Ayasuluk Hill, with Selcuk’s Byzantine Fortress and the Tomb of St John in the foreground. Our house is to the right with the red tile roof.
The central district of Selcuk is surrounded by the Isabey Mahallesi to the west, where the Byzantine fortress and the ruins of the 6thC Basilica of St John crown Ayasoluk Hill, with the 11thC Seljuk Isabey Mosque just below. To the east of town is Zafer Mahallesi, which has lovely western views of the valley and the Aegean Sea beyond. But we’d spent part of a year in that neighborhood already, attempting to run a small pansiyon whose owner didn’t really want to give up control of her business. So that district, though lovely, was somewhat tainted in our minds.
“C’mon, let me show you this place. I want to buy it today”, said Abit, half out the door.
Huh? “Today?!? Why so fast?”
Inside was much less of a dream. The massive meter thick walls meant the four rooms were tiny, at least by my Western standards. The central salon had a blocked-in window to the west so only the entrance doors let in any light. But the terrace tile covered this floor too! The two bedrooms off the salon had wood floors, and bizarre shades of pink, yellow and green paint, but the wood casement windows facing the Fortress were wide, and folded completely open, effectively removing half the walls. The owner had set metal window frames in the salon, ready to rip out the wooden casements and ‘modernize’ the place since it had not sold for 6 years. And I could see he was planning to rip out the floor tiles too, in favor of faux marble ceramic stacked in the corner.
Two views of the sunny kitchen, cluttered but well used. We’ve added a modern stove where I’m sure a wood-burning one previously stood.
The mid-level patio, covered by grapevines on an arbor Baba built
We have a handmade ‘tandir’ in the lower garden, where Abit’s mother and his sisters convene every few days to bake bread. We’ve also had a goat in the lower garden, replaced by rabbits in a mud-walled, tile-roofed house that Baba took more care with than with any house for his 10 children. But now, only cats prowl the rows of veggies and flocks of sparrows inhabit the pomegranate, lemon, olive and mandarin trees.
Pomegranate trees in bloom