1 THE CRADLE

PRECEDENT Around 1830, beloved literary giant Victor Hugo learned that the old Gothic pile in the middle of Paris was to be pulled down. A crooked filthy church like a brokeback dragon, built piecemeal over centuries, it had been badly damaged in the French Revolution and blackened in great fires. The government planned a big new development there on the Seine once the eyesore was gone.

Notre Dame - 1 THE CRADLE

The eyesore was Notre Dame. Horrified, Hugo set about creating something that would make everyone love the place as much as he did, enough to let it live. He wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and saved the cathedral. He told it as a story, and afterwards there was no question of its being destroyed, for all the world had come to love it.  Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, is one of the most visited places in the most visited country on earth. Oh would to the gods that I could be as Victor Hugo, as influential in his time as Steven Spielberg is in ours. There are so many things I would save. I would start with Hasankeyf.
Hasankeyf 3
Hasankeyf in 2007

THE CRADLE Imagine a place in the land of beginning. A place shaped like a cradle, in the Cradle of Civilization. This is the Fertile Crescent; between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates: Mesopotamia, Sumeria: the birthplace of writing, cultivation of food, domestication of animals and other cornerstones of life as we know it. Earliest examples of writing are from the third millennium BCE, in nearby Ur, just across the border in Iraq. Cities then looked like this.

CGI of Ur

But people were much the same. Writing was invented to keep track of temple contributions, and there was undoubtedly some poor schmo accountant working overtime in some ziggurat, as shown here in Mac clip-art as comparatively ancient in computerdom as the scene it shows.

Overtime in Sumeria
Overtime: A Palace in Sumeria c2600 BCE ©1989 Trici Venola. Mouse-built Mac clip-art.

Thinking in these terms, it’s only yesterday.

09Tigris Village72 1 - 1 THE CRADLE
Tigris Village ©2007 TriciVenola

In a vast golden valley the road winds through gentle hillocks, many pierced with ancient caves.

Houses on Way

Soft swells blend upward into one horizon. The other horizon is a fantasy landscape of canyons and cliffs carved by the Tigris over hundreds of thousands of years. At its most spectacular point sits Hasankeyf.

12Hasankeyf Town72 e1548509829896 1024x417 - 1 THE CRADLE
Hasankeyf Town ©2007 TriciVenola

Ur was a great trade center of the plain, buried for centuries. Hasankeyf, before the Ilisu Dam, was  a small lively hill town of caves and artifacts that have accumulated over time through many civilizations. Nothing prepared me for the jaw-dropping sight of the massive monolithic ruins rising out of the green water, caves and arches and one enormous rounded tower next to sheer cliffs soaring up from the edge of the river, everything ruddy gold in the  late afternoon sun.

Hasankeyf 2

Rocking the Cradle of Civilization in Hasankeyf NEXT: 2 HASANKEYF AS WAS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This is a demo store for testing purposes — no orders shall be fulfilled. Dismiss