A City of Wonders and Legends: Hatay - GeziBilen

A City of Wonders and Legends: Hatay

A City of Wonders and Legends: Hatay

History is full of stories that have been told since the beginning of time. Mythological characters, legendary events, archaic civilizations, spells, magic and more… I can see you smile, saying “Dear GeziBilen, what does that have to do with it? You were supposed to tell us about natural wonders?”, I don’t judge you because I have not started talking about it yet. In a minute, I will be talking about beautiful Hatay that has been a stage for many legends with its amazing nature and you will agree with me. No, I will not submit, you will absolutely agree with me. Then, let’s go!

Hıdır Bey Moses Tree

Don’t even say that a single tree cannot be a natural wonder. The Oaxaca Tree which has the widest trunk in the world is considered a natural wonder by tourists coming to Mexico, and the Hıdır Bey Moses Tree is no different! This tree even has a legend.

Legend has it this tree was planted during the times of Moses, a prophet in Judaism. While on their journey, Moses decided to take a rest and have some water and drank from the waters of the Orontes River that was flowing backwards, ignoring the people opposing to it and their judgmental loos. After having some rest here, they went on with their journey and Khidr left his cane by the river. The cane, waiting for his owner, turned itself into a plane tree with the mystical teachings of its sacred owner and the Creator. It became a plane tree so that its owner could find it easily. It became a plane tree so that it could protect people when it grew, like Khidr used to do.

The Hıdır Bey Moses Tree, believed to be almost 3000 years old today, is 21 meters on the periphery and the diameter of its body is 7,5 meters. The tree that almost covers 1000 meters with its branches is one of the top natural wonders worth seeing in Hatay.

Daphne Forest

How well do you know the Greek mythology? How about travelling through myths now?

Apollo, son of Zeus, is actually the God of Light. One day, when he is walking by the Orontes River, he sees a young girl and falls in love with her. The name of the girl is Daphne. Daphne knows that girls who marry gods always have a bad faith. For this reason, when she sees the God of Light walking towards her, she gets afraid and decides to run. But Apollo does not give up and runs after the girl. Beautiful Daphne, finally understands that she is about to get caught, opens her heart to the nature and begs “Dear mother earth, cover me, protect me, hide me!”. Mother earth cannot resist her beginning and fulfills her wish and turns her into a beautiful tree…

However, what Apollo is trying to do is not causing harm, he really falls in love with Daphne… Seeing her turned into a tree breaks his heart and says his last words to his lover, “From now on, you will remain as the sacred tree of Apollo. Those leaves that do not turn yellow and fall will be the wreath around my head. Heroes who win their battles will adorn their heads with your leaves. Our names will be together in poems and songs”. Daphne cannot resist the harmony of these beautiful words and hails the God of Light by bending her branches…

After days, weeks and long years… The bay tree that Apollo made a wreath around his head continued to grow without ever turning yellow. It even became a forest. It added love to the amazing nature of Hatay…

The Daphne Forest, one of the most delicate and legendary spots in the city now, is a symbol of the rich culture and history of Hatay and the jewel in the crown of nature lovers…

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