Mazi: a town of swindlers (or so they say).
It's also home to a large underground city which was built as a survival tactic during the crusades.
This particular cave is being restored and the blueprints were laid out on the ground. Tourists can visit now, and when the renovations are complete Mazi will become a tourist attraction.
When we got to Mazi to explore an underground city we were told that the guide would ‘find us’. He did. Full of spunk (& a voracity for women) he strapped some flashlights to our heads and took us (and the 9 Frenchman who came in a van) into the caves.
First he showed us a room that was once a kitchen, then the donkey stalls and the plans for the restoration of the whole city. We climbed up a tiny dark chimney type chute with little hand and foot holes on the side. These chutes and ladders were used instead of stairs to keep enemies from getting to the upper rooms. Another rickety shaft took us to the next level, then another, and another. We jumped down a hole, crawled into a room with a boobie-trapped door, saw separate entrances for royalty and the common man (whose was smaller so they were forced to bow as they entered the king’s quarters), and even found the winery.
Toward the end, I was asked to go with the guide while the rest of the group stayed put. It was obvious he wanted to give everyone a little scare. He tossed me down a dark seven foot hole and guided me into a tiny, hidden cubby of a cave. He told me to scream “help!” to make the others try to find me and realize that the caves were an impossible maze. While it didn’t really work the odd thing was that when he ran off I honestly couldn’t find my way out. I even had a flashlight. It was very disorienting and scary to think that you truly could get lost and die in a labyrinth like this.
I did crawl my way out through a dusty little crevice in the ground, and rejoined my group for tea at the base of the mountain before heading home to our elegant dinner at the Babyan Culture House.
And nothing would be complete without introducing the star of the Babyan Culture House, the very happily spoiled Arfan, who gets all the leftovers.