Kurfalli, Arizli, Agakoy and Kabaoglu to the contrary to other Manav villages in the adjacent, keeping vineyards, especially cultivating cherry trees, chestnut trees and planting vegetables and greens are so much popular. In the last years the greenhouse cultivation agriculture is leading head in the said villages.

There is a Koy Cesmesi (village fountain) made for the community by the whole villagers at the outset of village. At the southern side of it an old and tall Cinar Agaci (Plane Tree) is skyrocketing. The fountain was built on the northern side of small valley and on the western side of village way. From this small valley on there came a smaller brook. The waterpower of brook was not so much to feed the fountain. The Koy Mezarligi (village graveyard) has also been established on the southeastern side of the village way just so close to this village fountain. During my previous trip to this village, we had run over the farmers named as Recep Yorukoglu, Sabri Yorukoglu and Ridvan Askin who were mending all together the said village fountain. There was a marble plate erected behind the fountain. The engraved marble plate once has been taken place across the main village fountain in the town center.

The marble inscription plate was carved with the Osmanlica Yazit (Ottoman Language inscription). Previously I have taken its picture and tried to read text but never succeeded to read it thoroughly and completely. This time over we altogether are to read it thoroughly. However one line of text was written in Arabic and we could not manage to read it. That Arabic section should be a prayer. Except that line we read out other lines from top to the end (8). After taking pictures of the fountain we set our feet on the small footpath towards to Koy Mezarligi (village graveyard). This was almost older times cemetery. There were many old grave trees such as Servi Agaci (Cypress) and natural trees of Karacali (Furze or Gurse), Mese (Oak) and Yabani Zeytin (Wild Olive) trees. There were a lot of simple and ordinary Mezartaslari (tombstones) in rectangular forms erected on the top of graves.

We parked our cars at a place resembling a square after arrived to village center. Both of me and my elder sister Heyecan Kiraz started to search the ancient remnants of marble and block rocks date back to the late Byzantium or Roman times in the thresholds, gardens and on the walls of villages homes. Homes were built one, two or three story forms. We even found many. In the meantime Muhittin Bakan, Yavuz Ulugun and Omer Keskin were looking for the Muhtar (Village Headman). Instead they found Hasan Sarigoz (57). He was the second member from the Ihtiyar Heyeti (Village Counsel). We went round the narrow village roads and took pictures of ancient times remnants, village houses and villagers. Hasan Sarigoz was narrating us about remnants of Sarapevi (Winehouse) and an old Rum Kilisesi (Greek Church) around the village. We accepted him to guide us to those places.

The aunt of Yavuz Ulugun has died and already gone. Allah blesses her and let her rest in peace. Her funeral praying would be done following the Ikindi Namazi (After-Noon Praying) in the Fevziye Mosque. That is why Yavuz Ulugun was little bit in a hurry.

I ran the villagers whom were occupied with chopping and slicing their wintertime burning woods by a motorized jigsaw. “Take it ease” we wish them when we are going around the houses to fetch some remnants. I remembered the faces of some villagers. Also they remembered me. They were Mr. Recep Yorukoglu and Mr. Sabri Yorukoglu. We have met 3 years ago in front of Koy Cesmesi (Village Fountain). Their faces turned to smiling wide. Sarapevi (Winehouse) and its ruins have been placed in the upper heights of village’s western-southern side. We maneuvered back our cars and with guide of Hasan Sarigoz, drove to the place he showed us. After getting out of our cars, at the front Hasan Sarigoz, we started to climb by following him on a muddy narrow footpath just western-side of Akpinar village’s main way through the courtyards, vineyards, fruit gardens and bushes up to farther ahead.

There was elevation made of stones, rocks and ruins of an ancient building, to a plain and open place arrived we among the courtyards. When we climbed over the elevation, we realized that the ruins were undergone attacks of some unknown Define Avcilari (Treasure Hunters). The area was completely dug off. There were many deep holes. In some of recent excavations some sections of building walls, aqueducts that form the central-running water system and some rooms came to the light.

When my other colleagues went ahead to western-northwards, another stone-heap caught my eyes among the bush woods took place on the eastern-southern side. I wondered what for they are! There existed some small pieces of thatches and bricks. When I attempted to pass it through a field over the stone-heap, I placed down my foot on a loose stone and found myself falling down. I stretched my right hand towards a branch instinctively hoping to avoid from a hard fall and caught a thin branch of a brush heap. In my left hand I was holding tight my digital camera. I fell backward on the rocks. My hands and knees were scratched and torn along.

I stood up slowly in puzzlement searching my whole body there are any serious wounds over. I rose up my eyes towards the open field in which radishes have been planted. I shouted Heyecan Kiraz and Muhittin Bakan to come over towards me. We started to search some small pieces of ancient remnants over the radishes field. Some times later I found some small pieces of earthen-baked bowls, water-bowls, potteries and plates. I handed the pieces over Muhittin Bakan. He collected them in a small rubber bag. Other colleagues have climbed towards western heights farther. When we arrived to the place they were standing, we saw some blocked stones among the bush woods. There was not any text over the blocked stones’ surfaces we could read out. It started to rain slightly.

On the way back to our cars, we were passing some older and deserted vineyards and fruit gardens in which there were many stocks and trees seemed older than 20 years. I picked up saffron-yellowish Ayva (quince) and matured Musmula (meddler) from the trees. The fruit trees started becoming rotten due to increasing air pollution after the highway having passed by the area. Besides younger generation left dealing with cultivation of fruit trees. Hasan Sarigoz said that the ruins of Rum Kilisesi (Greek Church) takes place on the other side of village. We would pass through again the village to reach there.

At first we stopped at the exit of village, there were three big Cinar Agaci (Plane Trees). Under the threes was there another Koy Cesmesi (Village Fountain) fed by a nearby spring called Akpinar from which the village derived its name. The spring was called as Akpinar (white spring). On the outer further away of spring there was a huge and long Stone trough made from the Roman grave sarcophaguses. Fountain basin was in the shape of L letter. Recently some works have been undergone for carrying running water to the village. The excavated earth heaps were thrown around. The beauties and tidiness of the area that I have visited previous years has completely gone away. One couple of villagers was cleaning fresh onions and crisp lettuce in the fountain basin. Possibly they would go bazaar and sell their products for earn money.

The Kilise Kalintisi (Greek Church) ruins were on the top of a small a natural elevation surrounded by olive trees. The hill resembled a tumulus man made later on having built the church on the elevation. The area was a rectangular shape. Heaped stones and rocks bordered the area. Among the bordered rocky edges of the area there seemed some pieces of marble and blocked stones. Recently the Define Avcilari (Treasure Hunters) opened a searching hole in the eastern end of the area. It was highly deep in a conic shape. In the unearthed the section, the downer walls of church made of baked-red-color bricks have appeared. An older farmer was trimming the olive trees surrounded the elevation over the eastern slope of the area. Eastern side of hill was overlooking to the Arizli Valley. In the field the church ruins were taken place, some vegetables were planted. But nothing was left behind from them. Only olive trees were seen by now. Yavuz Ulugun was in lack of time. He has not any time more. He was righteously a little bit in a rush. We moved ahead slowly our cars after having taken a few more pictures of the ruins.

It was farewell time to Hasan Sarigoz who voluntarily guided us to various historic and ancient places. Thanked him and said good-bye. If he wished we could have taken him to the village center. But he did not accept it by arguing that he does want not to interrupt our smooth journey. He could walk there. It was not any trouble for him. Kurucesme Valley comes to an end after about 2 or 3 km. The northern side of the valley was closed with another hill. The connection earthen road going to Kurfalli Village was passing through the eastern side of mountain chain. This mountain chain was reaching down steeply until the seaside. At the end of valley it was climbing on the western side of mountain chain that takes place on the eastern side of the valley.

The road made a headland at the northern end of the valley while it was climbing with a slight slope towards to the village. At this headland, the ex-mayor of Kurucesme Municipality built a three-story mansion. Some said that he has sold it later on. From this point, you might have a splendid vintage of Highway Viaducts, Kurucesme Valley and Gulf of Izmit. We just slowed down the speed of our car while we were passing by headland. I parked my car on the southern side of village mosque. My buddies were asking for village headman. Instead they have found Village Imam. They were talking with him about the village. Omer Keskin was primary school teacher in this village. His pupils were consisting of only some students who are attending at 3rd class starting from 1st class.

On the road leading to village grove then connecting to the Esek Meydani (Donkey Square small paving stones were laid down by some foreign workers. This road was passing by the wooded Erenler Tepesi (The Saints’ Hill). The cunning children of village, most of them are Omer Keskin’s pupils surrounded us with wondering eyes and endless questions. They were asking if we are journalists or not. They came together and raised their arms around each other’s and posed to me. I took their pictures.

The children who are taken pictures were shouting others and calling them to the spot with the great excitement of their pictures will pressed on the newspapers. They looked so much happy that none believed in their eyes what they saw. They were in worn and torn clothes like really some rags. They were in terrible cold but much cheerful, kind-hearted and in a mood of as if they never feel any shivering. I asked for the boys to say me their names for my recording; Muharrem Celiker (6), Semih Nogay (7), Samet Oran (5) and Sezer Ustun (10). Muharrem Celiker would never give up his close follow up us till the end of our trip in the village. He was trying to supply us what he could know about his village.

Village imam Mehmet Karakaya (42) joined us as our guide. We climbed slowly surrounded by curious village children to Erenler Tepesi (The Saints’ Hill). The hill was a wooded place and behind the trees there were some bush. There seemed not any certain a tomb around but only a small rectangular stonewall. The trees were protected due to the area was supposed as a holy and sacred place. However the Define Avcilari (The Treasure Hunters) dug the area here and there turning the area to mole holes never paying any respect to this supposed sacredness. What supposed to be as a sacred tomb was surrounded with some gathered rocks and stones among them there seemed some historic marble rocks pieces. On the eastern edge of the wall there was an oak tree. When we see surprisingly an historic white color marble piece in the root trunk of tree, knelt to observe the natural event on the spot. The piece of marble was surrounded by tree trunk and some part of marble was left outside. There were different kinds of trees on the hill. They were furze, oak, wild olive and some other kinds of cypress trees. This hill was the highest point of this area. From here towards the lower hills of there area such as Yenidogan Valley, Kabaoglu Valley, Turgut Hill and Radar Hill were seen so clear and without any blur.

When we returned to the village center, went around another place regarded as a sacred place as saint’s tomb, and its surrounding and roads. There were a lot of too many gathered materials in the Kurfallı village. It was not possible mentioning the exact time period of the ancient stones we took pictures. However there was an old house ruin just across the sacred place, which was under a gurse trees. The house demolish was on the western-northern side of that sacred place. The old trees around the said grave were protected due to the place is regarded as a sacred place. On the western-southern corner of the foundation of the house there were some broken Roman catacombs stones. On the one of marble pieces of Roman catacombs a cross like sign caught my eyes. When I came it a little bit closer, saw the sign of Latin Cross (†). It was not big enough to see it from distance. I had not run that sign on my previous trips to this village.

We found many other ancient small marble pieces of stones on the doorsteps, bases and walls of the village houses when we kept on walking through the paths. The village graveyard was located in the southern side of the village. The cemetery was placed on the second hill of the village. We drove our cars just across of two bigger Roman block stones. The stones were placed side by side. The Imam said that the stones have been used as coffin placing stone for praying for long years on the cemetery way. We killed our engines. Outside of the car it started drizzling again. Village Imam has graduated from Imam & Preacher High School of Bilecik city and also graduated from The Professional School of Divinity of two years. He has been carrying his imam duty in this village and other places of Izmit city for many years. He said he has almost reached to the end of his active duty period. The retirement days were not much far away for him.

The village graveyard was not much tended. The wild bush, small threes and older trees and plants were intervolved. Finding a clear path was not easy. Around the graveyard we searched older graves. We found by chance only two big Osmanli Mezar Tasi (Ottoman Tombstones). Three of us, village Imam, Muhittin Bakan and me were trying to read out what were carved on the tombstones. We read on the first tombstone that was among the thorns and brambles it was erected during Hicri (Muslim Calendar) 1243 (9). The other was erected during Hicri (Muslim Calendar) 1241 (10). Yavuz Ulugun was still in a rush to catch the funeral and the rain also increased it speed. We were getting wet under drizzle.

Yavuz Ulugun would leave us after we have visited to the Kurfalli Primary School. Omer Keskin was both only one teacher and head teacher of the school. There were pupils who were attending up to 3rd grade at the school. The school was consisting of only one classroom and one teacher’s room. In one corner of only classroom, the syllable layouts were hung for easy grasping of reading. In the other corner were there toys and puzzle like materials just beside the blackboard. Also two sets of personnel computers. In the middle of classroom a coal stove was placed. Another coal stove was placed in the teacher’s room. Also there was one PC on the teacher’s desk. We said that the pupils of this school seem so much lucky ones. Just we are to leave the school, we run the owner of Kurucesme Sariyer Borekcisi (pie shop). As he mentioned in the early morning he has come to visit his father-in-law living in the village. After a chat for a while Yavuz Ulugun left us and we lead to the midway rolling through to other village of Arizli Koyu.

In the last weeks with my wife Hanife we had wandered these areas for catching Color-Conversion on the leaves. We had cough really splendid changed colors on the last falling leaves of wild and fruit trees. In spite of so much dense smoke and fog on the heights, slopes, valleys and lowlands we had not changed making a small and short trip around. First we started from Uctepler Way through the Esek Meydani (11). After this area we took the way leading Arizli Koyu village then directly to Kurfalli village. Everything was fine and adoring. The leaves smelled moldiness; on the air were there earth and rain scent. It was raining and breathing and inhaling the rain scent coming from the earth was refreshing our bodies. While trying to snap a few interesting shots among the village roads we have caught a terrible cold so seriously.

I stopped on the way while climbing to the Arizli Koyu village. Omer Keskin has seen some date trees on the wayside. The dates were smaller than the normal sized ones we got accustomed. The dates sounded over matured and falling down to the ground. We lined around the tree and started to finger up the matured dates. The taste was semi-acrid and semi over-sweet. They were in the form so suitable for eating. However after eating some pieces of small dates our mouths turned like twisted. We were hungry and dates were not suitable for our stomachs. When we see a meddler tree on the opposite side of way, I said that I am going to collect the matured meddler. The rain stopped. We kept going our way until we arrive to the opening of Arizli Koyu village. I pulled my car to a corned and we got out of car all along. We talked with farmers about any possible interesting object fall into our interest. However as to what they narrated us there seemed not any interesting event we could catch in this village.

When we are on the way between Arizli village and Esekmeydani, the constructions of Kocaeli Universitesi Kampus (12) (Campus Buildings and Facilities of University of Kocaeli) area taken place on the heights of Umuttepe slowly appeared among the bushes sprouted all along the way. Construction seemed to proceed so slowly. Yet not all things were finished off. While some buildings were painted with last touch the others were still not completed. I had taken pictures of almost every aşama steps of construction. It seemed that still whole complex was not finished off. We slowed down while we were passing by the Kent Ormani (city forest). We continued to our way due to nobody seemed having a look around. Böylece today’s trip program was finalized. We have completed our dolaşma wandering around so earlier than we expected.

Muhittin Bakan was talking about a tumulus taken place on the eastern heights of the way we were passing by Kabaoglu Koyu village to Omer Keskin. My eyes were riveted only on the way ahead of me. So I did not pay any heed what he was talking about. He touched on my shoulder and asked me if I know the renowned Aytepe Anit Mezari (sarcophagus) (13). I was in astonishment what about he was asking. What a kind of sarcophagus was he talking? I knew area so well like inside of my hand. But alas I did not know that one. The tumulus was called as Aytepe and the sarcophagus as found by Define Avcilari (Treasure Hunters).

The sarcophagus was made in the form of a Thracian grave but its length was longer than others. Possibly its date went back pre-Hellenistic but late Roman times. Probably after it was completed its over was thoroughly covered by earth carried from the surrounding places. I made an abrupt decision and slammed on the brakes. I pulled the car along the right side of way and maneuvered back up to the place Muhittin Bakan pointed me. After I found a suitable opining, parked car and we got out of car altogether. The hill seemed a simple freshly ploughed wheat field. Its çevresi was encircled with barbed wires. We passed through other side under the barbed wires stretched wide by one of us. We started our trial of walking in the wet softy field.

It was not easy task walking on muddy field. All of our shoes were bulanmak into mud. When we approach to the top of tumulus, below on the eastern-southern side of it the Seymenler Koyu village and on the eastern-northern side the Sepetciler Koyu village were viewed. On the southern side yamaç slopes of the valley the Gundogdu Deprem Konutlari (Mass Housing Project) was taken place. I was a great shock with what I witnessed on the Aytepe hill. Really I did. How did I skip finding out and taking its pictures this distinguishing splendid place to date! I had heard about this sarcophagus but I thought it was taken place on undefined place. There was nothing to do with Yuvacik Aytepe. It should not be karıştırılmak to the first place. Tıpkı like the Tepekoy village that was taken place on the eastern edge of Gundogdu Deprem Konutlari (Mass Housing Project) has nothing to do with other Tepekoy village in Karamursel County.

At first we saw the top sections unearthed by treasure hunters then saw the entrance gate in the bottom of pit çukur dug out. The grave was like a long arched tunnel. It was broken at two sections from the top aiming to reach inside hoping to find treasures. All the blocked stones were made of Granit. It enlarged in the direction of north and south. The entrance gate was built on the southern side. The form of grave was like the mosque windows. Many blocked stones were scattered around özensizce without any care. Some were badly broken for whatever expections to be explored inside. Some section of grave’s interior area was filled with earth from the broken holes by the years.

After having taken many outside pictures I decided to enter inside of it. I tried first from the hole the stones are broken however I could not manage it. In essence the main gate provided easy entrance inside. I was in a second astonishment when I saw the non-deformed interior sides. What I really felt ashamed was that some sections of the interior block stoned walls were demolished in the middle wondering if any prospective treasure could be hidden behind the walls. I tried to imagine the times the grave was under construction, the hurrying workers, masters and the likes. There seemed not any written recordings or Hellenic or Latin inscriptions on any side.

Some parts of arched dome was fallen down on the bottom and broken while some others slid downwards. I could not see any kind of protection, restoration or keeping in tact it. The tomb which was a human treasure and standstill against the passing thousands years under the gömüldüğü place, was left alone without any protection, so vulnerable to new attacks of treasure hunters. I assume that its history should be the history of humanity.

While we were going down towards my car I was talking Muhittin Bakan about Paşasuyu Su Kemerleri (aqueducts ruins) taken place across the Seymenli Koyu village. I asked him if he ever saw the said aqueducts at that village. He gestured that he already knew all of them however I was not sure he really understood where I tried to describe him. Eventually it seemed that he was confusing karıştırmak the said aqueducts with three aqueducts remnants taken place around the Sarıcalar Koyu village. What I tried to explain was different other than those you already knew. Omer Keskin remembered the village I mentioned. I have traveled those villages recent years. I have made investigation about what was left from ancient times and took pictures whatever I have found out. It was early beginning of spring (14).

We parked our cars on a place across the village mosque. There was a village baking oven fırın just in front of mosque. The farmer women were gathered around the arched toprak earthen oven. They were baking village breads and some kind of pies. The fresh bread scent and head-swirling smell of grilling pies reached to our nostrils. It was irresistible. We wished them take it ease and have a good day. They felt ashamed and their faces become blushed. One of the women offered us some pieces of Pide (cheesy pies). We were surrounded some wondering farmers. We asked for help what footpath should we take to reach down the aqueduct ruin from a villager. He waved a direction towards the valley down. The footpath was a different one that previous I took. I had gone that place with village under the guide of children (15). We had passed from more proper and easier path at that time. The last part of the way the children let me was so much steep. I have been without breath in the return way. But now we were rolling through gardens and courtyards down to undefined place. Ömer Keskin was delivering some small pieces of pie from the one he had taken from the village woman. At the last my eyes caught the appearance of the aqueduct among the unleavened yapraksız branches of trees in the deep down of valley.

It was wintertime. The trees and bush woods have fallen their leaves. The aqueduct-arched bridge was with its colossal heyebtiyle before our eyes. It looked İhtişamlı. The bridge was made with five different sized arches. The main kemer arch was in the mid section of it and spanning the valleys each sloping sides. Two side arches were smaller and they were oturtulmak based on the side slopes of çukurluk area. The brook’s nearly dried out little bit water passing under the main and the highest arch. When I went down with great care grapping small branches of plants. I saw that the downer side of legs of bigger arch were torn and worn out by wintertime’s azgin streaming water. It seemed that one of legs on the eastern slope could possible collapse down. At any uncertain time some concrete patches have been added on the broken section of water channel on the top of bridge. The shepherd tending his sürü on the valley’s western slopes among the bushes shouted towards us. He wondered if were after any kind of treasure hunting.

On the return way we took the steeper hill to climb. All of us were breathless in the middle of way. The beads of sweat were falling down and the sweat soaked every corner of our bodies. Climbing such a slope was better off that jogging a distance longer than 20 km. Eventually we could manage to reach to the path on the top hill. All of us were inhaling speedily. For a while we stood motionless as if none of us want to take one-step more. On the way towards to village mosque we come across the same villager who describe us the wrong way. This time asked for whereabouts second Aqueduct Bridge could be. He tried to describe us waving his hands and showing the valley stretching wide on the northern-eastern direction. His description of the place was in the form of so much villager style we never were accustomed.

First we started walking down from the road starting across the village tap. Later on returned back and picked up my elder sister. We also picked up buddies and kept on our way. The way was vertically rolling down through other flattening valley located on the eastern side. There were tow exit roads from the village opening to the other connected villages. One of them was starting from the eastern side of village mosque. This road was joining to the other road passing by from the western side of village down in the valley.

Just before the two roads are forming one way, it reaches to a two-way intersection and one was going straight ahead towards grove and courtyards while other was turning to south and reaching to a two-way intersection. The road climbing to eastern heights was leading to Sepetçiler Koyu village and the other climbing to the southern heights was leading to Tepekoy village. Buddies were tracing area out of windows for any soul for asking if there is any other aqueduct around. We saw a tractor was approaching us from far end of the way. I rolled down my left side front window and waved my hand for them to slow down. Asked them where we could easily the other aqueduct mentioned by native farmers.

All their heads turned towards us and eyes focused into our faces. The driver said that the other aqueduct is placed about 5-6 km far inner section of northern side of valley. And we could not go there by car. We should leave car and take on foot to reach the said area. We did not venture to try that way. We said let it be left for another trip. Today everybody felt much exhausted. We preferred taking the Tepekoy village way. Really everybody sounded much exhausted and in great tatter. They’re seemed nobody dare again taking extra walk on foot within a wide valley surrounded by thorns, thongs and bushes. I threw another attractive offer before my friends having a short and time-limited trip around the aqueducts ruins located in the twin valleys of across the Saricalar Koyu village. In this area there were three aqueduct remnants still lasting and stand stilling as if they were living their first years. In the flattening valley take place on the southern side of village we could not come across any remnants of aqueducts. On the way to Tepekoy village we run the hunters with a hound and asked for them if there is any historic ruins around. The answer was negative.

We climbed to the main road passing by the northern side of Gundogdu Deprem Konutlari (Quake Mass Housing). This way was going in the directions of east west. We took to the western side and drove for a while. Then turned through one inter-connection road to southern main way. Our intention was to go the Dunya Bankasi Deprem Konutlari (World Bank Quake Mass Housing) area. World Bank Quake Mass Housing have been scattered on the southern heights and in the valleys of Saricalar Koyu village. The valley in mention comes from around Bekirdere quarter and splits into two parts in the shape of Y letter just across of the village. Within the one valley leading towards western side there placed an aqueduct and in the other valley going to northern side another aqueduct take places. The third one also takes place just so near the highway viaduct legs.

We could not manage to reach a suitable point that gives us a passage to aqueducts through the inter-roads among the houses. From the last place I stopped my car, we could find a vintage to overlook the aqueducts. Aqueducts were seen so clear from distance because all the trees were without leaves. We postponed going around the aqueducts more closely to another time. What we have done was only taking pictures from distance. Deep down on the Y shaped section of the valley there was a house and its edifices. To the doorstep of the house an earthen road was leading. I said my buddies that in the next time we could drive until the doorstep of house and leaving our car at suitable corner we could climb the valley to reach each aqueducts. My opinion sounded acceptable to my buddies. They said that they hope we will do that at the days to come.

We were starving. The buffet at the corner of road caught my eyes. It would be in our good buying some kinds of biscuits, beverages like Coca Cola or fruit juices. I went shop and selected the biscuits and paid the price. I brought them into my car and offered our buddies and my elder sister. However nobody sounded in willing to have a few but my elder sister and me. I thought that maybe they presumed me offering them some unknown poison. As if gun-toting for the heads, only Omer Keskin had a few pieces of biscuits (16). Muhittin Bakan was saying since early morning that he had 6-okka Pirzola (cutlet) and not yet I feel myself hungry. They are enough for me today (!). He started talking like this in the pie shop in the morning and still repeating same motto word by word. We planned what should we do next from this place on. We would drop Muhittin Bakan around Rasathane Way across the Kolordu area and we would continue our way till Kurucesme quarter. From that place Omer Keskin is to get his car and take my elder sister Heyecan Kiraz to Derince County for taking her just around the 44 Evler quarter.

After having gone home I took rest for some time. I was going to take my Portuguese friend named Nuno Ventura (17) staying at Grand Yukselis Hotel (18) around 6 o’clock afternoon. He gave a call me yesterday night and we agreed on meeting in the Sunday evening. I have left my home around half past five o’clock. It started to rain slightly. Rain was no much serious until I reached to hotel. It would turn throughly a hard raining when we were leaving hotel. I pulled my car across the hotel’s main gate and got out of my car. Two security guards welcomed me just before the security checkpoint before the rotating gate. I sent a forced grin at my face to them. When I stood before the reception desk, the receptionist welcomed me with a smiling face. How could I be of any help you sir? She asked me kindly. Could you please give a call to Mr. Nuno Ventura’s room to come down to the lobby please? I said to smiling beautiful faced creature.

She dialed his room number and informed him that one of his buddies was expecting him in the lobby. I thanked attractive receptionist and turned to the waiting luxurious leather armchairs placed around the rounded section under an arched semi dome in the middle of lobby. I plunged my body into puffing chairs and lit a cigarette. While I drew one deep breath of smoke I traced around the lobby. There were some foreign and local customers in the lobby. Also some couples of families with their children. It was not my business of who for what aim were waiting in this five star hotel. I did not pay any care the identities of the waiting customers.

It was strange that while I was expecting my Portuguese buddy, Nuno Ventura would be coming out of the lift; he entered into lobby from the main rotating gate. I stood up and held out my hand towards him and we shook hands. We greeted each other. He was holding an Izmit Touristical City Guide in English together with a map of Saraybahce Municipality Quarter in one hand. The map was well done and I liked it. I had not got any. Nuno Ventura said if I wish he could request one copy for me from the reception desk. I nodded approvingly and immediately he ventured and returned back with another copy of map at hand for me.

Nuno Ventura said me that he had a French friend working together in the Nuh Cement Factory and staying in the same hotel. If I did not mind he wanted to invite him too. I said okay as you wish. He invited his French colleague. He could come with us if he would like to. When the Frenchman arrived near to us Nuno Ventura presented him to me. Hi this is Jean Paul Chiriot (19) he said. I have presented my card visit to him. I asked them if they have any private program. The reply was none. They would be happy being with me on any kind of city tour. I said first maybe we could go a special Turkish restaurant or Turkish Meat Restaurant. It could be any kebab’s shop or Lahmacun (a kind of meat pizza) shop. Afterwards whatever we wish, we could drop some kind of bar or wine house. I asked what would you like they to do? It is up to you Erkan, whatever you find suitable for the day trip they will be welcome by us as much fitting at that moment.

The Frenchman was a fluent English speaker with a French accent. He was taller than me. Also he was little bit fat and huge type. His hair was trimmed short like mine. His face was without any bear and mustache. Nuno Ventura has a French beard. I took their pictures just they are getting out from the boxes of hotel’s rotating main gate. I am also was taken picture with each other of them. The rain increased its speed. When you go out, you think that at first it will not get you wet much however found yourself soaked with rain.

There were two big bags on the rear chair of my car and in the luggage other two floor-cushions to be taken to our Kentsa home. I said buddies that I should leave that stuff at my other house with your permission. Let it be as you wish they said in reply. First I drove to our Kentsa home and left the stuff at home. I showed buddies interior of our new home and the child rooms of our daughters. Both of Nuno Ventura and Jean-Paul Chiriot showed their kindness to wishing us having good days at our new nest. We had lack of many inner-house wares. We had ordered some of them and they would be delivered after one moth while others were waiting for our proper economical better off days

On the way return to another place we have indulged into high spirited matters such international politics, the USA-Iraqi War, the real reasons of American-Iraqi War, the 41 years-love of Turkey to the membership of EU, how the RTE -Turkish Prime Minister- showed the Turkish nation as a great victory the mere acceptance of starting for the Negotiations Period with Turkey as if Turkey’s membership to EU has been accepted. Both of buddies were got married. Jean-Paul Chiriot has one son and one daughter. Also Nuno Ventur has only two daughters like me. “I will take you a special Turkish Meat Restaurant” I said them. Their reply wad Okay it is already accepted by us. I took the Kandıra Way. We would go to Mini Kiosk’s across of the Cayirkoy village. The place was located on the southern side of way. There was not any vacant lot in the parking lot. I pulled my car a narrow place between two cars. Outside still it was keeping to rain densely. Inside a Findik Sobasi (Hazelnut Bark Stove) was heating interior side of restaurant. There were some around the tables. We found an empty table along the window.

At first the waiter brought toasted bread slices together with butter and honey on the small plates. I asked how much would it cost us if we would like to have our meat in portions or in kg basis. It was less if we preferred kg basis then we said we request 1 kg of mix meat grill. I got my buddies approval of having consumed the 1 kg of mix meat grill. They said we will see the outcome altogether. Also I ordered on big plate of Coban Salata (Shpherd’s Salad) for three of us. As drinks we preferred only drinking water. Icecek Sise Suyu (Bottled Drinking Water).

Until our grills are made service we ate grilled slices of breads hater having spread butter over them and dipping each pieces of bread into honey. Salad vas so delicious and we also dipped our small pieces of bread into salad juice. At the last our mixed meat grills have been brought within three different plates; grilled Sucuk (Turkish Sausage), Sac Kavurma (fried cubic meat pieces on a special pan) and Pirzola (cutlet). All of them were just 1 kg. We put some pieces of mixed grill on our plates as much as we could eat. On a separate plate a few hot red tomatoes and green pepper have been made service. The grilled green peppers were biting chili. After Nuno Ventura offers his peppers to Jean-Paul Chiriot me too handed over mine to him. However he dos not seem satisfied all of them. We requested from waiter to bring him an extra plate of grilled green peppers and red tomatoes.

I took pictures of all dishes made service on our table and requested from a waiter let him to take our pictures while we are around table. Nuno Ventura also has a digital camera brand named of Sony. He too took his own pictures. After we are finished off eating we ordered our finishers. As finishers in Turkey we either prefer having Turk Kahvesi (Turkish Coffee) or Cay (Turkish Tea). All of us preferred Turk Kahvesi, me with sugar, Nuno Ventura and Jean-Paul Chiriot in black. We indulged in a sweet and deep chat about Turkey’s internal every kind of affairs and international affairs including French and Portuguese affairs. And the closers we had our Cay (Turkish Tea). Cays were in color of Tavsan Kani (bright carmine). We Turks describe a fine-brewed and delicious Cay with this statement.

I walked to the cashier to pay the bill. I paid off the bill (20). I showed my buddies the Turkish Hazelnut Stove in the middle of Meat Restaurant. How it was filled creaked hazelnut barks in the reservoir on the top of stove and how the barks are passing through a bottle-neck section down into burning section and how the burning is gauged by a inlet handle that was removable inward and outward. Nuno Ventura took the pictures of this strange stove. I showed them Turk Yogurdu (Turkish Yogurt) and other Turkish deserts within the freezer. They said that Turkish desserts are made of much sugar. They were right. Our desserts were much sugary liked soaked into a balsam of sugar.

Outside it turned to a hard rain. Under a dense rain we got into my car and I started engine for an easy going to another special place. I turned my steering wheel to pass other lane of the way to direction of downtown. I said them now we are going a private place having some drinks. They said okay we are depended on you to what you found suitable for us. You know very well here around which place is attractive and interesting. We would go to Kentsa Sosyal Tesisleri (Kentsa Social Resort Facilities) for having some drinks. I drove through the Kandira Way to take D-100 Way. I turned to the direction Ankara City. I drove further away to reach the Kentsa turning point. It was still raining hard but with slight drippings. The smell of rain refreshed my nostrils. Entrance into facilities was under a new practice. There was a checkpoint at the entrance. The guard came close to us. When I rolled down window and he asked me to show my ID Card. The guard asked where we are going. To the Kentsa Social Facilities, I said. He nodded approvingly and turned to go his booth. The gate click opened wide for our entrance. It was great. Security means for everybody’s goodness and safety. It was a tight practice that works so good for not admitting everybody inside the area. “It was not like the security system at the entrance gate of CarrefourSa Shopping Mall” was complaining Nuno Ventura in great surprise. He said in spite of some beep beep warning sounds the guards never stop any body. What is for then if bib beep beeps warning is nonsense?

I parked my car on the northern parking lot in front of the trees. I made the area known to my buddies. They seemed in appreciation of environment very much. I said that the restaurant we would enter once was a greenhouse. There was a three-story wide social club building in the place of this green lot before that terrible event of earthquake happened on August 17th, 1999. It was affected by the quake. It was decided to be pull down. In place of it a new one was never rebuilt. Nowadays after quake the greenhouse is being used as restaurant. “There are banana, orange and grapefruit trees within the greenhouse” I added.

We went to the bar and sat on the high stools before the bar. I said I would like to have a bottle of Draft Miller please to the waiter. “And what would you like to have buddies?” asked leaning towards them. “Would you like to have a trial test of Turk Rakisi (Turkish Raki)?” “Yes” they replied, surely it would be a wonderful and delicious taste. Jean-Paul Chiriot said he wanted his Turk Rakisi as sek (without water). He knew Yunan Rakisi (Greek Uzo). Turk Rakisi so much resembles to Yunan Rakisi (Greek Uzo) and Yugoslav Rakisi (Old Yugoslavian Mastika). He has got of deep knowledge about many different local cultures and local drinks. He has been to many different countries and places because of his profession.

Our chat took long in the bar. When I ask them would like to pay the bill Jean-Paul Chiriot said it is my turn to pay. The cashier girl wore a serious mood in her face. She was kept not smiling. Jean-Paul Chiriot started murmuring in a lower voice with a French accented English that why are you not smiling to the customers, you see I am a customer. The girl understood or not but I leaned over him and whispered said to his ear that in Turkey the matter is so different, you must be little bit careful what you said. The ladies are not supposed to keep smiling in Turkey. If they behave other way it is regarded they are easy girls. It is not acceptable however it is a fact of daily life here around. However he was insisting on that he was different and he was a customer. Eventually the cashier did not understand what he said her (21). When we went out from the restaurant it was keeping to drizzling. (J)

Descriptions & Footnotes
(1). Muhittin Bakan; [BD&P: Izmit 1944, father; Mehmet, mother; Hatice, wife; Nayime, children; Elvan (Yurdusen, Chemist), Elif (Yildirim, Industrial Engineer)]. [His father was constructural worker, mother was village housewife. Grandparents have moved from Black Sea side to Izmit area. Retired philosophy teacher. Marriage; 1971 Izmit. After retirement He has worked for Municipality of Izmit], Home Address; Kemalpasa Mah. Limonluk Gecidi, No: 2A-6, Home Tel; +90-262-321 81 34, GSM: +90-542-790 06 01. Izmit, Turkey.
(2). Yavuz Ulugun; [BD&P: Izmit, 1956. father; Ahmet, mother; Meral, Bros&Sis; Abdullah Oguz, wife: Hacer (Luleci), children: Ezgi (1986), Bora (1992)]. Home Address; Cengiz Topel Cad. Muneccim Arif Sk. Kardelen Apt. Kat: 1, Work Address: Melody Gemi Acenteligi Ltd. Ankara Cad. Bilyil Apt. 135/5, 41200 Tel: ++90-262-331 06 80, Fax: ++90-262-321 14 14 Email; GSM: +90-532-213 00 36. Izmit-Turkey.
(3). Omer Keskin; Primary School Teacher in Kurfalli Village Primary School. GSM: +90-554-722 39 00, Home Phone; +90-262-239 07 04, Email; Derince-Izmit, Turkey.
(4). Kurucesme; A small place governed by municipality. It is about 4 km from Izmit city and located on the western side of Izmit city.
(5). Manav; native resident, Turkmen.
(6). My first tripping date was August 25th, 2001.
(7). Alparslan Seymen, Seymen Petrol (Opet Gasoline Station): Yenimahalle Fatih Sit. E-5 Karayolu Uzeri, Tel: +90-262-226 05 45. Receipt Date; 19.11.04, Hour :09:42, Price; TL 80,000,000 (YTL 80. -). Kurucesme-Izmit, Turkey.
(8). “The owner of this charity (tap) and other donations who has gone need God’s forgiveness, Say “Fatiha” prayer (of Qur’an) for the souls of his and his wife. It is built in the year of November 1920 (Zilqa’da 1336).
(9). “Because my life ended. Salute to you from us. Let it be legitimate my other world rights to my friends that I ate their breads. Seymenbasi Cimbizoglu. Hicri 1243; (Miladi; 1827)”. [Hicri: Muslim Calendar, Hegira, pertaining to Prophet Mohammed’s Travel date, Muslim Calendar, Miladi: Christian Calendar, pertaining to Birth of Christ].
(10). “Hicri 1241, (Miladi 1825)”. [Hicri: Muslim Calendar, Hegira, pertaining to Prophet Mohammed’s Travel date, Muslim Calendar, Muslim Calendar, Miladi: Christian Calendar, pertaining to Birth of Christ].
(11). Izmit-Uctepeler-Kabaoglu Itinerary; 27.04.02. Seymenli Koyu, Sepetciler and Tepekoy. Gezimi de bir gezi yazısıyla sonlandırmıştım.
(12). Sezgin Bayhan, Taner Kaynaker, Taner Kaynaker, Alev Kaynaker & Ali Cetin.
(13). Guney Bufe; Hidir Beyaz. DBKK Gundogdu Mah. 493 Ada, 14 Nolu Bufe, 19.12.04, Hour: 16:00, Receipt No: 7, TL 6,200,000 (YTL 6,20 Kurus). Izmit, Turkey.
(14). Grand Yukselis Oteli; Sefa Sirmen Blvr, 41200. Kocaeli. Tel: ++90- 0262-335 48 40, Fax: ++90- 0262-335 42 0. Izmit, Turkey.
(15). Nuno Ventura; Eng. MCSD. Dep. Automação e Sistemas, EST-Empresa Serviços Técnicos, Lda. Tel; +351-244-850900, Fax; +351-244-851974, Tlm. +351-96-6974507. Email;, URL: Portugal.
(16). Jean-Paul Chiriot; Claudius Peters Technologies, Erection & Comissioning Dept. GSM: +33-(0) 0855 74 80, Email: Cladius Peters Technologies S.A. 34 Avenue de Suisse-BP 269 F-63316 Illzach Cedex-France, Tel: +33 (0) 3 89 31 33 00, Fax: +33-(0) 3 89 6195 25, URL:
(17).Mini Koşk Kazımpasa Kofte Salonu: Ahmet Pancar. Yeni Kandira Yolu Uzeri, Cayirkoy Mevkii, 19.12.04, Hour: 20:43, Receipt No: 33, TL. 33,000,000 (YTL 33. -). Izmit, Turkey.
(18). Kentsa Sosyal Tesisleri [Kentsa Social Facilities]; reservation Tel; +90-262-364 71 95 or +90-262-364 71 00 interior 3020-3023. TL 26,000,000 (YTL 26. -). Izmit , Turkey.

(J) Writing errors, omissions and mis-remembrance are completely are excluded and in exception.

Erkan Kiraz, 19.12.2004 Sunday, Sirintepe-Izmit, Turkey.,
all start from above sites
stretch to below sites
Site: Jean-Patrick Charrey, contributions & translation into Turkish by Erkan Kiraz

© Copyright Hakki Erkan Kiraz’a Aittir. Tum Haklari Saklidir.
Bu yazi ancak kaleme alanin izni alinarak tekrar yayinlanabilir yada dagitılabilir.

© Copyrighted to Erkan Kiraz. All Rights Reserved.
This study may be re-copied or re-distributed only with prior consent of its Author.

Written & Edited By Erkan Kiraz on 19.12.04.


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