The expedition accomplished its mission of covering Evliya's route between Hersek and Kutahya, a ride of some 1300 kilometres.
All horses finished up sound and well. None was ever lame, and nobody even lost a shoe.
Horses (all Turkish-bred mares supplied by Ercihan):
Anadolu, Akhal-Teke Thoroughbred cross, completed the ride
Titiz, Thoroughbred who looks like an Akhal-Teke, completed the ride
Sarhosh, Arab-Anatolian cross, completed the ride
Ilos, Arab-Anatolian cross, completed the ride
Elis, Arab-Anatolian cross, no rider for last section of ride
Asya, Arab-Anatolian cross, no rider for last section of ride
Hidalgo, purebred Arab, no rider for last section of ride
Ercihan Dilari, Akhal-Teke Horse Centre, Avanos, Cappadocia, Expedition leader
Metin Aker, Artist, shaman, chef, driver
Sedat Varis, Horseman, logistics expert
Donna Landry, FRAS, Professor of English and American Literature, University of Kent
Caroline Finkel, FRAS, Honorary Fellow, Edinburgh University
Gerald MacLean, FRAS, Professor of English and Co-Director of Turkish Studies, Exeter University
Susan Wirth, Photographic editor of Der Spiegel, New York
Therese Tardif, Advertising executive, Montreal, Canada
Patricia Daunt, Writer, wife of a former ambassador to Turkey
Andy Byfield, Botanist, PlantLife International
Ayse Yetis, Vet, Turkish Jockey Club
Ozcan Gorurgoz, Entrepreneur, restauranteur, Cappadocia
Alper Katranci, Entrepreneur, balloonist, Cappadocia
Pinar Durmaz, Trekkist and academic, Istanbul Kultur University
Ramazan Bey, Muhtar of Ucbas
Route and Maps:
The initial idea had been to follow Evliya's route from Istanbul to Izmir (see first map on blog). However, research revealed the importance of Kutahya as his ancestral town, and the appeal of the city itself as a final destination for sustainable tourism, rather than urban Izmir. The thriving rahvan (ridden pacing racing) community is another important feature of Kutahya, alongside its historical restoration projects and interest in Anatolian and Ottoman heritage culture. Hence the second map on the blog. This one shows the route Evliya took, and which we followed, a route that is indeed a typically Evliyan circuitous route from Kutahya through Afyon, Usak, and Simav, before heading back to Kutahya.
A second change of route was made during the ride; this change too proved felicitous. There was a problem or perhaps textual crux in Evliya's description of his route between Afyon and Banaz. He appears to have gone in two entirely different directions and we could not see a way of combining them but hoped to choose the better route. Instead of following Evliya from Afyon to Suhut and Sandikli and thence to Banaz as originally intended, we decided to ride from Afyon to Boyali, Sinanpasa, and then Banaz. Evliya's descriptions of these latter places are much richer than what little he has to say about the plain between Sandikli and Banaz. Since we discovered some of the most fascinating horse country and stunningly beautiful landscapes of the expedition during this part of the ride, we think it was the right decision.
Shortening the route in this way also meant that the expedition was completed before the coming of winter.
Following Evliya has proved to be a more rewarding research exercise than any of the expedition party had ever imagined it would be.