Turkey: Istanbul – Adventurous Vacation III
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.
Today it is a museum. The sultan would certainly boast with his famous Topkapi dagger, treasures filled with emeralds and rubies, golden throne, and the 86 carat spoon diamond. Allegedly, the diamond was thrown into the sewer. Later it was discovered by a “dustman” who regarded it as a worthless piece of glass. He traded it for three spoons he considered more valuable.
We were astonished by the beauty. We just miss there women’s jewels. It is certain that ifts from the sultan to his concubines and wives are not the property of the empire. It is theirs. So we won’t see them again. . Therefore they will offer you beautiful jewels at the great bazaar, saying Roxelana , well-known wife of Sultan Suleiman , wore them. Or famous beautiful women of Cherkessia. We continue to the Bagdat and Yerevan pavilions. They were built as memorials to the great military victories. The Bagdat pavilion was built by Murat IV to celebrate the conquest of Baghdad in 1638.
The Topkapi Palace is furnished in the style of Nomadic tents. It consists of four courtyards, lower castle, and other important buildings, such as bakery, school, hospital, etc. There used to be the seat of government, i.e. Divan, palace school for Janissaries (members of the infantry units of the Ottoman army), harem, armory, and mint. The word harem means prohibited. There sultan wives, concubines, and their children lived. Firstborn sons were in constant danger of being poisoned or murdered. Because of this a terrible countermeasure was invented. Potential successors to the throne were locked in cages around of an area of 20 sqmeters. They couldn’t get out and nobody could go there. No wonder some of them became insane ... For example, Sultan Ibrahim was nicknamed Deli, or crazy in English. One day he had woken up and thought that all his concubines and wives were definitely cheating on him. So he decided to put them into sacks and throw them into the Bosphorus. Only one managed to get out of the bag and fortunately also knew how to swim. A French ship saw her, rescued her and took into Paris, where this woman lived the rest of her life and wrote a book about her experiences as one of the concubines.
The major protectors of the sultan were Janissaries. They lived in the Topkapi Palace, together with the sultan. They were abducted from Christian families to gain an important position, good salary, but were not allowed to have a wife or family. For example, the Janissaries band inspired a significant composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, and others, or timpani were made according to the pattern of the drums of the Janissaries band ... It is like one wandered in time and space, through a magical corner of this oriental palace.
We go to Eminonu Square and head up a steep hill directly to Sulejmanyi, i.e. the mosque of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. It takes us twenty minutes to get there. We walk through the courtyard and pass a little tucked modest tomb, on which is written that this is the tomb of the giant Mimar Sinan, who apparently remained himself, humble and satisfied with his extensive architectural work and his live. We slowly step inside and what a surprise! Or a disappointment? The inside dome is huge as the columns supporting it on all sides. But at least it is decorated. Architect Mimar came up with the idea. He wanted to arouse awe in the visitor over the size of the building itself. Anyway, you can enjoy this magnificent building without being distracted by ornate tiles, mosaics and stucco. With this in mind, you will get rid of the feeling of disappointment and let the mosque to impress you ......
To be continued...
Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Right now I have been sitting on a bench on a railroad station. I am waiting impatiently for our bus to get started on a direction to Istanbul. I will see it with my naked eye, finally! This magnificent city attracts every traveler looking forward to fabulous adventure!
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.
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.
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.
This popular destination is to be found on two continents – Europe and Asia.
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