Tag Archives: UNESCO

365 Places: Bath

Day 64: Bath, England

When I went to Europe in 1999, there was a very small window of time where I was in England. I landed in London a 6am in the morning, stayed one night and then flew to Bristol, where I then caught a train to Wales.

Image Credit: Photochrom print (color photo lithograph) Reproduction number: LC-DIG-ppmsc-07998 from Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Image Credit: Photochrom print (color photo lithograph) Reproduction number: LC-DIG-ppmsc-07998 from Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

There were a few places I wanted to see in England, none of which I thought I would see in the short amount of time I had to explore. Two places were high on my list – Bath and Stonehenge. As luck would have it I managed to see both of these historic sites, mainly because I had arrived early enough to the hotel to jump on a day tour.

Bath has long intrigued me as it has so much Roman history which represents an era of colonisation, something I can understand from my experience of living in a country that still needed to come to peace with its brutal colonial history. Though I must say I know very little about the history of England and the many layers of colonisation that this country has endured. It seems ironic that this nation would in turn become one of the most expansive colonisers in western history.

Image Credit: http://visitbath.co.uk/spa-and-wellbeing/history-of-baths-spa
Image Credit: http://visitbath.co.uk/spa-and-wellbeing/history-of-baths-spa

Another thing that I found fascinating was Bath’s history as a spa town. For some strange reason I love to learn about the bathing cultures of different countries, which is part of why I am drawn to Turkish and Scandinavian culture. For millennia, the hot springs of Bath have been used for relaxation, rejuvenation and healing. Mr Wikipedia says about Bath:

The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”) c. AD 60 when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although oral tradition suggests that the hot springs were known before then. It became popular as a spa town during the Georgian era, leaving a heritage of Georgian architecture crafted from Bath Stone.

The City of Bath is also on the UNESCO world heritage site, because of it’s historic significance. You can find a timeline on the Visit Bath website.

Image Credit: http://visitbath.co.uk/spa-and-wellbeing/history-of-baths-spa
Image Credit: http://visitbath.co.uk/spa-and-wellbeing/history-of-baths-spa
Image Credit: Arpingstone
Image Credit: Arpingstone

What struck me on the tour to Bath was the lovely layout of the town as it sits nestled in the valley. The UNESCO website discusses in detail is visual beauty of the layout of the town and its architecture. The website says:

Bath’s grandiose Neo-classical Palladian crescents, terraces, and squares spread out over the surrounding hills and set in its green valley are a demonstration par excellence of the integration of architecture, urban design, and landscape setting, and the deliberate creation of a beautiful city. Not only are individual buildings such as the Assembly Rooms and Pump Room of great distinction, they are part of the larger overall city landscape that evolved over a century in a harmonious and logical way, drawing together public and private buildings and spaces in a way that reflects the precepts of Palladio tempered with picturesque aestheticism.

I hope one day to return to the UK to spend a lot more time exploring some of the places that have significance in terms of my family history and broader historical and cultural interests.

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What is the Evliya Çelebi Way?

Yesterday, we announced the new project being featured – the The Evliya Çelebi Way and promised to share more information about this wonderful project.

What is The Evliya Çelebi Way?
Contributed by Gerald Maclean

The Evliya Çelebi Way is a UNESCO Cultural Route for walkers and bikers, and also Turkey’s first long-distance horse-riding trail. It meanders southwards for 600km from the Sea of Marmara, south of Istanbul, via the ancient cities of Iznik and Bursa to the town of Simav, northeast of Izmir.

Book Cover: The Evliya Çelebi Way
Book Cover: The Evliya Çelebi Way

The Evliya Çelebi Way follows the early, northwest Anatolian, stages of the pilgrimage to Mecca made by the eponymous Ottoman courtier and adventurer in 1671. Evliya Çelebi travelled throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond for some 40 years, and compiled a ten-volume account of his expeditions, the Seyahathame or ‘Book of Travels,’ that is a classic of travel literature.

Evliya’s itinerary serves as the basis for the Way. His vivid descriptions of the townscapes and lives of the people of the region take the visitor back in time and enliven the experience of following where he went. The route passes through agricultural villages and bucolic countryside, traversing forest and plain, woodland and upland. It rises from sea level to 1,500m, and is graded easy for walkers. Much of the going is on tracks that were in daily use in the past, some of them the Roman roads that Evliya would have ridden along. Most sections can be travelled in all seasons. The Evliya Çelebi Way can also be enjoyed in sections: along it lie the richly historical centres of Iznik, Bursa, Kütahya, Afyon and Uşak, where visitors can linger to see the world-class monuments of Ottoman times.

The Way is described in detail in a dedicated guidebook. This provides a summary account of the history of the region through which the route runs, and information on rural and small-town life today. It also juxtaposes Evliya’s observations on the places he visited with how they appear to the modern visitor. GPS waypoints are supplied for the entire route.

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Evliya Çelebi Way UNESCO Map
Evliya Çelebi Way UNESCO Map

ts status as a UNESCO European Cultural Route, signposting and waymarking of the route are ongoing. Some of the villages have rooms where independent travellers may stay overnight; camping or transfer to nearby towns are also options.

Some Highlights of the Evliya Çelebi Way

  • Ancient provinces of Bithynia and Phrygia, with Roman and Byzantine remains
  • Iznik (ancient Nicaea) —with its well-preserved Byzantine-period city walls
  • Bursa—once the Ottoman capital, and site of grand, medieval mosque-complexes and caravansarays
  • Kütahya—Evliya’s ancestral home, a provincial town that has preserved its old-world atmosphere
  • Shrines of local saints

Later in 2014 there will be an organised ride, stay tuned for more information!