With one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe, İstanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents. The Bosphorus courses the waters of the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn through the city’s heart. İstanbul’s fate has been sealed by its vital strategic location and its enchanting natural beauty. For more than 1500 years it was the capital of three empires: Roman, Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires. It was beautified accordingly with magnificent monuments and became a metropolis where diverse cultures, nations and religions mingled. Those cultures, nations and religions are the small pieces that form the mosaic of İstanbul.İstanbul’s most important building works started in the Byzantine period and the city was then embellished further during the days of the Ottoman Empire.
Modern and Traditional Together It is İstanbul’s endless variety that fascinates its visitors. The museums, churches, palaces, grand mosques, bazaars and sites of natural beauty are countless. As relaxing on the western shores of the Bosphorus at sunset and watching the red evening light reflected on the other continent, you may suddenly and profoundly understand why so many centuries ago setlers chose to build a city on this remarkable site. At such times you can see why İstanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the world. İstanbul is Turkey’s most developed and largest city, with the latest discoveries indicating that the history of human habitation there goes back some 400,000 years.
The purple years of İstanbul may have started in 330 when Emperor Constantine declared the city the capital of his empire – royal purple is the colour of the Byzantine imperial family. Until 1453, when it was conquered by the O omans, the city served as the capital of the Byzantine Empire. During the reign of the Byzantines, İstanbul was adorned with a number of great monuments, which made it the most magnifi cent city in the world, even during the declining years of the empire.
Striking Multireligious Identity; The identity of İstanbul that began with the Byzantines was further shaped during the period of the Otoman Empire. Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror declared İstanbul the capital of O oman Empire a er he conquered the city in 1453. Over the next 450 years the city was adorned with superb O oman monuments. Building works a er the conquest gathered apace during the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, with the fi nest works built by Mimar Sinan, the Chief Royal Architect. This worldfamous architect put his signature on the silhoue e of İstanbul with a number of masterpieces.
The Ottomans were tolerant towards all religions and dedicated many places of worship to the Christian and Jewish communities so that these peoples could practise their religion undisturbed. Thus, in İstanbul mosques, churches and synagogues stood and still stand side by side as the physical evidence of İstanbul and a symbol of tolerance and fraternity of religions.
As an imperial capital of 1500 years, İstanbul is rich in architectural monuments refl ecting its past splendour. At every turn in the city one can happen upon Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman palaces, mosques, churches, monasteries, monuments, walls and ruins. The old city centre, with its places of worship, government, trade and entertainment, was where the citizens mingled, enjoying the benefi ts of the security and bounty of the state while maintaining their culture and way of life.
The most magnifi cent of İstanbul's monuments are clustered on the historical peninsula, the triangular piece of land surrounded by the Sea of Marmara to the east and south, by the Golden Horn to the north and by the city walls to the west. The Historic Areas of İstanbul was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1985, enchanting visitors with an impressive texture. Sultanahmet Square is the core of the historical peninsula and the most prominent examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture can be seen in close proximity here.
Living Heritages of Byzantines During the Byzantine Period the centre of the city was the Hippodrome and its environs. The Palace was the centre of power, Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) the most spectacular of the religious buildings; the Hippodrome served as the common entertainment centre and the Yerebatan Sarnıcı (Basilica Cistern) supplied most of the city’s water, – all are to be found at the centre of the city. During O oman times, the square where the Hippodrome once stood became the site for the circumcision ceremonies of the Sultans’ sons.
Great Mystic Symbols The most glorious architectural heritage of the Byzantine Empire is the Hagia Sophia which is referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. Aged more than 1500 years old, it is one of the great symbols of İstanbul. The mosaics of Hagia Sophia, which were uncovered a er it became a museum, are the foremost examples of Byzantine art of the 9th to 12th centuries. The Kariye Museum (Chora Church) is another Byzantine monument famous for its fi ne mosaics and frescoes. The Neve Shalom, Ahrida and Aşkenazi synagogues are three of the most important sacred places for Judaism in İstanbul. The Topkapı Palace is particularly important for the Mukaddes Emanetler Dairesi (Chamber of Holy Relics) where the Prophet Muhammed’s Hırka-i Saadet (Blessed Mantle) and Sancak-ı Şerif (Holy Banner) are kept in their golden chests. Sultan Ahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, was built between 1609 and 1616 and houses the tomb of its founder, Sultan Ahmed I, a madrasah and a hospice.
Another historical area of İstanbul, on the opposite shore of the Golden Horn, is the former district of Pera, meaning ‘the other shore’. Se led by Genoese and Venetians in the 12th century, this quarter was inhabited mostly by Levantines and represented the western face of the city. The cosmopolitan character of ancient İstanbul is refl ected in the following buildings there: the Galata Tower built by the Genoese, stately consulates which were embassies before the capital was moved to Ankara, and the art nouveau buildings of İstiklal Avenue. St Antoine Cathedral, a silent and tranquil spot on this avenue, is visited frequently by devout visitors from every religion. Palaces, summer palaces, castles and large mansions built by the O omans continue to adorn İstanbul. The Yıldız Palace and the Dolmabahçe on the shores of the Bosphorus were once the residences of the O oman Sultans, a er Topkapı Palace. İstanbul is also famous for the elegant wooden houses, the yalı, built along the shores of the strait.
Building on its assets inherited from a glorious past, İstanbul is an international city with a fi nancial and economic centre off ering services in banking, telecommunications, marketing, engineering and tourism. International conferences and festivals, fairs, fashion shows, sports and art performances give a new dimension to the life and potential of the city. İstanbul is one of the busiest centres of ‘congress travel’ in the world, off ering every support and service to conferences of all sizes. Great service is available due to İstanbul’s excellent transportation and communication facilities and a wide choice of accommodation equipped with the latest technology.
A stay in İstanbul is not complete without a traditional and unforge able boat excursion up the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores off er a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendour and simple beauty.
Modern hotels stand next to yalı (waterfront wooden villas); marble palaces abut on rustic stone fortresses and elegant compounds neighbour small fi shing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. Embark at Eminönü and stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait! The round-trip excursion, very reasonably priced, takes about six hours. For those who want a private voyage, there are agencies that specialize in organizing day or night-time mini-cruises. During the trip you will go past the magnifi cent Dolmabahçe Palace, while further along rise the green parks and imperial pavilions of the Yıldız Palace. To the waterfront of the parks stands the Çırağan Palace, refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdülaziz, and now restored as a grand hotel. For 300m along the Bosphorus shore, its ornate marble facades refl ect the swi ly moving water. At Ortaköy, the next stop, every Sunday artists gather to exhibit their works in a streetside gallery with the variety of people creating a lively scene. Sample a tasty kumpir (baked potato) from one of the street vendors. And note its church, mosque and synagogue that have existed side by side for hundreds of years – a tribute to Turkey’s tolerance at the grass-roots level. Overshadowing İstanbul’s traditional architecture at Ortaköy is one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, the Boğaziçi Bridge, linking Europe and Asia.
Shore Excursion The beautiful Beylerbeyi Palace lies just past the bridge on the Asian side and behind the palace rises Çamlıca Hill, the highest point in İstanbul. You can also drive here to admire the magnifi cent panorama of İstanbul as well as the beautiful landscaped gardens. On the opposite shore, the wooden O oman villas of Arnavutköy create a contrast with the luxurious modern apartments of neighbouring Bebek. A few kilometres further along stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisarı (Rumelian Fortress) and Anadolu Hisarı (Anatolian Fortress) facing each other across the straits like watchful protectors.
The Göksu Palace, sometimes known as Küçüksu Palace, graces the Asian shore next to Anadolu Hisarı. As the second link between the two continents, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge straddles the waterway just past these two fortresses. From Duatepe Hill on the European side you can wonder at the magnificent panorama of the bridge and the Bosphorus. Below Duatepe, beautiful Emirgan Park bursts with colour when its tulips bloom in the spring. On the Asian shore is Kanlıca, a fi shing village that is now a favoured suburb for wealthy İstanbul residents; crowds gather in the restaurants and cafes along its shores to sample its famous yogurt. Shortly a er Kanlıca and Çubuklu is the Beykoz Korusu (İbrahim Paşa Woods), a popular retreat – in the cafes and restaurants there you can enjoy the delightful scenery and clean, fresh air. Back on the European side, at Tarabya Bay, yachts seem to dance at the moorings. The coastal road then bustles with taverns and fi sh restaurants from Tarabya to the charming suburbs of Sarıyer and Büyükdere. Sarıyer has one of the largest fi sh markets in İstanbul and is also famous for its delicious varieties of milk puddings and börek (pastries). A er Sarıyer, the narrow strait widens and opens into the Black Sea.
This horn-shaped estuary known as the Golden Horn divides European İstanbul into two. As one of the best natural harbours in the world, the Byzantine and O oman navies and their commercial shipping interests were centred here. Today, lovely parks and promenades line the shores where the se ing sun casts a golden hue on the water. At Fener and Balat, neighbourhoods midway up to the Golden Horn, whole streets full of old wooden houses, churches and synagogues date from Byzantine and O oman times, while the Orthodox Patriarchy resides at Fener. Eyüp, a li le further up, is full of O oman architecture, much of it restored, and cemeteries do ed with dark cypress trees covering the hillsides. Many believers come to the Tomb of Eyüp in the hope that their prayers will be granted. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the hill overlooking the shrine, is a wonderful place to enjoy an alternative view of İstanbul.
İstanbul is an international centre for arts and culture with a rich tradition in opera and ballet, theatres performing both Turkish and international works, concerts, exhibitions, festivals, auctions, conferences and, of course, museums.
İstanbul’s private museums, which opened one a er the other in the early 2000s, have hosted exhibitions featuring the world’s fi nest masterpieces. İstanbul Modern off ers a permanent collection of modern art, as well as temporary exhibits, featuring many of the most famous Turkish painters. Santralİstanbul off ers not only artistic and cultural activities but also aims to become an interdisciplinary, international platform contributing to the creation of an environment fostering intercultural dialog and debate. Contemporary İstanbul is the only international fair for the contemporary art in Turkey. Organized every year, the fair is a meeting place for art-lovers, collectors, art galleries and artists from all over the world. The most prestigious of the city’s international cultural events are the international festivals organised by the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, including in their programs the fi nest examples of artistic creativity in the fi elds of classical music, ballet, modern dance, opera, folklore, jazz/pop, cinema, drama and visual arts from both Turkey and abroad as well as seminars, conferences and lectures.
Splendid Entertainment İstanbul also has a rich program of entertainment; bars, pubs, nightclubs and discos are plentiful and there are countless restaurants off ering Turkish cuisine with all its local varieties, not to mention the Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese and Lebanese cuisine. The meyhanes, literally ‘wine houses’, are a special experience and where the main drink served is not so much the wine but rakı, an alcoholic beverage made of grapes and anise. Nightclubs provide splendid entertainment throughout dinner, ranging from a selection of Turkish songs to belly-dancing. There are also modern discos, cabaret and jazz clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district. In Sultanahmet there are a number of restaurants set in restored Byzantine and O oman premises which off er a unique se ing for an evening out. Kumkapı is another a ractive district with its many taverns, bars and fi sh restaurants. People have been meeting for years at Çiçek Pasajı in Beyoğlu for snacks and seafood specialties and nearby is narrow Nevizade Street- the best place in İstanbul for eating Turkish specialties and drinking rakı. On the shores of the Bosphorus, Ortaköy is the best place for nightlife in İstanbul with its nightclubs, jazz clubs, fi ne seafood restaurants and bars. At Eminönü, don’t miss the opportunity to see the fi shermen dressed in traditional O oman clothes serving fried fi sh from their Ottoman-style boats
İstanbul is a shopper’s paradise, catering to all kinds of customers. From covered bazaars and workshops that continue ancient traditions, to shopping malls and department stores, Istanbul off ers a wide variety of shopping opportunities.
Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar) and Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Bazaar) are the two most visited places in İstanbul. Kapalı Çarşı has evolved into its present form over a period of 250 years, and today sells everything from antiques to jewellery, from gold to aff ordable souvenirs in over 3000 shops. Its original function determined by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror was to generate income for the upkeep of the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia). Mısır Çarşısı was opened with a similar aim of supporting Yeni Cami (New Mosque). Today both Kapalı Çarşı and Mısır Çarşısı are places for fi nding plenty alternatives for souvenirs and mementos of İstanbul. As both were once primary trading places during the O oman Period, today some traditional wares can still be found there. Arasta Çarşısı (Arasta Bazaar), situated behind the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, is yet another place where authentic goods and handicra s can be found and Sultanahmet and its environs are other similar areas. Old book enthusiasts should visit the Sahafl ar Çarşısı (Booksellers’ Market), which is situated between Beyazıt Mosque and Kapalı Çarşı.
Hub of Top Brands The sophisticated shops of the Taksim– Nişantaşı neighbourhoods provide a contrast to the chaos of the bazaars. On İstiklal, Cumhuriyet and Rumeli avenues, for example, one can browse at leisure the shops selling special pieces such as home-grown designer products and top international designer brands. Exquisite jewellery, fi nely designed hand bags and shoes can also be found here. For those who do not want to spend too much time wandering in the streets while shopping, there are a number of shopping malls that bring many brands and types of goods under one roof. These malls host not only top fashion stores but also furniture shops and shops selling household goods as well as cafes, restaurants and food courts. Some malls even have cinemas and places to entertain children.
The Princes’ Islands, an archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara, were places of exile for Byzantine princes. Today, during the summer months, İstanbul residents escape to those islands’ cool sea breezes and elegant 19th-century houses.
Büyükada is the largest of the islands where you can enjoy a ride in a horsedrawn phaeton among the pine trees or relax on a beach in one of the numerous coves that ring the island. The other popular islands are Kınalı, Sedef, Burgaz and Heybeliada. Regular ferryboats connect the islands with both the European and Asian shores and a faster sea bus service operates from Kabataş in the summer.
Büyükada is the largest of the islands where you can enjoy a ride in a horsedrawn phaeton among the pine trees or relax on a beach in one of the numerous coves that ring the island. The other popular islands are Kınalı, Sedef, Burgaz and Heybeliada. Regular ferryboats connect the islands with both the European and Asian shores and a faster sea bus service operates from Kabataş in the summer.
On the European side of the Black Sea coast, 25km from the outskirts of İstanbul, the long, broad sandy beaches of Kilyos draw crowds of İstanbul residents in the summer. The Belgrade Forest, inland from the Black Sea on the European side, is the largest forest around İstanbul; on weekends İstanbul residents drive out to this place for family picnics and barbecues in the coolness of its shade. Seven ancient reservoirs and a number of natural springs refresh the air while its O oman aqueducts, of which the 16th-century Moğlova Aqueduct built by Sinan is the most splendid, lend majesty to the natural surroundings. On the Asian side, Polonezköy, 25km from İstanbul, was founded by Polish immigrants in the 19th century. İstanbul residents come to Polonezköy’s pastoral landscape for walks and horse riding and to enjoy the traditional Polish food served by descendants of the original se lers. On the Black Sea coast, 70km from Üsküdar, Şile’s sandy beaches, fi sh restaurants and hotels make it one of the most delightful holiday places near İstanbul. Cool co on clothing called Şile bezi is popular with tourists and is fashioned here.
The city of Bursa, southeast of the Sea of Marmara, lies on the lower slopes of Mount Uludağ (Mt Olympos of Mysia, 2543m), with the city deriving its name from its founder King Prusias of Bithynia.
It subsequently came under Roman, then Byzantine rule before it became the fi rst capital of the O oman Empire in 1326 under the command of Orhan Gazi. Many important O oman buildings still remain in Bursa. springs. Make a point to try the locally invented İskender Kebab, a dish of bread, tomato sauce, strips of grilled meat, melted bu er and yogurt! Candied chestnuts are another regional specialty. The tour of the city begins on the east Known as ‘Green Bursa’, the city is fi lled with gardens and parks and overlooks a verdant plain. It is situated at the centre of an important fruit-growing region. Bursa was, and still is, famous for its peaches, silk, towels and thermal of the city at the Yeşil Türbe (Green Mausoleum). Set in a garden and distinguished by its exterior panelling of tiles, the mausoleum holds the cenotaph of Sultan Mehmet I. Across the street, the Yeşil Mosque of 1424 refl ects the new O oman, as opposed to Seljuk, aestheticism. A madrasah nearby completes the complex and is also home to the Ethnography Museum. Before exploring this area, stop for a glass of tea in one of the traditional tea houses. Going uphill to the east, you pass the Emir Sultan Mosque in its delightful se ing and, a er walking through a district of old houses, you reach the Yıldırım Beyazıt Mosque (1391).
More from Ott omans Now make your way to Cumhuriyet Square (known locally as Heykel) and stroll along Atatürk Avenue to Koza Park where outdoor cafes are sca ered among fl owers and fountains! At the back of the park, a long building named the Koza Han (1490) houses the trade in silk cocoons. From here, go on with the covered bazaar area with its narrow streets, caravanserais and bedesten (covered market)! On the other side of Koza Park stands one of Bursa’s oldest religious buildings: The Orhan Gazi Mosque (1339). Nearby is the large Ulu Mosque constructed in the Seljuk style; a fi nely carved walnut minber (speaker’s platform) and impressive calligraphic panels decorate the mosque.
The şadırvan (ablutionary fountain) lies uncharacteristically inside the 20 dome mosque. Walking west from the Ulu Mosque you arrive at Hisar, an old and picturesque quarter of Bursa. In the park that overlooks the valley are the mausoleums of Osman, the founder of the O oman Empire, and his son Orhan Gazi who commanded the army that conquered Bursa. The cafes of Tophane off er a good place to stop for refreshment.
Decorative Taste Inside History At the Yıldız Park Tea Gardens in the Muradiye quarter, there is a superb view of the Muradiye Complex. The complex, placed in a tranquil park-like se ing, contains the Mosque of Sultan Murat II (1426) that matches the style of the Yeşil Mosque and the tombs of Murat II, Şehzade Cem and Şehzade Mustafa. These contain some of the loveliest O oman decoration and tile work to be found. The nearby O oman House Museum is inside a restored 17th-century building that off ers an interesting glimpse into the lives of wealthy O omans. Other places of interest in Bursa are the Bursa Archaeological Museum, TOFAŞ Museum of Anatolian Cars which has opened recently, the Atatürk Museum on the road to Çekirge and the City Museum. The western suburb of Çekirge has been known since Roman times for its warm springs rich in minerals. Many modern hotels have thermal bath facilities. You can visit the old hamams, too. Yeni Kaplıca (New Spring) was built by Rüstem Paşa in 1552, the Grand Vizier of Süleyman the Magnifi cent. The Eski Kaplıca (Old Spring), built on the site of the original Byzantine baths, is the city’s oldest bath. The Karamustafa Paşa baths are reputable with the best hot mineral waters of the area. Buildings of interest in Çekirge are the Mosque and Mausoleum of Murat I and the tomb of Süleyman Çelebi, a religious poet. The monument to Karagöz commemorates the historical character whose humorous antics are immortalized in Turkish shadow puppet theatre. Last but not least, do not forget to visit the Historic O oman Village of Cumalıkızık that was honored with an acceptance to the UNESCO’S World Heritage List and amazes its visitors with its unchanged air of historic scent.
Lovely Views Thirty-six kilometres from Bursa is Uludağ, is one of the largest centres for winter sports in Turkey, off ering a variety of activities, accommodation and entertainment. The ski slopes are easily accessible by car or cable car (teleferik). Although December to May is the best time for skiing, Uludağ National Park is well worth a visit at any time of the year for the lovely views and wonderful fresh air. A seaside resort town 25km from Bursa, Mudanya has fi ne fi sh restaurants and nightclubs which are popular with the residents of the city. The Armistice Museum is also worth a visit. Just 12km from Mudanya, Zeytinbağı (Tirilye) exemplifi es the architecture and layout of a typical Turkish town. The Gulf of Gemlik, 29km from Bursa, has wide sandy beaches, of which Kumla is the favourite.
Witnessing History Located 87km from Bursa is İznik, formerly known as Nicaea, which lies at the eastern tip of Lake İznik. The city was founded in 316BC by Antigonas, one of Alexander the Great’s generals. İznik was then taken by another general, Lysimachus, who named the city Nicaea a er his wife. A er playing a role as an important Roman, and then Byzantine city, it fell to the Seljuks in 1078 and later to the O omans in 1331. The Roman theatre was built by Trajan (249-251) and on the shores of Lake İznik stands the Roman senate, where the fi rst Council of Nicaea took place in 325.
At the centre of town is the Church of St Sophia, used for one of the most important councils held in 787 over iconoclasm. The church served as a mosque under the rule of the O omans. İznik co-equals Jerusalem and the Vatican in its importance to the Christian world. Among the important Islamic buildings in town, make sure to visit the turquoise-tiled Yeşil Mosque and the Nilüfer Hatun İmarethanesi. İznik is still a small town whose 114 towers have not exceeded its original 4227m of Roman walls. The four gates which allowed access to the city still stand. In the 16th and 17th centuries, İznik was the centre of exquisite ceramic ware production which made important contributions to the decorations of mosques and palaces throughout Turkey. A museum displays the fi nds of nearby excavations. A er exploring the sights, the lakeside fi sh restaurants provide delicious food and a relaxing atmosphere. Five kilometres from İznik, in Elbeyli Village, you can come across a 5th century catacomb and an obelisk 15.5m high built by Cassius Philiscus.
İznik made important contributions to the decorations of mosques
In the province of Balıkesir interesting historical sites seem to harmoniously blend with nature
Enjoy the Natural Life The beautiful Değirmen Boğazı, an area 10km from Balıkesir on the way to Bursa, lies nestled between two hills; on holidays and weekends families fl ock to this scenic spot and its restaurants. At Karakol village, photographers can capture three picturesque windmills. Ancient Penderamus, now called Bandırma, is today an important commercial and industrial harbour second to İstanbul in the Sea of Marmara; you can spend a pleasant a ernoon in the town’s restaurants and cafes. Belkıs (Kyzikos) lies 10km west of Bandırma; in this ancient city on the isthmus of the Kapıdağ Peninsula, the Temple of Hadrian, a theatre and aqueducts still captivate the visitors. The Kuş Cenneti National Park near Lake Manyas is an ornithological site where 266 diff erent species of birds fl ourish – every year over three million birds fl y through this preserve in April and May being the best months to enjoy the wildlife. 13km southeast of Bandırma in Karacabey, horse farms breed magnifi cent specimens of this majestic animal.
Once known as ancient Erteka, Erdek is just 14km northwest of Bandırma. As one of the oldest and most famous resort areas on the Sea of Marmara, it off ers pristine beaches and every type of accommodation. Marmara Island, formerly known as Prokonessos, rose to prominence in the Roman period and retained its importance during the Byzantine and O oman eras thanks to the marble quarries which supplied stone for extravagant imperial building programs. Near Saraylar Village, Marble Beach derives its name from the natural marble that lies just off the water’s edge. In the town an open-air museum displays artefacts which date back to Roman and Byzantine times. At the marble quarry you can witness every step of the quarrying process. Türkeli (Avşa) is another holiday island that boasts spectacular beaches and clear water as well as vineyards and wine cellars. In the Manastır district stands the Byzantine Meryem Ana Monastery.
Heartwarming Waters; 55km southwest of Bandırma is Gönen, one of Turkey’s most important thermal resorts. The fact that the springs were used even in Roman times is witnessed by a 5th-century mosaic from what was originally a Roman bath. The waters come from 500m below ground surfacing at a temperature of approximately 82°C. Another 30km to the northwest, you arrive in Denizkent, a nice vacation spot with lovely beaches. Sındırgı lies at the base of the Alaçam Mountains amid beautiful forests and meadows in a region popular for the weaving of superb Turkish carpets. The rugs of Yağcıbedir are among the most prized in the country and grow lovelier with each passing day.
Nature, Cuisine and History in Harmony Around the Gulf of Edremit in Balıkesir province are some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country where clear waters meet sandy beaches encircled by silvery green olive groves. Ayvalık is one of the most popular holiday towns on this coastline, located in the midst of pine and olive trees. Its houses ornamented with wood and stone are charming, its waters refreshingly cool even in the heat of summer and its sandy beaches golden and inviting. Cunda Island, linked to Ayvalık via a bridge, is famous for its glorious sunsets, its seafood and animated taverns where conversations invariably continue until the early hours of the morning.
Şeytan Sofrası (Devil’s Table), so called because it is set on a tableshaped hill formed from lava, off ers a panoramic view over the 22 islands in Ayvalık Bay. A footprint, enclosed by iron bars, is said to be that of the devil himself. There are wonderful sandy beaches approximately 6km south of the town in the Sarımsaklı area. Altınkum, literally meaning ‘golden sand’, is an apt description of the beautiful beach in this relaxed resort. It is popular with families and has a range of accommodation, with plenty of restaurants and bars for entertainment. There is also an a ractive street market in the centre of the resort and lots of shops. Burhaniye, Ören, Edremit, Akçay and Altınoluk are also among the holiday towns which a ract vacationers interested in a relaxing holiday with beautiful scenery and a wealth of historical and archaeological sites.
In 1451 Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of İstanbul, built one fortress on the European side of the Çanakkale Strait at Kilitbahir and one on the opposite shore at Çimenlik to control the passage of ships through the strait. Today the Çimenlik Fortress serves as a military museum dedicated to the World War I Ba les of Çanakkale. The Historic National Park of the Gelibolu Peninsula from troy to gallipoli
The city of Çanakkale lies at the narrow 1200m entrance to the Çanakkale Strait (Dardanelles) that connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean. Passenger and car ferries run daily between Çanakkale on the Asian side and Eceabat and Kilitbahir on the European side. Yachts navigating the straits stop at the well-equipped Çanakkale Marina to allow tourists more time in the area. Hotels, restaurants and cafes along the promenade off er visitors a place to enjoy the harbour, as well as providing a view of the Kilitbahir Fortress and Çanakkale Archaeological Museum. What is more, the Archaeological Site of Troy was added to the World Heritage Cultural List of UNESCO, inviting history fans to its magnifi cent ancient se lement ruins.
The Historic National Park of the Gelibolu Peninsula was established to honour the 500,000 soldiers who lost their lives in Gelibolu, also known as Gallipoli. In 1915, Mustafa Kemal, the commander of the Turkish army, led a successful campaign to drive out allied powers from the area. The park accommodates memorials, monuments and cemeteries as well as the natural beauty of the Arıburnu Cliff s and Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake). The beauty of the green hills, sandy beaches and blue waters are an honourable resting place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died in this historic ba le. One cannot help but sense the heart of the Turkish nation in the patriotic spirit of Gallipoli. As the largest of the Turkish islands, Gökçeada is ringed with pristine bays. Its hills covered with the green of pine and olive trees are do ed with sacred springs and monasteries. Regular ferry boats make the trip from Çanakkale and Kabatepe possible and in August both islanders and tourists gather for colourful local fairs. As you get near to Bozcaada Island, the Venetian castle captures your a ention. Then your eyes are drawn to the glistening white houses and restaurants and cafes which line the promenade. Wine seems as plentiful as water on this island and a tour reveals many vineyards and wine cellars. There are good sandy beaches at Ayazma, Poyraz and İğdelik.
Legends and Temples Homer immortalized Troia (Troy) in his stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. Archaeological excavations have revealed nine separate periods of se lement here including ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre. A large and symbolic wooden Trojan horse marks the legendary war today. The ancient harbour of Alexandria-Troas was built in the 3rd century BC and St Paul passed through the city twice on his third missionary journey going on to Assos. The acropolis of Assos (Behramkale) is 238m above sea level, with the Temple of Athena being constructed on this site in the 6th century BC. This Doric temple is currently being restored to its former glory and role as guardian of the Biga Peninsula and Gulf of Edremit. Wander around to see the moonlight sca ered through the temple ruins! Or rise early for the awakening dawn over the acropolis! From the top you can take in the magnifi cent vista of the Gulf of Edremit and appreciate this heavenly location. On the terraces descending to the sea are agoras, a gymnasium and a theatre and from the northern corner of the acropolis, you can see a mosque, a bridge and a fortress, all built by Sultan Murat I in the 14th century. Down below lies a tiny and idyllic ancient harbour. Assos has gained the reputation of being the centre of the Turkish artistic community with its lively, friendly and bohemian atmosphere – this may be the place you will always remember for years to come. In the village of Gülpınar, 25km west of Behramkale, is the ancient city of Chryse where the 2nd-century BC temple of Apollo is located. Babakale, a scenic village of houses terraced on a cliff which drops to the sea, is 15km west of Gülpınar that is located on an unmarked road that follows the jagged coastline.
The Legend Unveiled The town of Biga has given its name to an entire peninsula; it is a town of parks and a good place to see houses built in the traditional style. The closest beaches are at Karabiga, Şahmelek and Kemer where you will fi nd reasonably priced accommodation. Karabiga was associated in ancient times with the god Priapos and thus has roots of fertility cult. Çan is well known for its ceramics and sulphur springs which are thought to be helpful for various disorders of liver, intestine and urinary tract. Two other hot springs can be found at nearby Külcüler and Kirazlı. Kaz Dağı (Mount Ida, 1774m) is situated at the southern tip of Çanakkale and in the beautiful Kaz Dağı National Park among its magnifi cent landscapes, restful green areas and several hot springs. Here in Pınarbaşı, the world’s fi rst beauty contest was held between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. According to the legend, the Evil Goddess of Discord, Eris, who was not invited to the marriage banquet of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis, threw a golden apple marked ‘For the fairest’ into the banqueting hall.
All the goddesses wanted it and in the end the choice was narrowed down to Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. They asked Zeus to judge but he refused and told them to go to Mount Ida, near Troy, where the young prince Paris would judge their cases. Paris was doing shepherds’ work as his father Priam, the King of Troy, had been warned that this Prince would some day be the ruin of his country, and so had sent him away. The goddesses all off ered him bribes so the choice was not easy. Hera promised to make him the Lord of Europe and Asia; Athena that he would lead the Trojans to victory in war; and Aphrodite that the fairest woman in the world should be his. He chose the last and gave Aphrodite the golden apple. That was the judgement of Paris, famed everywhere as the real reason behind the Trojan War.
A knowledge of mythology is not a prerequisite for enjoying the beautiful, restful green of Pınarbaşı though with its hundreds of fresh springs, beautiful trees shading the picnic areas and the invigorating hot springs of Güre. At the northern entrance to Kaz Dağı National Park, via Bayramiç and Evciler, are the main daily camping facilities. Haklım, Hamdibey and Akçakoyun are the towns popular for nature tourism. In Bayramiç, 60km from Çanakkale, can be found the beautiful 18th-century O oman Hadimoğlu Mansion with an ethnographical museum.
In the north of Tekirdağ on the border between Greece and Turkey, Edirne (Adrianople) is located, which was for some years the O oman capital.
In the 18th century, it was one of the seven largest cities in Europe. Set on a verdant plain of poplar trees near the junction of the Tunca and Meriç rivers, this gracefully historical city welcomes visitors as they make their way to İstanbul and other points east. The people of Edirne trace their origins back to the rule of the Macedonians. The Roman Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city and renamed it Hadrianople a er himself. With the division of the Roman Empire, the Byzantines claimed Edirne. In 1361 Sultan Murat I added it to his empire. The city’s role as the capital of the O oman Empire for almost 100 years accounts for its many historically and architecturally important buildings. With its mosques, religious complexes, bridges, old bazaars, caravanserais and palaces, Edirne is a living museum.
Enchanting Mosques The Eski Mosque is the oldest O oman structure in Edirne, and built by Mehmet I between 1403 and 1414. The white marble of its portal contrasts with the building’s cut stone and brick masonry, while calligraphic inscriptions of Koranic verses decorate the interior. The Üç Şerefeli Mosque, built by Murat I between 1438 and 1447, presages Sinan’s great mosque architecture and embodies a new freedom from restraint as well as advances in engineering. The northwest minaret has three galleries, giving the mosque its name and it was the highest minaret until those of the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne eclipsed it. Towards the end of the 15th century, Beyazıt II commissioned the architect Hayre in to build him a complex in Edirne that would include a mosque, darüşşifa (hospital), madrasah, kitchen and store rooms. The mosque is square and crowned with a high dome. Over 100 domes cover the remainder of the complex. The most important of the other buildings is the darüşşifa which stood out in its time as being a modern hospital with a unique architectural design. Li le has changed in the Kaleiçi section of Edirne since the Middle Ages, with narrow streets lined with houses winding through the area. The number of small restaurants and cafes refl ect the district’s current renaissance. Sinan built several of the famous baths in Edirne including the Sokollu, Tahtakale, Mezit Bey, Beylerbeyi and Gazi Mihal hamams. His work is also seen at the Ahmet Paşa Caravanserai and the Rüstem Paşa Caravanserai of 1561 – the la er was renovated and today it serves as a charming hotel. The old bedesten of the early 15th century still functions as Edirne’s main market. As you drive around the area, you will spot many lovely O oman bridges gracing the Tunca and Meriç rivers.
Colourful Traditions Edirne has retained many of its colourful traditions and customs. Every summer the Kırkpınar oil wrestling contests are held at an emerald green meadow in Sarayiçi. Shiny, slippery bodies grapple with each other to decide on the champion wrestler.
As you walk through the city and peer into the corners of the grocery stores, you see blocks of white feta cheese, a local specialty. Hardaliye, another of the city’s delicacies, is a grape drink mixed with mustard and marzipan. Scented soaps, earthenware pots and straw baskets from Edirne make good souvenirs. You will also fi nd it diffi cult to resist the beautiful embroidery work of the local women. The Archaeology and Ethnography Museum traces the history of the area from prehistoric to Byzantine times and exhibits clothing from the late O oman period. At the Turkish Islamic Art Museum, examples of O oman architectural details, calligraphy, manuscripts, Korans, weapons, glass and an imperial tent used on military campaigns are on display.
Much More On the way to the Saroz Gulf in the Aegean Sea, you can stop at Uzunköprü to see an interesting bridge built by Murat II in 1444 spanning the Ergene River. Its 174 arches make up its 1392-m length. The mild climate and beautiful surroundings of the Saroz Gulf invite holidaymakers for a relaxing break.
Stosunki dyplomatyczne pomiędzy Osmanami (Imperium Osmańskim) i Królestwem Polskim zostały nawiązane w 1414 roku, ponieważ oba państwa były bezpośrednimi sąsiadami od późnego średniowiecza do końca 18. wieku.
600-lecie nawiązania stosunków dyplomatycznych było obchodzone w 2014 roku.
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