23 of the Best Places To Visit in Turkey

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When choosing the best places to visit in Turkey, get ready for an avalanche of choices. Repeatedly called the bridge between East and West, I often say the country of Turkey is the world’s most beautiful place. However, I admit to being biased because I do not travel anywhere else. Turkey’s ability to amaze is unlimited, though. The proof is in visitor stats that make Turkey one of the world’s most popular touristic destinations. Whether you want a unique experience … Read More

Quirky and Unusual Hotels in Turkey

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When making holiday arrangements, our top priority after getting to our chosen destination is often the hotel. Some people just want cleanliness while others look for perks and facilities. We can choose all inclusive, B&B or room only. Another aspect affecting our choice is the theme and décor. The travel industry of Turkey knows this, and in the last ten-year building spree of new hotels across the country, individuality is a top priority. Gone are the days of ordinary and … Read More

11 Themed Travel Ideas for Turkey

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One thing Turkey does well is entertaining foreign visitors. Its tourism board emphasises their hospitality throughout their campaigns and promises warm welcomes to any foreign nationalities spending time in the country. It isn’t hyped up false promises either because many previous tourists often comment on the friendly, kind attitude of Turkish people. Turkey also promises loads of themed travel ideas for everyone from families to a group of friends. This is mainly because of a 20-year tourism plan set in … Read More

9 Gorgeous Beach Holiday Destinations in Turkey

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When Turkey proudly burst onto the mainstream travel scene at the turn of the century, travel agents lured many people to the country by highlighting the many miles of gorgeous beaches. This is no surprise because three broad stretches of coastline including the Aegean, Mediterranean, and the lesser-known Black-Sea Shores, surround Turkey. Beautiful beaches are not media hype either because Turkey is third in the world for its number of official blue flag beaches. Following, closely behind Greece and Spain, … Read More

The Massive List of Things to do In Turkey

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Welcome to the Turkish Travel Blog and my huge list of things to do in Turkey. The good news is that you are spoilt for choice. Turkey’s rating as the sixth most popular country in the world for tourism proves that generally everyone finds something interesting to do whether their interests are history, culture, nightlife, or lifestyle. Combine these choices with appetizing food, hospitable locals, gorgeous weather, idyllic beaches, some stunning landscapes, and you have the perfect combination of ingredients … Read More

6 Things You Can Only See and Do In Turkey

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Turkey is a country of contrasts; its history a blend between those of the two continents it bridges, Europe and Asia. Over centuries the land that is today Turkey has passed in and out of the hands of numerous empires and been home to a variety of important cultures, creating a diverse heritage that can still be seen when visiting the country today. If you’re considering a trip to Turkey, with Villa Plus or other sites, and are wondering what unique … Read More

It’s Time to Meditate!

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You might think meditation doesn’t play a part in Turkish society but look deeply and it is found in many traditions and customs. The tespi (prayer) beads, typically used by old men who sit all day in tea houses, are a counting tool to help the mind connect to its higher religious purpose. Likewise, the Whirling Dervishes, now a popular tourist attraction, especially in Istanbul use the active meditation technique of the circling Sama Sufi ritual to propel their mind … Read More

Best Places To See Ottoman Houses in Turkey

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Beypazari is a popular weekend getaway for Turks, especially those from the big cities of Ankara or Istanbul. Before visiting, I had considered myself widely educated on places in Turkey, yet had never heard of Beypazari which is actually my shame because the region is widely respected for its traditional Ottoman houses. Ottoman Houses of Beypazari I arrived in the town during the night so my first sight of a traditional Ottoman house was actually my strange but quaint hotel … Read More

2 Turkish Holiday Resorts

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2 Turkish holiday resorts that are popular with all types of tourists are Antalya and Olu Deniz. Antalya is the bustling holiday capital of Turkey and it’s the perfect choice for those who like their holidays action-packed and exciting. Busy beaches, throbbing nightlife and extreme water sports are all synonymous with Antalya. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a party animal to enjoy the holiday atmosphere. What if you’d prefer somewhere more peaceful anyway? Oludeniz may be the … Read More

4 Caravan and Camping Sites in Turkey

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Turkey boasts of a colourful historical timeline, Mediterranean and desert climate, plenty of sun, sea, and sand, nomadic passion, and great cuisine. Therefore camping in Turkey could be a popular travel genre but sadly the Turkish government has never actively promoted this  tourism opportunity to the outside world. Caravan and Camping sites in Turkey Dalyan Camping This coastal site has a direct access to a natural reserve. It is flat and shady with an accommodation facility of up to 15 … Read More

Hiking and Trekking in Turkey

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For anyone who loves nature, getting outdoors and exploring, then walking and trekking in Turkey is a great opportunity.Unfortunately, I am lazy but to help future travelers, I interviewed an expert on the subject. Who is he and what makes him an expert? His name is Matt Krause and he has walked across Turkey, from the west to the east, without stopping. He has encountered many terrains and spent many nights camping under the stars. He is from California and … Read More

The Gumruk Hani in Sanliurfa and Failing to Blend In

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Sanliurfa boasts of many highly recommended attractions for visitors to the region. Nicknamed the “City of the Prophets,” most fit in with the historical travel genre, and the ancient Gumruk Hani was at the top of my bucket list. Built in 1566, it was the main commercial centre. Tradesman met there to trade goods and if they were tired from traveling, used the bedrooms before continuing on their journey. Due to its importance as a business hub, many bazaars, and … Read More

The Scenic Landscape of Inözü Valley

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I enjoyed exploring the cobbled streets and admiring the Ottoman architecture of Beypazari, but I was extremely grateful that my host had a car. Even better, they opted to be guide and driver, so it was guaranteed that I was going to get away from the tourist spots. My host took me to numerous small villages that seemed to be cut off from the outside world. However, I particularly warmed to a place on the outskirts of the town centre, … Read More

Gobekli Tepe: The Ancient Religious Temple that Threw the History World into Chaos

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Turkey covers an enormous amount of land, 783,562 km² to be exact. Many empires throughout history have existed within the boundaries, so obviously, thousands of historical sites have been uncovered and it seems every month; a new and exciting discovery sends international and domestic history experts into a joyful frenzy. As the central hub between East and West, Turkey is a playground for historians and a treasure trove for archaeologists. It can make-or-break careers depending on discoveries made and theories … Read More

Beyond Istanbul: Four Ancient Cities and Towns to Visit in Turkey

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Many visitors to Turkey will head straight for the beautiful city of Istanbul or the resort towns of the Turquoise Coast. Although both have their obvious merits, I think there is so much else to see when it comes to exploring Turkey’s history and culture, especially if you’ve already done the main tourist attractions and are looking for a more in-depth visit. Heritage architecture is everywhere from ancient Roman cities to antique Ottoman towns. Here are four destinations that simply … Read More

Hamzalar Lake in Beypazari

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Sometimes I get so far off the beaten track, that the place is not mentioned in guidebooks and does not appear on maps. This is a problem, when I am researching material for an article but on this occasion, I did not care because in front of me was an astonishing landscape view of Hamzalar lake in Beypazari. Stood on a hilltop, I looked over the green countryside, small lake, and large mountains looming in the background. It was stunning … Read More

Abraham’s cave in Sanliurfa and the Mevlid-I Halil Mosque

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Coming from a Christian background, but living in a Muslim country, has enabled me to learn of many similarities between the two religions. One such example is the prophet Ibrahim, known in the Bible as Abraham. He was born in Mesopotamia, in an area called Edessa that is current day Sanliurfa, although the Bible lists the same region as “Ur.” He is mentioned frequently in the book of Islam, but very few online guidebooks, recommend visiting Abraham’s cave in Sanliurfa, … Read More

Midyat Old City : Churches and Culture in the Mardin Region

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It was an hour’s drive from Mardin to Midyat old city. I had wanted to stay the night but my travelling companion didn’t. He insisted there was nothing to do there, having driven through it three years earlier. He compared it with Mardin where Arabic architecture and narrow streets are the norm. He also called me a nosy bitch when I explained to him that my planned visit was more about the people that lived there. You see, a few … Read More

Sanliurfa (Urfa) : The City of Abraham in Turkey

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We drove into Sanliurfa on a small and crowded public bus. Every seat was occupied and people were squashed together while standing in the aisle. Everyone was chatting, staring straight ahead or at this foreigner sitting in their presence. I ignored the stares because I could not make any more of an effort to blend in. I stood out and had to accept it. Instead, I focused on the sights that whizzed past as the bus followed its scheduled route … Read More

19 Photos of Southeastern Turkey

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In 2012, I started to regret my decision to focus on one country for my travel writing. The buzz of learning about new aspects of Turkey had started to wear off. New experiences were harder to find because after ten years as an expat in Turkey, I was used to daily life. I had based myself on the west coast and apart from the landscapes; it was guaranteed that each area was more or less the same. The only thing … Read More

Kayseri : A City in Turkey Full of Glory

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After a 14 hour bus trip, we arrived in the Turkish city of Kayseri. I was tired and in a bad mood, because  I had not slept on the bus. We were dropped off at the main bus station and took advantage of the free bus into the Kayseri centre. We had to find a hotel and the first one we saw was the Hilton. After a 14 hour bus trip, I had grand illusions of comfort, a hot shower … Read More

Church of the Redeemer at Ani City

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The church of the Redeemer ( Kurtarici kilisesi ) was one of the first churches that I came across when walking around Ani, an ancient Armenian kingdom that has now been added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list. The crumbling church stands near the foundations of an old house. The most prominent feature of the church is its destruction, which happened during a storm in 1957 and an earthquake in 1988. Today the structure is at strong risk of … Read More

The Cathedral of Ani aka the Fethiye Mosque

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Many historians consider the Holy Virgin Cathedral of Ani to be the biggest and most impressive historic building in the region.Built in 1001AD and converted into a mosque in 1071, it has seen much controversy in recent years despite its dormant state. Controversy number one was the decision by the famous fashion magazine Elle to base a photo shot in the cathedral. Public opinion was split in two as fashion lovers declared they loved the article while some Armenians said … Read More

The Tigran Honents Church of Ani

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On the border with Turkey and Armenian, a ruined ancient city holds some stunning landmark structures of which one is the Tigran Honents church. Dating from 1215, it took its name from the wealthy Armenian merchant that ordered and paid for its construction. Upon first sight, its small size dumbed down the intricate architecture but on closer inspection, the extreme detail on the outside of the church won my admiration. Ornate animal carvings were placed on each exterior wall and … Read More

The Ruins of Ani – The City of 1001 Churches

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The ruins of Ani are the remains of a medieval Armenian kingdom. They are a collection of stunning churches and beautiful mosques spread over a large area on the border with Armenia. They are also in my opinion, one of the most underrated historical sites in Turkey. Ruins of Ani – North east of Turkey on the border with Armenia In its prime, the city of Ani housed more than 100,000 people who lived within the city walls for protection. … 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

23 Landscape Photos of Turkey

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I am a great lover of landscape photos and in the country of Turkey; there is no shortage of beautiful places. Every landscape that I see has its own admiring quality that makes photography an interesting and exciting hobby to learn. Even though I have hundreds of landscape photos, I have picked 23 of what I think, are the best. I hope you like them to. Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom, letting me know which one … Read More

Tarihi Yenihan : A Cave Cafe of Gazinatep

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No one is sure of the construction year for the Tarihi Yenihan but 1557 is suspected because of a sign on the stone arch leading in. Built in typical Ottoman fashion of a two-storey building centred on a single courtyard with a fountain in the middle, rooms previously used as stables and accommodation for travellers are now shops selling handicrafts, souvenirs, and shoes. Disappointment at the Tariki Yenihan Unfortunately, apart from an artist gallery, I was not drawn to the … Read More

Five Beautiful Sunsets In Turkey

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One of my favourite parts of the day is to sit down at the end of it with a nice, ice cold beer and watch the sun go down. There are certain areas within Turkey that are famous for their sunsets and you will find professional photographers flocking there to catch the perfect picture. A glowing orange sky disappearing behind mountains or into the sea is enough to make anyone stand still though, whether you have a camera in your … 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

Exploring Kozalan Köyü : A Turkish Village in Beypazari

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On the surface, Kozalan Köyü doesn’t have many attractions and people passing through may decide not to stop. However, it does have a certain appeal, it just depends on what you are looking for. If you want golden sand beaches, pumping nightclubs and foreign cuisine, keep driving. If you are looking for an “off the beaten track destination” that introduces you to local culture and foods, a variety of plants and animals, and remarkable landscape views, then stop. Kozalan village, … 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

View Over Mesopotamian Plains From Mardin

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Mardin in the south-east of Turkey is on the edge of an ancient region called Mesopotamia. When I booked into my hotel, the receptionist said they were not busy and had given me the room with the best view of the Mesopotamian plains.  I don’t care much for hotel room views, preferring to spend most of my time outdoors and only using the hotel as somewhere to sleep. So I shrugged my shoulders in a “whatever” manner. I was so … Read More

A Panoramic View from Sanliurfa Castle

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I was looking forward to touring Sanliurfa castle. Believed to have been constructed in 814 AD, I could see it from my hotel room standing majestically at the top of the hill. The week before, I had thoroughly enjoyed visiting the exhibitions of Gaziantep castle and expected the same. Unfortunately, I was severely disappointed. About Sanliurfa Castle It was a steep climb uphill and for a hard core smoker like me, the combined heat meant I had to rest often. … Read More

Hasankeyf : An Ancient City in Batman, Turkey

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The drive to Hasankeyf was short yet memorable. We had left Mardin and were in the countryside, sometimes passing nomadic tribesman herding their sheep. The sky was dark grey and threatening to pour with rain. In a way, it reflected the gloomly mood hanging over Hasankeyf. The Ancient City of Hasankeyf The town is scheduled to be flooded as part of the Gap project to provide Turkey with more power. Along with other areas, the estimated number of people to … Read More

The Coppersmith Bazaar of Gaziantep

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While the West of Turkey makes every effort to keep up to date with international trends and practices, the same cannot be said of the south east. Now this is not necessary a bad thing because in the big and bustling city of Gaziantep, selected areas dedicate themselves to traditional trades. The local bazaar is one of them and it was the first time I saw a coppersmith at work. Gaziantep Coppersmith Bazaar Called the Gaziantep Bakircilar çarsisi in Turkish, … Read More

Savsat Sahara Milli Park

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Most of my travel plans go smoothly. On the odd occasion though, I do get it wrong and I end up traveling too fast. This means I miss out on some intriguing destinations of which one was Savsat Sahara Milli Park. Located in the North-east region of Turkey, it is a picture perfect landscape scene and I didn’t even stay the night! Savsat Sahara Milli Park – Artvin Turkey Due to prices of accommodation and a haphazard transport system, independent … 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

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

Cultural Connections in Kars City

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Kars city was a destination on my north to east tour of Turkey. Before I left, I excitedly discussed my plans with two Turkish friends. I was going to spend one day in Kars with a tour group, then extend my stay on my own for three days. The mention of Kars prompted astonished looks on their faces.  “You cannot stay in Kars alone” they said. “You will never come back” Now at this point, I was concerned. What did … Read More

Off the Beaten Track in Boyali Village

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There are only three reasons why anyone would visit Boyali village For fantastic views of the surrounding countryside Trekking or bird watching For an unbiased look at village life in an area which is off the beaten track The small village is nestled at the foot of a large hill. It can be seen from miles around but you need knowledge of the back roads to get there without losing your way. The population of Boyali Village is roughly 55 … 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 Best Beaches in Turkey

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Much of my travels plans have been centered on the coastal resorts so whenever I arrive in a destination, the first thing I do is check out is the beach. Some have impressed me. There have also been others that I turned my back on. For example Kemer beach. I don’t do crowds and I hate rows of sunbeds packed in with no personal space. I judge a beach on how busy it is, cleanliness and what the water is … Read More

The Beehive Houses of Harran

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I had always assumed the beehive houses of Harran were small and lacking in comfort but when I saw them, I realized I was wrong. The beehive domes are connected by arched passageways to form one big house around a courtyard. Luxury is not a word to describe them, but they are not meant to be a poor man’s house either. Made from bricks and mud, they were also cleverly designed to be cool in summer and warm in winter. … 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

Hidirlik Hill View Point : A Panoramic View of Beypazari

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There is nothing much to Hidirlik Hill. When you reach the top, there is just a café, some picnic tables, and a row of local women selling spices. Yet it is one of my favorite places in Beypazari Why? I love it because it gives a complete view over the town My obsession started when I sat in a local restaurant staring at a large photo framed on the wall. It was of the town of Beypazari but taken from … Read More

Nevsehir. To the Castle and Back Again

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One town that I wanted to see while in Cappadocia was Nevsehir. It is the major hub for all the surrounding villages and seems to be the centre of everything.  We jumped in the car, set off and within the hour arrived in a bustling city. One thing we did not do before setting off though, was to find out exactly what there was to do. We did not think this would be a problem as surely there would be … Read More

Photos From Kayseri

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I stopped in Kayseri on my way to Goreme, Cappadocia.  Speaking to locals, they said a lot of Japanese and Russian tourists visit the city however hardly any British, American or Australian come. They all seem to head to Goreme and totally bypass the city altogether. This is a great shame as Kayseri is a city with a strong, individual sense of character. There is also a lot to do but because it is all within close range, no longer … 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

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