LOCAL CULTURE  

 TOWN OF ÜZÜMLÜ AND ITS WEALTH

             The town of Üzümlü is located at 18 kms. from Fethiye and was known as Cadianda in the Antique Ages on the way from Caunos (in the west) to Araxa (in the east).

            We do not have detailed information about the historical development of the town in the absence of extensive research and excavations in the region. On the basis of philological data, the –nd in the name is indicative that the city may be dated to 3 thousand B.C. However, the existing ruins from the antique city are not later than the 5th century B.C.

            Most of the ruins observed at Cadianda belong to buildings from the Roman Period. Although there were settlements in town up to the 7th century A.D., there is not much evidence of ruins from later periods.

            The oldest ruins at Cadianda are part of the city walls, the rock tombs, and Lycian inscriptions. In addition, a Hellenistic theatre, which was repaired and used in the Roman Period, a bath, a running track, the agora, ruins of a temple in honour of an unidentified god and lots of civilian buildings are evidenced to indicate that there was a well developed city here in the Antique Ages.

            The town of Üzümlü is famous also for the grapes grown here and the  wine produced from them, as well as the “dastar” weaving, aspiring to compete with the hothouses and tourism potential of other regions within Fethiye.

             The “dastar” weaving, carried out principally at Üzümlü and also at Incirköy, Ortaköy and Paşalı, is a tradition as old as the settlement of Turkish clans in the area. In the olden times, textiles manufactured from the silk of the silkworms raised in neighbouring towns were compatible with the silk products in the Bursa region. In fact, the unique dastars woven with the silk obtained from the yellow cocoons were highly sought after by the high society. Unfortunately, the yellow cocoons became nonexistent in time and the raising of silkworms was also abandoned.

           Until recently the dastars were made to meet local requirements and were presented as gifts to the daughters of neighbours eligible for marriage. In line with technological developments during later years resulting in abundance of textile products, this art ceased to be competitive and dastars were kept in storage or displayed at authentic premises and museums to contribute to the variety of cultural exhibitions.

           However, in recent years, the trend has been to avoid technological products and a retreat to natural sources. Consequently, in view of the fact that the natural cotton thread is abundantly and easily obtainable and can be used for various purposes, and that tourists coming to our region are keen to purchase items representing the authentic cultural samples of the area, it is expected that dastar will resume its prominence in the near future as a much sought-after product.

           Dastar is a characteristic style of textile, woven at unflagellated looms, using bleached cotton thread with designs in the same colour. Two types of threads are used as wefts and warps. The longitudinal ones are called warps and the horizontal ones are called wefts. The weaving style repeating the same links both longitudinally and horizontally is called the textile weaving. In the Üzümlü dastar the weaving technique used is with the shaft of the loom. This is the oldest and the simplest technique in creating the links.

           In this technique, the threads of the warps are raised and lowered at the same level. If the number of threads in the warp is equal to that in the weft, the textile takes on an grainy appearance.  If the number of threads in the warp is more than that in the weft, there are slight rips horizontally, otherwise the rips appear longitudinally.

            The tiny holes due to crosswise weaving lend another characteristic to the textile. Because the two threads are tightly linked in crosswise weaving; the textile becomes more endurable.

            The motives on the dastars are given various names such as topak yanış (pellet embroidery), sulu yanış (water-like embroidery), sülük yanış (leech embroidery), çengel yanış (hooked embroidery), kilim yanış (carpet embroidery), deve boynu (neck of the camel). These motives are repeated throughout the textine both longitudinally and horizontally, creating the design. The smaller motives may be spread over the surface to form another design which is called benekli (spotted)  composition. In the medallion design, the corners of the squares are softened by triangular motives and a figure in the shape of a baklawa slice or a schematic animal form is woven into the center.

            The dastars were originally used as head scarves. Nowadays they are used for various purposes.

            The scope of their use will be widened as they become known better. Similarly, the composition and the motives in the designs will be enhanced as they become more popular.

Liquid Amber (Storax) Tree

    The paleontological evidences indicate that the taxons of Liquid Amber trees, naturally growing only in Anatolia, the USA and China in our day, were  spread over a vast area in Northern America and Eurasia during the Cretaceous, Tertiary, Pleistocene and Eocene periods. The liquid amber tree is an endemic species dating back to the Tertiary period.  Although there is not a single species in the European continent today, it has been established that a great variety of this tree grew here during the Tertiary period. Pursuant to the glacial perod,  its presence was limited to the present regions of growth. The Liquid Amber pollens were first discovered in mineral deposits at Cauccasia and Turkmenistan (to the east of the Caspian Sea) dating to the Paloecene period.
    Pollens resembling those of L. Orientalis were found in deposits from sub-Oligocene era in Western Kazakhstan. Pollens were traced in Western Europe from the mid- and late Miocene as well as the Pliocene eras,  and the American Liquid Amber tree was established as the most widespread species both in Europe and Asia.

DENDROLOGICAL FEATURES  OF THE ANATOLIAN LIQUID AMBER TREE

    At present there are only 4 species of liquid amber trees growing in North America and Southwestern (Turkey) and Eastern Asia. Of these,  the main species are L.styraciflae (growing in North America), L.orientalis (growing in Turkey) and L.formosana (growing in Eastern China and the Formosa Island).
    The Liquid Amber tree resembles the plane or maple trees, with the tops narrow and pointed in the young and widespread in the old ones. On the basis of observations on the site, it was established that in areas where liquiamber oil is extracted, the deformed trunks are not smooth. The trees produce numerous roots, stumps and shoots which have many fungi projections. Our liquid amber is a decorative tree with yellow and dark red leaves in autumn and vivacious unique green leaves in the spring which is grown in the parks, gardens and picnic areas.
    The structure of the roots vary depending on where they grow. In humid regions with high water content in the base, the roots are widespread with numerous tiny shoots. In highly humid locations and marshes they do not grow taproots. Because the roots are widespread and shallow, some trees are felled in strong winds and storms. On the slopes and arid regions the tree produces taproots which are buried deep into the ground.

The barks are smooth in young trees and cracked in old ones.
    The leaves which are aromatic (due to the existence of liquid amber essence) as the buds when rubbed, display vast morphological variations. The edges of the leaves have fine, regular teeth. These teeth are much smaller than those of the plane and maple trees.
    The furits are bright green in their initial stage, turning light brown when they are ripe. During the month of November and December, the fruit is fully ripened and hardened, achieving a wooden structure. They hang down at the tip of a long stem. When fully ripened, the capsules open up and the seeds fall to the ground.

PRODUCTION OF LIQUID AMBER OIL
    The liquid amber trees produce traumatic balsam channels which are not normally existent in the trunks and which form only in the case of lacerations. Due to this balsam, they are named as liquid amber trees, based on the Latin word Liquidus (liquid) and the Arabic word Amber (perfumed).
    The liquid amber oil is obtained by lacerations on the liquid amber trees. In the process, the bark of the tree is whittled during March and is left to stand like this for a month. At the end of May, with a tool called spoon, lacerations are made. These lacerations called veins are incised through the bark, green cover and only slightly through the wood. A week later the incisions are repeated and this practice is called “sır (glaze)”. Two weeks later the oil collected in the veins are scraped off with the spoon which process is called “sır arkası (continuation of the glaze)”. Afterwards, the process of extracting the essential liquid amber oil is started. This is carried out from mid-July to the end of October. During this period the oil is scraped off every fortnight with  the spoon, together with the bark, cambium and the layers of wood. The oil collected with the bark, cambium and layers of wood are in the form of microchips called capsules. These are collected in the bags hung on the necks of the workers. This process is called  “sefer (campaign)”. At the end of October, the remainder of the oil, seeping through the lacerations, which is hardened and darkened due to oxidation, is scraped off again with the spoon. This last process is called “kara kap (black cup)”.
    The microchips,  called capsules, containing oil together with the bark, cambium and layers of wood are boiled for ½ to 1 ½ hours in cupper utensils filled with water. Then the boiled microchips are removed from the boilers by pitchforks with long handles and are placed in bags made of goat-hair. These bags are compressed in presses, extracting the liquid amber oil which are collected in concrete basins. The residues (küspe=pulp) remaining  in the bags after the compression with smears of the oil are left out to dry. These residues are called incense.
    The liquid amber oil is a good antiseptic and parasite-killer. Internally consumed, it is used in ailments of the respiratory system such as the asthma and bronchitis as well as blennorrhea and fluoalbus. As a pomade and plaster, it is used to cure dermatological ailments like scabies and fungus diseases. It is an essential part of the perfume and soap industry. Its solution in alcohol acts as a fixator in maintaining the stability of the scent of perfumes. It is also used to give scent to tobacco.
     The residue named “Cortex Thymiatis”, which is obtained during the production of the liquid amber oil, is burned as incense in mosques and churches.
    The liquid amber oil was known in ancient times. It was traded by the Phoenicians. The ancient Egyptians used this oil in the preparation of their mummies.

Written by
Behlül ŞENYÜREK

Teacher Ünal Şöhret Dirlik

                Teacher Dirlik was born at Incirköy in 1938 and attended the primary school in his village. After his secondary education he was enrolled  in the Aksu School of Teachers. While still a student, he sent articles to various mewspapers and magazines. He was employed at the Ministry of Education for many years where he taught people who are today prominent officers, statesmen and outstanding  personalities. He is not just a teacher but a researcher of many cultures. His name and the results of his researches appear frequently in numerous local and national magazines and documents. After his retirement as a teacher he worked as a reporter in various national newspapers. In the course of his work, he unearthed many facts about the history of Fethiye. He has always been a devotee of Fethiye and published books on the history, culture and folklore of Fethiye. He has written approximately 12 books and was presented a number of awards,  letters of appreciation, plaquettes and honorary  documents. Here are the titles of a few of his books: Keloglan-Bald Boy (1959), Kelkız-Bald Girl (1962), Sen Şimdi Güneyde-Now that You are in the South (1965), Şiirli Bilmeceler-Poetical Riddles (1969), Sen Şimdi Güneyde I-II (1996), Fethiye Bilmeceleri-Fethiye Riddles (1996), Fethiye’de Halk İnanışları-Folkloric Beliefs in Fethiye (1997), Fethiyeli Gülüyor-Giggles of Fethiye (1998), Incirköy!Incirköy! (1999), Fethiye Atasözleri ve Deyimlerinde Hayvancılık ve Yayla Göçleri-Stock Raising and Immigration to Plateaus in Proverbs and Idioms of Fethiye (2000) and Fethiye’de Söylenen Maniler-Quatrains of Fethiye (2001). The following is a list of just a few awards he received: Certificate of Commendation in 1972 from the Governor of Mugla for his book “Bölge Ağzından Atasözleri ve Deyimler I-II=Proverbs and Idioms in Local Dialect I-II “; in 2000 Award of Service to Folkloric Culture for his researches on Turkish Folklore as well as a plaquette from FRT for his outstanding work.; in 2001 he was awarded by the Association of Newspapermen for his book on the Folklore of Fethiye. He was presented with a document of appreciation and a plaquette for his contributions to the book prepared by the Municipality of Fethiye entitled “The Ascending Light of Tourism=Fethiye”; he received the first prize in 2002 in a contest organized by the Mugla Association of Newspapermen in the field of books on research; also in 2002 he was presented with a plaquette and honorary document at the Banquet of Poetry; as well as a plaquette of appreciation by the Association of the Aegean Authors and Researchers in a ceremony at Acıpayam. He never brags about all these awards. He keeps up with his research on Fethiye. Our teacher is distinguished by his hospitality and paternal attitude. Many university students working on a thesis about Fethiye invariably  come to him for enlightenment and he is always there to help them out. Besides his researches, he also writes poetry. Some of his poems are addressed to old friends and most of them are about his devotion to Fethiye.

            I have been to his office. The whole room is overflowing with books. “I have to keep reading,” he says, “I have to keep reading to ensure that I do not misinform others.” Who are our ancestors? Are there traditions still observed in Fethiye? What is our origin? All these questions urged our teacher to carry out researches on Fethiye. He penned many surveys about his native village. Furthermore, he explored many undiscovered historical sites and included them in his books to make them renowned all over the world. In some periodicals he is called “The Cultural Representative of the South” which I firmly believe is appropriate.

     Are you from the garlic-smelling neighborhood or from the spouse-divorcing one?
      The port of Fethiye is like a sealed box. As you go through the strait, there is not even a ripple in the whole port, it is very calm. During our class of military services, our teacher used to stress the strategical position of the port of Fethiye, saying, “It is  wide and secure enough to accommodate the whole naval forces.” The peninsula extending as far as the old Megri and the fact that it is closed to west winds results in excessively hot days in summer months. Therefore, in the old days the residents of Fethiye took refuge on the plains of Seki, Üzümlü, Arpacık and Akdağ in the summer.
     In the region between Karagözler and Köprübaşı the sun sets early. You are in the market place and you realize that it is getting dark. You think you’d better be heading home. When you leave Köprübaşı behind and reach the Garden of Kadir Çavuş, you notice that it is still midafternoon and that the sun has just slanted a little; that’s all.
     Night falls early between Köprübaşı and Tepesidelik. Here housewives time their preparations for dinner with the sunset. If the sun sets early; their spouses, having left for work in the early hours in the morning, will be home soon. They intend to have dinner ready and start cooking. They wait and wait, but no one is about to come home. If the meal they have prepared is spiced with garlic and the garlic is already added, the dish they have cooked will start to exude the smell. This will give rise to rows. This is the garlic-smelling neighborhood.
     Now take another neighborhood close to the shore and open to the sea; like Günlükbaşı, Çalış or Çatalarık. Here, as soon as the sun sets, it immediately becomes dark. The ladies look around and see that it is still daylight and the sun is shining over the sea. They think that there is still lots of time before the sunset. They either take their time in bidding farewell to their hostess or tend to prolong their visit when the sun sets all of a sudden and their spouse puts in an appearance at the door. This is the time for rows,  gossip and quarrels. In the past such fights used to end up in divorces.
     New acquaintances used to ask each other: “Are you from the garlic smelling neighborhood? Or from the spouse-divorcing one?” These are tales from the olden times. Now there are clocks of various dimensions; as big as truck-tyres; wrist watches and pocket watches as well. There are also televisions and radios... It is not possible to be confused about time!...
     You know, those ancestors of ours have been so imaginative.... They made up so many tales.
     I think we’d be wise to determine which of the foregoing categories  your residential area is included. In actual fact, “Are you from the garlic-smelling district? Or the spouse-divorcing one?” 
   
"Translated from the book entitled 'Ey Fethiye Fethiye' by Unal Şörek Dirlik