Yesterday on Sunday we had our weekly day off. In a usual situation, that’s without Covid being around, we would go on trips to different archaeological sites, cities and other nice places to visit. However, this year is different. In order to keep our contacts with other people to a minimum, trips to cities, restaurants and visits of the local bazaar are of limits.
We spent the last couple of weekends at the house reading, playing chess and spending our free afternoon here in Dülük. But! This week we were able to do a trip to very lonely but beautiful place called Ravanda Kalesi. The priority for us to do a trip like this, was to find a site, that is remote and without a lot of people being around. Ravanda Kalesi being a desert castle was the perfect match!
So at 10am we got in our cars and went off. The driving time to the site was about 1:30 hours, and we were really enjoying our drive through the countryside. New vistas, good music and the air-conditioning were a welcome change from our excavation-house. While we were closing in on Ravanda Kalesi, the surroundings became more desserty and mountainous. When we finally cleared the last hill, the view was beautiful. On top of a single mountain laid Ravanda Kalesi, an old castle from the time of the crusades.
The site was probably occupied from the Roman times onwards. However, we especially know about the times of the crusades. During this time the castle became an important fortress guarding the river Afrin. Its name Al-Rawandan or Ravendel depending on the source was under hot contention between the crusader state of Edessa and the Ayyubids under the famous Sultan Saladin. The castle remained important until the Ottoman times during which it slowly lost its significance and was lastly abandoned.
After climbing the hill and looking at the site, we enjoyed a small meal we brought with us in the form of simit and börek. And of course water, loads of water! While eating and chatting we enjoyed the marvellous views and our time off. However, you can only do so much at a site like this and soon we started with our trip back to Dülük. We would like to do these trips more often, but sadly its just not happening this year. The trip was a blast thought, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our Sunday at Ravanda Kalesi.
by Fynn Riepe