Turkey Blogs

  • Christmas in Izmir
    December 25th, 2009.  The Christmas trees were up, decorations covered the windows in the neighborhood, and everyone was filled with holiday cheer.  One might think I was in America from this description, but far from it, I was in Turkey.  Now, to those who may not be aware, many of the ancient traditions of the holiday stem from Asia Minor.  Santa Clause, originally St. Basil in the Eastern Orthodox Church, hailed from Caesarea, modern day Kayseri near Cappadocia.  To this day, a traditional Greek Christmas carol proclaims his miracle work in the lands of Anatolia.  In fact, his feast day...

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  • Izmir: Preserving History
    Izmir is simply one of the most beautiful cities in the Aegean and Mediterranean. Its history stems back several thousand years, detailing stories of how great empires conquered the city; everyone from the Greeks and Romans, to the Byzantines and Ottomans (many in between too). By the early 1900s, Izmir was comparable to a mini-New York, with several different groups of people and classes co-existing with one another. Ottoman Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, French, Italians, Levantines; each group of people with a different language and religion, but as one-Smyrnean. It was this era that still leaves an imprint on Izmir’s...

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  • Dolmus
    Dolmuses have long been considered a representative Turkish institution. Barreling down the highway in a tin can with doors, weaving between lanes with passengers packed in like sardines, following a route that is more like a suggestion than an actual plan, and screeching to a halt anywhere or anytime the driver is asked is a unique and adrenaline inducing experience. I had planned to take my parents on their first dolmus ride the last time they came to visit me in Istanbul, and after their muted reaction to the public buses, I was looking forward to playing with them a...

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  • Remnants of an Empire: A descendant of Ottoman Smyrna
    Often asked as to what my ethnicity is, I respond Greek. Dig a little deeper, and I will explain that my heritage stems from Izmir (Smyrna), modern day Turkey. The usual response to that is “Oh, you’re Turkish?” Rather than rush to say no, I just sigh and think ‘if only we can understand a country beyond its patriotism’. Having traveled around Turkey and Izmir, with the intent of living there this year, I can easily say it is one of the most beautiful and special places this world has to offer. Being of Greek decent, Turkish culture never ceases...

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  • More than a drink: Turkish Coffee
    I’m one of those people who likes to drink coffee as a first thing in the morning. Coffee is a like a wake up call, a morning pleasure, a working inspiration, a break from busy times, a reason to share and an indispensable taste for me…  But among my addiction for all kinds of coffee, there’s one special kind which is not only a drink but also a ritual. It’s not the kind of coffee that can be grabbed on the way to work but deserves a special time to enjoy it. It’s called “Turkish Coffee” and I’m in love...

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  • Responsible Travel
    Today, we need to support Responsible Travel more than ever. Increasing numbers of package tours, cheap flight tickets, globalization and the media made a few areas beyond the reach of an average tourist’s destruction. Bulk Travel Tourism is one of the biggest part of nations’ economies. And today, more and more countries are relying on tourism. Beginning from the 60s, people started to travel a lot. Soon after global companies involved in and like every industry, travel industry has also started to produce and sell for masses to increase their profits. Tourism is similar to Prostitution As an industry, unlike...

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