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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Mustafapasa

Mustafapaşa Magic

  
Explore Mustafapaşa to enjoy a typical quiet village rather than for any particular must-see sight.  It also offers Greek-style buildings with decorative facades. 

The town used to be populated mainly by Greek and Turkish Christians and many churches are located in the town. 
  

Church of Constantine & Helen
The Church of Emperor Constantine and Empress Helen (of Byzantine Empire fame) is located on one of the main squares. 

We visited Mustafapaşa twice: once after Ortahısar (only 11.6 km away via Ürgüp) and once on the way to Soganli Valley (next post).  There is not much accommodation and it is an easy commute to here from many tourist towns, so that keeps the number of sightseers down.  On the other hand, we would not say Mustafapaşa is undiscovered or off-the-beaten path since there are tour buses.  However, in off-season we did not find it obtrusive. 
 
Wow!
As in any country, during high season go early or late in the day to beat the crowds.  Most tours leave around 09:00 hrs. and see Mustafapaşa en route to another destination.  So the busiest period will be mid-morning. 

It is unfortunate that they never finished restoring the largest mansion, which also has the most ornate façade in the photo on the left.  These building should be put to some use so that they actually will be maintained into the future. 

Backgammon Anyone?


The thing to do is walk around the streets to see typical village life.  In the main square with the ubiquitous Atatürk statue, men sip tea and/or play backgammon at the café. 

The small black grapes of this region make it a major producer of wine.  The same grapes are also used to make pekmez, a grape and tahini molasses. 
 
Old Back Street
 


Make sure you try this on your trip to Turkey.  It is offered at breakfast by some pensions, such as Melrose Hotel in Pamukkale.  It is a common must-eat and definitely addicting.  Pekmez is made the same way today as it was by the Hittites, one of our Proto-Indo-European ancestors (aka Aryans) that populated India, Turkey and Europe. 


Ancient Mustafapasa



Some old streets show remains of rock-cut houses.  There are also views of the hoodoo formations near the town. 

 
Old Greek House
 
 
Drive south of the centre to find the Old Greek House, which was built in the 1800’s.  It was converted into a beautiful hotel and restaurant in 1992. 

In Ottoman times this used to be a Greek village called Sinasos (“city of the sun”). 
 
Old Greek Dining Room




Like many other parts of Turkey, this changed after the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne as described in the Old Kaş post.  Today, there are only 1550 people living here. 

Why were there so many Greeks in Turkey?  See the Byzantine Empire in the HagiaSophia / Ayasofya post and Alexander the Great in the IstanbulArchaeology Museums post. 
 
Next Post: Soganli Surprise