Turkey: Istanbul – Adventurous Vacation V
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.
The construction was done by German - -British company. Plans to seize Bosporus had been there for a long time. Even Persian King Dareios built the first pontoon bridge over the strait during his campaign against Scyths in 512 B. C. Later the giants of renaissance dreamt about such a bridge. Among them was Leonardo da Vinci or Michalangelo. Unfortunately it was nothing more than a project. We go on to the second bridge of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bridge was built in three years (1985-1988). It was necessary because the first bridge we mentioned was very busy. This one has eight lines 1500 meters long and 40 meter wide The construction is carried by two pylons more than 100 meters high. The road is at 65 meters above the sea level.
To the right in front of the bridge you can see Rumeli Hisari fortress. It was built on the narrowest point of the Bosporus (660 m). The fortress was built by Sultan Mehmet Fatih in 1451-52, i.e. not long before his attack on Constantinopol. He had hoped that the Asian fortress Anadolu Hisari will help him with the other fortress to control the strait. Until then Genoese and Venetian ships freely sailed through. He also would be able to limit grain import from the Black Sea to the Byzantine Empire thus cease supplies.
His artillery founder Urban helped him to install the most modern medieval invention – cannons. The fortress was built by three pashas: Halil, Zaganos and Saruca. They had to finish their work in four moths otherwise the Sultan would chop off their heads. They were among the closest advisors to the Sultan during the siege of Constantinopol. Today, festivals and music concerts are held there.
Nice wind blows on a ship. I imagine the Argonauts sailing here to seek the Golden Fleece. There is this story: Jason sought to get control over the Golden Fleece as the symbol of wealth and power. The Fleece rested in a distant land of Kolchida in holy oak forest. To get it he had to sail across the Bosporus. The water there was instantly boiling as it crushed the cliffs. King Fineus of Bithia told them that the would sail it across only if a pigeon had flew across it safe. There the heroes let the pigeon go. It flew across yet the cliffs squeezed its tail feathers. The Argonauts paddled for their life. They almost died yet Athena pushed their ship forward thus their ship was damaged only on its tail. As the pigeon lost its tail feathers… The mission was a success.
Now our ships turn, we slowly cruise back. It is beautiful here. They say that the strait is one of the most beauitufl in the world. Slowly we reach Golden Horn and say goodbye to our guide. I say hi to my cotraveler Naomi. I will send her a postcard. I am happy that I have visited Istanbul. I get on “dolmush” (local public transportation) and travel to a bus station to return by night bus to Bodrum.
Every year around 300 000 immigrands from different regions and of different ethnics come here. Mutual tolerance and respect reflect on the unique atmosphere of the city. It seems that Istanbul doesn’t just connect seas and continents but people as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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