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Published: October 30th 2011
It’s been awhile now since I was in Amasya, and so much has happened since, that I was going to skip saying anything about it. But then I thought of the lovely little city – with its mountains, pock-marked by the tombs of ancient Pontic kings, elbowing their way into the streets – and I realized that it just wasn’t fair.
I liked Amaysa from the moment the bus pulled into the small otogar. It could have been that, for the first time in a week, I was going to stay in one place for more than one day. When you’re on the road, any place you lay your head for two nights already begins to feel like home. Or, it could have been that Amasya is ridiculously quaint. It’s old Ottoman houses built between the banks of the Yeşilırmak River and the dusty Pontus Mountains. With porches jutting out over the river’s edge, the city has a distinctly Florentian feel. I walked up and down that river countless times, especially in the early evenings.
Covered in clouds for most of the day, Amasya took on a new light in the hour before sunset. By that time, most of
the haze would clear, allowing a soft glow to set the city’s buildings and faces alight. I’ve never seen a light that loves a face as much as that light loves the Turkish face. Its gentle rays cradled them like a lover’s embrace, making them radiant with the touch. Maybe if I didn’t hate pictures being taken of myself so much, I would have felt more comfortable capturing their beauty, but alas…
In Amasya, I also found a CSer (I’ll abbreviate couchsurfer like this from now on), to show me around the secret spots of his city. My first morning there, however, I decided to go to the citadel that sits precariously on the top of Mount Harşena without his guidance. Within minutes, I found myself lost in a jumble of bushes armed with inch-long spikes. Go figure.
The most impressive thing about the castle, once I finally got there, wasn’t it’s imposing size or the magnificent views it offered of the city below, but rather that its crumbling walls are being rebuilt one bucket at a time. A simple pulley system lifted concrete halfway up the mountainside where a handful of workers, who were hardly spring chickens,
filled buckets and carried them up hundreds of steps to the top. They emptied their buckets onto the fragments of the wall, setting rocks into the wet cement. I sat for over an hour, watching history in the re-making. It was hard work, but honest. I imagined those workers years from now, having a picnic there with their grandchildren, and proudly saying, “I built this.”
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