It is the story of riverbank, nanometre and trip to place you can still go


As with many other places on the South coast of Turkey, Dalyan is known for its natural beauty and also for the Lycian rock tombs embedded into the cliffs overlooking the river.


It’s a special place and I would like to believe that some scenes “The African Queen” movie; scenes in the marsh were filmed in Dalyan, Turkey.


I just wanted to remind you that the movie opened on 23 December 1951 in Los Angeles {per Oscar rules} and on 20 February 1952 at the Capitol Theatre in New York City. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Adapted Script, and Best Actress; Bogie won the Oscar for Best Actor. The African Queen was also the first Technicolor film in which Bogart appeared. The film was restored – at a cost of $650,000 – in 2009 and issued on DVD & Blu-ray for Region 1 in March 2010 and for Region 2 in July 2010.

This film is fun, cute, usually, have at least a couple of thoroughly likable characters and tell a well-structured story. It is definitely showing its age. It’s woefully out of date.


It is the story of Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) an irascible riverboat captain in central Africa. He distributes goods and mail from the deck of his small rickety steamboat, The African Queen. Two of his mail recipients are British missionaries, Rose Sayer (Katherine Hepburn) and her brother, Rev. Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley). In 1914 when German forces move across central Africa, the small village, where the sibling missionaries live and work, is burnt to the ground, and all villagers are forcibly recruited.  Samuel falls ill and eventually succumbs to his fever. Charlie, on the run from the Germans, finds Rose alone. He helps to bury Charlie and takes Rose aboard the African Queen. Charlie plans to hide from the German forces on a small mid-river island until the war is over or help finds them, but Rose comes up with a more ambitious plan. Always ambitious women ideas!!!


Katherine Hepburn was icons style. She started to wear men’s trousers at a time when it was very uncommon to do so. She was extremely persistent in doing so and insisted on wearing trousers both on an offset. This was certainly not a popular choice in her time and she alienated part of her audience for doing so, even gaining the nickname “box office poison”. In time though she became very popular again as people started to admire her for her fearlessness.

In1986 she was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in recognition of the influence she played in women’s fashion.

Just look how stylish and chic she looks, in all the images featured here.


Catherine Hepburn, she was like Campbell’s tomato soup or Baker’s chocolate – style icons.


In the last year, I finished as conservation project was connected to ship plans and here I’ve to add more about a boat.

1357168475The actual boat that portrayed the African Queen was built in England in 1912 and vessel was used by the British East Africa Company from 1912 to 1968 to shuttle passengers and cargo across Lake Albert (on the border between Uganda and Belgian Congo), continued service in Africa until 1968. It survives today on display at Key Largo in Florida.

I  wish that  I could see this boat one day. In Dalyan, I saw rows of many boats along the river bank. It was to make me relaxing time with film in my mind. My voyage was through the reed beds that were used to film the famous scenes in Houston’s film The African Queen. For hours,  I can pretend to be Katharine Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart.

Dalyan is known not only for its natural beauty but also for the Lycian rock tombs embedded into the cliffs overlooking the river. It’s a place of its Lycian and Roman history. Sadly, I’ve recently made the news because natural erosion and years of neglect means the rock tombs are slowly crumbling. However, the teams backed by the Turkish government are setting projects in place to restore and protect the tombs.


It is really good news that these 2,400-year-old rock tombs in Dalyan are set to be protected through the use of nanotechnology. Professor Cengiz Işık, head of excavations at the Kaunos archaeological site, said the idea to protect the rock tombs came up last year during the visit of Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay. It then led to the creation of the Scientific and Technological Council of Turkey, or TÜBITAK’s, Support Program for Research Projects of Public Institutions. Işık said the project that has been prepared for protecting the rock tombs would be presented to TÜBITAK.

“The project will be realized through nanotechnology. It will be the first time that nanotechnology is used for cultural assets. This practice on Kaunos’s rock tombs will be an improvement for other cultural assets.” 

Işık said when the project is carried out highly specialized powders consisting of nanoparticles will be applied to the rock surfaces in square-centimeter doses. The nanoparticles will be specially designed to be chemically compatible with the rocks and will be used to clean, restore and protect the surfaces of the rock tombs. “In this way, the tombs will be restored and protected,” Işık said the embargo on visits to the rock-cut tombs in Dalyan was implemented as a result of their petitions in previous years. “

The ban for visits still continues. There are large and small rocks in the sloped area. There is a constant risk that visitors might fall. Until the necessary precautions are taken, a ban is a right decision.” 

 What is nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the science of manufacturing and utilizing extremely small particles and devices, sometimes as small as single atoms and molecules. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, which is approximately 80,000 times thinner than a human hair. A couple of years ago we reported on applications of nanotechnology-based processes to the restoration and preservation of priceless artwork.

The manipulation of materials at the nanoscale affords greater accuracy and minimal disturbance to the original work while efficiently combating the effects of time and environment. We have a better understanding the chemistry behind the works of art and materials and to use this technique to treatment.

Many conservators applied nanotechnology paper conservation. The main advantages of nanoparticles are: an equivalent concentration of the same chemical (calcium hydroxide, for example) penetrates much more easily among the paper fibres so that the chemical not only interacts more homogeneous and thorough with them, but lowers the probability of creating whitish areas on the paper surface, or may just not take place at all.

And that is especially interesting in its application to deacidification, which often blurs the intensity of black or brown inks. The product penetrates into the document, the more complete is the deacidifying effect. When the particle diameter is smaller, it fits in narrower spaces among the fiber weft and so its effect is deeper throughout the paper.

I hope that the landscape of Lycia with their fascinating round shaped altars decorated with inscriptions or ornamentation were sometimes placed near tombs, such as a necropolis at Patara will be safe.


Upstream from the old rock tombs in Dalyan is also the mud baths. It is a splendid bath-house with warm thermal springs. From Robbie Williams to Dustin Hoffman, anyone who’s anyone has tried out the mud-baths in Dalyan.


Believers in the power of the mud say that the tightening effect of the drying mud is what makes the difference. Regular mud therapy can help deal with wrinkles while the healing waters of the spring are said to be the answer to sciatica, rheumatism and stomach problems. The sulphur pool at a temperature of 40 degrees in which you clean yourself after your Mudbath is also therapeutic. It not only claims to have therapeutic properties (curing all manner of ills from skin problems to gastric conditions) but also claims to make you look ten years younger.

Here’s what I wish for you
Here’s what you must do
Preserve yourself
Preserve yourself


Remind yourself of this often.

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into a wilderness of your intuition that you will discover will be yourself.


About conservationwithella

Hello, I'm Ella, Art on Paper Conservator & Preservation Manager at Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. This blog is a walk through my daily life, work, arts & crafts history, my discovery that everything in my life is enough to be a continuous source of reflection. I started blogging to entertain myself but I hope you enjoy it too. I'm sure you agree, that Life without art is nothing. :)

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