The Road to Burdur

Why were we going to Burdur you may ask? Is it a scenic town? No. Is there a niche market? No. Is it by the sea? No. Then why Burdur? It is the base of the miliatry installation for the Turkish men, who are currently living abroad, to fulfill their military requiremnets.

The road out of Ankara was arid and devoid of much flora.

However, the father we drove out of the interior the more interesting the landscape became.

There were rock formations, deep valleys, snow covered mountains and fields and fields of agriculture.

There were also old school herds of sheep complete with shepards.

Lots of them.

We drove to Burdur, however, by the time we got there and figured everything out it was too late to drive back and every hotel (except the one that rented out rooms on an hourly rate) was full with men awaiting to turn themselves in for military duty. So we drove to the closest town with a hotel, Isparta, 30 km away.
While both towns have similar climates and are not that far from each other, there are signigficant differences. There is no real industry in Burdur, just independent agriculture and the military basically. On the other hand Isparta is known as the “City of Roses.” They cultivate and process roses. There is also a histoical tourism trade and a universirty.
Burdur is a small town, more like a village, complete with Ottoman Empire style houses and women. I was very surprised. In Ankara, especially now with the conservative government, it is not unusual to see women wearing headscarves. However, while it conveys modesty, the scarves are usually the only part of women’s outfit that set them apart. The rest of their clothes are like any other woman on the street, just as stylish or modern. In Isparta, there were more women wearing headscarves than in Ankara, but in the same style. Just the headscarf, and modern clothes. What I am referring to by modern clothes is that a teenager wearing a headscarf is just as likely as her uncovered friend to be wearing Converse sneakers, etc.
However, in Burdur, which is only a half and hour drive from Isparta, women were dressed very differently. The women who wore headscarves were in two groups. Ones that wore old fashioned pants (Salvar- very baggy, loose pants with a low inseam) and women who wore long coats to the ankle. I even saw women wearing burkas, which is illegal in Turkey. There were very few women not wearing headscarves.
The difference between Burdur and Ankara was stark, but is probably on par in general with the differences between and rural towns and metropolitan cities in any country.

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