As westerners around the world can tell you, at the end of a night on the booze the best way to say sorry to your body is by throwing a kebab into it. A handy Turkish (and, of course, Greek) cure to an international malady, but what do Turks themselves do? One answer is işkembe… Read more »
You probably didn’t know Turkey’s real name, you might have been confused about which city is the capital, and you probably thought tulips came from the Netherlands. It turns out, you were probably wrong. There is a lot more to Turkey than meets the eye – between the beaches and bustling markets lies a wealth… Read more »
Turkey is, in many respects, the ideal travel destination. It scores highly across the board: layer after layer of history; an amazing variety of landscapes; super-friendly people; terrific food; relatively low prices; reliable public transport… the list could go on. What a pity, then, that the vast majority of travellers to Turkey confine themselves to… Read more »
Given this amazing country’s holiday popularity and long standing twin personality in the eyes of the holiday industry what are your opinions or experiences of Turkey? Independent backpacking dream or too full of overpriced resorts?
The annual festival calendar is pretty full, especially between April and October. The most important modern art event is the International İstanbul Biennial, held on odd-numbered years. Organized by IKSV, the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (wiksv.org), it uses venues ranging from historic buildings like the Topkapı Palace to urban-chic warehouses. April International Film… Read more »
The D-400 crosses the broad Euphrates River at BIRECIK. Set on a rise below the striking pale limestone bluffs backing the river, Birecik’s castle was founded during the eleventh century, and served as a frontier outpost for the Crusader state of Edessa. Birecik is also the hub for onward transport to atmospheric Halfeti.
Set where the southern foothills of the Toros Mountains fade into the scorching flatlands of upper Mesopotamia, Göbekli Tepe (Hill of the Navel) ranks among Turkey’s most intriguing archeological sites. Here, on a hilltop 870m above sea level, stands a man-made mound some 300m in diameter and 15m high, containing a series of circular enclosures,… Read more »
The beehive-style houses of HARRAN (Altınbaşak), 45km southeast of Urfa, are an established tourist attraction. The village has grown up within the crumbling remnants of the old, 4km circumference walls of a settlement once much more important than Urfa. Harran has strong biblical links, too: according to Genesis 11:31 and 12:4, the patriarch Abraham dwelt… Read more »
The remote, grandiose mountain-top sanctuary at Nemrut Dağı is unforgettable, while the mighty stone heads that adorn the temple and tomb of King Antiochus have become one of the famous images of Eastern Turkey. Most visitors want to get here before dawn, in order to watch the sunrise. The majority of the available minibus tours… Read more »
The largest producer of apricots in the world, MALATYA, is a seldom-visited city of nearly half a million people that’s set in a broad green valley around 60km north of Nemrut Dağı. Despite a long history going back over five thousand years, during which the Assyrians, Hittites, Romans, Selçuk Turks and Ottomans all held sway,… Read more »
The ruined Roman/Byzantine/Selçuk/Ottoman town of Eski Malatya, or “Old Malatya”, north of modern Malatya, has now been engulfed by the modern settlement of Battalgazi. From the main square where buses arrive, which holds plenty of shady çay places as well as a few basic restaurants, a 200m walk southwest brings you to a massive seventeenth-century… Read more »
Superbly positioned on a bluff above a great loop in the Tigris, the old city of DİYARBAKIR shelters behind massive medieval walls of black basalt, enclosing a maze of cobbled streets and alleys. Many of its finest mosques and churches have been restored, and renovation work is in progress on many more. There’s plenty of… Read more »
Mardin has a vibrant Christian heritage, and Christians and Muslims have always intermingled rather than living in separate quarters. The Syrian Orthodox Kirklar Kilise (Arbin Söhad in Syriac) or Church of the Forty Martyrs, which dates back, in part, to the sixth century, is the most welcoming church to visitors. The best time to attend… Read more »
The town of MİDYAT, an hour east of Mardin by road, consists of two distinct districts. The westerly portion is the modern business district of Estel, while the originally Christian portion of half-abandoned medieval mansions, known as Eski (Old) Midyat, lies 2km east. Inevitably, given Mardin’s boom, tourism is growing in Midyat. A couple of… Read more »
The spectacular ruined settlement of HASANKEYF, an hour’s dolmuş ride north of Midyat, is one of Turkey’s most evocative historic sites. Poised on the very lip of a sheer cliff, carved from the mountainside by the swift-flowing waters of the Tigris, stands a remarkable series of remains of Selçuk, Arabic and Kurdish origin. Below the… Read more »
1 Nemrut Dağı The massive crater of this towering volcano shelters migrating birds in May and September, and in between offers the possibility of a dip in the crater lakes. 2 Ahlat The eerie cemeteries of lakeshore Ahlat are home to beautifully carved, improbably angled tombstones and striking cylindrical mausoleums. 3 Van Kalesi The lakeside… Read more »