But what a different a group of male cyclists makesin Malatya. Tonight we were celebrities like Vance Armstrong and his team winding through the crumbling down hill-side neighborhoods while bringing out small cheering crowds cheering, and offering tea of course, on our ascent to the top.
The entire ride was good but the destination was great. We ended at a very old Armenian church/monastery just as the sun was setting. Although the church is crumbling down, the four walls and roof still remain in tack and the crosses carved in the stone walls are still very visible. In front of the church is what looks like a blue army bunker but is actually a small room built over the top of a grave. The floor of the room is covered in Turkish carpets and pillows and appears to be used on occasion. Pasha,my tour guide, said that some people in Turkey think it's spiritual to sleep near/on/by graves and that it's very possible that
people stay there, especially in the summer. He also thinks that this church is slated for restoration which would be interesting to see.
A quick Google search only provided me the name Vank church and no other details. It might be 600 years old or it could be 200 years old and modern construction techniques had not yet arrived. Whatever the age however, I could see how the location was chosen for it's solitude and peacefulness.
Standing there with my bike riding buddies photographying the beauty of being on a hill, by a church overlooking a valley at sunset, it occurred to me this is probably the only church I'll see this Easter, so I made it count.