Time and again, I have often felt the need to disconnect and once again when this thought besought me, I took off – this time, smitten by the ruins of the Ottoman and Byzantian Empire, I visited Turkey to experience the unique blend of its diverse Greco-Roman & Islamic culture with the offshoots of the Western world. Turkey is the crossroad, the meeting point of two continents, Asia and Europe. It is a truly cosmopolitan place, an age-old crossroads where European charm is forever having a love affair with Oriental mystique. It is a gateway between the new and the old, a unique blend of modern and traditional.
I visited Cappadocia and Istanbul – two very diverse places with absolutely different offerings – one is peaceful and serene, the other vibrant and alive.
Cappadocia’s landscape is unlike any other place and arouses images of fairy chimneys, geological wonders, the tranquil valleys and skyful of colourful hot air balloons.
Istanbul connects the two continents, the Old City and Galata districts from the European side which are connected to the Asian side by several bridges. Istanbul is surrounded by beautiful sparkling water, the Sea of Marmara or Bosphorus – adding a gorgeous dimension to it.
Turkey boasts of several historical monuments and gastronomical delight. A mecca for shoppers, it mesmerises the mind and captures the heart. The vibrant colours of the city, its rich art – soulful music and dance – allures one and all, offering something for everyone in its mystical ways.
The Historical heritage
Ayasofya or Hagia Sophia Mosque, view of its interior
Sultanahmet Camii or Sultan Ahmed Mosque also called the Blue Mosque, one of its arcs
Inside Sultan Ahmed and Hagia Sophia
Rüstempaşa Camii or Rüstem Pasha Mosque, its exquisite interiors made with Iznik tiles
Interiors of Rustem Pasha and the well lit Hagia Sophia
Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayı) or Topkapi Palace, a fountain inside the palace
Minaret at Hippodrome and at the Blue Mosque
Frescoes (Paintings) in churches carved in Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi), the remains of saint at the Goreme Open Air Museum
Panoramic and Spectacular landscapes
Churches and Chimneys churches in the rose valley
The valleys at Cappadocia and Asian side of Bosphorus
Çay (Turkish tea) and Kahve (Turkish coffee)
Cherry juice and Orange juice
The Main Course
Testi Kebabi – Pottery kepab and vegetables. Cooked in clay pots and served with an assortment of naan, rice, salad and lemon
Lokums (Turkish Delights)
Pistachio Aşure (sweet rice pudding), Flavoured Aşure
Dondurma (Turkish Ice cream)
The Street Food
Turkish Bagels and Roasted Nuts
The vivacious colours of shopping
Mısır Çarşısı or Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) and Grand Bazaar or Büyük Çarşı
Spices and the aromas
Tea for all reasons and cures
Delectable Turkish delights in some exotic flavours too
Mementos to ward the evil eyes off
Hand painted porcelain wares – to embellish the walls
some to make eating more fun
To adorn the feet – for the young and younger ones
The lanterns to light up in many hues
Turkish carpets and rugs
Rare stones and gems to indulge
And some fresh blooms too
Even the streets are strewn in multiple hues – some real, some not
The fun,frolics and adventure
Hot air balloon ride
Making pots with porcelain and fishing on the street
Feeding the pigeons and dancing away at Club Reina
These are just some of the innumerable things I saw. Turkey has so much to experience and absorb that one trip will be doing disservice to self.