Monday, July 18, 2016

Dovecotes in Goreme Turkey.

Freud would have much to say as to why women, and men,are so fascinated by these naturally formed pillars, called dovecotes, that populate the valley near Goreme Turkey. Terry and I hiked the valley exploring several ancient christian Churches and then climbing a sandstone cliff to get an overall view of the valley. Some of these phallic pillar had been carved out to make cave dwellings but they were no long occupied. One lone window is visible in the sketch. They are formed from thousands of years of erosion. One stone at the top resists erosion allowing water to run down the shaft gradually eroding a way sandstone.

In ancient Greek mythology the dove represented Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, and figures in the holy books of the major monotheistic religions. The earliest reference is in the Old Testament, where Noah releases a dove to seek land, and it returns with an olive branch showing that life had been restored following the deluge. From then on the olive branch and the dove became symbols of friendship and peace. In the New Testament, when Jesus is being baptized, the Holy Ghost alights on his head in the form of a white dove, which is why in Christian iconography the dove represents the Holy Ghost.

In the Koran, when Mohammed is fleeing from the Qureysh, he hides in a cave. Spiders weave webs over the entrance and a dove makes her nest, so his pursuers do not bother to look inside and he is saved. In consequence, the generality of Muslims regard pigeons and doves as sacred and do not hunt or eat them. From the same motive buildings in Islam countries often incorporate dovecotes. The earliest examples of nesting houses for birds in Turkey date from the 16th century and can be seen in mosques, bridges, libraries, and other public buildings. The dovecotes in these pillars, can be seen high up just at the lower edge of the head.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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