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7 places to visit around beautiful Pamukkale

Named after the cotton-white travertine formation, Pamukkale, is among the most important natural and historical landmarks to visit in Turkey.

Cotton white travertine hills of Pamukkale

The dazzling white calcite cliffs of Pamukkale are composed of calcium deposits left by its hot springs. A series of earth quakes that took place about 400 thousand years ago, combined with other geological factors created this magical cotton-white travertine structure.

There are 17 hot water artesian springs that feed water in the range of 35-100 °C in the region. The hot water from these springs travels a distance of 320 meters. The hot water then pours into these cotton-white travertine layers that lay for another 300 meters.

Pamukkale has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List since 1988. The region also is home to these 7 magnificent landmarks.

7 must-see landmarks around Pamukkale

The ancient city of Hierapolis

The ancient city of Hierapolis

The ancient city of Hierapolis was found in 197 BC. It was famous for its thermal resources and healing properties even back then. Although earthquakes in 133 BC and 60 AD destroyed the city known to the world with its temples, it was later rebuilt by the Romans. 

Hierapolis theatre

Hierapolis Theater

This is a magnificent Roman theater that could host 12,000 spectators. It was built during the reign of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Septimius Severus. 

The Antique Pool

Located next to the Temple of Apollo, The Antique Pool has a constant temperature of 36 degrees. The mineral-rich hot spring water creates a healing a relaxing environment. During the Roman era, the Antique Pool and the Hierapolis region were a complete health center. Thousands of people would come to the ancient city to rejuvenate and regain their health. 

The Hierapolis Museum

Located on an area of ​​14,000 square meters within the Hierapolis Ancient City, The Hierapolis Museum is a collection of buildings consisting of the Ancient Roman Bath, Gymnasium and the library. The artifacts in the museum are exhibited in three separate halls: Sarcophagi and Sculptures Hall, Small Works Hall and Hierapolis Theater Findings Hall.

The ancient city of Laodicia

The ancient city of Laodicia

The ancient city of Laodicea, was built between the years BC 261-263. The city was founded by Antiokhos wo named it after his wife. Having one of the first 7 churches of Christianity, the city became a religious center at the metropolitan level in the Early Byzantine Period. The city is part of the Holy Pilgrimage.

The Apollon Temple

The Temple of Apollo, whose foundations date back to the Late Hellenistic Period, is built on Plutonion, a cave used for religious purposes in ancient times. The monumental building is dedicated to the most important god of Hierapolis. The sanctuary on the terraces is connected by a marble staircase. The terrace below is surrounded by marble columns in Doric order on a wide area. The inner structure, which is pointed out in the podium, was previously defined as the Temple and later was defined as the center of prophecy. The poisonous gas is emitted with the entrance from the underground in the middle part, including Plutonium, and this is also mentioned in ancient sources. The large temple of Apollo is in the ionic order and was previously defined as the central sanctuary, and the foundations of the building can be seen. In the light of recent research, a third building has been identified in the North. 

Yesildere Waterfall

Yesildere Waterfall

With its water flowing from 55 meters up high, Yesildere is a beautiful spot where you can spend peaceful hours thanks to its calm environment, and the green, spongy rocks in the pond formed under it create a very beautiful image. It is also called the Crying Rock because of the wonderful view of Yeşildere Waterfall that resembles a weeping rock.

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Alacati, the archetypal Mediterranean town

The warmth of the climate, also the warmth of the people, sea bathing, strolls in shady lanes, or al fresco evenings to savour the mézés from a traditional café; you can find everything the word Mediterranean can make you think of at Alacati.
Colorful streets of Alacati
The city was known as Agrillia in the ancient times and it owes its modern name to the “Alaca at” (spotted horse) Turkic tribe that conquered the region about a millennia ago. Since the word ‘Alacaat’ was difficult to pronounce for the local Greeks, the name morphed into Alacati, which is used today.

Alacati was among the many important trade centers on the Aegean coast, which came to the fore with its winemaking during the Genoese rule in the early middle ages.

The locals, who initially made a living by viticulture, added tobacco business among their livelihood with the settlement of Turkish immigrants who had left Crete, Thessaloniki and Macedonia during Balkan wars. With the development of agriculture over time, the locals started growing olives, artichokes, aniseed and citrus fruits in the region.

Windmills of Alacati

Windmills are among the oldest structures in the region. Once known as the technological wonder of the period, these windmills have become the symbol of Alacati.

With its main mosque in the market place, its mosaic bazaar and its narrow streets shaded by black pepper trees, Alacati reflects Izmir’s town design in a lot ways.

Wind surfing and kitesurfing are popular sports in Alacati

The wind blowing 15-25 Knots in the north and north-west directions during the summer months makes Alacati bay indispensable for surfers. Alacati, which is one of the few surfing centers in the world due to its permanent wind, smooth and shallow sea, welcomes both amateur and professional surfers.

The city gained popularity thanks to many celebrities moving in last decade. Despite its small population of 8401, Alacati is slowly turning into one of the most important holiday resorts of the Aegean Region.

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Bodrum, the city of your summer memories

A few hours after Aydin; we arrived at Bodrum. Our bus passed through beautiful Aegean towns of Soke; Bafa and Milas along the way. Around Bafa Lake; the nature is mesmerising; everything is emerald green and beautiful. Around the lake there are quite a few cafes; hotels and restaurants.

It was lunch time when we arrived so we headed towards this tiny little town called Gumusluk right away. This gorgeous town is about 40 minutes away from Bodrum. The sea was very calm and clean later we learned that the sea was certified with the Blue Flag.  The area is protected as it contains the remains of the ancient city of Myndos . From the sunken city; you can take a peaceful walk towards the Rabbit Island coast.

We returned to Bodrum in the evening. There is a lot to explore at night. Bodrum is also famous with its Sea sponges. We had dinner at this pizza joint called Sunger Pizza which literally means Sponge. It was one of the best pizzas we ever had. There is quite a lot of entertainment joints in Bodrum; including cafes; bars and lounges where varieties of music is played.

The next day we go to the Torba bay early in the morning. Torba is about 10 minutes from Bodrum and has magnificent touristic facilities. Torba is also famous with its green habitat.

On the third day we travelled to Bitez which is another bay-village 10 minutes away from Bodrum. The sea is very calm and beautiful; it reminds us of Gumusluk. The beach side is full of various cafes and restaurants. This is a very popular spot for families with children. Also the village features a generous number of souvenir shops selling the best of traditional clothing; jewelry etc.

The next morning we took a boat trip to the islands nearby. It is a Bodrum tradition to see other islands when you visit Bodrum. So many beautiful islands so close; almost like a pearl necklace on the beautiful neck of the Aegean sea. Greek islands Kos; Nisos and Rhodes are very close.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Visit Bodrum castle
  • Visit underwater museum
  • Visit the Sali Pazari bazaar
  • Take a boat tour
  • Join the blue voyage
  • Visit the antic theatre
  • Devour on the seafood in Gumusluk
  • Taste Bodrum style borek; pumpkin-flower dolma; bergamot jam
  • Buy Bodrum pebbles and traditional batik clothing.

HISTORICAL LANDMARKS

  • Bodrum castle
  • Charian princess Island
  • Ancient Mousolos theatre
  • Goktepe
  • Telmissus
  • Halikarnassos
  • Myndos Door
  • Lagina
  • Kedrae
  • Underwater museum
  • Traditional bodrum houses

THE BEACHES

  • Güvercinlik
  • Torba
  • Gölköy
  • Gündogan
  • Yalikavak
  • Gümüslük
  • Turgutreis
  • Akyarlar
  • Bagla
  • Aspat
  • Ortakent
  • Bitez
  • Karaada

How to get there?
Bodrum-Milas International Airport is only 30 minutes away from the city centre.

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Akyaka, The Mediterranean tranquillity

Situated on the most beautiful and the peaceful bay of the Gokova gulf; Akyaka is one of the prettiest holiday destinations with its tranquil atmosphere and architecture.

If you turn right at the end of the ramp following the scenic Sakartepe passage and follow the road; you will discover this peaceful enclave surrounded by pine trees.

The tall pine trees; flower gardens and double-storey bungalows will mesmerize you.

The bungalows are built buy a Aga Khan acrhitectural award winner builder called Nail Cakirhan. These bungalows are the defining items of Gokkaya’s identity.

The Town

With a population of roughly 2000; Akyaka is the perfect location for those who seek time away from the stressful metropolitan life and peace of mind. But if you want nightlife and crowds; you can always drive to Marmaris which is about 30 minutes away.

The town features a hospital with maternity service.

Traditionally a fishing village; the best seafood restaurants in the region can be found here.

Activities

You can see windsurfers; canoers in the water; sun bathing naked bodies on the beach and families enjoying BBQ on the grass under the pine trees.

The town features a small beach club and a forest camp. The little huts and caravans; surrounded by palm trees and red and green pine trees are quite luxurious.

  • Horse-riding
  • Canyon tour
  • Rafting
  • Rock-climbing
  • Canoeing
  • Parachuting

Azmak river

After you drive into Akyaka; if you turn left onto the forest side; you will end up at the beach. This is where Azmak river meets the sea.

The beach

Famous with its cleanliness; the beach is carrying a European Blue flag. The winds carry the aroma of the clean sea water. The beautiful crystal sand of the beach meets the thick pine forest at some point.

The humidity in the air is not much so you won’t suffer the sizzling summer here.

The sea level is low; only a little wavy. The nerium bushes at the beach provide the perfect shade for sun bathers. The unique combination of the green forestry; blue waters and the yellow beach is magical and you can witness some locals jumping into the tranquil blue waters from the high branches of the majestic pine trees.

How to get there

  • Bus service from Mugla (25 Km away)
  • 65 km away from Dalaman Airport

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Anzac Day Special: Canakkale – Guardian of the straits

The Turkish victory at Gallipoli (Gelibolu) just across the narrows — brought to prominence a hitherto little known lieutenant-colonel, Mustafa Kemal, later to be known as Atatürk — proved that the Turks could hold their own against the great imperialist powers of the day and marked, symbolically at least, the start of the War of Independence and subsequent emergence of the Turkish Republic.

But although Çanakkale’s raison d’être may be a military one, i.e., control of the straits, it is a surprisingly attractive town for a short break, with its sweeping views over the glimmering Dardanelles (Boğaz) to European Turkey, seafront restaurants and cobbled, pedestrianized streets lined with bars and cafes and its handful of sights and clutch of decent hotels and hostels. The presence of some 30,000 students from the local university serves only to enliven the atmosphere of a town that is also the gateway to two of Turkey’s most evocative sites: the World War I battlefields of the Gallipoli peninsula and Homer’s legendary Troy.

Canakkale Turkish War Memorial

Canakkale – exploring the seafront

The town centers on bustling Cumhuriyet Meydanı right on the waterfront and abutting the ferry terminal, which is busy with ferries shuttling round the clock to and from Eceabat across the strait. Heading north along the seafront esplanade, just before a large marina fans of the 2004 Hollywood epic “Troy” will be delighted to recognize one of the stars of the movie (no, it’s not Brad Pitt) — the actual wooden-horse used on set. It may sound cheesy, but it’s actually pretty impressive, and few visitors can resist posing for a photograph in front of this Hollywood representation of the horse that brought Priam’s proud city to its knees in the legendary siege of Troy.

The area south of the ferry terminal, however, is the most interesting from a visitor’s point of view. A number of lively bars, cafes and fish restaurants line the front, where you can sit and idle the time away watching the great tankers and container ships glide silently through the narrows, or watch the quayside anglers trying their luck in the perpetually wind-ruffled waters. Beyond them is Çimenlik Park, a pleasant green space bounded by the sea to the west and the battlements of Çimenlik Fortress to the south. Rather than the usual sculptures, statues or kids play equipment, the park is adorned with weaponry of all kinds, including sleekly menacing World War II torpedoes; rotund, spiky World War I mines; and vintage field artillery. The fortress dates back to 1461-2, when Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror had it built to help defend İstanbul against ships trying to force their way through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmara. An impressive construction, it today houses the Naval Museum (TL 4, open 9 a.m.-noon, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays and Thursdays), which focuses on the Gallipoli campaigns of 1915 when the fortress was still in use and played its part in preventing the Allied forces’ advance. Part of the admission price includes a tour of the Nusret, moored alongside the park. Built in 1912, this German mine-laying vessel was used to prevent Allied ships operating freely in the straits or the seas off the Gallipoli peninsula.

Mekor Hayim Sinagogue (3)

Just north of the vessel is a small terminal from which it’s possible to take a 15-minute, TL 1.50 ferry ride across to Kilitbahar, the sister fortress to Çimenlik on the far side of the straits — a far cheaper option than excursions to either Troy or Gallipoli (see below). A pretty village with cafes has grown up around the superbly preserved fortress, and you can scramble atop and walk around the outer walls.

Canakkale – behind the waterfront

In the 19th and early 20th centuries Çanakkale was a cosmopolitan trading town, its population made up of Greeks, Armenians and Jews as well as Turks, leavened by a fair sprinkling of foreigners. There were foreign consulates here, too, and it was an Italian consul who gifted the town its distinctive clock tower in 1897. Running east of the triangular square around the clock tower is Fetvane Sokak, known more commonly by locals as Barlar Sokak, or Street of the Bars. The rows of largely stone-built 19th-century houses, shops, hans and the like here are now home to dozens of bars and cafes. Most atmospheric is the 1899 Yalı Han, where you can sip tea, puff on a nargile or enjoy a beer in the pleasant courtyard.

Further along Barlar Sokak the new City Museum, housed in a renovated period building, gives a great introduction to the history of the town. Nearby is a beautiful, wrought-iron balconied boutique hotel redolent with period-charm. This building opened in the early 1870s as the French-owned Hotel des Etrangers. Following decades of neglect and changes of use, the current owner has restored the building as closely as he could to the original and kept the hotel’s original name. Heinrich Schliemann, the famous archaeologist and “discoverer” of Troy, lodged in the original des Etrangers en route to his excavations. Further inland lies the Mekor Hayim synagogue (www.canakkalemusevicemaati.com), a pleasant stone-building erected in 1890. Re-opened in 2005 following a lengthy restoration process, it is used infrequently as the town’s Jewish population has shrunk from some 600 in the 19th century to 10 today.

Çanakkale clock tower

Inconveniently located three kilometers southeast of the ferry terminal/clock tower is the Archaeology Museum (TL 5, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). The bad news is that it is a drab concrete building, gloomy and uninspiringly laid-out. The good news is that it contains some wonderful exhibits. The pick of these is one of the most beautiful relief-carved stone sarcophagi you’ll see anywhere — on par with the famous Sidon sarcophagi that form the centerpiece of İstanbul’s rather better known Archaeology Museum. Stunningly executed back in the sixth-century B.C., the most impressive scene on the sarcophagus depicts Polyxena, daughter of Priam of Troy, being sacrificed by Neoptolemus, son of that great scourge of the Trojans, Achilles. There are also assorted finds from Troy and much more recent examples of the distinctive mid 18th to early 20th century local pottery-ware that became so famous the town changed its name from Kale-i Sultaniye, or Castle of the Sultan, to the name we know it by today — Çanakkale or Castle of the Potteries.

South Canakkale – Troy

Although there is basic pension-style accommodation in Tevfikiye, the village adjacent to the ancient site of Troy (TL 15, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. summer, to 5 p.m. October-April), 30-odd kilometers to the south, Çanakkale makes the perfect base for a half-day outing to what is surely one of the world’s most famous spots — I mean, who has never heard of Troy? What the remains of this legendary city lack in substance (reduce your expectations drastically if you are imagining Troy as it appears in the movie), they more than make up for in grand location and clever interpretation. Set at one end of a low ridge overlooking a fertile plain, with the vast expanse of the Aegean shimmering away to the west and the blue sliver of the Dardanelles to the north, it’s a gorgeous, if oft wind-battered, spot.

What archaeologists have uncovered here, beginning back in 1874 when German millionaire Heinrich Schliemann attacked the mound of Hisarlık and continuing right through to the present day, are the remains of 10 distinct settlements built one on top of the other and dating from circa 3,000 B.C. through to the 13th century. Wandering around the site today, examining stretches of carefully uncovered city wall dating back to the probable date of Homer’s Troy (circa 1200 B.C.), mud bricks burnt in a blaze around 2,200 B.C., or cracked clay pipes from the Roman era, and it’s easy to see why the site has both confused and delighted successive archaeologists. It’s the ultimate puzzle trying to work out what belongs where — especially when the great trench dug by Schliemann through the mound in his haste to find the layer of occupation corresponding to Homer’s Troy jumbled up many of the pieces. Fortunately a series of explanatory panels have been erected to guide visitors around the site in a logical fashion and help bring the complex excavations to life.

THE GALLIPOLI PENINSULA

Without your own transport it’s difficult to explore the landing beaches, battlegrounds and cemeteries of the peninsula, so its best either to rent a car in Çanakkale and take the ferry (TL 2 for foot passengers, TL 25 per vehicle) across to Eceabat, or join one of the tours (prices around TL 60) organized by several town-based travel agencies. The peninsula, most of it national park, is some 60 kilometers long, so to visit all the key spots you really need a whole day. If you confine yourself to either the sites north of the Kabatepe Information Center and Museum, as many Australians and New Zealanders do, or those to the southern end of the peninsula, which are of more interest to the British (for Turks, of course, the entire peninsula is something of a shrine), a long half-day should suffice.
Çanakkale at dusk and the miraret of the Yalı Cami mosque
The Gallipoli campaign was an unmitigated disaster for the Allies; their bold plan to force the Dardanelles, capture İstanbul and effectively knock Germany’s ally, Ottoman Turkey, out of World War I ended with the loss of 52,000 men (many of them Aussies and New Zealanders) and a hasty retreat. The Ottoman Turks lost up to 200,000 men, a heavy price to pay for what was in some ways a hollow victory, for they lost World War I, and the British occupied İstanbul anyway. But Gallipoli gave the Turks a hero, Atatürk, who was to found a new nation on the ashes of a burnt-out empire, and Australia and New Zealand found at Gallipoli a national pride that enabled them to break the shackles of imperial British influence. The cemeteries of the fallen of all nationalities and creeds are what make a visit to Gallipoli special though, especially when they are dotted so poignantly across a spare, unspoilt landscape of rolling hills, crumbling earth-cliffs and sea-licked coves.

How to get to Canakkale

From İstanbul buses take five-and-a-half hours and cost around TL 40, or take the sea bus to Bandırma from Yenikapı (two hours, TL 30) and bus onto Çanakkale (two-and-a-half hours, TL 20), or Anadolujet and Bora Jet both fly from İstanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

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10 facts about Istanbul flirting with two continents

Istanbul, which has been the capital of three different empires, will conquer your heart not only with its history, but with many more things as well. In addition to being the city connecting two continents, Istanbul is a metropolis with a lot of contrasts and superior traditional values. Some people call it “the capital of the world”, whilst others call it “the bridge between Europe and Asia”. In any case, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city with 13 million inhabitants and is one of the largest cities around the globe.

For this time around, I decided to share with you some interesting facts about this magnificent city in the Bosphorus. We suggest you to visit the city in order to discover its beauties – you will not be disappointed.

1. When Istanbul was part of the Ottoman Empire in the medieval times, there were 1,400 public toilets in the city. Public toilets were built for the first time in newly built mosques in the Ottoman Empire in the 1600s (during the reign of the Sun King in France). As known, Versailles were built without toilets. It is more probable than not that even in the palaces of the biggest kingdoms of Europe did not have toilets at that time.

2. Underground Metro line, the metro that has existed since 1875, is known as the predecessor of the Istanbul Metro, which is one of the oldest subways in the world. London (1863) and New York (1868) are the only subways that are older than that of Istanbul. The line which is called “the tunnel” consists of only two stations and connects two big squares.

3. From a historical standpoint, Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and then became the capital of the Ottoman Empire – Yet, today, Turkey’s capital is Ankara.

4. Four bronze horses that are now adorning the San Marco Cathedral in Venice, were stolen from Istanbul by the Crusaders in the 13th century. The horses were built in the 4th century BC and exhibited in the Hippodrome in the centre of Constantinople.

5. Agatha Christie wrote her best-known novel “Murder in Orient Express” at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. Christie travelled on the train traveling between Paris Istanbul between 1883 and 1977. The last stop of the train was at Sirkeci station (the principal train station on the European side of Istanbul).

6. Istanbul Grand Bazaar is the largest bazaar in the world containing more than 3,000 shops.

7. The surface area of Istanbul is about half the size as Belgium however Istanbul’s population is greater than Belgium’s.

8. All residents, almost without exception, of Istanbul complain about traffic jams, but no one ever leaves Istanbul.

9. “The soil and stones of Istanbul are golden.” This slogan caused the people living in the countryside areas to move to the magical city in the 50s of the 20th century.

10. The world’s largest church-mosque (Hagia Sophia) is in Istanbul. It was declared as a museum with the decision of Kemal Atatürk in 1937, and it presents the influence of two ruling religions in the region.

There is a lot to talk about this city whose name was changed five times. It is impossible to discover all secrets of the city with a single visit. You will travel, be impressed, words will not be enough to describe the beauties of the city, but still, you will never learn all aspects of the pearl of the Bosphorus. It will always be a place you want to see again and again in your future visits and this feeling will be part of you forever.

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A Sydney icon, Auburn Gallipoli Mosque

The Auburn Gallipoli Mosque is an Ottoman-style Turkish mosque in Auburn, Sydney, New South Wales. The mosque attracts about 800 worshipers every week. Although the mosque is primarily used by Turkish Australians, nearly half of the present congregation is made up of Muslims from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Auburn Gallipoli Mosque

Auburn Gallipoli Mosque

The first mosque on the present mosque site was opened for worship on the 3rd of November 1979. It was a house which had the internal walls removed to generate an open space environment. The construction of the present mosque structure began in 1986. The Mosque’s construction was completed and officially opened on 28th of November 1999, twenty years after the initial opening. The current building took a painstaking 13 years to complete. The construction time was restrained due to a lack of funds and the time required to raise funds through donations. Turkish community raised $6 million dollars to help finish the mosque. Many other local Muslim members irrespective of their ethnic background have greatly contributed to the costs attributed to the building of the mosque.

The name of the mosque – Auburn Gallipoli Mosque – reflects the shared legacy of the Australian society and the main community behind the construction of the mosque, the Australian Turkish Muslim Community

Inside Gallipoli mosque

Inside Gallipoli mosque

Recognized as a Sydney Icon with its elegant presence on the Western Train line, Auburn Gallipoli Mosque was registered in “heritage list” by The National Trust in April 2010 due to its architectural and cultural importance.

Auburn Gallipoli Mosque is located at 15-19 North Parade Auburn NSW 2144

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A Turkish village in Belgium: Faymonville

At the town square of this little village, on a large flag pole, alongside Belgian and Valonia flags, Turkish flag is flying. However nobody in this village speaks Turkish or has Turkish heritage.

The Faymoville village which is situated in the mountainous region of Arden, near Liege, has approximately 100 residents.

At the town square, the library windows has Turkish flags and there is a marble monument at the front in which the crescent and star of Turkish flag are carved.

According to the legend, when the Catholic Church was collecting tax from European countries in 16th century to fight Ottomans, the residents of Faymonville refused to contribute and therefore were named as the “friends of Turks and enemies of the Christian world”

Another legend states that the villagers were called “Turks” as they refused to take part in the crusades and in further annoying the prince of Lierse, they removed the church bells and imitated adhan.

Their reputation also helped the villagers. During the German invasion in WWII, the Nazi army looted entire Belgium however did not touch Faymonville due to the traditional Turkish flags they used all around their village.

The official crest of the village soccer club “Turkania” is also the Turkish flag. The fans wave Turkish flags during matches.

Every year in February, Faymonville villagers march playing Ottoman Janissary Band music led by cavalry carrying Turkish flags in their traditional parade.