A Glimpse at Karamursel in the Early 1970s
Beautiful Karamursel! In the Turkish language, the preceding phrase rhymes. Very beautiful indeed by sight and sound. With the mention of that area, many thoughts rush to our minds: travel, excitement, adventure, intrigue, culture, music, people, and history. It was all of that and more. When I first arrived, I had no idea my wife and I would be spending three years of our lives there.
In 1972, while I served in the U.S. Air Force, I had the wonderful privilege of being transferred on military assignment to the base at Karamusel, Turkey. Karamursel Common Defense Installation (KCDI) was a base located on the beach of the Marmara Sea approximately 30 miles from Istanbul as the crow flies. KCDI was between Karamursel on the East and Yalova on the West. We lived in an apartment on the eastern side of Karamusel in an area known as the Old Factory Neighborhood. At that time, one red brick smokestack remained standing as a memorial to the past.
We did not need an automobile during our stay in Turkey due to the various forms of public transportation provided. The base sent out shuttle buses every hour of the daylight and evening hours to Yalova and Karamursel. We also utilized Turkish buses, vans, and taxis, as well as the ferry boats that docked up and down the coast.
The shoreline along the Marmara Sea was just beautiful. The Picture above looks east from our neighbood towards an outdoor cafe at a swimming beach where everyone in town would come to enjoy the sun. The water was always chilly even in the middle of the summer. The picture below shows Beth and Maryann walking through a field looking at the foliage. Maryann and Dean lived in the beautiful house on the right that was on the shoreline.
The base was a little piece of America in the heart of another culture and offered several activities. There were, of course, the NCO [non-commissioned officers] & Officers' clubs. Sports lovers could take part in football and baseball games, hit some balls on the greens of the golf course, or go swimming in the Marmara Sea. (The large number of jellyfish in the water took a little time to get used to. They would constantly bump into swimmers). The BX met our shopping needs, and The Rod & Gun Club, Photo Hobby Shop, and Electronic Hobby Shop were also on-site. Other leisure hours were spent at the movie theater, library, and a restaurant that looked out over the sea with its sailboats.
Our Turkish apartment was one street behind the beach. Behind our apartment was a highway with a mountain (we called it Mt. Karamursel) climbing right up into the sky. The climbing trail began right across the highway from our neighborhood. We would climb up the mountain with our neighbors, cameras, and lunch. After climbing for an hour or two, we would stop to eat and enjoy the beautiful vistas on every side. Looking west out over Karamursel was a beach neighborhood called Ankara village (not to be confused with Ankara, the capital of Turkey). The base was located on the far horizon. Looking east were the coast and mountains in the direction of Izmit. In front of us was one of the most beautiful sights on God’s earth: our neighborhood and beach with the Marmara Sea. Then, in the far distance, the mountains were rising up out of the water. Our souls would be stirred just looking at that sight!
During our time in Karamursel, we enjoyed occasional excursions to Istanbul. Two ways existed to reach that city at the time: the ferryboat at Yalova that went directly to Istanbul and a Turkish bus that traveled around the Marmara Sea to the Asian side of Istanbul and then climbed atop a car/bus ferryboat to cross the Bosphorus Strait to the European side. (Today, a new suspension bridge connects Europe and Asia.) I can still remember the garlic smells, the music, and see mist as we would cross the strait on the car/bus ferryboat.
You can imagine the excitement of disembarking the ferry in Istanbul with all its excitement, buzz, and adventure. Topkapi, Saint Sophia, the Blue Mosque, sultans, harems -- for a tourist with or without a camera, what a place to be!
In every Turkish city, large or small, platters full of kabobs were a common dish. I loved the stuff but only after I learned to adapt to the vegetables served cold. It took my taste buds awhile to come around.
One of the most memorable adventures in Istanbul was visiting the Grand Bazaar, which was comparable to a huge mall with an old-world flare. Whatever you were looking for was there -- if you could find it.
In the evening as the ferryboat headed back to Yalova, the golden sun would be setting right over the tops of Topkapi Palace, Saint Sophia, and the Blue Mosque. What an accent to a beautiful, adventurous day.
Turkey is an amazing place! As well as being a modern nation, it has a past that keeps one intrigued for years. In addition to the different empires that spanned time here, the first missionary journeys of the Christian Church touched its shores.
On this Web site, we have included pictures covering some of the topics discussed above. Other pictures and pages will be added as time allows. For you who live there or were stationed there, we hope you enjoy them. In the future, some of the side trips that were taken to different areas of Turkey will be included.
Good-bye until we meet again,
Mike & Beth