Turkey: Oriental Temptation
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.
It is not only the land of Turks, but other multicolored nations and cultures that moved from one part of the land to other. Like waves in the ocean. Lets make a mosaic of particular things we know about this land. The land of Homer of Smyrna; Herodot of Halikarnasus – the father of historiography; and the scene of the most known battle of history – the battle of Troy.
Our journey starts on south close to Antalya, at the place of legendary eternal fires. These fires symbolize the freedom of the proud and fearless Lykia nation. It is the land where the Olympian god of the sun Apollo . The legend tells us about bloody beast known as Chimera defeated by pretty Bellarofones on his flying horse Pegasus. They say he dealt with the beast bravely. He shot fire arrows on it from the sky and these fires on a steep hill that we are going to visit, are last breaths of the dying beast.
Our course along the coastline will be approximately 70 kilometers long and it will start in Antalya and end in Olympos.
Those longing for some adventure will most certainly visit the Göynük canyon (ca. on the 30th kilometer of our journey) and there they will scramble through small lakes and boulders in a wild river up to a beautiful falls. Brave ones equipped with neoprene and ropes can continue on. Above you can see boulders wedged between two cliffs under which you must slide. Experiencing that you can’t stay unexcited. Splashing under the falls is simply amazing. Next is an expedition to the cilization – we stop in near Kemer a fast growing summer resort (ca. 36th kilometer of our journey).
The center of Kemer located in the Moonlight Park bay appeals to bring you there for a walk during moonlight. We reach Nomad tents with dummies, which represent their nomadic way of life. Behind tents there is also a small museum where enjoy a splendid Turkey tea while sitting within pillows on carpet. Close to a shop we stare at glimmering night lights of Kemer. They attract travellers and dancers to enjoy wild parties and unbridled dances until dawn. Above Kemer as above entire Turkey waves a Turkish flag on a nearby hill. Our next stop is thus clear. We climb up to it and make photos of a fascinating panorama of blue-green bay Moonlight filled hawksbill sea turtles. They timidly peep out on the surface and fearfully swim among excited swimmers.
I recommend you to borrow bicycles or jeep while you are in Kemer and then move off right to mountains to enjoy a beautiful landscape covered with forests, canyons and cold rivers. Climb up on plateau and breath fresh air. Maybe you will see some turtles, snakes or a wild boar… Those who love nature and making photos will most certainly enjoy the place.
Glance up and above Chimera you will see a noble mountain Tahtali Daği (2365 m above the sea level) or Tahtali Daği Olimpos (approximately on the 45th kilometer of our journey). If you have a chance, don’t miss the opportunity to paraglide from the mountain to Olimpos beach or Tekiroy. You will experience excitement and freedom. Run with your pilot fast until your breath holds and you take off like a bird. Nowadays you can get on Tahtali Daği Olimpos by superfast cableway, no matter if its to paraglide or to see cedars. The cableway was built by a Swiss company, however, the construction was surveyed by Czechs from a geodesy in Krkonoše mountains. They had to take their devices up to the mountain and it took them about 7 hours. Travelling by the cableway you reach the top in about 11 minutes. It is up to you what you choose. During winter Tahali is covered in snow and Turks are due to that thinking about constructing a ski resort. Maybe… perhaps… simply Inschalak - if Allah let us
Follow me, pilgrim. We travel to the town of Olympos (on approx.. 70th kilometer of our journey). It was one of the first cities that joined the Lykia League, sort of old European Union. However, due to its forbidden market with pirates it was later expelled from the league. In 1970s the Olympos National Park had been a popular place for Hippies . The beautiful nature there fascinates tourists until today. You can find here also a curious hostel with solar panels on rooftops named KADIR houses. When you will be hungry, go to Ulupinar to have some roasted trout and champignons in a dissolved cheese. These delicatessen you will eat not in a ordinary restaurant but you will sit at the tables placed in the bubbling, fizzing and streaming freezing cold river.
Not far away in a pine grove is hidden border city of Lykian empire - Phaselis. The city had a strong influence thanks to olive oil sent by an aqueduct, or rather “oilduct” from a far city of Thermesos. In Phaselis locals gather oil to amphoras, put it on ships and distributed over the whole Mediterranean region. Moreover, in near mountains there grow rare Lebanese cedars in 1000 meters above the sea level. They were protected by already by Emperor Hadrianus, because they were used to built ships.
Turkey is a colorful and huge country. It is not only a so-called bridge between Europe and Asia, but rather a paradise where people settled and developed their crafts. Leave the boredom of everyday life and enjoy the excitement this country offers.
Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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