Why did I spend the time to draw a vanishing village? So I can sleep at night. Turkey wants to be one of the most visited places on earth. The most visited place is France. Hm, I wonder why. Perhaps it’s the presence of exquisitely preserved cultural treasures– Notre Dame!– and the absence of billboards, trash and Walmarts. People don’t cross oceans and continents to see what they can see at home. Sure, people shop. But cultural tourism combined with shopping is huge money, and it preserves your national heritage. Turkey has absolutely unique places, important to the whole world, for Turkey is geographically and historically in the center.
Imagine! Twelve years later: Buket and I are still friends. And anyone I meet who was on that train is instantly a friend.
Grieving about Hasankeyf being flooded, its gloriously aged treasures encased in cement, its tomb moved, I imagine Victor Hugo’s vexation about Notre Dame. It created Quasidmodo, gibbering in hideous rage on the tower as he pours molten lead on the mob hammering at Notre Dame’s doors, trying to get in and destroy the unique and exquisite Esmeralda.
Snatching her from the moronic maw of the ravening mob, bearing her into the church, bellowing Sanctuary! Sanctuary! That’s just how I feel: Lon Chaney as the fearsome Hunchback, and how I wish I was strong enough to ring his bell. Rage can make Quasimodos of us all, but he did save the church.
Now imagine a parallel universe: no dam. Hasankeyf miraculously freed from its cement shroud, the tomb returned, the drowned city resurrected by an enlightened generation. Hasankeyf the center of a cultural tourism Renaissance in the troubled Southeast of Turkey. Chronic upheaval makes for fascinating history, which can mean great tourism. Imagine a fine life for the poverty-flattened people of Hasankeyf, with government sanctioning of their town as a regular tourist destination, with UNESCO backing and the kind of money that educated tourists are willing to spend to see something unique and irreplaceable.
There’s that big highway, there’s that bridge. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it led to a better life for all. In situ. Just imagine! As they say in Hasankeyf, the rose is most beautiful on the branch.
All road drawings, spot illustrations and portraits Plein Air. All other drawings Plein Air with some augmentation from photos in places due to time constraints. All art, including most photos © Trici Venola. These drawings are part of the Drawing On Istanbul™ Series by Trici Venola, produced with drafting pens on rag paper in sketchbook format. Large drawings are 18 cm X 52 cm. Special thanks to John Crofoot, Buket Sahin. and to Celal Ogmen and the staff at Kalamar Restaurant in Kumkapi. We love their fish, and we love your comments.