43 km of highlands from Beypazari to Ayas…at 600 or 700m is a tough enough day. Then just a short hop off the main road to awful new Sincan and though a modernist nightmare high-rise landscape to old Ankara at Ulu, and then a brisk walk through the shopping areas to our refuge. We have seen the lovely old houses of Ottoman Mudurnu – does everything have to be concrete towers? Does fast development inevitable mean bad design and huge poor suburbs.? China, yes, India, yes – Turkey – let’s see!
It seems that the route we have chosen to Ankara is likely to be the best one. We have now met Father Stanislas, a very fast French Priest, on a very old bike, on his way to Jerusalem, as well as the Paris to Shanghai runners. I believe some better research will indicate this to be the Roman and later route of choice through Anatolia.
Ankara is high – most of it is at about 950m. The nights are pretty cold for us. Today we are off to be shown round the remains of the ancient town. It is the city of King Midas, and has been Phrygian, Celtic and of course Roman. It was a capital of the Roman region of Galatia.
Anchyra was a centre of early Christianity – and suffered under the persecutions of Diocletian. Nonetheless one of the most important Synods of the early Church was here in 314, with several others to follow with some role in the Aryan “Heresies”. It became a cool Summer refuge for the government of Constantinople and vital cross-roads for the Byzantines until 1071, and the Seljuk period.
I have a lot to say about Istanbul, Ankara and national identity – more of that later!