Turkey Blogs

  • Traveling Turkey: Great Ways to Eat Cheap without Missing Out
    When I came to Turkey for the first time, I had mapped out everything I wanted to do.  The different historical sites I wanted to see, places I wanted to take pictures, clubs I wanted to hang out in.  But there was one thing I didn’t plan; where and what was I going to eat?  Normally, that is priority #1.  But, I figured that I would just wing it, and pay for food that looked good.  Although this is a fine idea hypothetically, it kept me from combining the financial and cultural connection, leaving me either full and broke, or...

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  • History on Horseback: The Evliya Çelebi Way
    In my previous post, I talked about Evliya Çelebi, a Turkish traveler who journeyed through the territory of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring lands over a period of forty years in the 17th century, whom the UNESCO has recognized as “Man of the Year” in 2011. Now, I want to tell you the Evliya Çelebi Way, a new cultural route through the Anatolia countryside. The Evliya Çelebi Way is an international project that has two connected goals: historical re-enactment and cultural re-connection by establishing cultural routes in Western and Southeastern Anatolia. The first central goal, historical re-enactment, is aimed to...

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  • The Oldest And The Greatest Covered Bazaar Of The World: GRAND BAZAAR
    When Samantha from Sex and the City broke her toe on one episode, Carrie asked her “Honey, if it hurts so much, why are we going shopping?”. Samantha’s answer was simple and yet explaining it all: “I have a broken toe, not a broken spirit.” I believe shopping is an art. It is not only walking into a shop, picking something from a shelf and paying for it. And because it’s more than that, I believe some of the shopping places are like spiritual centers. In this case Grand Bazaar of Sultanahmet is like a holy place for shopping lovers....

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  • Mastic: The Aegean’s Ingredient that Bonds Two Cultures
    The Greek island of Chios (Sakiz in Turkish) lies off the coast of Izmir, directly across the shore of Çesme.  For years, there has been a special connection between the island and the port city that surpasses any political barrier between the two countries.  It’s a little magical piece of nature, and it’s called Mastic. Dripping off the trees in Chios is a natural gum called mastic, which is indigenous to the island.  Mastic, from the ancient Greek word mastixa, means “gnashing of teeth”.  Today, we have the word masticate in English for such a meaning. The Turkish name for...

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  • Amasra, a beauty in the West Karadeniz
    The little town of Amasra is located on the Western Black Sea coast, right above Bartın, which is the capital of its Province. 7000 inhabitants live in this lovely port town but this number certainly double with the approach of the touristic periods. The city includes two islands, Büyük ada (Great Island) which is connected by a stoned bridge to the mainland and a smaller one Tavsan adası (Rabbit Island) which remains wild and uninhabited. Amasra was part of the Greek empire before the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered the whole region in 1460. The Greek villagers were transferred to...

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  • Part 2 – Life and Times of a Modern Day Orientalist
    Just to recap………….. After travelling through several parts of the globe with the intent of sleeping in as many ancient sites as possible we find ourselves sleeping in the Hippodrome at the amazing ancient complex of Ephesus in Western Turkey. We awoke the next morning all silently taking in our surroundings. We all wondered “How does it get any better than this?” We eyed the cold remains of our makeshift fireplace then all made the decision that breakfast was our next goal. We packed and quietly headed out towards the road, we managed to talk our way past gun wielding Jandarma who...

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  • Turkish Reality Television
    Being in Turkey, one of the many things I hoped to get away from was the constant bombardment of reality television.  Having worked in television and film for over 6 years, including MTV, I had come to the point where if I never saw another reality show again, I’d be ecstatic.  Having said that, I continue to work with reality stars on a variety of productions, and in doing so, am obliged to watch the shows, being sucked into their realities and glued to find out what happens next.  It’s a cycle of insanity! Everyone has their opinions about reality...

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  • Evliya Çelebi, “Man of the Year” in 2011
    In 1671, a man with a passion to travel and document departed from Istanbul for the Arabian lands. His purpose was to undertake the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. However, his route was so circuitous that his journey took twice as long as he originally expected, but the experiences he had were absolutely unbelievable! He wrote extensively about his journey in the ninth volume of his famous Book of Travels called the Seyahatname. This man was Evliya Çelebi, whom the UNESCO has recognized as “Man of the Year” in 2011. Nowadays, he is a part of an exhibition...

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  • A Yabanci’s Understanding of the Ezan: The Call to Prayer
    One of the many characteristics of Turkey’s cultural identity and history thrives in its religious composition.  A land whose history consisted of the Ancient Greek religions, to the birth and foundation of Christendom, alongside Judaism, and the establishment of an Islamic Empire, this land is rich in spiritual identity. Today, Turkey is mainly a Muslim, having the most mosques per capita within any Muslim dominated country.  Thus, anyone who has been to Turkey has experienced the blaring voice of the ezan (adhan in Arabic), which is announced by a muezzin five times a day, proclaiming the unity of God, and...

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  • Seven Things Not To Do In Istanbul
    City of Constantine, the Sublime Porte, Gate of Felicity, City of Emperors… These are only a few of the many names and sobriquets of Istanbul, a splendid city with fascinating and unique features. The reputation Istanbul has acquired for centuries is now also acknowledged by the European Commission, which designated the city as the European Capital of Culture for the year 2010. The city is given a chance to showcase its cultural heritage. Its new status has definitely added to Istanbul’s glory and grandeur and made it one of the most popular destinations in international travel. Both mainstream travel and...

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