“Castles, Çay and Caravanserai” – The Yellow Book of Ruins


Yellow Book

Over the next few weeks I am working on articles about my hiking adventures around the different ruins here in Turkey. However, before I post about any of these I want to share with all of you what propelled my husband and I to start looking for ruins in the Adana area in the first place.

I love to shop at Big Johns in the alley. (I will be writing an article about Big Johns in the near future!) As I  checked out at the register one day, I noticed this bright yellow book to the right of the counter titled, “Castles, Çay and Caravanserai.” I quickly flipped through the book and was instantly curious about it due to the content and photos. Page after page held photos of ruins and names of towns that I had heard of in passing. So, for the very reasonable price of $3, I bought a copy. (If by chance the books aren’t by the register, be sure to ask one of the  employees – they will know what you are talking about!)

Yellow Book

I should first mention that this book was first written in 1976, with the most recent revision in 1997. That being said, a lot has changed regarding the names and streets associated with the ruins. However, the ruins haven’t moved! So with a little research and using Google Earth, we’ve been able to successfully relocate and rediscover several ruin sites. Just using the map on the inside cover has supplied us with several weekends of exploring ruins within a 100 mile radius of Adana. Our “family goal” is to visit all of the icons on that map during our 2 years here at Incirlik – and so far, we’re about ½ way there!

Very briefly, I want to explain my recommendation of using Google Earth. Using the map on the inside cover of the book, we have zoomed into those areas on Google Earth and then clicked on photos in that area to find the ruins. Once we find some photos of ruins that look interesting enough to warrant a visit, we take note of the coordinates.

Yellow Book

One of the things I love most about this book is that it is so old. It holds so much history about Incirlik and the surrounding area. After reading the Introduction, I felt like “history came alive” based on all the ruins I had already seen in our area.

The Introduction, written by the original author Susan Badder, has great advice about exploring the ruins around Turkey – which I found to  still be applicable today. For example, she writes, “Beware of washed out roads;” “Be prepared to be a curiosity to villagers;” and my personal favorite,  “Take a survival kit.” Another one of my favorite lines that Susan writes is, “We felt that perhaps others could benefit from our ground work.” And even as outdated as the ground work in this book is, I personally am so thankful for it. This book has enriched our travel experiences ten-fold and provided us with some of the most amazing experiences in Turkey.

Get the book! Read the book! Research the ruins! Use Google Earth to pin-point the exact location! Then go explore Turkey! There is so much to see…and we’ve only got 2 years to see it all! 

Please Note: Some of the locations in the book are not accessible to our community at times due to base restrictions. Be sure to locate your destinations on a map and ensure it is an approved area of travel prior to exploring.

Big John’s

Payment: TL or USD

Address: İncirlik Cumhuriyet Mh., Atatürk Caddesi, 01340 Adana, Turkey (Located past the train tracks and near Yellow Star Carpets)

Google Coordinates: 36.983721, 35.430595

2 thoughts on ““Castles, Çay and Caravanserai” – The Yellow Book of Ruins

  1. Niki Bourque says:

    They have a whole box of these at the Airman & Family Readiness Center! I just got one yesterday & thought it was a great resource for exploring the area, despite how old it is 🙂


  2. Emily says:

    I thought it was useful too – and also a neat souvenir to send home! I had no idea they had them at AFRC!! Thanks for the tip!


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