The Grand Hagia Sophia of Trabzon

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The Hagia Sophia of Trabzon is nothing like its equivalent in Istanbul. Smaller and without any majestic pieces of art, it stands discreetly with the sea in the distance and no presence on the horizon. For many years, I assumed there was one Hagia Sophia in Turkey, which is the architectural masterpiece standing across from the Blue mosque in Istanbul. However, there are four of them, two in Istanbul, one in Iznik and this one in Trabzon. On first sight, … Read More

The Galata Mevlevi House and Museum

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Whirling dervishes fascinate me. Belonging to the order of Sufism, they dedicate themselves to a life of poverty and spinning around, the latter of which I do not understand. Other people take hard-core drugs to achieve the same euphoric state of mind that the whirling dervishes achieve by going around and around in circles. They detach themselves from the here and now, to reach a state of religious ecstasy that I think can be achieved in easier ways. To be … Read More

The Serene House of the Virgin Mary

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The house of the Virgin Mary near Selcuk is close to Ephesus ancient city ruins in Turkey’s Izmir province. Yet despite immense popularity, many people do not take a detour to visit the suspected mountain house where Mother Mary lived and died. Although the Catholic Church never confirmed the Virgin Mary’s house to be the place of her assumption, three popes have visited. The Catholic Church takes responsibility for running the house through donations and funding. The Virgin Mary’s house … Read More

Visit the Miletus Ancient Ruins and Museum in Turkey

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Miletus is just one of many ancient ruin sites that I explored lately on the Aegean Coast of Turkey. After viewing the magnificent Ephesus ruin, all other ancient-ruin sites pale in comparison, but Miletus impressed me. The aura surrounding Miletus open-air museum leaves tourists wondering about the many hidden secrets from the past. These days, many tour agencies operate excursions to Miletus, and I recommend you visit, along with the nearby Priene ruins. About the Miletus Ruins in Turkey Before … Read More

Kümbet Mosque, aka The Church of 12 Apostles

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Full of excitement, I rushed into Kümbet Mosque, a recommended site to visit while in the city of Kars. It was not until, I was on the way out that I felt great shame. You see, I had forgotten to cover my head with a scarf, and this is always requested of women entering mosques. To be fair though, a majority of guidebooks do not call it Kümbet Mosque. They call it the Church of 12 Apostles, a name reflecting … Read More

Gallipoli Battle & Anzac Cove : A Poignant Reminder in Photos

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Today’s post is by Ash Clark, a writer from Australia, who traveled to Turkey to take part in the Gallipoli and Anzac Cove remembrance day, a poignant reminder of the innocent casualties of war. Brighton Beach, found on the coast of the Turkish Dardanelles, is a humble beach with no stand out land features within its immediate surroundings. Put simply, it is ‘flat’ from the water of the ocean to the terrain that leads further inland. From a military perspective, … Read More

Ayni Zeliha Lake : Myth or Legend?

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In the centre of old Urfa, next to the historical pool of Abraham is the Ayni Zeliha Lake. Popular with locals at the weekend, they gather to drink tea in the gardens surrounding it. It is nothing spectacular and my main interest was purchasing food to feed the large fish swimming around in it. There was also the option for a romantic boat ride with hubby but judging from the size of the so called “lake”, I figured we would … Read More

Gaziantep War Museum and the Siege of Antep

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“The city of museums” is a fitting description for the South Eastern, bustling hub of Gaziantep. There are endless amounts of informative exhibitions on every topic but if I were to recommend any particular museum,, I would tell people to head to the exhibition in Gaziantep castle, then onto Gaziantep War Museum. Both concentrate mainly on the same subject, the role of Gaziantep during the Turkish war of independence and more specifically the siege of Antep that lasted from 1920 … Read More

The Euromos Ruins of Turkey

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I love walking around historical monuments and after a friend mentioned Euromos I decided to head there on a day trip. I was told it was old ruins that were definitely worth a look in. Now, let’s get straight to the point here. If you are passing by the Euromos ruins while on the Bodrum / Milas road then do stop off to take a look. Take a couple of photos and get back in your car again. Don’t however, … Read More

Deyrulzafaran Monastery in Mardin : A Travel Challenge

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Deyrulzafaran monastery is seldom mentioned in mainstream tourism for Turkey but it is a must see while in the Mardin region. Built in 493AD for Syriac Orthodox (Assyrian) Christians, it is also called Mor Hananyo or Saffron monastery and was the patriarch seat for the church until 1932. I was eager to visit it, so after looking at a map, discovered the monastery was on the outskirts of Mardin in a region called Tur Abdin. All the bus drivers said … Read More

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul : Last Days of the Ottoman Empire

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Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, sitting on the Bosphorus European side, is an intriguing and impressive landmark. Home to the last six sultans of the abolished Ottoman Empire, in the late 19th and early 20th century, the palace museum portrays everything right and wrong about their rule and reign for over 600 years. While it is easy to admire the architecture and historical tales of their conquered lands, I had to wonder if any ruler, person, or family, regardless of whether … Read More

The Gaziantep Mevlevi Museum

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We walked up and down the street three times, and after realising we were lost, asked a passer-by where the Gaziantep Mevlevi Lodge Foundation Museum was.  Located in the Sahinbey area of the city, it is one of many museums in Gaziantep but we simply could not find it. The passer-by smirked and pointed behind us. We were in the right place all the time but guide books had neglected to mention the entrance is via a courtyard off the … Read More

Kasimiye Medresesi in Mardin : An Old Islamic School

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Kasimiye Medresesi stands on the outskirts of old Mardin. Overlooking the flat Mesopotamia plains, it was completed in 1502 and considering its age, is in remarkable condition. It was a short walk downhill to reach it. No traffic passed and the large wooden door was locked when we arrived. We waited for the key holder to arrive. He was an old man, who I estimated to be in his 80s. His age slowed his movements while he produced a large, … Read More

The Pool of Abraham : Balikli Göl in Sanliurfa

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Sanliurfa is one of my favorite cities in Turkey, even though I originally went there for one reason only. That was to see the pool of Abraham, known as Balikli Göl in Turkish.  As a major landmark of the region, it is visited by many Turks as well as foreign tourists. What is the Pool of Abraham aka Balikli Göl? This pool is believed by Muslims to be the place where Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod. Abraham … Read More

The Turkish Hamam Museum of Beypazari

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The Turkish Bath museum of Beypazari is a small two-story basement building, located on a side street in the main town. Its aim is to highlight the ancient tradition and remember past citizens who spent their time cleansing and washing in the old hamam. Rather than just a visit to a museum, it was for me instead, a big realization of how much my life has changed since I arrived in Turkey as a naïve tourist. My First Experiences of … Read More

The Burning Flames of Chimaera

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Travel websites describe the burning flames of Chimaera as “fascinating”. They recommend the eternal fire of Lycia is a “must visit” when in the Antalya region. One travel writer even went as far to describe a mystical presence which mesmerized her. The flames burn from crevices in the rocks of the Cirali Mountains and ancient beliefs credit this location as the source of the myth of the Chimera, a ghastly creature which is composed of the parts of various animals … Read More

Gaziantep Castle : Remembering the Veterans

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I have always had a love of castles but it is nothing to do with fairytale princesses. They just remind me of my childhood. I grew up in the UK city of Nottingham and spent many weekends at the castle acting out stories about Robin Hood and the wicked sheriff. Therefore, it was no surprise that when I arrived in Gaziantep, the first place I wanted to see was the castle. Located in the Seferpasa area of Gaziantep, the castle … Read More

Flower Passage in Istanbul and Portraits From The Past

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My visit to Flower Passage in Istanbul, Turkey was unexpected but it turned out to be one of my favourite places. Two friends, now used to my obsession with photography and history suggested it as an ideal place to have lunch. Situated on Istiklal Avenue, and known to the Turks as Çiçek Pasaj, it is a place to eat, drink, and be merry. Therefore, you may think I recommend Çiçek Pasaj as a great watering hole. Well, I will not … Read More

Mesopotamian Ruins of Dara Near the Syrian Border

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The Dara  Mesopotamia ruins do not often appear in tourism brochures of Turkey despite their importance in the historical world. The city was a strong fortress for the Romans and one of the most populated areas in ancient Mesopotamia. In recent times, the blame for non recognition is probably because it is near the Syrian / Turkish border. We were staying in Mardin and locals said a drive from Dara ruins to the border was just five minutes. This made … Read More

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