Mosaic Museum and farewell to Turkey

Antakya Travel Blog

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People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)

I felt pretty exhausted when i stepped from the overnight bus from Goreme, but there was a long day ahead, so i did my best to wipe the wax from my eyes and muster some energy. A kind old man agreed to store our bags in one of the ticket offices in the bus station and we went to a small restaurant to eat some breakfast.

Antakya certainly had a Middle Eastern feel about it; the way people looked, the architecture, the shops, it was a far cry from Istanbul, Izmir or Ankara. The streets seemed dirtier and the buildings were rougher around the edges than those in most Turkish towns and there was a certain frontier feel about it.

I like this kind of Third World feel and character far more than Julia does, and started to soak up what was going to be in store for us, for the coming months. The weather was considerably warmer than what we had recently experienced, and this certainly came as a welcome surprise to both of us.

There are two main reasons to visit Antakya; the first is to visit the Mosaic Museum and the second is to catch onward transport to Syria. So in the morning we took a short walk around the town and then spent an hour or so in the impressive Museum. From the outside you could be mistaken for thinking that it would be pathetic, as the building looked in disrepair. But we forked out the 8YTL ($5) regardless and were treated to some fine pieces of art.

The star attractions included a mosaic of a hunchback and one of a black fisherman and a wonderful sarcophagus, which was well preserved and exhibited.
A large group of people came through the Museum at some point, with lots of photographers and film crews following them and i can only presume that they were politicians. They seemed to have little regard for other visitors to the Museum, so we waited for them to leave before concluding our tour.

Leaving the City behind, a dolmush took us to within 7kms of the border and from here we hitched a ride with a really friendly man, who seemed to know all of the border guards. It took about 30 minutes to pass through the passport check point, as the guards needed to check why i had a new passport, but finally this was resolved and we were on our way. We walked for about 20 minutes across no mans land, before a bus took pity on us and drove us the remaining distance to the Syrian border.

I had spent an incredible 3 months in Turkey, but i was ready for a change, so whilst i was sad to be leaving, I was also excited about the prospect of visiting Syria. I exited the border with the same words that i had spoken the last time i left this amazing country... “One day i will come back here”.

almond72 says:
Sensory overload ! Too much good stuff here. another bookmark !
Posted on: Oct 04, 2009
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photo by: Deats