Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When you explore a new part of a country, sometimes you just get lucky!

Or lost.

We did a bit of both on our recent trek to Mount Nemrut in southeast Turkey.

After walking around the ruins of Arsameia, we decided to make the 3-1/2-hour journey back to Gaziantep. There are several other ancient sites in the area to see such as Yeni Kale (New Castle) Karakus Tumulus, the ancient city of Perre (near present day Pirin), Derik Kalesi (near the village of Datgeli) and Gerger Kalesi. But we just didn't have the time. 

Luck was on our side because as we rounded a winding bend in the motorway, just missing several cows alongside the road, I could see Cendere Köprüsü (Cendere Bridge or Severan Bridge) in the distance. I had been slightly pouting since I wanted to see this Roman bridge, but couldn't find it.
The Cendere Bridge is located in the background to the left.
The Cendere Köprüsü, dating to early 200 AD, spans a tributary of Kakta River in one single stone arch. The bridge measures 120 meters (390 feet) long by 7 meters (23 feet) wide. The highest point reaches 34.2 m (112 feet).

Until recently, cars and small trucks were allowed to use the bridge. But now, a new black-top paved road and bridge has been built, and the bridge is closed off, except to pedestrians. Nearby is a small area where you can pull off the main road and stop.
This farm tractor, pictured left, was collecting many of the rocks in the creek bed. Wonder why?
According to the Latin inscriptions on the bridge, the bridge was built by the Legio XVI Gallica, a Roman legion stationed in the ancient city of Samosata. It was constructed in honor of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, who reigned from 193-211 AD, and his wife, Julia Domna.

The bridge was originally constructed of 92 stones, each weighing about 10 tons, but restoration work occurred in 1997. Three of the four remaining Corinthian-style columns measure 9-10 meters in height.
I can just imagine horses galloping over this bridge back in the day. And to think this amazing bridge is in Turkey NOT Italy!

If you are in the area, definitely take a few minutes to stop and photograph this Roman bridge. Or if you have time, bring a picnic lunch and join the locals here.
There were several families setting up picnics and even grilling with their mangal along the creek here at Cendere Bridge.
Our lucky discovery certainly proved that you never know what you'll encounter around the next bend.

* Note: We had a fantastic trip in this area, and it's fairly easy to do on your own like we did. We prefer to do our own thing, and it does help that we can speak conversational Turkish. Also, there are lots of tour companies that specialize in treks to Mount Nemrut and other sites around here.
My husband looks so small standing next to these columns.
As we were leaving, two young boys passed by, leading their donkey to the creek.

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Unknown said...

You take fantastic pictures, Joy! Congrats to you on being one of the Five Turkey Cooking Blogs!! Well deserved - I love your blog!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

that bridge does not make your husband's butt look fat...haha! what a gorgeous place. i love seeing the boys and the donkey. some things have not changed much!

Joy said...

@Claudia, congrats to you too! I've made your kofte recipe twice now. :-) Hope you are enjoying Assos.

@Joyce, ha ha...the more things change, some things still stay the same, right? We saw so many young boys and older men herding cows, goats and sheep down the road during our travels in SE Turkey.

Karen said...

That was funny Jaz. Great post, Joy. What an exquisite bridge.