Kadikalesi and Gumusluk

Small Armonia Byzantine Church shrine

This morning, after a lovely breakfast of fried zucchini, carrot, onion and egg with toast, cheese and olives prepared by Seray and eaten in the garden next to the almost-empty pond, I set off on my bicycle for the 450 year old Byzantine church in Kadikalesi. I loaded myself down with all the gear required for a small shrine to be erected in that ruin of a church, my backpack on the back and two bags full hanging from the handlebars and banging into the front wheel as I pedaled, the wind not being as congenial as the other day when I rode laden. As usual, there was no one in the church and no one seemed at all interested in what I was doing – all the Armonia Holiday Village and Spa guests were lying prone poolside.

I decided to use one of the two niches left sort of intact to the left of what would have been the altar. The remains of tea light candles could be seen in this niche, as well as the one next to it and another little hole in the south wall. Also, little piles of rocks testified to small campfires in the near or distant past. I set up my little assemblage, watched the small candle flames gutter and the crepe paper ribbons flutter in the breeze, then packed it all up again and rolled back down the hill to the beach at Kadikalesi.

I had not been down to this beach before and it is quite nice and, in this area at this time, at least, practically deserted. To the right of what used to be a small pier, now derelict and unrenovated, as per usual, several workers were cleaning the beach in front of a fish restaurant getting ready to open for the season and dumping their wheelbarrows full of junk right next to the entrance to the beach. I wondered why they had to dump their junk right in that precise spot, where anyone wanting to walk down the steps and onto what remained of the pier would have to walk. It seemed thoughtless, to say the least. Sitting on the next rock bench was a local woman wearing a headscarf and a pair of denim short shorts – seemed like an incongruous pairing to me … She was fishing from the beach and did catch a few small fish which she packed up in a bucket and took away with her. The beach was pleasant enough and I sat for a bit enjoying the breeze and eating my orange, while bad nouveau disco music pumped across the water at me from the restaurant further down the way.

After dropping off my bags of stuff back at the Academy ranch, I headed back down to Gumusluk beach to take pictures of the sculpture symposium works that I had previously missed. On the street leading to the village centre, just up a hill next to a children’s playground, is an abstract work overlooking the housing estate below. Another, an abstract rendering of three figures, sits on the beach gracing the larger bay in front of what is now a whitewashed and cemented-over wreck of a building. When speaking to a beachside pension owner later, he asked me what I thought of all the sculpture and, when I replied that it was “cok guzel” – very beautiful – and that it made this village something special, he seemed amazed to hear it. Possibly other visitors are not so entranced … (As an aside, I am reminded of the reactions of Vancouverites and others to the Sculpture Biennial works erected around our city over the past several years … especially the intensely negative reaction to the upside-down church with its spire stuck in the ground, called Device to Root out Evil, down at Coal Harbour. I believe that it was removed as a result). The two figurative pieces along the harbour I had already posted pictures of so, after a Nescafe at the tea house, I made my way up to the carpark just above the beach to document two more, one, next to the taxi stand, called Requiem and the other, in the carpark, called Ada and Zaman.

On the road leading from the beach through the village centre, I saw on my right a castle-like structure that I’m amazed I hadn’t noticed before. And weirdest of all, in niches going all the way up both sides of the front “turret” are reproductions of some of western art’s most famous sculptures (Michelangelo’s David, Moses and Pieta, as well as David’s head, and Rodin’s Balzac), along with cheesecake models, strange cartoon figures and the many-breasted Diana of Ephesus – postmodernism at its finest, in Gumusluk! In the front and back gardens, ponds with sculptural fountains including nude female figures adorned the space. This place stands out from its neighbouring crowd of white blocky Satan’s eared houses, to say the least. I was tempted to knock on the door to see who owned it – maybe next time.

On my way back again I stopped at the Ada café in the village and sampled some homemade cuisine – the world’s smallest meatballs with dolmades and salad. The place was quite pleasant with some peculiar decorations: a tree made of two dried korek stalks decorated with ribbons tied in bows and other assorted paraphernalia, a wishing tree as I discovered, a portrait of Ataturk looking like Count Dracula in a tuxedo, and about 7 or 8 Santa Claus figurines, one of which was hanging with an upside-down reindeer on the korek tree. If I’d been able to do so, I would have told “Ada” about my korek project …

And some beast has been biting me, in my room and while out on the bike. From what I can discern, it’s spiders – bastards! That’s the downside of living in glorious nature …

See pictures here.

3 Replies to “Kadikalesi and Gumusluk”

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