This ancient town overlooks vast plains that extent as far as the eye can see into Syria.
Honey coloured houses and a rambling bazaar run along the hillside.
Hidden in the bazaar is the secluded 12th century Iraqi Seljuk structure; Ulu Cami.
Dara is a place home to some impressive ruins lying close to the Syrian border.Once this was an imposing city mentioned by ancient historians however now its a place that time forgot. Funding has ceased for further excavations, you really feel like you are of the beaten track.
Built in AD495 and dedicated to the worship of the sun , this monastery has had a colourful history. It had to be rebuilt in 607 after it was destroyed by the Persians and then was looted by the Tamerlane a couple of centuries later.The magnificent building was later abandoned until the bishop of Mardin carried out important renovations and stayed there until he died. It then became the official seat of the patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox church until it was moved to Damascus in 1932 , the site continues to act as a local boarding school.
The monastery has 365 rooms – one for each day of the year.
Down a flight of narrow stairs leads you to the ‘original sanctuary’ an eerie underground chamber.This room was reportedly used by the sun worshippers, whereby they viewed their god rising through the small window at the eastern end. The ceiling is constructed by huge rocks held magically together without any mortar.
A vast expanse of water, surrounded by snow capped mountains and private beaches just calling for you to take a dip in the refreshing waters.
Akdamar Island is just a short boat ride in the lake, and is home to one of the Marvels of Armenian architecture ; Akdamar Kililsesi.
These Nepali villagers may not have much but they make their rooms warm and colourful in a unique and personal way. The complete opposite how we often strive for the minimalist look.
Leaving the harbor we ventured up, into the center of the island to visit Hora.Hora is considered to be one of the most picturesque towns in the cyclades.
Blissfully quiet the narrow white washed streets were just waking up post afternoon siesta.Around every corner seemed to be another church or square lined with houses covered in beautiful flowers.As the temperature dropped we found shelter from the stiff breeze with a warming drink in one of a number of cosy bars on offer in town and the night wouldn’t be capped of without to token free shot of the “psiméni” raki.
Ios is awash with beautiful whitewashed churches, with unique features (basilica with dome) and their old icons. In Hora alone there are said to be 26 small and large churches, many of which are Byzantine.
The cathedral of Ios is easily recognizable and dominates the center of Hora.Originally it was named Ayios Nikolaos however at a later date renamed to Evangelismos.
The pure and simple architectural of the Panagia Gremiotissa sits high up on a privileged location ,overlooking the sea and the rest of the island.