Sunday, January 22, 2017


Garipçe, Sarıyer - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°12'50.7"N 29°06'38.3"E / 41.214078, 29.110636

 photo garipce_castle107.jpg


Situated at the Black Sea entrance to the Bosphorus, Garipçe is one of Istanbul's quaintest villages. Boasting beautiful wooden Ottoman-era houses, a 500-year old Genoese castle and an old church, this small Sarıyer township lies just over 30 km from Taksim. Garipçe's name is derived from the Turkish word Garip, meaning "poor" or "miserable" due to the sense of isolation which used to be inherent in Istanbul's once near inaccessible furthest reaches.

Garipçe village comes from this isolated life the village had lived for a long time. However, today it is very easy to reach the village by your car or the bus that comes by every 35 minutes. These days, Garipçe can be easily reached by bus or car from Istanbul city centre, and is a popular day trip for locals who come here to enjoy a village style breakfast or sea-fresh fish dinner from one of the famous seafood restaurants in the area.

The center of the village, resembling a traditional village circle, stands right on the shore. Here Fish Restaurants. The place, in which businessmen, authors, many researchers from academia have become regulars, is a family restaurant that does not serve alcohol. They offer daily fish choices that they catch in their own boats. In the summer there are usually pilchards, scorpion fish, horse mackerel and striped red mullet. In the winter there is red mullet, turbot, bluefish, bonito, large bonito and anchovy.

Garipçe Village, with its residents almost entirely from the Black Sea region, has managed to preserve its nature and ambiance. One reason for this situation is that the village is a protected area. The town centre is home to interesting examples of Ottoman village architecture and has a scattering of tea houses and restaurants. The surroundings are dominated by beautiful forested areas, making Garipçe a popular place for cycling or hiking.

Immediately on the left, stands the 500 years old Genoese castle. The castle still survives with its arched walls, stepped cuttings and cellars, although it looks uncared for and messy due to treasure seekers. The castle has a seascape panorama, and it is planned to be converted to an underwater museum in the future. One of Garipçe's most popular attractions is its castle, which, although not in the best state, nevertheless survives largely intact and enjoys amazing views over the sea.

One of the most important features of the village is the soft spring, which is said to be good for kidney stones. The spring is known as the Pilgrims’ Water or Hacı Süleyman Spring. The Seaside restaurant is just behind the spring.

Garipçe (strange or curious), or, anciently, Gyropolis, Town of Vultures. This too has a fortress built in 1773 by the Baron de Tott. Here King Phineus lived and here he was plagued by the Harpies who seized his food and befouled his table until he wasted away to a wraith; at last the Argonauts arrived and the winged sons of Boreas, Zetes and Kalais, taking pity on the ancient king, their brother-in-law, chased away the noxious creatures.

In return Phineus, who was a prophet, advised them about the rest of their journey and especially about how to avoid the baleful Symplegades. These, indeed, were clearly visible from his very palace, two great rocks at the mouth of the Bosphorus, one on either side, which were supposed to clash together with great rapidity and violence, thus making it very dangerous if not impossible for ships to enter or leave the strait.

Phineus told the Argonauts to let loose a dove which would fly between them; if it was caught, they were to give up their journey, but if it got through safely, they were to wait till the rocks opened once more and then row their hardest. The Symplegades just shaved off the tailfeathers of the dove and slightly damaged the stern-works of the Argo. The Symplegades, the Clashing Rocks, were also called Cyanean, the Blue Rocks, or in Turkish Öreke Taşı, the Distaff Rock or Midwife’s Stool.

The European one is a striking feature at the very mouth of the Bosphorus, formerly some 100 metres offshore at Rumeli Feneri, the Rumelian Lighthouse. There is a tiny village here and the remains of a fort built in 1769 by a Greek engineer. The Rock, which is now joined to the shore by a concrete mole, is about 20 metres high and something less than 200 metres long, divided by deep fissures into several parts. On the highest plateau stands what is left of the socalled Pillar of Pompey. “The ascent to this peak,” says Gyllius, “is not open except by one approach, and this, extremely narrow, so that one must climb up on all fours.”

Nowadays there are two approaches, one slightly easier than the other, but both disagreeable enough for one who is terrified of heights. The reward of intrepidity is a fine view of the Black Sea and the Bosphorus, and the base of Pompey’s column. It is not really a column base but an ancient altar, decorated with a garlanded ram’s head and other reliefs now much worn; it once had a Latin inscription, no longer legible, the transcription and interpretation of which are matters of discussion.

Certainly neither altar nor column had anything to do with Pompey, and we do not know who first gave it this misleading name: it was after Gyllius’ time evidently, since he does not mention it. He thought the altar was probably a remnant of the shrine to Apollo which Dionysius of Byzantium says the Romans erected on one of the Cyanean Rocks. The column itself, with its Corinthian capital, toppled down in April 1680 and had utterly disappeared by 1800. There is now a simple fish restaurant on the Rock, with its tables set out on the breakwater at the very end of the Bosphorus.

the Karipçe and Poyraz forts were not left the way Baron de Tott had built them and were redesigned with the contributions of Toussaint in 1778, Lafitte-Clavé in 1785 and General Sébastiani (who later became the French ambassador) in 1807. The fort of Karipçe as we see it today presents itself as sort of demi-lune, which form was largely determined by the shape of the rocky plateau on which it was built. Its guns fired in three different directions. On group aimed north in the direction of the Black Sea.

Here an attack at close range was difficult because of reefs out in the sea in front of the work. Seven guns fired directly south and effectively covered the small cove where the village is situated, one of the few places where as small force could venture a landing with the help of small boats. The main function of the fort, however, was to close the Strait in collaboration with its twin on the Asian side, the Fort of Poyraz. For this purpose an impressive battery was built on the extreme southern end of the promontory, able to fire from three levels. There is an open upper platform with guns firing through massive battlements.

The middle level is an imposing heavily-vaulted casemate with guns firing through large embrasures. Due to the terrain this casemate is divided in three sections, each firing in a slightly different direction. At a much lower level is the third battery, where the guns could also fire in three different directions. At present it is not yet entirely clear which part of the fort was built after Baron de Tott’s plans and which was added later. The first impression is that the great casemate is of de Tott’s time and that the lower platform was added later.

It also appears that the open upper platform was added later, or at least modified from an embankment for rifle fire into a battery for guns. The bricks used for its battlements are rather different from those used in the casemate.

The latter are the typically thin tile-like bricks of the 18th century, those on the upper platform are much thicker and of different structure. In the casemate a change was made during the Cold War period, when a single large opening was made in reinforced concrete, allowing one very large and modern gun to fire from it, aiming directly at the entrance to the Bosphorus from the Black sea.


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