The advancement of communication technologies has affected the living styles of humans around the globe.
As television transformed the world into a global village, it also laid the groundwork for a monotonous society made up of consumers. In recent years, new internet technology widened the borders of this global village and wiped out concepts of time and location, gradually reducing the variety of human experience. Today, we live in networked societies that are further squeezed into an electronic, virtual world.
Despite the seeming universality of technological developments, there still exist traditional villages where internet networks do not reach. Despite their rudimentary technology, life does go on in these places—people spend their days touching water and soil, ignored by (and ignoring) technology. Rather, the dominance of nature on these cultures is absolute.
Unlike the rest of us, they will carry on living in the midst of a computer disaster or network breakdown because they know how to deal with difficult natural conditions. Unlike so many of us today, they are self-reliant. To a large extent, they meet their own needs: they exist quietly in places where technology is not superior, but rather assistive.
Van, located in the eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, is home to just such archaic settlements, villages, mountains, lakes and islands. Steep roads lead to scattered mountain villages. There, an unfamiliar life beckons—one that we will likely never see again. This life is the antithesis of the digitally saturated lives that are now the norm. The inhabitants of these removed places take their strength from the simple and immediate pleasures of their lives.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like these previous features—Fault Lines: Turkey East to West, George Georgiou’s record of the populace’s rapid migration from rural communities into brand-new expanses of impersonal housing; Istanbul: To the City, an ode to Turkey’s de facto capital; and Shepherds, a series on the shepherd community that has occupied Slovenia’s Velika Planina plateau for over 500 years—and how modernity is changing that tradition.