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Turkey - Page Text Content

S: 2011 TURKEY APRIL 16 - MAY 1, 2011


1: APRIL 16, 2011: This was no way to start a trip by leaving my credit cards and passport in the copier at home. After we picked up Jackie, my friend and traveling companion on our tour to Turkey and Greece, we went back home to get my cards. Then Debra drove us to the San Francisco Airport. Because we were now an hour late, we rushed to KLM to check-in and were told that our airplane had been diverted to Amsterdam. Only to be told later that we were now flying to Paris, France and then to Istanbul, Turkey. We finally left at 3:35 PM; flight time to Paris 9 hours 45 minutes. We were soon served champagne; dinner was salmon shepherd pie with mashed potatoes, salad, cheese, vanilla pudding, fruit, and bread passed around in a basket. The airplane was huge with ten seats in a row. Lots to eat and movies to watch during our long flight. We arrived in Paris at 11 AM; then took a shuttle to Terminal F-2 and finally at 12:30 PM we were back on the airplane...a few more hours and we would be in Istanbul! | The countryside was a maze of yellow and green fields; we flew over mountains covered with snow (Switzerland?) and finally arrived in Istanbul at 4:30 PM. | Jackie and Marie --San Francisco Airport | Jackie -Charles-de-GaulleAirport | We were tired but happy when we finally arrived in Istanbul. The Travel Agency rep was supposed to meet us but there was no one in sight. We learned that he was there but our arrival time was different when KLM changed us to a later plane. A phone call to the hotel brought someone to take us to our lovely Conrad Hotel (Hilton chain). As we were driving to our hotel, the skyline looked like Istanbul was a city of minarets. Our welcome dinner had been canceled and our tour guide was no where to be found so Jackie and I had dinner at the hotel. | Ataturk Airport - Istanbul

2: The history of Turkey dates from prehistoric times and is old as humankind. This land known as Anatolia and before that as Asia Minor has witnessed the rise and fall of many great and advanced civilizations. It was here in 5000 BC that the people learned to smelt metal; they developed methods of extracting and casting various objects as ornamental and weaponry. In 2000 BC the Indo-Germanic Hittites established their empire. In 1200 BC the war with Egypt ends and Ramses II and the Hittite King sign the first peace treaty. Over the centuries Turkey was conquered by the Persians and Lydians and other small unities. About 300 BC Alexander the Great conquered the Persians and established monumental structures - many still exist. The Romans came and eventually over ran the Greeks and established themselves in Anatolia but the Greek art and culture dominated the Roman way of life. The Roman rule brought the benefits of their civilization, such as law, hygiene and civil engineering and they built impressive military roads that were vital for commerce. In 324 AD Emperor Constantine founded the city of Istanbul, as a new Christian convert he made the city the center of Christianity. During the reign of Justinian (527-65AD) the Byzantine Empire reached its height and under his rule the Hagia Sophia and many beautiful palaces, churches and public buildings were constructed. In AD 1200 the Ottoman Empire conquered the Byzantines and reached its zenith under the leadership of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in the 1500s. After years of waring and disagreement young Ottomans, obsessed with the disastrous losses of World War I when it was occupied by Britain, France and Italy, fueled nationalist. In 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne recognized the Turkish borders and the Turkish Republic was proclaimed and Ankara became the capital. As part of this settlement, Greece and Turkey agreed to exchange their ethnic populations. Around 1.25 million Greeks returned to Greece, and 450,000 Muslims returned to Turkey. There is still bitter resentment between the nations over the handling of this transaction. Mustafa Kemal was elected leader of the new state and became known as Ataturk "Father of the Turks." He admired European lifestyles and culture and instituted radical reforms. The Latin alphabet was adopted, dress codes changed and surnames were adopted. His country was the first of the Arab countries to create a secular government. Turkey has developed into an emerging economic miracle; but like any developing country it continues to have its trials and tribulations. Tourism is having a huge economic impact on the country. Istanbul is the most populated city in Turkey with a population of over thirteen million. Istanbul is unique as it is the only city in the world that lies on two continents. The main part of the city is in Europe and is separated from Asia by the Bosphorus Straits that goes from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. (Info mostly from "Eyewitness Travel -Turkey.") APRIL 18: An early wake-up call and to breakfast by 7:45. The buffet was amazing with many different stations: An assortment of breads, fruits, cereals, toppings, drinks, potatoes fixed different ways, soups, salad bar, vegetable bar, yogurts, nuts, pastries, meats,olives, eggs any way you want; pancakes, waffles, crepes, etc. All stations beautifully arranged with greenery and flowers. The waiters were very attentive. At 9:00 we are on our way to the Blue Mosque. | This is a whole honeycomb.

3: Ablutions Fountain | BLUE MOSQUE | The Blue Mosque is one of the most beautiful and grand mosques in Istanbul and is opposite the Hagia Sophia. The mosque was founded by Sultan Ahmet I and was constructed by the architect Mehmet Aga. It was called the Blue Mosque because of its blue-green tiles from Iznik. It is the only mosque in the world with six minarets and each minaret has three balconies. It caused a considerable furor when it was constructed because with six minarets it was considered as competing with Mecca, the holiest mosque in the world. The sultan took care of the controversy by adding a seventh minaret to Mecca. Here religious holidays were celebrated and the journey to Mecca began. The Blue Mosque has three sections: the outer courtyard, the inner courtyard and the domed central building. A gallery (women's mezzanine) borders the prayer hall on three sides; women are never allowed in the main prayer hall and are separated from the men. No shoes allowed in the mosque.

4: The prayer hall was roped off and we were restricted to the back of the hall. | Goose eggs used to be hung from the ceiling to deter spiders. Originally candles lit the mosque. | It was a rainy day and I got soaked!

5: This mosque was so beautiful and serene. It would have been been glorious to spend some quiet time here to give thanks to God for his blessings. The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia are truly marvels of the world.

6: The serpent column was erected by the 33 cities which defeated the Persians in the battle of Plataea. It was originally located in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. | This is the Egyptian Obelisk on the Hippodrome. During the Byzantine era, the Hippodrome was the center of activities. There were chariot races, gladiator fights and celebrations in honor of the Emperor. It was also the site of bloody battles and riots. A few of the original obelisks are still standing. At one time the Hippodrome could seat 40,000 people. | Emperor Constantine erected this column in 940AD. The limestone column was bronze-gilded which depicted farmers and fisherman. It was torn off by the 4th C. Crusaders and melted down.

7: Our next stop was Topkapi Palace. This palace is the most extensive monument in Turkish civil architecture. It is a complex of courts pavilions, mosques and fountains. It is surrounded by a strong wall. Topkapi means "Cannon Gate." Because the sultan's other palace was small, he decided to build Topkapi Palace in 1459 AD. Later a harem was added and this palace remained the official residence of the sultans until 1839 when the sultan built Dolmabahce. At one time 4,000 people lived at Topkapi Palace. We visited the Treasury which had four rooms filled with the treasures of the Sultans. The spoonmaker's diamond (86 karats) is the seventh largest diamond in the world. There were items decorated with diamonds, emeralds, pearls , rubies and two candlesticks which each weighed over 100 pounds. The Sultan's throne was of gold and decorated with mother-of-pearl and precious stones. The daggers encrusted with diamonds and emeralds, There were rooms filled with costumes, portraits, miniatures, clocks, and more. Unfortunately it was so crowded that at places you just looked over the heads of people other times the guards urged the people to keep moving. The Muslim religion allowed men to marry four wives. This law was a result of the wars; many widows had to be provided for, and the army needed new recruits. At one time there were 400 rooms in the harem building complex; some of the rooms were for the sultan's mother. | There were guards posted at some of the buildings. | The clothes museum was fascinating - the Sultan's were all painted in different poses - this type of art was hard for me to connect with.

8: The Istanbul Conrad Hotel | Our guide, Alemdar, took us to the Pudding Shop - a Turkish fast-food restaurant. The food was mostly pre-cooked; you put in your order and soon it was brought to your table. I had eggplant, lamb, zucchini, and mashed potatoes. It was served in four different dishes. The food was delicious! After this we went back to our hotel. With the rain, getting wet, being cold and sight-seeing, it seemed a lot when we were suffering from jet lag. Both Jackie and I took a nap. Tonight we had our one-day late welcome: a couple of glasses of wine and then to a nice restaurant. We had wonderful appetizers, salad, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, olives and tomatoes; dessert was apples, bananas and strawberries. To hotel about 9 PM and I fell asleep writing in my journal.

9: ** | April 19: Today, which was our routine for almost the whole tour, we were up early, to breakfast and to the bus between 8 and 9 AM. When we arrived at the Hagia Sophia the line was long but Alemdar took us to the head of the line - one advantage of being with a tour group. The Hagia Sophia which means "Divine Wisdom," has been rebuilt several times because of fires or wars. Justinian in 563 dedicated the church; it has been restored many times. In 1934 Ataturk had the Hagia Sophia converted into a museum. The artistic highlights are the glistening figurative mosaics that once covered all the walls. The Byzantine art dates from the 9th century or later; the vestibule of the Warriors are part of the cathedral's original 6th century art. When the Ottoman sultan's conquered Istanbul, the church was converted to a mosque . Many of the painting were plastered over because the Muslims do not use human figures in their art. | Before a Muslim enters the mosque, they wash their feet, hands and head - the above is an early ablutions fountain. | This is the public entrance to Hagia Sophia although at one time only the Sultan used this gate. | This is the minber or pulpit installed about 1574 AD. | Christ on the throne with the Emperor kneeling before him -- dated between 886 and 912AD. The emperor could be Leo Vi, the Wise. | The area at the front of Hagia Sophia is believed to be one of the original churches. The figures on the large stone in the middle is believed to represent the apostles. No further excavation is planned because of fear of undermining the Church.

10: **NOTE: Because the better color of these pictures, I copied them from: Great Istanbul.com | Virgin Mary with Emperor John II Comnenus and Empress Eirene (AD 900) | Denesis Mosaic - CHRIST THE PANTOCRATOR | HAGIA SOPHIA or "'DIVINE WISDOM' | "ALLAH"

11: In the corners are the mosaics of four seraphim that date from about 1346-1355. The great dome is decorated with Koranic inscriptions. It was once covered in golden mosaics and the tinkling sound of pieces dropping to the ground was familiar to visitors until the 19th century restoration.

12: At the southwest entrance a mosaic from AD 944 of the Virgin Mary in traditional Byzantine blue robe holding the baby Jesus with Emperors Justinian I and Constantine I. | This is the mihrab, the niche indicating the direction of Mecca. | It is from this pulpit that the leader or Iman gives his speeches. | The apse shows a striking mosaic of the infant Jesus on the lap of his mother the Virgin Mary. | These eight large round wooden plaques were placed there when the church was restored in the 1800's. The inscriptions are Allah, Prophet Mohammed, the first four caliphs and two of the Prophet's grandsons who are revered as martyrs.

13: Stone ramp leading to the upper floor. On the other side there were steps going down. | On the first floor there are two lustration urns each carved from a single piece of marble and brought from Pergamon about 1575. | These are on the upper gallery.

14: BASILICA CISTERN: This is a Byzantine architectural marvel that Justinian built in 532 mainly to supply the water needs of the Great Palace. After the Ottomans conquered the city, this cistern was unknown for a century. It was discovered when people using nets were taking fish and water from the holes in their basements. During reconstruction 200 tons of mud were removed. The dome is held up by 338 columns. Only 2/3 of the cistern is open. We walked on raised wooden planks while listening to classical music. Concerts are held here. | These two Medusa heads are evidence of plundering by the Byzantines from earlier monuments. | There were many people waiting to get into the Byzantine Basilica Cistern but luckily for us when you are with a tour group you go to the head of the line. You just hope you are one of the first tour groups there!

15: Our next stop was the Grand Bazaar. In 1461, Sultan Mehet II built the first bazaar, during the centuries the bazaar burned down several times. This bazaar was rebuilt in 1894. Today there are about 5,000 shops spread out in a giant labyrinth of small streets and passages. Most are arranged according to their trades: rugs, gold, silver, spices, candies, fish, etc.

16: I had a yogurt/buttermilk and a snack with this couple who was on our tour.

17: APRIL 20: Today bags out by 6:45, breakfast and on the bus by 8:15. Istanbul with its huge population and traffic it took us a long time to get out of the city. Istanbul is 94 miles long. We traveled south along the Sea of Marmara for a visit to the WWI battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Anzac Cemetery. Now it is an unspoiled area of farmland, pine forests and serene beaches but during WWI many thousands of Australian, British, French, Indian, New Zealand and Turkey troops lost their lives. Every year on April 25 people come from around the world to pay their respects. We couldn't visit some areas because they were setting up for the festival in a couple of days.

18: After our busy day of visiting the battlefield, riding the ferry across the Dardanelles, and a long bus ride, we checked into the lovely 5 star Kolin Canakkale Hotel. After another fantastic buffet, but before bed, we munched on the delicious strawberries that Jackie bought.

19: After checking into our hotel, Jackie and I went down the street to Kega, a large grocery store near Burger King and other stores. This was more than a grocery store it had a huge dessert area, cheese, olives, furniture, almost anything you would need for your home. It was interesting shopping. The dinner buffet was so extensive - I think I am putting on five pounds a day! Our gorgeous five star hotel had two swimming pools, I probably should have gone swimming instead of dinner!

20: April 21: Today breakfast at 7:00; on the bus by 8:15. We drove 2-1/2 hours to Troy. Homer wrote about Troy in the Iliad and Odyssey. Troy is where the decade-long Trojan War (13th Century BC) was fought. The Greeks built a wooden horse and left it outside the gates at Troy. The Trojans brought in and during the night 100 soldiers who had been secreted in the horse, opened the gates and the Greeks vanquished the Trojans. To this day it is a symbol of treachery. Heinrich Schliemann discovered the ancient city of Troy and found its treasure which he secreted to Berlin. During WWII the treasure was lost. Troy has been the most excavated site in Turkey and it is still being excavated. There are nine levels of strata that date to 4000BC to AD 300. Every August the Turkish school children release a white dove from the Trojan horse to celebrate peace.

21: From Troy we went to Pergamon which is perched on a hilltop above the modern city of Bergama. It is one of the more dramatic sights in Turkey. Originally settled by the Aeolian Greeks in the 8th century BC, it was ruled for a time by one of Alexander the Great's generals. Under Eumenes I, who ruled from 263 to 242 BC, it prospered and became one of the great centers of learning. When the last ruler of this dynasty died without heirs, it was bequeathed to Rome and in 133 BC became the capital of Asia. The famous physician Galen was born here in AD 129 and established a famous medical center the Ascelpieum. One of Pergamon's greatest temples was discovered here in the 1870's and was rebuilt in Berlin's Pergamon Museum. A few years before the Berlin wall fell, Harry, Debra, Laura and I visited this museum and were awed by the beauty and size of this Temple. It is astounding to know that the Germans took this huge monument out of Turkey without any resistance from the Turks. We got a round-trip ticket to take the lift to the top of the mountain; coming down it was a little scary because the wind had come up.

22: Alemdar - our guide | PERGAMON | aT ONE TIME THERE WAS A huge LIBRARY of scrolls HERE BUT mARC aNTHONY GAVE MOST OF the library to CLEOPATRA.

23: This theater from antiquity (built in the 3rd century BC) is the steepest known one and it had 80 rows and could seat 10,000 people. | P E R G A M O N

24: tHE Asklepieion or sanatorium WAS BUILT IN THE 4TH CENTURY bC AND DEDICATED TO THE GREEK gOD ASKLEPIOS, THE GOD OF HEALING. iT had its heyday in the 2nd century AD. UNDER THE NOTED PHYSICIAN gALEN THE HEALING CENTER functioned into the 6th century. There were various treatments used: incubation (temple sleep), sun treatment, herbal cures, hot baths, and mud baths. Many of the statues and monuments were taken from herE and put into the museum in bergama | The Sacred Way - was a magnificent ceremonial way lined with columns. Today it is the entrance to the site. | This is one of the first times that the snake, a symbol of medicine, WAS USED. tODAY IT IS STILL USED as a symbol of the medical profession.

25: The Sacred Fountain lay at the center of the city. Patients believed it had curative powers so they drank and bathed in the waters. | On hot days, part of their patient's therapy was to to sleep in this tunnel. Their dreams were to tell them what they needed to do to get healthy. | School children visiting this historic site.

26: After a long day of visiting the marvelous sights of Pergamom and Asklipion, we spent the night at the Swisshotel Grand Efes in Izmir.

27: April 22: To Meryemana: According to the bible, the crucified Jesus asked St. John the Evangelist to look after his mother, Mary. John brought Mary with him to ephesus in AD 37 and she spent the last years of her life here in this small stone house. According to the revelations of Anne C. Emmerich, although she had never been there predicted the location of the house of mary. The Archbishop declared the site a place of pilgrimage in 1892. In 1967 Pope Paul visited the house. The shrine is revered by both Christians and Muslims, and pilgrims of both faiths visit the shrine. Many miracles have been noted.

28: After visiting Mary's House and Ephesus we were ready for lunch -lunches were mostly on our own. When we stopped for gas it seemed there was always a place to eat and the food was usually excellent. Here we were introduced to a new food - not sure what it was called - but it was a pizza-type dough filled with cheese and mostly veggies- lamb was available, and baked in a oven like a pizza. Yum - good!!! | This guy greeted us at the enTRANCE OF THE JEWELRY PALACE. | iF YOU ASKED ABOUT A PIECE, THEY GRACIOUSLY SHOWED IT TO YOU AND THEN THAT PERSON BECAME ATTACHED TO YOU AND FOLLOWED YOU WHEREVER YOU WENT. iF YOU APPEARED INTERESTED IN A PIECE THEY IMMEDIATELY SHOWED IT TO YOU. | wHEN WE FIRST ENTERED THE STORE, WE WERE GIVEN A WARM WASH CLOTH AND THEN A CHOICE OF WATER, SODAS, OR WINE. tHE GREETER SHOWED US THE SELECTION OF JEWELS ON DISPLAY. tHIS WAS JUST A TEASER. AFTER THEIR PRESENTATION, WE WERE USHERED INTO THE NEXT ROOM, AND THE NEXT, ETC. THE COLLECTION OF precious STONES, GOLD AND FINISHED JEWELRY WAS ALMOST MAGICAL! | bOTH JACKIE AND I LEFT A LITTLE GREEN BEHIND!

29: EPHESUS | Ephesus is one of the greatest ruined cities of the western world. About 1000BC a Greek city was built here and rose to fame as a center for the worship of Cybele, the anatolian mother goddess. The city we see today was founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. It was under the Romans that the city achieved its greatness and it is the city we see today. At one time it had a population of 200,000. When St. John was released from the prison in Patmos he came here. The city was attractive because of high standard of living and advanced way of life. John preached his famous sermons to the Ephesians calling u0on the hearers to embrace the faith in one God. He taught that God had no need of a house and that he was in all places at all times. This infuriated the craftsmen who relied on their commissions from creating Artemis in gold, silver, etc. They banded together and stoned him - he and his disciples barely escaped. St. John was buried here and later Justinian built a church over his tomb. | Nike the Goddess of victory! | Early clay pipes for water/sewage | Memmius: was erected in 86BC as a symbol of Roman authority.

30: EPHESUS | {Prytaneion: a place of worship | The Grand theater


32: EPHESUS | This sign for a brothel. Maybe the first advertising? | During Roman period the library held 12,000 rolled papyri.

33: More of amazing Ephesus! | Only men used the toilets and they had to pay. The uric acid was collected and used in tanning sheep skins.

34: Lunch buffet-gorgeous setting! | mOSTLY VIEWS FROM THE BUS AS WE TRAVELED FROM CITY TO CITY.

35: After a busy day sightseeing and hours on the bus, we arrived in Pamukkale, This area is known for its hot springs. In the center of town was one hot spring just bubbling away. We stayed at the Pam Thermal Hotel. I donned my bathing suit and went into the heated pool. The bottom of the pool was brown mud and supposed to have healing properties so I covered my body with the mud and just basked in it. The water from the pool came from a hot spring and each terrace from the pool to the top of the fountain became hotter. I got to the top terrace but only for a minute because it was so hot. The surface of the terraces were rough and from scooting up the layers, my bare skin was bloody sore. | Pam Thermal Hotel with hot mineral springs. At night the thermal springs were shut down.

36: APRIL 23: One of my reasons for going to Turkey was to see Pamukkale the spectacular white travertine terraces next to Hierapolis. The terraces form when the water from the hot springs loses carbon dioxide as it flows down the slopes, leaving deposits of limestone. The layers of white calcium carbonate build up in steps on the plateau. It is sometimes called "Cotton Candy." In the US, Yellowstone Park also has spectacular fountains of limestone. At one time these limestone cliffs were deteriorating so badly that UNESCO stepped in and help restore the area. They diverted the water to the terraces. To protect the fountains from damage now there is only a small area that people can wade/swim. | Gift Shop | There were beautiful gardens and sitting areas. | I went wading but had to be very careful because the bottom was very slippery.

37: Because of the thermal springs Hierapolis became famous as a health spa and was visited by many. The city was ceded to Rome in 133 BC by the King of Pergamon. In AD 60 the city was destroyed by an earthquake but rebuilt. It was here that St. Philip and his daughter spent the last years of his life; in AD 80 St. Philip was crucified and stoned. It is believed the Church of St. Philip was built over his tomb. | There was a smooth rock walkway that went the length of the ruins of Hierapolis, through the gardens and along the travertine fountains. | HIERAPOLIS

38: After visiting Pamukkale and Hierapolis we drove through some lovely high country. Coming out of one of the mountain passes in the valley was a town that looked like it was covered in plastic. Everywhere you looked, there were small to large plots covered with plastic where they were growing fruits and vegetables. We even saw some hot houses that were growing bananas and papayas. There is so much food grown in Turkey throughout the whole year that it is self-sustaining. | High in the mountains there was a man-made lake that had trout farms. We stopped here and had a special lunch. | There is snow in the mountains all year. | We stayed three nights at the RAMADA PLAZA HOTEl in Antalya. We were thrilled to be in one place for three nights! | I-Ming Cheng modeled the hat I bought at the market. | These ladies were rolling out a type of flatbread.

39: APRIL 24 - EASTER SUNDAY: We are up early and left the hotel by 8:45 for a walk through old town. There were many beautiful homes some dated from the 2nd century AD. In Antalya it is illegal to tear down these old homes but they can be renovated. Because of the high cost of renovating many of the old homes are just crumbling. We stopped by St. Paul's Union Church and cultural center. Services were over but the minister was there; he talked briefly to us and led us in Easter prayers. From here we went to the Wharf.

40: PERGE The first settlements of Perge date from 1000BC when it was settled by the Greeks. The city was very wealthy; during its history it fell to many other tribes. Alexander the Great recaptured the city in 333BC. At one time gladiator fights were held here; there was water, sewer and air-conditioning systems. The baths were plumbed for three different water temperatures. The Romans captured the city and continued building. During the early Christian era, Perge gained importance as being one of the oldest communities in Asia Minor. The Apostles St. Paul and Barnabas preached here. At one time Plancia Magna, the city's benefactress built many buildings and her name is still visible in some of the buildings; when she died she was buried outside the walls - her statue is in the Antalya Museum. | Hellenistic Gate - entrance to the city. | Hellenistic Gate



43: ASPENDOS has a similar history as the previous ruins we visited. It was started in the 6th Century BC by the Greeks; the Persians defeated the Greeks; in 333 BC Alexander the Great visited and the Aspendians requested him not to destroy the city and they would give him 50 gold talents and thousands of horses. They didn't keep their promise so Alexander invaded the city and exacted 50 gold talents plus a yearly tribute. By the 2nd century AD the city had fallen to the Romans and Marcus Aurelius had this theater built to seat 20,000 people. It is one of the best preserved theaters and is used today for concerts and other special events. I climbed almost to the top and on the way down, I explored some of the rooms underneath the theater.

44: After visiting Perge and Aspendos, Alemdar took us to this woman's family restaurant. They rolled out this piece of dough until it looked like a huge pizza and filled it with spinach, cheese, and ground meat, folded it into l/3's and then baked it. It was delicious. | We returned to our hotel about 4:00 and then Jackie and I went walking down by the water and around the neighborhood.

45: A few pictures of our hotel: Ramada Plaza Antayla | On the way back to the Ramada Hotel, we stopped at Titanic Hotel and we each had a plate of three different baklavas and tea. Tonight dinner is on our own so we went to the "Fish Inn" restaurant at our hotel. Had a odd salad served with black bread - the black color came from the ink from the calamari; beef stew and wine (39Tl). To bed about 10:00. Tomorrow, we are leaving early to go to the ruined Roman city of Phaselis. | SOME VIEWS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR THE RAMADA PLAZA HOTEL. | DINNER AT THE FISH INN RESTAURANT.

46: APRIL 25: PHASELIS. We're on the road again by 7:45 - we have a full day ahead of us. When we left Antalya we drove about 2-1/2 hours to this ancient ruined city which was overgrown with trees. The land was sold by a shepherd in the 7th century BC to colonists from Rhodes, Greece. They built an extensive town with three harbors around an acropolis on a headland. It was conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. Over the centuries it was conquered by many and finally by the Turks in the 12th century AD. Most of the ruins date from the Roman era. The Turkish archaeologists started excavations here in 1981; about l/4 of the city has been excavated. | This ancient aqueduct brought water from Mt. Olympos.

47: We are on the bus again for another 1-1/2 hour trip to Ucagiz (not sure if that was the name of the little town) to board a boat to visit the sunken ruins of Kekova. It is believed that this city fell into the water during an earthquake. The sunken city was close to shore and we could also see it from our glass-bottomed boat. Then we cruised to Kekova Island. This remote island is a favorite with celebrities because of its remoteness and the difficulty the paparazzi have in getting there. At the top of the mountain is an ancient fortress; there are many saddleback tombs either submerged or on the hillside and ridges. | ** | ** | ** | ** | ** From the "net"

48: At Myra, we visited the Church of Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was Greek born in Asia Minor during the 3rd century AD in the city of Patara and later appointed Bishop of Patara. In the 6thc. AD the church collapsed from an earthquake and was rebuilt by Justinian. In1862 the Russians began renovating the church and Turkish archaeologists completed it in 1963-64 although reconstruction was going on while we were there. After his death, St. Nicholas was buried in this church. During the conflict between the Byzantines and Islamic invaders, the Italian sailors seized his remains and reburied them in Bari, Italy. Recently the Turks are demanding his bones be returned to the church in Myra. Many countries have different legends and celebrations in his name. According to legends, he resurrected three murdered children; gave three bags of gold to a poor man so his three daughters could have a dowry to marry and not be led into prostitution. St. Nicholas has become known as Santa Claus in many countries and is the patron saint of sailors and children.


50: APRIL 26: Today we left about 8 AM and our first stop was "Alice's" leather factory and showroom. After receiving refreshments, we were invited into a theater that was very dark except for the bright lights shining on the catwalk and the models. The men and women modeled the leather jackets and put on a dazzling display with "catwalk" music blaring in the background. Afterwards we were ushered into the showroom and the salesmen really pitched their jackets and poured the wine! Yes, I bought a buckskin colored jacket. | From here we drove through green forests, orchards and olive groves - there were olive trees as far as the eye could see - must have been thousands - as we continued our journey to the arid Anatolian Highlands for an overnight in Konya, the land of the "Whirling Dervishes."

51: It was over 200 miles from Antalya to Konya and we saw a definite change of landscape - we left the ocean and flatlands and were in the mountains. The mountains were covered in snow. Along the way, we saw more agriculture and grazing of animals. The farther East we went the area seemed to get poorer as the house were smaller and the land looked less fertile. | Konya, the famous old capital city of Seljuks is today the center of the province with a population of 50000. The fertile area at the foot the the volcanic mountains causes the dull steppe to become a blooming oasis with grain, poppies and fruits cultivated here. For many Turks, Konya is a place of pilgrimage because of the tomb of Mevlana, the founder of the dervish order. Like much of Turkey the area belonged to a number of tribes until Alexander the Great conquered the area. In the 2nd C. BC the control of the city passed to the Romans. Christianity arrived early here and apostles St. Paul and St. Barnabas visited. In 1219-1239 Konya reached its cultural peak as the Sultan gathered many artists, theologians and mathematicians in his court. Among them was the famous mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the founder of the whirling dervish order. | Remains of the Villa of Sultan Kilic Arslan - a Seljuk landmark. | A stop for lunch. | In the Great Karatay Seminary, a 13th c. Seljuk seminary school, is a superb collection of ceramics and tiles.


53: The Mevlana Museum is famous because it holds the remains of the saint and founder of the 13th c.AD founder of the Mevlevi dervish sect. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi died in 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father. The Mevlana Mausoleum was erected over their remains and it has become a shrine and a pilgrimage site.There are numerous ancient tablets in stone and wood within the museum.

54: The mausoleum of Rumi, the Muslin saint and mystic.

55: Earlier we visited the Mevlana Museum and became acquainted with the Muslin saint and mystic Rumi. Tonight we attended the Sema or ritualistic dance of the Whirling Dervishes. My introduction to the Whiling Dervishes was on my Egyptian tour when we were entertained by them one evening on the boat; another time was on the warm evening desert sands of Dubai wheb one Whirling Dervish took off layers of skirts to reveal flashing colored lights. Probably not what Rumi worshippers approve of - but it was delightful. . Rumi's most famous writing: "Whoever you may be, come even though you may be an infidel, a pagan, or a fire worshipper, come Our brotherhood is not one of despair though you have broken your vows of repentance a hundred times, come." | The ritual represents the "celebration of the wedding night of Rumi when he died and found God." and the realization of the submission to God." The dress and progression of the dance are ritualistic. The high cone-shaped hat is the ego's tombstone, the white dress is the ego's shroud. Black cloak represents their earthly desires. Each beat of the drum and the reed flute (ney) represents a part of the Sema. The Sema has seven parts which symbolizes the whirling dervish's love of God, humankind and all creation. 1) Praise for God the Creator and the prophet Muhammad. 2) The drum sound "Kun-Be" symbolizes the divine order of the creator. 3) The first sound of the reed instrument represent the first breath which gave life to everything. 4) Greet each other and walk around the floor three times. This symbolizes the salutation of soul to soul concealed by shapes and bodies. 5) The dervishes drop their black cloaks to reveal white costumes fitted to the torso, with long. flowing skirts. The dropping of the cloak symbolizes the casting off of falsehood and the revelation of truth. The arms are crossed on his chest to symbolize his belief in the oneness of God, bowing, he kisses the hand of the spiritual leader and seeks permission to enter the Sema. The Sema or whirling testifies to God's unity.The right hand receives God's blessings; the left down-turned hand passes it to earth. 6) Reading from the Quran "Unto God belong the East and the West, and wherever you turn there is God's countenance. He is all embracing. All-knowing." 7) Sema ends with a prayer for peace of the souls of all Prophets and all believers. The Dervishers return to their cells for meditation. | (US$40.00 to attend the Sema) | The hat represents RUMI. | Is it true that Rumi is the best selling poet in the USA? His doctrines are appealing as he advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. He was accepting of all religions and welcomed everyone, including the Jews, to join him in celebrations to God. In 1958, Pope John XXXlll wrote, "In the name of the Catholic World, I bow with respect before the memory of Rumi." Rumi's advice to all. * Be like flowing water in generosity and giving aid. * Be like the sun in compassion and mercy. *Be like the night in covering over the fault of others. *Be like the dead in anger and nervous irritation. *Be like the earth in modesty and humility *Be like the sea in tolerance. *Either be seen as you are or be as you are seen.

56: APRIL 27: We left the Rixos Hotel Konya by 7:45 AM; our first stop was the Agzikarahan Caravanserais. Buildings like this dotted the landscape to protect merchants traveling the caravan route across Anatolia along the Roman- Byzantine road system. The one we visited was built in the 1200's AD. These caravanserais were like hotels as the owner provided protection and shelter for man, his goods and camels.They had a courtyard surrounded by various amenities: sleeping rooms, a mosque, stables and even a Turkish bath. It was under the Ottomans that the caravanserais became a part of the state sponsored social welfare system and played a key role in expanding Ottoman territory and influence. At one time there were more than 400 - now there are 140 and some of these have been turned into cafes, shops and craft stores. | Mosque in center courtyard.

57: The rock formations of Cappadocia were created around 30 million years ago by volcanic activity when the two tectonic plates that make up the earth's surface collided and the volcanoes blanketed the area with ash. The ash solidified into easily eroded material called tuff, overlain in places by hard volcanic rock. Over time the tuff eroded leaving what is today called the "fairy chimneys." The softness of the materials made it easy to excavate in order to create dwellings. As Christianity developed in the area, it appealed to certain monastic groups. With the coming of the Arabs, (7th-13th C. AD) the Christians formed secret underground communities which were expertly camouflaged by geology. | CAPPADOCIA

58: CAPPADOCIA | It is known that St. Paul, the apostle, was in need of refuge because he was being pursued. He and his friends established the first Christian colony in this region.

59: This couple getting married turned around and posed for us.

60: Today we are visiting the open-air museum in Goreme. When the Christians settled in Cappadocia, St. Basil from Kayseri established a cloister and had missionaries educated in order to spread their religion. Earlier Goreme was an important rock settlement but the people had left long before this. In the cones and rock walls the cloister order had their homes and churches. Today, we are visiting several of the most important churches with their ancient frescoes. It is raining and there are many people in line to enter the church. We visited the Church of St. Barbara which dates from the 11th C. | Because I was unable to take pictures from St. Barbara's and the Buckle Church, I copied these from Dick Osseman's web site. | The pictures on the right are from the Buckle Church.

61: The Tokali Church or Bucket Church Is near the main road in Avcilar and is the largest rock-church in Cappadocia and with its many restored frescoes is one of the most important in the area. Some of the frescoes depict the martyrdom of St. Basil. | At the shopping center I bought two tableclothes. Anyone for a camel ride? It is raining so we visited only three churches.

62: We drove another 1-1/2 hours to the cave village of Avcilar to visit Kaymakli - the underground city. The underground cities were refuge for Christians before the Arab invasion. The air supply was drawn through ventilation shafts and consisted of eight levels although not all are open. Each level was connected to the other by narrow corridors. To separate levels, huge millstones - large round stone blocks-were used to close off rooms. These millstones could easily be moved to close off entrances in case of danger. These cities had bedrooms, kitchens, a church, meeting hall, stables and storage rooms for food. Kaymakli was one of the smallest but gave shelter to 15,000 people. | There are few work opportunities for village women but they have found a niche for themselves by making and selling dolls. The doll heads are bottle caps that are covered with material and painted. Some are very beautiful!

63: We stopped at this supermarket/restaurant for lunch. Did shish-kabobs originate in Turkey? There were so many choices! The food was delicious and desserts - it was hard to choose just one! | Our lunch was so good!

64: APRIL 28: This morning I am up at 4:30 AM to go hot-air ballooning over the lands of Cappadocia and the fairy chimneys! | CAPTAIN ESROY FROM GERMANY


66: We were back to our hotel by 8:15 then breakfast and met the bus at 9:00. Today Alemdar is taking us to a carpet factory and display room. We made a short stop on the way at this outdoor market and I bought two necklaces. | Silkworm cocoons are put into hot water and then each cocoon thread is spun on the spools. | Carpet factory and showroom.

67: The men rolled out dozens of carpets to show us the color and patterns. They were beautiful - but not for me today. Jackie bought a beautiful small carpet.

68: After visiting the churches we went back to the Dedeman Hotel. In the lower level of the hotel there were a number of shops and I bought several items here. In the evening we went to an underground cave for dinner and and a folklore show. There were many delightful dances highlighting the Turkey culture; however, lightning not conducive for picture taking! | APRIL 29: Today we are up at 6:15, suitcases outside the door and on the bus by 7:55 as we have a long day ahead of us. Our first stop is to see how the beautiful Turkish pottery is made.

69: The showrooms were packed with many interesting things to buy. I bought a beautiful plate decorated with poppies and a silver bracelet with a porcelain medallion.

71: As soon as we leave the pottery factory we board the bus to travel 175 miles from Cappadocia to Ankara where we will spend one night. The roads are good and we travel through the mountains and then the flatlands until we reach Ankara. Our first stop is to visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, who brought a secular government to Turkey and is considered the "Father of Turkey." The mausoleum is surrounded by an arcade with square columns. The walls of the hall are covered with red marble plates and the ceiling has a gold mosaic with Turkish ornamentation. On the right side of the mausoleum is an extract to the Turkish people on the 10th Anniversary of the republic. On the left side is his message to the youth of the nation. There is a hall nearby that houses vintage cars and boats used by Ataturk. There is also a hall of his personal possessions and gifts given to him by different heads of state. We were just in time to watch the changing of the guard. The mausoleum complex was finished in 1953.

72: Our next stop was the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Turkey's most outstanding museum. After an introduction we were free to look over the museum. The museum displays the achievements of Anatolia's many diverse cultures. Exhibits range from simple Paleolithic stone tools to clay tablets inscribed in Assyrian cuneiform and exquisite Hellenistic and Roman sculptures. The museum was laid out in chronological order.

74: After leaving the museum we went to the Crowne Plaza Ankara Hotel; our hotel for our last night in Turkey. | After checking into the Crowne Plaza Hotel, we were on our own for dinner. Next door was a shopping mall with six or more floors. The mall was a combination of Santana Row and Valley Fair combined (our two nicest San Jose Malls). They had many high-end clothing stores and almost every USA fast food restaurants. I met another couple and we looked at several of the restaurants and decided on one that had fresh-looking veggies for salad (we could make our salad as big as wanted and all for one price)- we each had a big salad, beef rolls and pita bread. I walked around the shopping center some more and then went back to our beautiful room at the hotel. Jackie said she enjoyed her dinner at the hotel. | April 30: We are up early and on the bus by 7:45 to travel the 217 miles to Istanbul. We stopped several times on the way. Our last stop had a marvelous store with a nice selection of souvenirs and I bought a few things. When we got near Istanbul the traffic was horrendous! One of the bridges that we crossed from Asia to Europe reminded me of the Golden Gate Bridge by San Francisco. The traffic was so slow that men were walking amongst the vehicles hawking battery chargers, batteries, Kleenex, flowers, halvah and more.So similar to Mexico! | There were so many beautiful flowers planted in Ankara too! | Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza. | Bosphorus Bridge

75: When we arrived in Istanbul we went directly to the boat for our cruise on the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus Straits connect the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. Over the years there has much controversy as to who controls this major route. The Sea of Marmara connects to the Dardanelles, which was a major battle in WWI, which connects to the Mediterranean. | These pictures show the beauty of old Istanbul and the picturesque parts of the modern day city. | Bosphorus Bridge. | Suleymaniye Mosque | Some of the old monuments of Istanbul.

76: MORE OF THE SIGHTS ALONG THE BOSPHORUS STRAITS | This Fortress of Europe was built by Mehmet II in 1452 as a prelude to his invasion of Constantinople.

77: Some of these old homes were called "painted ladies" | Is this the home that is worth 120 Million dollars? | This tower has several legends. I liked this one the best: That the Emperor built this to protect his daughter from the prophecy that she would die on her 18th birthday. Her father brought her a basket of fruit on her 18th birthday and hidden inside was an asp that bit her and she died in her father's arms. | This is the second bridge that crosses the Bosphorus Straits.

78: When we returned to port, we joined a mass of people going to the Spice Market. In the tunnel leading from the dock to the market there were many vendors. | Istanbul is an old fascinating city. Every year it imports several million tulips that are planted all over the city with millions of other flowers. The city was so beautiful!

79: This mosque was near the Grand Bazaar. | This is one of the few women I saw smoking!

80: After our cruise and a trip to the Spice Market, we went to our farewell dinner at the Citadel. The dinner was very nice: chicken with mushrooms, potatoes, salad and dessert. On the way to the restaurant, we passed some ancient fortifications that at one time was security for the town of Istanbul. Finally to our two year old hotel - The Titanic. | This is Alemdar, the bus driver and assistant. Alemdar was an exceptionally good tour guide. He knew his history of all the places we visited, was friendly and witty. He said the tour guides in Turkey must pass vigorous tests in order to become a licensed guide. The bus driver was quiet and didn't speak much English but he was a very careful driver. The assistant gave us water, special drinks and other Turkish treats and handled our luggage. 5 ***** crew! | As we drove to our hotel, the Titanic, we saw dolphins cavorting off shore.

81: MAY 1:Today we are at leisure until we meet at noon to go to the ship for our next leg of our journey - a tour of the Greek Island. I took this opportunity to get my hair, cut and styled. | I am taking a picture of my beautician. US$45.00 for the works! | Double checking that our luggage is going to the ship! | A smaller van to take us to the ship. | One last picture on the way to the ship! | We've arrived to check in! | This is Lisa our Greek tour guide who will accompany us on the Greek island tour. | Turkey : Hosca kalin and Tesekkur ederim Thank you and Goodbye! | My fabulous roommate Jackie - she was so thrilled to be going on this cruise!

82: Musings by Marie On the road again...and I am off to visit a new country..and one more to mark off my bucket list. This time I am going to Turkey with my friend Jackie and then a side trip to the Greek Isles. Jackie was such a delight and I am so glad that she was my companion on this journey. I hesitated a long time to take this trip but I found Turkey a land of contrasts and was much more than I expected. I questioned: Is Turkey really the "Cradle of Civilization? Is this the final resting place of Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus? Did the apostle John and Paul really travel this ancient land spreading the word of God? From San Francisco we traveled to Paris and then landed at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul - very modern airport. As we drove to our hotel, Istanbul's skyline was a sea of minarets and I am thinking "this sure looks exotic" and I am beginning to look forward to the adventures that await us. Istanbul looked beautiful with the boulevards and every available space planted with tulips and other flowers as the tulip festival was recent and millions of tulips had been planted. We were 23 people on the tour from California to Puerto Rico and states in-between. Most were delightful people and great travelers. As we traveled throughout the country and stayed at 4-5 star hotels, I was impressed with the modern accommodations, the food and service and the hospitality of the people. Our trip was in a modern bus and we traveled over well-maintained roads. We visited ancient archaeological sites that we learned about in school or the National Geographic. We learned names of tribes never before heard: Avatar, Lydeans, Seljuks, Urartians, etc. We visited places that are featured in TV specials, magazines and dreams: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Constantinople (now Istanbul) Troy, Ephesus, Dardanellles, Golden Horn, Bosphorus, etc. The major monuments and historical sites were mostly built by the Greeks and Romans as they brought their knowledge of architecture, building techniques law and hygiene. Especially the Romans, having learned from the Greeks, built cities filled with amazing marble and granite structures. Their sculptures can be seen in museums all over the world as archaeological sites were uncovered and antiques secreted or with Turkish approval left the country. Their many feats of endurance and brilliance is just to look at the sites they left for eternity. In Turkey the food was mostly made from fresh ingredients with a variety of meats, vegetables and pasta. The Greek influence - or is it the Turkey influence in Greek food was everywhere. The farther East we traveled there were fewer farmers using modern equipment. There were more people who worked the farms that looked like "migrant workers." Also the people were more conservative and their dress more Muslim dictated. One part of history that I was surprised was the number of Christian sites attributed to the early saints; including St. John and St. Paul who visited the area preaching the word of God and in some cases dying because of it. Turkey was a truly amazing country with amazing sights and history almost around every bend of the road. I am so happy and feel so blessed that I was able to visit this wondrous country and the "Cradle of Civilization."

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  • By: Marie D.
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