THE OLD VILLAGE OF DOGANBEY (Eski Doganbey)
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Doganbey - an old village, nestled at the foot of Mount Mykale
It was 1976 and my first trip through Turkey.I had arrived with a group of close friends at a legendary place called Mana,a small bay in the Menderes Delta.Nature presented a contrast both its’ suavity and roughness with sparkling warm underwater springs, an abandoned bamboo-hut, swarms of insects;an amazing wilderness far from the frantic, destructive world of my Middle European life.I was determined that I would not yield and become an automaton to this life. I was absorbed into this alternative Robinson Crusoe setting and even spoke the native language! At the small bay of MANA on the way to KARINA:
It was through this seduction that I came to fall in love with the ancient village of Doganbey and its’ enchanting surroundings. The allure, vague in the beginning but so strong now, has meant not missing a single year in revisiting and building another solid home amidst, what has now become a national park. In all these years I have enjoyed mingling with the remarkable people that inhabit the local villages, especially the children, by whom I had been mobbed at the entrance to the grocery store in Doganbey leaving no chance of escape without at least buying a big packet of chewing gum!
In the 80’s I witnessed a remarkable migration of the people of Doganbey transforming the village into a ghost of its’ former self. A thousand year old shelter was surrendered to jackals and wild pigs and Poyraz, the so called powerful north wind that spirals down the mountains.…nobody seemed to care anymore. Life had stopped. There was no one there to enjoy the amazing, awe-inspiring view over the bay and the Mediterranean Sea with its countless Greek islands. Regularly visiting the area two or three times a year, we saw the collapse and devolution of a once thriving and functioning habitat. Dozens of beautiful houses were seen to fall into ruins through a sort of time-lapse photography. Although ruins evoke a weird force of attraction, surely, true beauty can only exist through that special force brought by Life. Aren’t we all just searching for the traces of that Life…..?
Now, happily more than twenty years later, we see Doganbey being restored in large parts with a feeling in the air that the rebirth is being witnessed of a place that has an inevitable charm and charisma. My gratitude and thanks are extended to the inspiration of all those people who have recognized the value and quality of living in such a place.
Why do I feel like this? Does it come from a love of nature, or the sight of a billion stars studding a clear black sky? Is it from the depths of love that I wish to share with those people who surround me, or is it from the ‘energy ‘of that place and its’ age? I don’t know, but whenever I have the opportunity I add my sound to the sounds of Doganbey, especially in the hot season, to provide some background music for the crickets’ symphony, as you may hear in my album madga mandala - doganbey. Some tracks were recorded in Doganbey and the circle of madgas was to be heard by many ears in the valley and forest….