Dikilitaş
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Visit a 6 m tall obelisk in the middle of an orange orchard
The word “dikilitaş” in Turkish means “stone that is perpendicular,” or better, an obelisk. While most Turks (and travellers to Turkey for that matter) know of the famous obelisks in Istanbul outside of the Blue Mosque (also known as Sultanahmet Camii), you might not know that there is an obelisk just outside of Mersin…in the middle of an orchard. Mersin’s Dikilitaş is 5 kilometers north of the port, and 2.5 kilometers south of the village of Dikilitaş. Cultural note: when travelling in many cultures, Turkish culture included, be aware that while most people will want to help you get where you are going, it is shameful to not give you an answer, even if the answer is, “I don’t know.” So, if you ask for directions, you may want to stop and ask a few more people and see if the answers corroborate, otherwise you may end up far, far away from where you want to go. Not that happened to me. Or maybe it did. Anyway… Now, where were we. Yes, Dikilitaş, the obelisk, not the village. A couple of thousand years ago, this obelisk was erected on a Roman road that stretched from Tarsus to Silifke, two important cities in Cilicia. The stone itself is over 6 meters tall, and as can be seen in the pictures, it is a porous stone with neither an inscription nor markings. Some scholars think that it may have originally been covered in a marble covering that has now been lost to the centuries. Follow the attached link to read of the legends attached to this stone.
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