12Hasankeyf Town72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


©TriciVenola 2018. Hasankeyf drawn from a photo taken in 2007. 

00Title Pg Book21 72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF





Project inception: Fall 2007: The ancient city of Hasankeyf, on the Tigris River, in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, was doomed by the Turkish government to be drowned by the Ilisu Dam.  Atlas Magazine and Turkish ecologists organized a train to protest this, The Hasankeyf Train. My old friend Celal Ögmen, at Kalamar Restaurant in Kumkapi, had wanted to send me to draw his mother’s village in Lake Van. Instead he bought me the last ticket on the train to a place I’d never suspected: Hasankeyf. Much of the art in this book appears in this section of the blog: ROCKING THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION IN HASANKEYF

01In Haydarpasha72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Phyllis / Filiz -R Crumb would faint if he could see this German-Turkish Amazon valkyrie. -Amazing old chandelier leftover from the glory days -Istanbul, Fall 2007: Invited by my friend Celal at Kalmar to go on a train to “Hasankeyf” on the Tigris, the oldest continuously-occupied town in the world. 12,000 years of visible history, and the Turkish government is going to destroy it with a dam that will last 40 years. This is a protest train from Istanbul to Sumeria- Mesopotamia (Modern Turkey) sponsored by Atlas Magazine. I am the only foreigner on the Hasankeyf Train. -TriciVenola ©2007

02Getting Ready72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-The fifth wrong seat was this guy. Luck! –One of the organizers -“(NCRPL)Natural & cultural rescue & protection for life. It’s a long name but it’s true.” –Ahmet Tuncay, architect, planner, archeologist, President of the protest group. –Two guys putting posters on the conference car. –Drawing “out the window” for the first time in YEARS. –And we’re off! A very long train bound for an ancient village soon to be drowned by greed and idiocy -“It is 12,000 years old Sumerian, like that, they kill it.” -“We will have a city under water- we will dive.” -It’s like I know these people. -TriciVenola ©2007

I did know them. They’re the ecology-loving, women’s rights-promoting, heritage-preserving, leftist celebrators of peace and freedom I’d been looking for since I moved to Turkey. My brethren! 

03The Loneliest Station72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Curled up on the seat with Mother’s old red shawl, on a night train to forever ago. Full moon. -Everyone is sleeping. -Later out in the murk I saw an immense pale hill –I feel like the world is a secret I’m listening in on. -SAPAK -Ahmet Tuncay -The loneliest train station in the world. Out on the whitened plain -Under the high chill moon. -TriciVenola ©2007

05Conference on the Train72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


30 August 2007 -Guven Eken -Oscan -Trici Venola’s participation in this trip sponsored by KALAMAR RESTAURANT in KUMKAPI-TriciVenola ©2007

I learned more about how dams dry out the country than I ever wanted to know, and all of it is true, borne out by Turkey’s worsening rural conditions and subsequent horrific overcrowding of its cities, primarily Istanbul, by families who can no longer be supported by the land.

Train 9 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Me drawing out the window. The next four pages are full of tiny thumbnails drawn on the fly, which appear much larger here, like this:04Two Houses - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Moon - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04The Only Bushes - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Mound - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Hillock Door - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Pepper Tree - Book 21: HASANKEYF

05Sunflower - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Sunflower Harvest - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Tractor - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Big Rock House e1549024574510 300x136 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Two Houses - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Flock of Sheep - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Distant Brown Mountains - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Potato Pickers - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04Lone Olive Tree - Book 21: HASANKEYF


04Turkeys - Book 21: HASANKEYF

04 Train 1 Moon72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYFFROM THE TRAIN 1: MOON

-In the dawn the moon turns a different face -Solid blocks of poplar trees -You see these lone formations that look like mounds— and here, they could be! -The only bushes here are at the tracks. -A door in a hillock -Doga Dernegi (Nature Society) -Atlas Magazine, Doga Turizm// organized this train-325. -A lone olive tree -Like a pepper tree -Knuckles of distant brown mountains -It is very, very dry. -A plateau- house near a huge rock -A whole flock of turkeys in Turkey -Men & women standing with plastic sacks of potatoes. -TriciVenola ©2007

These things were drawn as they flashed by the windows of the train. The descriptions above make a poem of Turkey.

Train 5 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Train 7 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

06Mt Argaeus - Book 21: HASANKEYF

06Hay Behind Barns - Book 21: HASANKEYF

06Mountain Village - Book 21: HASANKEYF

06Red Rock Ramparts - Book 21: HASANKEYF


06Apple Tree Offering - Book 21: HASANKEYF


06Hilltop Community - Book 21: HASANKEYF

House wPower Lines lettering - Book 21: HASANKEYF


06Car Stopsign e1549027223676 271x300 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

06An Actual Mesa - Book 21: HASANKEYF

I love Trains - Book 21: HASANKEYF

06Train 2 Argaeus72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-Mt Argaeus— Erciyes Dagi –Hiding out in the smoking car, the only place free of a very loud long [amplified] lecture. -My companion at the table tells me that all these dams that are supposed to help Turkey have dried it out. “They have created a dust bowl of Paradise.” -And now they want to sell the rivers that are left. -Building such big dams with no thought to the effect. -The dam that will drown Hasankeyf is supported by 4 countries: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Turkey –Big money 1, 2, 13 banks -The air conditioning has quit. –Red rock ramparts –Hay piled up behind the barns –Hilltop community and lowering above a monolith that must’ve housed their gods for millennia. –Miles of brown wasteland and in the middle a verdant greensward from a surviving river. This is what the country SHOULD look like. –Near bottom land full of stumps, an apple tree’s offering goes ignored. –An actual mesa –OH MAMA! I LOVE TRAINS. -TriciVenola ©2007

I would have loved the long amplified lecture too, but my Turkish wasn’t up to it. People on the train who spoke English educated me as to the reasons for the protest.

Train 3 1 1024x596 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Big Tree - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Forlorn Riverbed - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Goat Barn - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Goddess in the Rock - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Hillside Orchard - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Mountainscapes - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Goat Train - Book 21: HASANKEYF


07Spike Hills - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Family Waving on Roof - Book 21: HASANKEYF

07Train 3 Family72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Büyükçekmece Çevre Koruma ve Guellestirme Dernegi Alahattin Cücük -Spectacular mountainscpes as we head toward Malatya -Vast pale mountains behind dark ones -The mountains are so beautiful they make me cry –I need temporary deafness -Earsplitting harsh commentary blasting out of speakers -Inescapable -Forlorn dusty riverbed and dam beyond -Family waving to us as they take the air in a very tiny village high in the mountains of Anatolia -U ISIL IS TV -God save this land from its government -Valley after valley ruined with dams -“The fruit production economy of the Euphrat Valley would exceed that of the energy produced by the dam” -Eker -TriciVenola ©2007

O that goat train! Those spikey mountains! That goddess rock! And that family waving, they break my heart.

08Running River - Book 21: HASANKEYF


08River Drying Up - Book 21: HASANKEYF


Six Hours Late e1549466493607 300x220 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

25A Real Trouper72 e1548783098409 373x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


Heroine and a real trouper! Slept 4 nights sitting up & found us a shower in Hasankeyf. ©2007 TriciVenola

TV in Mountains - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Off the train for half an hour here…

Train 4 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


08Old Woman Pulling A Sheep - Book 21: HASANKEYF


Little Time Left 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Msg - Book 21: HASANKEYF

08Waving Kids - Book 21: HASANKEYF


08Many Ducks - Book 21: HASANKEYF

08Malcontents Hurling Rocks 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

08Train 4 Stones72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


1980s Storks-Land in marshes- Ground squirrels- How quickly it disappears- Dam- Çatalhöyük- We are 6 hours late due to delays, even though the Minister of Transportation was involved in planning this trip. Very little time left to see the village, all of us activists who would save it. -There is some feeling that it was sabatogued because the government supports the dam, which will destroy our international heritage & ruin thousands of lives & make 100 people rich. -How novel! A river with water in it! -Big excitement as the train is hit by rocks in and after Diyarbakir. -Malcontents hurling rocks- A mud barn thatched w/hay, and many ducks, but now we must close the shades. -Buket saw 3 little boys throwing rocks just before we got hit the 2nd time. -Pulling down the shades is a drag. They got 3 windows so far. -TriciVenola 2007

09Tigris Village72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-All and everything is gold -The Tigris Valley –Cradle of Civilization-Rounded mountains on one side, magnificent walls on the other, a fantasy landscape carved by the Tigris over millenniums.-TriciVenola ©2007

When I drew this, there were still people living in this village, a few miles from Hasankeyf.

11Little Girl Drum72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF



Arrival in Batman Drums - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Arsen Poladov!

-Banging that drum for all she’s worth.

A crowd of little girls, singing and beating drums, met us at Batman. They had waited for us all day, dressed up & ready in the searing sun.

-TriciVenola ©2007

Bright Face in Batman - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Many bright faces in Batman! The whole town was there and had been all day, including a band, the drums, and the Mayor, who handed a carnation to each woman to descend from the train.

Not only does everyone in Turkey love Hasankeyf, but Tourism is a major factor here.


34BooCat Buket72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-“My father made me interested in such things as Hasankeyf” -“Please draw me later when my hair is clean!” -Boy, did we have fun! Apple-cheeked Buket Sahin, my train-companion and seatmate. BOO-CAT! She is so sweet that it’s a shock to discover how hip she is. -TriciVenola ©2007

Buket at Hasankeyf - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Buket’s father is noted Turkish author Osman Sahin. She gave me his book Tales from the Tarsus, a collection of folk stories, from the myth-rich Tarsus Mountain region, that he spent years researching. An ecological activist, he protested the dams and strip-mining to the point of being punished by previous governments. Buket is a fantastic photographer, spent years in the States, and is still a great friend. Meeting her, listening to her across the whole country and in Hasankeyf itself, made all the difference in my perception of Turkey.

10Hope Hasankeyf72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-And all the while this city has been here. -Ozgur -Umut  -Seçkin “We want to learn about our heritage.” -3 young men sitting on the very edge of the castle precipice staring out into the darkening valley. They are students in Izmir who read Atlas Magazine, here to see & support. They have decided to spend as much time as possible touring Turkey & discovering their history. -TriciVenola ©2007

I was much moved by these three students, and have often wondered what became of them. Behind them, the Tigris glows at the horizon, while the town sinks into twilight. I drew the boys from life, and the town later, from a photo I took from the castle at twilight.

13Castle Moon72 2 354x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-The castle at Hasankeyf, from a photo taken in 2007. -TriciVenola ©2018

I love this aspect of the great Castle of Hasankeyf, and learned a great deal drawing it 11 years after I took the photos in 2007.  It looked then, and looks to me now, like a great griffin poised on the edge of the Tigris, which barely shows off to the right.

They started the brickwork less than half-way up the natural striations of the rock. There’s a decorative border around each window, and the palace extends all the way along the ridge at back.

Those caves at center are copious and were surely occupied. Just below center, on the right,  there are the remains of huge stone gears, used for pulling the bridge across the river.

That slanted plane at lower center is a great terrace, titled by age or earthquake. Off at bottom left we can see the tops of pine trees growing up the edge of a sheer drop.

The color, when I took these photos, was pink-tinged blue, but by day this place is golden. I think about the woman and her child, forever walking up the road at dusk in September 2007. Where was she going? What was she thinking? Where is she now?


TV Hasankeyf - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Zigzag CU - Book 21: HASANKEYF

In Town Best - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-Sunset kids -Hasankeyf 2007 -TriciVenola ©2018

What makes Hasankeyf seem miraculous, there on the edge of the great eternal River Tigris, is that it is alive. It’s not a museum ruin, it’s a lively, functioning village and has been all along. Here have lived generations of Assyrians, Byzantine Christians, Hittites, Urartians, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and all manner of civilizations. These folks now are mostly Kurdish. They’ve been here for centuries. I love these children, smiling down at me as I snapped their picture in the golden light of sunset. I expect they’re all grown now.

Sunset Kids Hasankeyf - Book 21: HASANKEYF

14Sunset Kids72 1 354x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

15Hobbit Walk72 1 1024x354 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Hobbit walk Hasankeyf -From a photo taken in 2007  -TriciVenola ©2018

Long before Tolkien came up with his round hobbit doors, cave dwellers worldwide were using them! This charming cobbled street runs along under a great shelf of rock eroded out of the sheer cliff, punctuated with caves. All the families there have been in these homes for generations. The government had promised them a small settlement and a cinderblock home across the valley. They didn’t want to move. And at this writing, the water is rising.

16Cradle in a Cave72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-A store in a halogen cave. -Trici Venola ©2007-2018

I started this drawing in a cave curio shop, roaming around with Buket back in 2007, and finished it a year ago, from a photo I took back then. 

TV Drawing Cavehouse - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Drawing the cradle in 2007. All the lights are halogen, which gives an eerie cold aspect to the warmth of the tribal accoutrements.

17Dinner in the Tigris72 1 1024x354 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Everyone is singing -I drew this in the dark, sitting with my feet in the Tigris -TriciVenola ©2007

A happy evening, sitting at tables set up in the very running river. It was very hot, and there are no mosquitos— it’s too high. It’s Paradise. I believe the man at center paid for our dinner. Thank you, anonymous giver!We ate fish caught hours before in the river, and threw the bones back into the river to be consumed by plant life and turned into more fish. We all wore fantastic headdresses: our hair was flat and greasy with sweat, but we should care; we had the river!

Shadow of New Bridge - Book 21: HASANKEYF

18In Ali Babas Cave72 1 354x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-Ali Baba’s cave: actual title “Transpassers’ Cave” with Buket & a litter of tiny, flealess kittens. Heaven! -TriciVenola ©2007

After dinner, Buket and I set out to find a ladies’ room. It was next to the huge triangular entrance to this cave. We wandered in and were invited to sleep there. The whole town of Hasankeyf was glad to see us protesters, but their generosity was still startling: the cave owners wouldn’t let us pay them. So we spent the night in what might vey well have been the original Open Sesame Ali Baba’s Cave, tucked up in tribal fabric, with the water trickling down the back wall, and the treasures were the kittens, who romped and snuggled with us all night.

Cave Buket 2 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-Grave, focused and kind, 15-year-old Erkan was born in Hasankeyf & loves it. He made our visit safer & happier, without a trace of huckterism- the very best face of Turkey. AND he held still for his portrait! -TriciVenola ©2007

He is on my wall to this day. I think of him often. I wonder where he is now. He took Buket and me to see his mother, invited us to stay there any time. He was absolutely lovely. It was he who told us that he didn’t want to live in a cinderblock house in an ugly place. He wanted desperately to stay in Hasankeyf.

Erkan in Street e1549894275716 837x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

19Erkan at 15 72 short 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

20Faces Like the Rocks72 1 e1549894741204 1024x485 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Hasankeyf Train organizers Ozcan & Given Eken with the Mayor, and an ancient shop recently excavated (2007) in Hasankeyf. -TriciVenola ©2007-2018

The shop goes back a couple of thousand years. I drew the three gents in 2007, from life, and filled in the rocks around them from a photo taken at the time. They all seemed to be of a piece.

Protest Tower Composite e1549895256534 1024x1009 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Hands Off Hasankeyf - Book 21: HASANKEYF


30IZTV Demonstrators72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-These two were all over the place filming -Aydin filmed me drawing this portrait of Isil as she interviewed me for IZ TV. -Isil -One emerald eye & one brown -A stone wall, immeasurably old, carved with writing in an ancient language, and in front of it sit three young men & a grandmother under hand-lettered signs protesting its destruction, saying “We will live under water if we have to.” -A beautiful wolf face -Aydin -TriciVenola ©2007

Iz TV’s  half-hour Hasankeyf documentary mostly featured Buket and me. I wrote on a napkin: Trici Venola’s participation sponsored by KALAMAR RESTAURANT in KUMKAPI, and held it up to the camera. It went into the subtitles. When that showed up at my patron Celal’s restaurant, the whole place exploded. The documentary aired frequently and for years. I could always tell because I’d get recognized in the street. Oh, how I wish we had won.

26Ahmet Cihat Tower 1 72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Ahmet Tunçay Karaçorlu -Assyrian Bridge Monolithic Ruins -Cihat Köseoglu -I really, really like this guy’s face for some reason… -He won the photo contest! -Bane Bakarmisin – Akshahir-Konya -TriciVenola ©2007

Drew these guys on site and then pulled a background from my photos for them. Ahmet Tunçay was just all over the place, I think I drew him more than anyone.

27Sun Face Pier72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-View of enormous Assyrian stone pier from the castle -Yis Yeshim -Face like a sun and golden hair -TriciVenola ©2007

Was actually able to get a decent drawing on site from the castle. And this girl’s glorious full face was like a benediction wherever she went. The drawing in the center was done on the train, heading home.

22Another Dead River 272 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-Another dead river, another dam. -Organizer Given Eken points out another dead river to rapt audience, including me. -TriciVenola ©2007

How proud the villages must have been of their bridge when it was built, when the hills were green and the tree was alive with a leafy crown, dappling the rippling water. All across Turkey are these sad dried-up riverbeds, and in the distance, the hard bright blue of another dam.

29Spoon Dancing72 - Book 21: HASANKEYFSPOON DANCING

-Our wonderful waiter spoon-dancing -TriciVenola ©2007

The spoons were castanets. Wow.

31Comedienne Friends72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Habip -Edanur -Aysegül -This hilarious woman kept everyone laughing for hours. I couldn’t understand the words, but man, was she funny! -Trici Venola ©2007

She didn’t want me to draw her in disarray, so we arranged a later session. She showed up very dignified, and I drew her anyway.  I wanted to celebrate her. We very much needed to laugh.

28Party on the Train72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Fellowship! We were exhausted and sweaty but did we care? A raucous party all Saturday night as the train roared through Antalya. -Gültar -Whatta ball o’fire! Danced all night in the aisle- got everybody up -Trici Venola ©2007

We thought we were pretty outrageous until one of the waiters said, “Oh, you should see the trains from Iran. The minute we cross the border, everybody just explodes, ripping off all that black and jumping up on the tables.”

21Hasankeyf on the Tigris72 L 1 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

21Hasankeyf on the Tigris72 C 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

21Hasankeyf on the Tigris72 R 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

21Hasankeyf on the Tigris72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

Hasankeyf That Was -Hasankeyf 2007 -TriciVenola ©2018

A great friend and champion of Hasankeyf once told me that its charm was threefold: golden cliffs, antiquities, and reflective water, all in a perfect ecological system. This drawing took me a couple of days, I was so determined to capture every precious doomed detail. I combined several photos into one panorama and, as with the Castle Moon piece, learned a great deal. The sheer cliffs at back center are honeycombed with ancient staircases zigzagging up the cliffs. The biggest one is our Zigzag Staircase, just left of center. The tiny triangle left of its bottom is the vast entrance to Transpassers’ Cave. I hadn’t realized, back in 2007, that Hasankeyf continued up along the tops of the cliffs. The rich civic area at left is full of enchanting terraced houses overlooking the river, while people still lived in the caves above. Down to the left of the big dark area under that big arch is a collection of Romanesque ruins: looks to be a ruined domed structure. In the bottom left corner of the drawing, a white horse grazes at the water’s edge. Studying the photos, I could see evidence of collapses, rebuilding, and a great fall of debris at the bottom of the sheer cliff behind the Arabic Minaret. The rope-and-wood bridge from pier to pier across the Tigris washed away in a flood. Most of this is gone now, and what remains has been encased in cement, thanks to the Ilihu Dam. We lost our fight, but we tried. Hasankeyf That Was endures for me in art, and in the collective unconscious. And as everybody knows, once something is uploaded, it’s virtually eternal.

56Old Wooden House72 e1550075045508 - Book 21: HASANKEYF



Fall 2007: My sister Penelope was retiring from four decades of teaching art. She took us on one splendid wander.

This trip had been preceded, for me, by a summer made hideous by a landlord couple’s insatiable greed. I could not keep them happy no matter how much money I spent, and I spent it all. I later found a tough lawyer to deal with such behavior, but at that point back in 2007, I was exhausted from stress– No kitchen! No Internet, for God’s sake- and a neighbor who screamed abuse while I crawled about trying to replace a neighborhood trash pile with a garden. I was beat down and broke. Moving, in Istanbul on limited funds, can take months. I hadn’t wanted to ruin our trip. I sold books and scrounged money. I got a stress tic in one eye.

But then came the Hasankeyf Train, and Penny and I had that splendid holiday, bless my generous, art-history loving sister!  Afterwards, I felt like myself again. My tic was gone. I was able to finagle my cats and me into a small but happy apartment- with a lovely kitchen- overlooking the Marmara Sea. Good Times were ahead, and we all knew it.

33Diamond Dust Marmara72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-These specks of ink are really tiny points of light- diamond dust on the silky pale water -Marmara Sea from the Polat Hotel, Yesilköy 9 September -TriciVenola ©2007

Back in Istanbul with my life changed forever.

38Penny the Tar Baby72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Penny -Swimming in ruins near Kekova -Black clouds drift over the moon’s face -Heartbreakingly beautiful Lycian night with memories of longing -Top of a Lycian tomb in Myra -One warrior still grabbing the other’s bow for 3000 years already! -A very amiable kittycat with a VERY long tail -Our little tar baby- With stiffened tail and gummy paws that defied attempts at removal – we got some of it off -and left him clean & fed. -TriciVenola ©2007

37Bits of Phaselis72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Another Anatolian Lion! -Phaselis -Adnan@Favori -TriciVenola ©2007

Here is the proprietor of our favorite restaurant  in Antalya, along with some lions and grapes from Phaselis, a winter hangout of Alexander the Great.            

39StNicks TripleWindow72 e1550076370198 481x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-St Nick’s in Myra -Mosaic like embroidery -TriciVenola ©2007

The Basilica of St Nicholas in Myra, built in the 6th century by Justinian. These Byzantine triple windows represent Ss Peter and Paul holding up the Church.

40A Tomb With a View72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-The Lycian Trail, Simena. Mid-September -Trici Venola ©2007

Penny walked the trail and left me to draw happily for two hours. I’ve never looked at this image without wishing I was there.

41Simena72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Simena -The Lycian trail: Two hours inthe searing October sun while tours trekked by… the silent peace when they had passed was worth the pain of sunburn -TriciVenola ©2007

Thousand-year-old olive trees and cinnamon and saffron colored Lycian tombs from 500 BCE. Turquoise water shading to cobalt in the shadows of the rising hills.

42Tomb Olive Tree72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Simena -1000-year old olive tree -2500-year old tomb -TriciVenola ©2007

A closeup of the preceding drawing. Imagining these two old friends growing ever older together. The hole in the tomb is from looters, presumed to have been Italian Crusaders.

44Penny Perge Lions72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Grandfatherly lion in Perge -9th Century Seljuk painting on the 2nd Century Roman theater in Aspendos -Another Perge lion…a whole row of lions still growling -PENNY -TriciVenola ©2007

My big sister Penelope is the best teacher I ever knew. She taught art for 45 years in the second-biggest barrio in the United States, continues to teach to this day, and manages to look decades younger than she is. Perge is one of the great cities of the plains in Southern Turkey. It’s probably older than Rome, but these lions are Roman.

45Happy Over the Valley72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-What a happy day! -A sunny morning -Moni & Phil, Omer & Penny at breakfast over the valley -30 September -TriciVenola @2007

After a languorous journey along the coast of Antalya, we drove up into Cappadocia and fetched up at the Museum Hotel in Uçisar, where we met Moni and Phil from Malasia. He’s a British musician, at loose ends until he met Moni, who tied up the loose ends nicely. They are still together. We so enjoyed their company, and the view from Museum’s terrace, that we stayed there all day.

48Valley from Uchisar72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Drawing the sublime view from Museum Hotel with a horrible cold 4 October -TriciVenola @2007

The view from the terrace, with Omer’s fancy white pigeons in the foreground. Nice to think I got to trade a forgotten cold for this eternal drawing.

46Omer Tosun72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Ömer Tosun at his beautiful Museum Hotel in Uçisar -TriciVenola ©2007

In those days Ömer would stroll his fabulous terrace with a giant Kangal dog. He had built his hotel from a carpet business, with skill and luck. As the Soviet Union broke up, he told us, people sold immensely valuable carpets for very little. It’s an ill wind…

47BlueMosque72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-It always makes me pause to realize that the people who built the visions glowing in the night never saw them like this… fairytale visions created for future generations. -They would’ve been lit up with torches though…©2007 TriciVenola

47Moni Phil 72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-LET IT BE -Phil playing Besame Mucho while the Blue Mosque glows outside &Moni glows inside. -TriciVenola @2007

Back in Istanbul! Before Phil started playing, Let It Be came on the radio. All my life that song has come to remind me that everything is playing out as it should.

50Moni Phil at Mikes72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Moni &Phil from Malasia via Kapadokya at Mike’s -Aw, you make me look so sweet! -TriciVenola @2007

51Dancing at Mikes72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Mike on his 53rd birthday -October 13 -TriciVenola ©2007

Perhaps the last drawing I ever did at one of Mike’s legendary birthday parties.

49Peacock at Chora72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-I love this peacock in the corner -Chora -©TriciVenola 2007

53Smokers at a Wall72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

I now set about the serious business of finding an apartment in Sultanahmet, in between forays into Byzantium.


49Virgin at Chora72 e1550158621161 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

CHORA-I wonder how many term papers have been written on the influence of Byzantine art on Klimt, Beardsley & Art Nouveau in general? -TriciVenola @2007

53Anonymous Fellow72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-In Sultanahmet. 2007 TriciVenola. Some of my apartment-hunting were pleasant… others, less so.

55Scumwad72 1 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-This guy owns an apartment with a view I dearly love… we went ‘round and ‘round— But it was doomed… He actually told me that I, as a single woman, could not have visitors!©TriciVenola 2007

That’s like being told that you seem a prostitute. What a creep!

52Cowboy Kids Dancing72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-Cool guy from America I met on the bus— bought a book, I took him to Mike’s. -Kids handkerchief-dancing in a Pasaj off Istiklal one fall night on my way home. -Ilhan Cevdet Necip -TriciVenola ©2007

Three Kurdish kids whooping it up in an old han on the Istiklal. Happy on my way home after apartment hunting all day singing “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”

35Doodling Around Town72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-TriciVenola ©2007              Boh-dee-oh-doh

57Scribbly BooCat Cafe72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Beautiful Boo-Cat from the Hasankeyf Train in a cool roof club in Tarlabashi

36Pensive Murat72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF           

-Murat Elberger -Summer 2007 -Doesn’t BEGIN to do him justice! -TriciVenola © 2007

43Adnan at Favori72 e1550160776749 184x300 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

©2007 TriciVenola Adnan @Favori in Antalya

64Moon Over Ayairene72 e1550156513621 775x1024 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Hot August night -Moon over Aya Irene -TriciVenola ©2007

Abdullah72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Abdullah -TriciVenola ©2007 I was exhausted from apartment hunting. Abdullah took me out to dinner and bought me the new Harry Potter. A pal!

58Pinkie the Refugees72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-The most dangerous stairs in the world— razor stairs! -I pray every time I use these stairs: “Balance & harmony, focus, presence, faith” while I spend all my time looking for another apartment. Pinkie, being only a cat, was not able to understand. -It’s my dearest wish that my bloodless money grubbing freak• landlady walk down these stairs carrying her son.  *Thank you, Alan Ball

-Handsome angelic vet surgeon Dr Kubilay Elginoglu “The bond between you and Pinkie is very strong.” But he breeds cats. –Dr Umit drove me 1 hour to see Pinkie who has lost 1 1/2 kilos &thought I had been eaten by a predator

-Sitting in a cafe full of fascinating faces while the image of my poor wounded Pinkie-Boy takes precedence. I don’t get him back for another TEN DAYS.

-Draw my peechor, is possible? I am Afghanistan. –3 Refugee guys- David: He didn’t want the drawing. He wanted it to have been drawn. -TriciVenola ©2007

Oh, the saga of Pinkie. He broke his leg on the razorblade stairs and had to be thinned down before surgery. He thought he was abandoned. “Your cat tried to commit suicide,” they said, “he did not move, he did not eat, he did not drink, and he did not use the catbox. He turned his face to the wall… so we called you.” I told Pinkie to be good, and fed and petted him, and his surgery was a success. He has outlived all the other cats. I have him still!

Pinkie In the Cup72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-“Don’t forget me!” -Big chortle, garland or white cat head….Telling my friend Ahmet Sengör about big fat furry white Pinkie— and looked into my coffee cup to see this! I choose to believe it means my Pinkie will be all right. 5 November 2007 -Note: It’s six years later & Pinkie is still with us, fatter than ever & quite the grande gentleman. 15 June 2013 -And still!! 3 July 2018 -And still! 14 February 2019 -TriciVenola


IMG 3354 e1550169539512 300x226 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

59Bar Girls in Plovdiv72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-TriciVenola ©2007

Time to drop everything and go back in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for another visa run. Notice that cute dancing pig with ribs.

60Wandering Oldtown72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Wandering around Oldtown Plovdiv, Bulgaria -TriciVenola ©2007

Saints and angels amid the lampposts and cobbles. For a town that was behind the Iron Curtain for decades, they sure preserved their churches.

61High Angles in Plovdiv72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-High angles in Plovdiv -TriciVenola ©2007

Plovdiv has the most wonderful wooden and stone architecture, left over from Ottoman Turkish merchants, built on Byzantine foundations on even older Greek fortifications. 

62In Oldtown Plovdiv72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-TriciVenola ©2007

55Carpet Elements72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF


-TriciVenola 2007


63The New Landlord72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Huseyin Bey in front of his view -Sultanahmet -November -TriciVenola ©2007

After much search, a new landlord. I loved this apartment and spent a blissful 28 months there before this guy threw me out to make an airbnb. Just in time for construction to ruin his view. But we’ve got the drawings!

65Virginia Smoking72 - Book 21: HASANKEYF

-Virginia -9 December -TriciVenola ©2007

I miss you, Virginia.