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.
Byzanc was the name of original town, or rather a settlement, located in place of todays Istanbul. During the time of the Roman Empire Contantin I the Great renamed it to Constantinople. After the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, it was renamed again, this time to Istanbul. The city today spreads on the area of 7500 km².
Istanbul belongs to the type of cities you should visit and enjoy its atmosphere and its people. People of Istanbul are kind and willing. If you don’t have a paper tour guide, you can easily obtain a literature in you native language that considers a sight you plan to visit. I personally had a luck to meet a Turkish guide Mr. Shinasi and a Czech guide Ms. Sylvia who both knew much more about cities we had visited together, than paper guides did. My Turkish guide is interested in his homeland and particularly its history for many years. That made his talk even more interesting.
Blue Mosqe is perhaps the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul built by Sultan Ahmed I during his rule over the Ottoman Empire (1603 – 1617). The architect of the mosque was Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa.
The Topkapi Palace is another interesting building that had been used for almost 400 years as an administrative center. Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Ottoman Sultan, built the founding walls. However, the construction of the palace continued until the 19th century when it got its final shape. Almost 4000 people lived in the palace during the rule of the Ottomans.
You can see there the king’s chamber, harem, “a cottage” of Sultan Abdulhamid I and other fascinating things such as the throne of Shah Izmael, the princess’s cradle or the ceremonial throne. Also you can see there china, a glass jug covered with jewels and other things.
I recommend to visit the Grand Bazaar where are many shops mostly selling spices. Across the street from the bazar you can visit the harbor. There you can board some ship that will take you on the ride to see Bosporus. Bosporus is crossed by Bosphorus Bridge or also by Atatürk Bridge that is 1560 meters long and 64 meters above the sea level. The bridge connects Europe with Asia and, if you are lucky as I was, you can see fishing boats sailing out.
Bosporus connects the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea and passing through the strait you will see for example a military academy and many other beautiful buildings. On Bosporus you can also meet some international touristic ships that are, according to my opinion, luxurious hotels on sea.
Topkapi Palace, oficially named as Palace with Cannon Gate, was living nerve of Ottoman Empire in past. It was an official seat of Ottoman sultans and government centre of the Empire within 1465 and 1853. It is situated on place of Greek town of Byzantium, later re-named to Constantinople and consequently Istanbul.
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!
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.
Hagia Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom, in past the holiest building in Constantinople, capital of Byzantion Empire, is shocking, first of all, with its high and wide inside spaceas well as illumination effects, making an impression that the cupola is rising in an air.
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.
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!
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.
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.
As we mentioned in the previous, opening article, the most visitors are far from attracting its historic center to Istanbul. Whether it is the Hagia Sophia mosque, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Topkapi Palace, or just its unforgettable atmosphere in narrow, hilly streets with countless shops. Let's get rid of our article and video.
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.
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.
Pamukkale, a location of thermal springs, is a part of Hierapolis. Springs reach the surfac...