Heaven and Hell

Near the south coast of Turkey is a place called Cennet and Cehennem which is Turkish for heaven and hell. These are two sink holes which I have visited a couple of times. Hell is just deep hole where you can peer over the sides. Heaven is quite a lush valley which you can go down into. When I went there the first time it was teeming with wildlife (well if you can call one rabbit, one tortoise and one partridge teeming). At the far end is a cave and at the end of the cave is a river where I drank some of the water. The second time I visited they had blocked off access to the river, probably to stop those who are stupid enough to try to drink the water. It was some years later that I read this passage from Strabo and realised he was describing the same place.

μετὰ δὲ τὸν Καλύκαδνον ἡ Ποικίλη λεγομένη πέτρα κλίμακα ἔχουσα λατομητὴν ἐπὶ Σελεύκειαν ἄγουσαν. εἶτ᾽ Ἀνεμούριον ἄκρα ὁμώνυμος τῇ προτέρᾳ, καὶ Κράμβουσα νῆσος καὶ Κώρυκος ἄκρα, ὑπὲρ ἧς ἐν εἴκοσι σταδίοις ἐστὶ τὸ Κωρύκιον ἄντρον, ἐν ᾧ ἡ ἀρίστη κρόκος φύεται. ἔστι δὲ κοιλὰς μεγάλη κυκλοτερὴς ἔχουσα περικειμένην ὀφρὺν πετρώδη πανταχόθεν ἱκανῶς ὑψηλήν: καταβάντι δ᾽ εἰς αὐτὴν ἀνώμαλόν ἐστιν ἔδαφος καὶ τὸ πολὺ πετρῶδες, μεστὸν δὲ τῆς θαμνώδους ὕλης ἀειθαλοῦς τε καὶ ἡμέρου: παρέσπαρται δὲ καὶ τὰ ἐδάφη τὰ φέροντα τὴν κρόκον. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἄντρον αὐτόθι ἔχον πηγὴν μεγάλην ποταμὸν ἐξιεῖσαν καθαροῦ τε καὶ διαφανοῦς ὕδατος, εὐθὺς καταπίπτοντα ὑπὸ γῆς: ἐνεχθεὶς δ᾽ ἀφανὴς ἔξεισιν εἰς τὴν θάλατταν: καλοῦσι δὲ πικρὸν ὕδωρ.

After Kalykadnos is the so called Poikile (multi-coloured) rock which has steps hewn into it leading to Seleucia, then Anemourion (windmill) a headland with the same name as the one I mentioned earlier, then the island of Krambousa (cabbage?) and then Korukos (leather sack) headland. At twenty stades above this is the Korukion (or Corycium) cave in which the best crocus grows. It is a large round hollow with a fairly high rocky ridge all the way round. If you go down into it the ground is uneven and very rocky. It is full of shrubby vegetation both evergreen and cultivated. Among this, plots are planted which produce the crocus. There is a cave there with a spring that sends forth a great river of clear clean water which immediately goes underground. It is carried off and goes into the sea. They call the river Bitter Water.

Strab. 14.5.5

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