Monday, 22 February 2021

More Favourite Sites Garnered from our Travels

 .........................Turkey 

Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires straddles the Bosporus strait, with one foot in Europe the other in Asia. It deserves at least a five day stay in order to fully immerse yourself in its history, and see all of its exquisite architectural wonders. A must visit is to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. It covers 61 streets, and includes 4,000 shops and stalls. Choose yourself a beautiful handmade leather bag, smell the heady scents from the mountains of spices, find yourself a hand loomed colourful kilim, or some exotic food memento to take home. Last but not least visit the dramatic underground Basilica Cistern, mysterious, unexpected, and fascinating.  Built in 532AD during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian 1, the cistern supplied water to the city. Yerebatan Sarayi, the Sunken Palace should not be missed.   

There are 18 World Heritage Sites in Turkey which includes some of the 28 archaeological sites from antiquity. Turkey, once the cradle of early Christianity hosts hundreds of ancient churches together with some of the most beautiful mosques to be found anywhere. It is a mystical country with some surreal landscapes all of which offer the visitor a veritable feast for the eye.  

Pamukkale - It looks like winter but this is mid-summer. Travertine 
terraced basins straddle the plateau, and run down the hillsides of 
Pamukkale. Created over more than two millennia the hot mineral 
cascades transform calcium carbonate into travertine.
The fairy chimneys of Cappadocia are the result of thousands of years of natural weathering. Millions of years ago, massive volcanoes erupted in the region, depositing huge volumes of ash, and covering the entire landscape for thousands of miles. The hardened ash is called Tuff which over the centuries has been carved into houses, and even churches. The hotel we stayed in was carved out of Tuff - it was a magical experience. 
click onto the yellow highlights if you would like to know more
Discover the ancient cities of Myra and Simena here.
(Myra now renamed Demre) is where the relics of St. Nicholas were purloined and taken to Bari.
The kingdom of  Lydia

Konya - the cradle of Sufism and Whirling Dervishes 
World renown Ephesus
This is just a token glimpse of some of the many treasures
to be seen in Turkey. 

33 comments:

  1. The cistern at Istanbul was a daily refuge from the heat and bustle outside. A genuine oasis of peace. There was a classical string quartet playing on a wooden island when we were there.

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    1. We had a wonderful meal in a restaurant hidden within the cistern, and that too had a classical string quartet playing.

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  2. It really does look to be a fascinating place. I doubt that I will ever get there so it's great to live it through your eyes. I wonder if by this time next year the freedom to travel again will be available to us all. I think that is what I miss most during this COVID crisis.

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    1. It is the freedom that I miss too - being with my family, going to the hairdressers (ours are still closed) travelling around both here and abroad. I am really hopeful that by next year things will be getting back to something resembling normal. The vaccines are proving to be extremely positive with excellent results.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, What piqued my interest most today was the Basilica Cistern. I just read the Wikipedia article, and looked at a bunch of photos, and it definitely is a place I would like to explore. How interesting that they brought columns from many different demolished buildings to support the cistern.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - going down into the Basilica Cistern makes for a very memorable visit. The entrance is fairly obscure - a small insignificant building which could easily be missed should you ever visit.

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  4. Beautiful photos of a fascinating place! Would love to go someday but will probably never get there.

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    1. We have visited Turkey many times - it is a place that requires several visits, and there is still more that I would like to see.

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  5. Dear Rosemary,
    I remember this post so well. Thank you for bringing back some of your travel posts. They have always been the most beautiful and full of history posts. I remember Turkey well. It is probably the most mysterious country (along with Egypt) a traveler can visit, if one is lucky.

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    1. Dear Gina - we have visited so many wonderful sites in Turkey over the years that I found it difficult to harvest glimpses of which visits to show. It would be really lovely to be able return one day.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,

    We have long since wanted to visit Istanbul in particular and Turkey in general. As you write, the country is such a heady mix of eastern and western cultures resulting in a wonderfully exotic feel to its art and architecture both classical and contemporary.

    In Budapest, of course, there are many signs of Turkish influence over centuries of invasions. Evidence can be found in the architecture most notably but also in the cuisine which owes much to its Turkish origins.

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    1. Dear Jane & Lance - I am sure that you would enjoy a visit to Istanbul. I know that you both love Venice. However, did you know that the Byzantine bronze statues of the four horses in Venice that originally sat on the facade of St Mark's Basilica were in fact once part of a display at the Hippodrome in Constantinople? The were sacked by Crusaders in 1204 and taken to Venice.

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  7. Hello Rosemary,
    Turkey is such an interesting country to explore, with its long history and ties to the east and the west. We have never visited, but perhaps, one day, we will. I was entranced by your photos of Pamukkale and the Tuff roofs. Fascinating and beautiful.

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    1. Hello Lorrie - the whole of the buildings are in fact completely carved out of the Tuff and their strange shapes, known as fairy chimneys, are as a result of the volcanic activity that took place thousands of years ago.

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  8. Dearest Rosemary,
    Yes, that sure is a most interesting journey for all those that love fine architecture and history. It sure is a joy for yourself for once more being back there, virtually!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - the virtual world will be here for sometime yet, we are not expected to be out of full lock down here until getting on for the end of June.

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  9. Oh, we love Turkey! The food, the people, the diverse natural beauty! I've been to the Lycian coast twice, which is utterly gorgeous, and can attest to the richness of the archaeological ruins - Ephesus, of course, is beyond parallel. I'm going to be controversial and say that I think the best Roman ruins are in Asia Minor/Turkey! Istanbul was a dream-like rainy October evening only and it's been on my wish-list ever since. We saw Pamukkale at a time when it was closed to tourism to preserve it, but more recent pics show people bathing again in its pools. It looks much better without the bodies, like your lovely photo. Thank you for the tour!

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    1. I am so pleased to learn that you too love Turkey - the country has so much more to offer than the picture postcard views of blue skies and sandy beaches. Everytime that we have visited we have returned home awe struck by so much that we have seen and visited.

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  10. Great to look back on all the wonderful places you have been. With the libraries shut I've been rereading my 1960s book collection and it's been a real unexpected treat. You need some form of mental escape at a time like this.

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    1. It looks as if we shall be looking back and remembering for a good while yet Bob - it is now apparent that it could be until the end of June. Happy reading to you.

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    1. Thank you for visiting - your country has much to offer.

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  12. I had a fabulous long weekend with hubby in Istanbula couple of years back and would love to visit again. I found the Basilica Cistern beautiful and so many other things but most of all the people (and the carpet sellers!) we had fun using local transport. Clearly there is lots more for us to see in Turkey, you have highlighted some fabulous places to make another trip worthy.

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    1. Once you have seen some of the splendours of Turkey, you will want to return time and time again.

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  13. I remember when you went to Turkey, and how wonderful were your photos and blog posts. It really must be the most vibrant and fantastic place to visit and I particularly would love to go and see Cappadocia. It looks indeed like fairyland. Thank you for sharing it all again.

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    1. We will not be out of full lockdown until nearly the end of June Patricia so I don't forsee any trips on the horizon for quite some time. Looking at my old posts feels as if I am looking back at a world that time forgot.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thank you that is a very kind comment which I appreciate.

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  15. Hello, Rosemary. Turkey straddling west and east is full of exotic air with wonder and rich history. Some places look like other planet. Nice memory; I remember the time you enjoyed the trip.

    Yoko

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    1. Hello Yoko - it is true that Turkey does have some unusual, and rather sereal landscapes that really do take your breath away.

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