Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

ALONG THE FOOTSTEPS OF EVLIYA ÇELEBI AND SAINT PAUL. WALKING BETWEEN HISTORY AND NATURE IN TURKEY.

“To understand a territory with an ancient identity and deep culture as Turkey is easier if you walk along its roads, meet its inhabitants and let yourself be charmed by the colours that adorn this land”. The tale of Luca Favarelli.

Luca Favarelli, a 26-year-old architect, took part last October to a study tour to Turkey, together with other five young people, as part of the project Europe to Turkey on Foot, that involved EAVF for 12 months (15 February 2016 – 15 February 2016). The travel experience took place on two paths: Evliya Celeby Way and St. Paul Trail. The journey produced a photography reportage, two exhibitions and a travel journal.

“While walking you can’t do anything but trust the people who already treaded the plans, the paths and the landscapes; a peculiarity that connects the two historical characters who are apparently without any connection: Saint Paul, Apostle of the Kinds, and Evliya Çelebi, a noble Ottoman, author of the Seyahatname, a work in ten volumes that describes the 10-year travel from Istanbul to Mecca. They created, with their pilgrimage, two Cultural Paths on which I had the honor of stamp the track of my boot as a pilgrim and that can constitute a natural extension of the Via Francigena, creating a new Via that can be defined as Eurasia.

The path of Evliya Çelebi develops in the northern part of Turkey and crosses villages with names that seem like they come from a tale, Çavuskoy, Babasultan, Karakiraz, locations that are buried in wonderful landscapes and that possess their own magic; here you can come across tractors that carry whole families, children running along the path, expressing themselves in an unknown language and old farmers that kindly offer delicious tea. The crossed villages are many on this route and the possibility to meet the local population makes the journey interesting and curious.

The path of Saint Paul develops along the mountain chain of Tauro, until it reaches the Mediterranean Sea. One of the most attractive stops is without any doubt the city of Eğirdir and the namesake lake around which part of the path develops. At dawn, the sun reverberates on the lake, giving a breathtaking sight, then it follows the pilgrims during the whole day, without forcing on them too much; a kind wind and the height make the journey pleasant and not at all tiring. The land is uneven and arduous and the villages are few and rural, dedicated to pastoralism.

Invited on a porch, embellished by a purple American vine and sent from a nomadic shepherd on horseback to find your way back, the days along the Path of Saint Paul passes way to fast and are full of emotions.

To walk the Cultural Paths in Turkey allows you to see marvelous landscapes, cities and villages with an undoubtedly historical and cultural value and to live an experience that you will want to do again as soon as possible.”

Luca Favarelli

The Project “From Europe to Turkey on Foot (Preparation of a European cultural route between Europe and Turkey)” has been co-financed by the Program “Civil Society Dialogue IV – Regional Policy and coordination of Structural instruments”. EAVF participated to it as partner, along with the Association “Turkey’s Culture Routes Society”, leader of the project. In this context, EAVF has been responsible of the transfer of good European practices along the Via Francigena about the governance of the network, the development, the promotion and the animation of the European cultural itinerary, as well as of the selection of the young professionals for the study tour.

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