Turkey: Istanbul – Adventurous Vacation II
We are at the horse market. If you have imagination, you can still hear horses. It is here where the Hippodrome used to stand, it was a racing circuit for chariots of four horses. The race took place every year and the Caesar attended it every time. The audience divided into two groups, greens – regular citizens; and blues – nobility.
In the middle of the Hippodrome is imported three columns. The snake column comes from Delphi, where it was dedicated to the god Apollo for the victory at Salamis during the Greco-Persian wars. Another, the Column of Constantine from Aswan granite, which used to be covered with copper plates. They were gold-plated, so the Crusaders took it as their booty and the column is now quite uninteresting. But the best is the Column of Egypt . Well, just one third of the original column remained. Originally it was carved from a single piece of stone, but due to transport by boat it had to be cut into three parts. Two ships but also cargo sank and left only this highest part described inf hieroglyphs. Don’t you know kind of gift would please the sultan? Emperor Wilhelm comfort him with a beautiful fountain located in front of the Hippodrome. The fountain was built in the Neoclassical style. Certainly Kaiser Wilhelm managed to please the sultan.
And now we find ourselves at the station of the famous Orient Express, used in the novels of Agatha Christi . As if I was seeing a steam locomotive in a haze of mist entering the station and emitting steam. This used to be the last station on a 2900 km long journey of the famous Orient Express, the luxury train that is until now the symbol of exoticism and romance. Because of this station was built Hotel Pera Palace , which housed such ladies as Mata Hari , Josephine Baker And do not forget Agatha Christi ...
We hurry on across the Galata bridge and by elevator to the Galata Tower. From there the very first men did a first flight, a Turkish above the Bosporus. The sultan saw him from his Topkapi Palace window and was horrified that now people think that it is more powerful than the Sultan himself. Therefore invited him to an audience, gifted by generous donations and sent into exile in Egypt, there the unfortunate pilot spent the rest of his life.
We set a short distance to get back across the Galata Bridge, back to the Eminonu Square , where I was "lucky" ... A pigeon sent his crap on my shoulders. There are clouds of pigeons, so nothing unusual. It is said that after this "event" you have to buy a ticket that is guaranteed to win. Therefore, there are so many people selling tickets…
Climb the stairs to the Eminonu Mosque, which is beautifully decorated and I admire the magnificent stucco, painted tiles, mosaics and beautiful carpets. Some pray, so there is a respectful silence that is enhanced by the sacred atmosphere. And now it's getting dark, so we go to get us some durum kebab and ayran (salty drink of plain yogurt mixed with water). And then just the blue mosque playing with its light in the dark, which I have already mentioned. That's all for today. The last journey of the day leads only to the bed.
To be continued...
Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková
Right now I pass a shop with ice-cream made in Bodrum. I cant miss this place. I take sour cherry, watermelon, and tangerine called dondrumu in Turkish. I continue slightly uphill to less glamorous neighborhood in Bodrum. I go up until a low white wall that surrounds famous Mausoleum in Halikarnassos.
At the theater once again I try to hitchhike a dolmush and continue to Gumbet, another bay beyond Bodrum. I go there to see the Myndos gate. From there a road to the city of Myndos ran. The gate was on a strategically significant location.
Once again I continue by dolmush to Turgutreis to a memorial to an admiral, and than I walk trough a green park to the port. Then I hitchhike another dolmush and go north to Gümüşlük where the flooded city of Myndos is located.
I wanted to visit Cappadocia, a land of beautiful horses as the Hittites. I bought a ticket bus and rode from Bodrum to Antalya where I slept over. On the following day I rode across the town of Konya where I visited caravanserai (an oriental pub by main roads where members of caravans and their animals ate) and the museum of Mevlana.
We just enter the city of Konya, the capital of former Seljuk empire. I step off from a bus at a bus station. I pick up my map of the city and head to a tower that shows me the way to the museum of Mevlana. The city spreads on a plateau surrounded with mountains.
Many roads cross Central Anatolia. The most famous is the Silk Road. The Sejluks built there traveller’s inns or also called caravanserais to boost trade as it would protect travelling traders.
For many centuries, Anatolia was a center of Chrisianity, mostly thanks to Apostle Paul and his missionary expeditions. His activity took place mostly around the year 41 AD. Christianity spread due to fertile ground it found in Cappadocia.
My journey now goes across ticket barriers to the museum compound, and then to the St Barbora church, who became a Christian against the will of her father. Initially, he imprisoned her and then killed her. Legend has it that he was struck by lightning for this.
I had my balloon flight above Cappadocia at last. In my perspective, it is there where to do such thing is the best. We were at the place at 5.15 in the morning. There were more than 50 balloons being prepared for flights!
The ancient town of Afrodisias is one of Turkey’s most beautiful place, still not many tourists visit it. I decided I have to visit it...
Today I arrive from the historical town of Afrodisias to the small village of Pamukkale often visited by holidaymakers.
Efes is the most preserved antique city in Turkey and it is rightfully one of the most popular spots. This place was known already in the 2nd century BCE. More than 250 thousand people lived there during its greatest time. In the present, thousands of tourists come here to admire what is left of fascinating buildings. Today, you walk with us on its marble pavement.
We have just landed. I take a deep breath. Finally we are at the Bodrum Airport. We get into a bus and 40 minutes later ride downhill to Bodrum. The air has a salty smell of distant lends, colors have numerous shades, and azure horizon seamlessly changes to the sky.
We cruise around the Ortakoy Mosque built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1853. The construction was done by his architect Nokogos Balayn. It is in the baroque style and it is situated in the European part of the Bosporus. Now we flow under the Bosporus bridge built in 1973 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
One of the most important cities of the world – that is Istanbul with its 16,5 million inhabitants. This city is the only one that is located on two continents – Europe and Asia.
The cars on highway from Sabiha Airport, distant from Istanbul city a couple of kilometres, move slowly ahead. So, it is time enough for the first quick acquaintance with the biggest Turkish town and way of life there.
A small town Troy is located in Turkey, in western Anatolia. According to a mythos Troy, the Achaeans founded the town lying on the bank of the Scamander River. In front of the town’s entrance, on the parking lot with many free spaces, in a box office you can buy a ticket required to enter the town.
With so many memories from yesterday we slept so well. Now we are about to have delicious Turkish breakfast, i.e. white cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, bread… And black tea with much sugar. And we are ready to go. It is like we are invited to see the sultan personally in his Topkapi Palace.
Now we go downhill to the harbor. We embark a ferry and choose a bench on the upper deck. Soon the ship set sail. The name Bosporus means Cow ford. According the legend, there live beautiful princess Io in ancient Greece.
Orient – distant, attractive, and spicy land. Just close eyes and you can see it again… Stop thinking about workdays and become absorbed in an atmosphere of One Thousand and One Nights stories in land of bent sabers, reverse half-moon and belligerent sultans. It is a matter of far past when Turks were a menace to Europe and yet people are still fascinated by beauty of Turkey.
Izmir (also known as Smyrna) has been settled for five and half millennia. The city is located in Anatolia along the bay which is connected with the Mediterranean Sea. The location of the city mean it had experienced rule of many civilizations and empires. The last of them, the Ottoman Empire, conquered Izmir in 1389, in the time when it still was a part of the decaying Byzantine Empire.
Lets leave gray everydayness and take off on a flying carpet to the Köprülü National Park. There we will stay overnight in a pleasant camp by a river and on the next day we will move off to the spring of the Köprüçay River. After this we will continue through Antalya and Pamukkale to Dres.
Pergamon King Attalos II gave the city its name after wife of Mysius Telephus, the founder of Pergamon Empire, Hieara. The city has thermal springs, the oldest is named Apollonis, in tribute to mother of a king of Pergamon.
It is another beautiful day, so I plan a journey to visit less-known Turkish sites. Come and visit together with me places as Priéné or half-flooded Myndos.
One of very interesting tourist targets for your holiday relax, there is Turkey. This country, situated on edge of Europe and Asia, has more and more suppositions to meet requirements of tourists. It became very popular thanks to combination of European and Moslem cultures.
Have you ever heard of the Silk Road? Do you know how long it is or its route? We will join one caravan and will see… We won’t start in China where the Silk Road begins because it would take us 9000 kilometers to its end in Istanbul. Except for Marco Polo not many people walked it through whole. Majority of merchants used just were using a part of the Silk Road, from bazar to bazar where they bought and sold goods.
This popular destination is to be found on two continents – Europe and Asia.
Pamukkale, a location of thermal springs, is a part of Hierapolis. Springs reach the surfac...
European part of Istanbul is one big shopping center. The Asain side on the other hand is usually...
Cappadocia, this unique place on Earth is located on the territory of Turkey, particularly in eas...
In Istanbul, most tourists are mainly attracted by the historical center. What can you see in it?...
When you find yourself in Istanbul, do not just stay in the "European" section. Just the cruise a...
The biggest Turkish metropolis is busy every day, and every minute, indeed. It seems that its cen...
Istanbul is the greatest Turkish town, where tens of millions of people, of different nationaliti...