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  • Writer's pictureFrank Klaus Jordan

Lake Sapanca - for a pleasant peace of mind

a myth about the lake

The Sabian Sage pulls up the hood of his long garment to cover his face before he approaches a small settlement in the valley that stretches out before him. His feet are heavy from climbing the last mountains ranges, off the main trade road. Two moons ago, after the calculations had been concluded, he had taken off from what remained of Harran, the city of the Chaldean astronomers. Following the silk routes of the traders, he had crossed the Armenian highlands and Asia Minor. Just a few more days travel and he will reach the Thracian coast. He is seeking the sacred gate between the seven hills, across the ancient straits, where the waters of the northern sea flow into the Ionian sea. There, he will find the Mandaean keeper who guards the entrance to the Pantheon and the heavenly passage. There, he will wait until the celestial spheres are in perfect alignment, as the oracle of Harran had presaged. Then, he will open the gate to the celestial bridge.

The sun is almost down when the old Sage reaches the village square between the farmyards. Soon he is surrounded by villagers who look with astonishment at this giant-like man in front of them. They have never seen a human creature of that size, making them look like dwarfs. They are afraid of this white-haired giant in his ankle-length garment, who is holding a long wooden stick in his hand that splits into two branches at the upper end, making it look like the horns of a bull. "What is it, that you want of us?", the villagers ask. "Not much I ask, just a well to fill up my waterskin and a place to sleep under a roof. I will be gone by dawn." "Our village doesn't have a well and we don't give shelter to strangers, …", the villagers reply. " … if you want water, collect it yourself from the river in the mountains. You better leave now, we have no water to give."

Disappointed with the villagers, the giant Sage takes the hood off his head. His steel blue eyes are gazing down at the people around him. Clenching his wooden stick with both hands he lifts it up and rums the lower end with all his might into the ground. The earth starts shaking and a flash from the night sky ignites a beam of crackling light between the two upper ends of the giant's stick. The villagers are stepping back in panic when a second flash ignites a ball of fire between the giant's upturned hands. He places the fireball on the crackling light beam and pulls it backwards, creating a giant magical slingshot. More and more the giant pulls and with a deafening outcry, he finally lets go of the fireball. The slingshot catapults the lightning ball comet-like into the air. Moments later it hits the mountain range, causing the earth to rumble and quake. A large formation of rocks breaks off the walls and a gigantic stream of water pours down the mountains towards the terrified villagers. The water is filling the valley and when it reaches the village they turn anxious towards the giant. But the Sabian Sage was gone. All that reminded of him was his smouldering slingshot at the village square.

all seasons weekend getaway

So the ancient myth tells about the origins of Lake Sapanca. "Dumm gelaufen" for the villagers, a little more hospitality would have paid off I guess. On the other hand, we wouldn't be able to enjoy this beautiful Lakescape now, if the Sage wouldn't have lost its temper towards them. The legend also says that the remains of the Slingshot "Sapan" are still visible on the ground of the lake. Sapanca region is very popular among people, who want to escape from the busy life in the concrete jungles of the big cities just for a long weekend. Thanks to its natural beauty and serenity, Sapanca lake is a perfect destination throughout all seasons of the year. It is a perfect place to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and to take long walks under the large trees along the shore. Long wooden peers are reaching out to the water, from where one can listen to the birds and the sounds of the reed belt that surrounds the lake. What more do we need to get a pleasant peace of mind.

For me, this wonderful lake experience wouldn't be complete without getting into the water. Our hotel is directly at the shore and presents a perfect place to enter the lake for a training swim. The water surface is a smooth as glass when I walk into the water on this mild autumn afternoon. The water is fresh and clear and the underwater fauna below me is breath-taking. After half an hour swimming along this endless shore of reeds, I stop and take a break. There is total silence when I turn on my back and float on the water surface with outstretched arms and legs. I look at the blue sky and the small white clouds that move slowly above me. I'm one with the nature around me and I'm grateful to whatever created this beautiful place. I'm smiling when I think of the ancient myth about the Sabian Sage and the "Sapan" that gave the lake its name. Whether there is anything to it, we might never learn.

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