Sandstone rock formations in the shape of lonely mushrooms–the ones with the fat bottoms and absurdly small caps–are scattered through clay and red coloured dusty valleys. The locals call them fairy chimneys, but to me they look more like eroding cocks.
The remains of thousands of years of human occupation are littered everywhere in these rocks. The only limit to history, here, is the thickness of the rock; it dissolves away each year exposing ancient churches painted with Christian frescos, now faceless.
We stay in the bottom of one of these phallic monoliths. Our room is luxurious like Bag End, but we pass our time in the corner under a small porthole through the rock, our only window, and evidence that time is passing. The outside of our hotel looks like a scene taken from Mos Eisly. It snows on Christmas and the white crystals only enhance the otherworldly landscape. 
So far, Turkey has seemed like a fiction to me and it’s hard to believe that 200 kilometres south is the border with Syria. Or, that Kurdish rebels are blowing up police patrols. Or, that off duty officers are gunning down Russian ambassadors. But then again, the history of violent upheaval lays all around in this quaint fairy village. One only needs look at the paintings of Jesus and his pantheon of angels and disciples, and their scratched off faces.


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