Category Archives: Projects

Introducing: The Evliya Çelebi Way Project

We are very excited to announce that we are featuring a new project on Geokult Travel – the Evliya Çelebi Way Project.

In 2011, we met one of the project team, Gerald MacLean (Mac) in Avanos, when we went trail riding. At the time we had a great conversation about many things, and he told us about some research he was undertaking that involved horse riding across Turkey and retracing the hoof prints of Evliya Çelebi, a seventeenth-century Ottoman travel writer. At the time we found this project fascinating and kept in touch with Mac, hoping that we would meet up again in Turkey and learn more about this project.

Project overview: The Evliya Çelebi Way Project
Contributed by Gerald Maclean

In October 2013, the Evliya Çelebi Way was formally designated a UNESCO European Cultural Route at ceremonies held in Babasultan, Bursa.

Evliya Çelebi Way UNESCO Map
Evliya Çelebi Way UNESCO Map

Named after Evliya Çelebi (‘ev-lee-ah chel-ebee’) the great seventeenth-century Ottoman traveller who described travelling this way in 1671, the Evliya Çelebi Way is Turkey’s first long-distance walking and riding route and runs south from Istanbul to Evliya’s ancestral home town, Kütahya, then west to Uşak and Simav. It was explored and established in 2009 by a team of equestrian enthusiasts and Ottoman scholars who followed, on horseback, in Evliya’s hoof prints for forty days and nights. Check out this video from the 2013 ride.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing with you more information about the Evliya Çelebi Way Project. Stay tuned!

The Evliya Çelebi Way Project Team
Ercihan Dilari has lived with horses all his life and has established the finest riding stables in Cappadocia where he brings on young horses by instinctive and modern methods at his ranch by the Kizilirmak (Halys) River. Under his care, Ercihan’s horses, mostly Arab crosses, become not only suitable for commercial trekking, but also successfully compete in races held to International Endurance standards. In addition to bringing modern shoeing methods and introducing equestrian dentistry into his own practice, Ercihan regularly consults with, and helps train, academic and commercial equestrian veterinary specialists throughout Turkey. After consulting plans and maps developed by Caroline and Donna, Ercihan and his champion Akhal-teke mare, Anadolu, led the 2009 expedition.

Caroline Finkel is a British writer who has been based in Istanbul since completing her doctoral thesis on the Ottoman army at the University of London. Caroline is the author of the standard narrative history of the Ottoman Empire in English, Osman’s Dream (2005), which has been translated into numerous foreign languages. A Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh University, Caroline lectures extensively in the UK and Turkey, is a regular contributor to learned journals and magazines. She most recently appeared in the first episode of the BBC documentary ‘The Ottoman Empire: Europe’s Muslim Empire’ (2013). In preparation for the 2009 expedition, Caroline mapped Evliya’s route and, with Donna, visited key areas in advance to scout out riding conditions, especially where modern roads cross Evliya’s route. Caroline wrote most of the copy for the guidebook with the editor/publisher Kate Clow, and set up the website that accompanies the guidebook ( After forty years with her feet firmly on the ground, Caroline rode without mishap on the exploratory expedition for the Evliya Çelebi Way in 2009, demonstrating that the route is for everyone. And she has ridden it again since then, several times.

Donna Landry recently published Noble Brutes: How Eastern Horses Transformed English Culture (2009) and is currently writing about the equestrian travels of Evliya Çelebi and Lady Anne Blunt. Currently Professor of English at the University of Kent (UK), where she directs the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Donna has been horse-obsessed since childhood and successfully competed during her teenage years riding her Polish-Crabbet bred ‘Rifdi’ at shows throughout the southern Midwest. Since then, she has travelled extensively throughout Turkey and the Middle East, sometimes lecturing on Ottoman horse culture, and sometimes simply mounting up and taking to the road to ride without end in view. Donna wrote the horsey-bits of the guidebook.

Gerald MacLean recently published Abdullah Gül and the Making of the New Turkey (2014), a history of Turkey since 1950 through the life and career of the 11th President, but is primarily a cultural historian of Britain during the long seventeenth century. His studies of British views of the Ottomans – The Rise of Oriental Travel (2004) and Looking East (2006) – have been translated into Turkish. After reading English at Jesus College, Cambridge under the direction of Raymond Williams, ‘Mac’ trained to become a British Horse Society Assistant Instructor at Wellington Country Park in Hampshire, but left before taking the exams and pursued an academic career that enabled him to travel. During the 1990s, with Donna, he regularly conducted horseback rides across Dartmoor for the legendary ‘Skaigh Stables’ of Belstone, Devon.

Susan Wirth is German-born, grew up in southern Africa, but currently lives in the USA where she is US photo editor for Der Spiegel. Susan is an enthusiastic long-distance horseback rider who has covered many miles on the hoof in far-flung places, from Ethiopia and the Thar Desert of Rajasthan to Mongolia, who first rode with Ercihan for a Cappadocia photo-shoot that appeared in Cornucopia Magazine, and has returned since. Riding through northwest Anatolia has been one of her most satisfying and exhilarating experiences, mostly because of the wonderful people encountered along the way. With Ercihan, she has been busily planning a 2014 expeditionary ride, the Central Anatolian Trek, that will set out from Avanos and join up with the Evliya Çelebi Way, having passed south of Hasan Dağ to Konya, and then north-west through Akşehir and Afyon to Kütahya.

The 2009 Expedition Team
In 2009, the project team were joined on the expeditionary ride by Patricia Daunt, Andy Byfield, Turkish Jockey Club vet Ayşe Yetiş, Cappadocian entrepreneurs Özcan Görürgöz and Alper Katrancı, trekkist and academic Pınar Durmaz, and Montreal advertising executive Thérèse Tardif. The expedition was accompanied for part of the journey by Mehmet Çam and other members of the Istanbul production company Ajans21, who shot footage for a potential documentary about Evliya and the expedition.

365 Places: Launch

Over the past few years, I have watched with great interest friends and fellow artists who have created visual diaries from taking photographs of their everyday life and themselves. Many of these projects have been shared on Facebook and other social media channels, making the experience as a viewer immediate and intimate. I also love the Day in the life of series of books as they create a create sense of time and place.

One of my favorite projects is the Rock a Day for my Creativity project by friend and artist Jo Tito. Her project demonstrates a commitment to being more creative and to having focus and discipline as an artist and writer. What is really wonderful, is that now three years later, Jo has amassed a great collection of images, stories and rocks, that she continues to use and build upon in her art practice. Another source of inspiration is Maria Popova’s statement that “every city needs a love letter” in her Brain Pickings article, A Love Letter to the City about artist Steve Powers.

Christmas greeting card featuring Sutton's Beach, Redcliffe, Photographer: Murray, J.
Christmas greeting card featuring Sutton’s Beach, Redcliffe, Photographer: Murray, J.

365 Places is a dedication to geographical connections to place through storytelling. It is an exploration of where I have been and where I would love to go. 365 Places is probably the most literal project I ever created that relates to place, as in the past, there has been an overriding  theme that connects the project to other ideas – e.g. Big Banana Time Inc. and Fauxonomy.

This project, like Jo’s is intended to make me accountable as a writer and artist who works with ideas of identity and ‘place’. Also, like Jo I need to set guidelines for time – 1.5 hours maximum per day. However, I can’t wait for the 1st January 2015 – this project will start on the 20th April 2014, coincidentally my parent’s wedding anniversary. My first post is a tribute to them, the place where they made their first home together and my first home – Redcliffe.

Every day for one year, I will bring you a story about a place, sharing with you why I think it is special and unique. If you have any special places you would like me to write about please contact me and I will write you a story.

The images will either be our own, contributed by readers or from Flickr Commons and authors will be attributed. At the end of the project, we plan to publish a book about this journey.

Places visited so far

Check out the page 365 Places for a complete list.


Mapping a Sustainable Future – First Steps in Ganmain

Here is a post from a few years ago, reviewing a straw bale building workshop we did. We are still very keen on this type of building and need to get more skills!


Aside from a mutual fascination with maps and geography, Marty and Tracey both have a passion for sustainable building and treading more lightly on the earth.

Over the Easter weekend, they traveled to Ganmain in rural New South Wales to participate in a straw bale building workshop, run by Huff ‘n’ Puff constructions (husband and wife team John and Susan Glasford). Unfortunately, this course was somewhat of a disappointment, as M & T had to leave about halfway through the course. Throughout the workshop there were a range of problems with basic co-ordination of catering and meals, but the larger issue was the apparent lack of structure between the theory and the practical components of the workshop. The couple also failed to present professionally, as it was made very obvious to all participants that there were ‘issues’. You can’t blame them too much for this though – even the best…

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Hasan Dag and Catal Huyuk

We are sharing this article as it is one of our most popular posts on our creative blog


Mount Hasan (Turkish: Hasan Dağı ) is an inactive stratovolcano in Aksaray province, Turkey. With an altitude of 3,253 m (10,672 ft.), it ranks as the second highest mountain of central Anatolia. A caldera 4-5 kilometres wide formed near the current summit around 7500 BC, in an eruption recorded in Neolithic paintings.

Hasan Dag rock painting

The ancient settlement of Catal Huyuk collected obsidian from the area of Hasan Dag, which was probably traded with other settlements for luxury goods. The importance of Hasan Dag to the people of Catal Huyuk may be shown by a wall painting, sometimes called the “first landscape” by art historians, which many believe is a depiction of Hasan Dağ towering over the settlement’s houses.

It is approximately a six hours’ walk is to climb to the top of the mountain from the highest point accessible by car. The summit offers a view over the central Anatolian plateau, including distant…

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