Kayseri is along a historic trade route and is an important city in Anatolian history. It is surrounded by mountains and is important in the history of the Armenian church. We visited the Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, where until the year 373 all Armenian consecrations were held. The city has been inhabited since 3000 BCE and lies along the Great Silk Road.
On the way to the Armenian church, we walked through an old neighborhood. I found that there is often something unexpected happening in these situations, and this time it was the woman sitting on the ground beating a stack of wool freshly sheared from the sheep.
As people saw us gathering in the street, the children wanted to see the foreigners. They were often eager to be photographed and even brought props, such as two live chickens, to enhance the experience.
The church was quite ornate, with lots of handpainted and gold surfaces.
We also visited the mosque and the town, which is well known for its pastrami production. Every meat vendor has pastrami hanging in the shop, and many local dishes include pastrami and white beans.
From Kayseri we travelled on to Cappadocia, famous for its cave dwellings and unusual landscape. It is in some ways similar to southern Utah, with the tufa formations reminding me of the spires in Bryce Canyon, yet they are very different. Dogs roam the landscape and the towns – they seem to exist among the people, yet they don’t appear to belong to anyone. In the morning, hot air balloons rise above the landscape as visitors go for rides to see the area from above.
It feels so safe and peaceful here that I make photographs well into the night, wandering the village on the hillside that has been occupied by humans for thousands of years.