Guzelyurt has been one of my favorite places to visit so far, and I am already looking forward to bringing some of my BUPS friends there next month, maybe the outdoor club, too. The highlight was staying in the Karballa hotel, a 19th century Greek monastery that has been converted into a hotel.
The rectory housed the eating area, and the monk's rooms were dormstyle hotel rooms. Dinner was served at large common tables for all the guests, and the hotel owner sat and chatted with each of us throughout the meal. Inside the monastery:
The town as inhabited by Greeks until the Great Population Exchange of 1923, and then the church was converted to a mosque.
I have been very pleased with all the changes in religion that the religious buildings have usually not been destroyed, but rather converted. The next day, we took a hike down Monastery Valley, which contains over 50 rock cut churches dating from the Byzantine era. My mom met some Turkish men while waiting for Katie and I to finish exploring one of these churches, and was whipping out her few Turkish words-- the man on the donkey was coming back from collecting spring water, and the other man was making sure we knew about all the churches in the valley.