Categories
Visit

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.

Categories
Visit

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.

Categories
Cuisine

Balik-Ekmek, Istanbul’s favorite street food.

Istanbul’s Eminönü district is home to many historical landmarks. The Spice Bazaar, Yeni Mosque, Gulhane Park and the Basilica Cistern are among the places frequented by local and foreign tourists.
 
There is another point of attraction Eminönü hosts; the balik ekmek (fish and bread) boats on the pier.
 
Balik-ekmek, an Istanbul snack that is fondly loved by people from all walks of life, has been made and sold from these boats since the early years of the Republic.
Balik ekmek vendors
 
Balik-ekmek boats used to roam around Galata Bridge earlier in the 20th century. The city council decided there were commercial and legal problems with this setup and gave a few major boat operators license to open stall permanently on the shore, provided they moved from Galata Bridge to Eminönü pier.
 
Although the location of the boats has changed, the taste they offer and the interest they receive have never changed.
Fishing in Istanbul 
Balik-ekmek sales continue on these custom-made boats, which are completely decorated with wooden and handmade carvings, thus creating a nostalgic atmosphere for their customers.
 
It is a must-do for those visiting Istanbul to snack Balik-ekmek and of course take selfies at these Balik-ekmek boats.
 
The Balik-ekmek boats, still attract great attention from visitors at all hours of the day. They open their stalls at 9 am. Sales continue until late in the evening.
Categories
Cuisine

Baklava recipe

Different parts of Turkey use different nuts for home-made Baklava; pistachio is used in the South-east, hazelnut is used in the Black-sea region,wallnut is used in central Anatolia,almond is used in the Aegean west, and sesame would be used in the Thrace. Sometimes baklava is served with thickened cream (kaymak).

Ingredients for Baklava

  • 3/4 Pound Butter (3 Quarter-Pound Sticks) Cut Into 1/4.Inch Bits
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 40 Sheets File Pastry;
  • Each About 16 inches Long And 12 Inches Wide; Thoroughly Defrosted If Frozen
  • 4 Cups Shelled Pistachio Pulverized In A Blender Or With A Nut Grinder

Step by step – how to make baklava

Melt the butter slowly over low heat without letting it get brown; skimming off the foam as it rises to the surface. Remove the pan from the heat; let it rest for 2 or 3 minutes; then spoon off the clear butter and discard the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degree and stir the vegetable oil into the clarified butter. Using a pastry brush coat the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-by-2 1/2inch baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of the mixture.

Fold a sheet of filo in half crosswise; lift it up gently and unfold it into the prepared dish. Press the pastry flat; fold down the excess around the sides and flatten it against the bottom. Brush the entire surface of the pastry lightly with the butter and oil mixture; and lay another sheet of filo on top; folding it down and buttering it in similar fashion. Sprinkle the pastry evenly with about 3 tablespoons of pistachio.

Repeat the same procedure using two sheets of buttered file and 3 tablespoons of the pulverized pistachio each time to make 19 layers in all. Spread remaining 2 sheets of filo on top and brush the baklava with all of the remaining butter and oil mixture.

With a small; sharp knife score the top of the pastry with parallel diagonal lines about 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart; then cross them diagonally to form diamond shapes. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degree and bake for 45 minutes longer; or until the top is crisp and golden brown.

Recipe for the Baklava Syrup

Ingredients for the Baklava Syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Step by step – how to make baklava syrup

Combine the sugar; water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and; stirring constantly; cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to high and; timing it from the moment the syrup boils; cook briskly; uncovered; for about 5 minutes; or until the syrup reaches a temperature of 220 degree on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey. Pour the syrup into a bowl or pitcher and set it aside.

When the baklava is done; remove it from the oven and pour the syrup over it. Cool to room temperature; and just before serving; cut the baklava into diamond-shaped serving pieces

Afiyet olsun !

Categories
Stories

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar 10th most popular tourist attraction

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar was placed first among Europe’s tourist attractions; and 10th in the world; according to a report of the top 50 most popular sites published by the American travel magazine Travel and Leisure. 

Travel and Leisure magazine selected the world’s top 50 tourist attractions using data acquired from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and various publications covering the tourism sector. Other tourist attractions on the list included parks and natural wonders as well as historic and cultural monuments and sites.

The Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi in Turkish); built in the 15th century during the Ottoman Empire; with its 64 passageways and streets containing 3;285 shops; is the most visited tourist attraction in Europe and the 10th most visited in the world; according to Travel and Leisure’s top 50; surpassing many renowned tourist attractions in Europe and the world such as the Taj Mahal; the Eiffel Tower and the British Museum.

At the top of the world attractions list is Times Square in New York; with 39;200;000 visitors; second is Central Park; also in New York; with 38 million visitors. All of the top nine places on the list are in the US; with the Grand Bazaar following them at number 10.

The Grand Bazaar surpassed Notre Dame Cathedral (13;650;000 visitors); the Louvre Museum (8.5 million visitors); the Eiffel Tower (6.7 million visitors) and Versailles Palace (5.9 million visitors)of France; the British Museum (5;842;138 visitors); Egypt’s pyramids (4 million visitors) and the Taj Mahal (3 million visitors) with 15 million visitors per year.

Categories
Stories

Basic Turkish phrases to survive your first Turkish interaction

All right. So you are going over to a Turkish friend’s home for dinner, and you want to show off some Turkish skills? Or your fiancée is Turkish, and you want to impress your future in-laws. Or perhaps you are traveling to Turkey or even moved to Turkey. You want to be familiar with your neighborhood. You are ready to go to step B: make friends with the Turks!

Turkish people are rather warm and welcoming. As you may already have the chance to experience, they love to chat, drink tea and share their food. So, do not be surprised if they try to have a conversation with you even if you know only two Turkish words or if they try to offer you tea at any time of day or night. In general, it is polite to accept the tea and use the few words that you know.

Below we explain some of the expressions that may be helpful during everyday Turkish life.

WELCOME!

Upon entering someone’s home, you will be greeted with the expression Hoşgeldiniz [pronounced: Hosh-gell-deen-eez], to which you can answer Hoşbulduk [pronounced: Hosh-bull-dook]. Literally, these words mean “Welcome” and “Happy to be here”.

You may want to check to see if your host takes off their shoes before entering their home. If your hosts take their shoes off, you should also take off your shoes – when you enter a house that is not yours. And if you’re visiting, make sure you bring something with you. You can opt for baklava or chocolates. Get ready to drink tea until you drop.

You will most likely to be offered tea or coffee

If you are offered Turkish coffee, you are supposed to indicate how much sugar you want: şekersiz (without sugar) [pronounced: shake-air-seez], orta (with sugar) [pronounced: or-tah] or şekerli  (with a lot of sugar) [pronounced: shake-air-lee]. 

Do not ever stir the Turkish coffee with the spoon.

EMPTY STOMACH AND A FULL STOMACH

Most important for the Turks it is to make sure that their guests ( Misafir ) are not hungry. Aç misiniz? (pronounced: ach meh siniz) is a question that you must be prepared to respond to quickly, before gathering inundated with food. It literally means ‘are you hungry’?

We are sure that at this point you know how to respond: Evet  (pronounced: Ae-vet meaning:Yes) or Hayır  (pronounced: Ha-yeer meaning:no). In both cases, as indeed in English, accompanied the answer with ‘Thanks’ Teşekkürler (pronounced: Tae – shake- cure – lair) .

If you accepted food or your attempts to decline the food offer didn’t work, you should now be prepared to ‘stop’ the Turkish mothers or aunts who will attempt to fill you just like a Turkish ‘dolma’. In this case, Doydum, (pronounced: Doydooom – Literally meaning ‘I am satisfied’) can be a very useful expression, preferably followed a circular motion on the belly and satisfied face.

If you want to show appreciation, you must say Ellerinize Sağlık (pronounced: Ael-larry-knees-aeh Sagh-lik) which literally means ‘health to your hands’, which will no doubt be followed by a proud “Afiyet olsun” (‘ good appetite ” I’m glad you enjoyed ‘)

Categories
Stories

The origins of the Turkish flag

The flag of Turkey is the national flag and the national flag of the Republic of Turkey . It consists of a waning moon and five-pointed star, both in white on a red background. The flag is called Ay-Yildiz (literally, “star moon”), or a-sancak (the “Red Banner”) in Turkish .

The flag has a very complex origin. It is first virtually identical to the flag of the Ottoman Empire, with changes to the shape of the moon and the number of branches of the star from eight to five. The current flag was adopted in 1844, before its proportions are standard with the Law on Turkish Flag in 1936.

A historical moment in 1914 – Ottoman empire is declaring war against the allies

A historical moment in 1914 – Ottoman empire is declaring war against the allies

The star and crescent, now seen as symbols of Islam, have long been used in Asia Minor and some Turkic peoples before the arrival of Islam.

The Ottomans used different arrangements for different uses, such as using the green flag for the Islamic institutions and using red for secular institutions. In 1844 the eight-pointed star was replaced with a five-pointed flag and then reached its current form.

Ottoman Empire used a similar flag to modern Turkish flag in 1914

Ottoman Empire used a similar flag to modern Turkish flag in 1914

The origin of the crescent and star as symbols date time Babylon and the ancient Egypt. It has been suggested that the Turkish tribes during their migrations from Central Asia to Turkey around 800 AD, have adopted this symbol of local tribes and states in the area of the Middle East today, which adopted in turn these symbols.

Turkish flag at Gallipoli

The origin of the flag is subject to many legends in the country, and some contradict the history of the Ottoman flag. Here are some of the theories:

The Turkish flag’s Pre-Islamic origins

The crescent moon and star were holy symbols to the pre-Islamic Turkish tribes, while red is the colour cardinal to the south.

The Islamic legend

A crescent and a star appeared to Mehmed II the night of the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Crescent represents “God” and the star represents “Muhammed”

Roman succession – The New Rome

The crescent and star were used as symbols of Byzantium for centuries. The moon represented the Greek goddess Artemis, and star represented the Virgin Mary (which could be the inspiration behind the Islamic legend).

After conquering Constantinople, Turks adapted the symbol. The conquering king Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II called himself “the new Caesar” after conquering Istanbul in 1453. Ottoman Turks also kept many Roman administrative processes as they were after taking over Anatolia. 

The star and the crescent moon, however, were also symbols of the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Most popular theory; crescent and star’s reflection on the pool of blood.

This version has widely taught in public schools in Turkey. It was most likely supported in effort to raise a much more nationalist youth during cold war. According to this story; after the Turkish victory at the Battle of Manzikert,  the Seljuk Commander Alp Arslan saw the reflection of the crescent and a star on a pool of blood of Turkish warriors while he was reviewing the battlefield. Another version of this story takes place after the Turkish victory at the Battle of Mohács in Hungary.

Categories
Cuisine

Australia’s best Turkish delight recipe

I have been trying to make Turkish delight for two weeks and have used approximately 5 kilograms of sugar in coming up with this recipe. When you don’t boil the mixture well enough, the Turkish delight doesn’t turn up firm enough, when you boil it too much, the mixture turns out too hard.

Turkish delight with hazelnut

Another important factor is the cooker you use. The timings given below are for gas cookers, it might take longer to cook Turkish delight on electric cookers.

So, don’t be discouraged in trying your skills, give the recipe a go. Enjoy !

The ingredients for making Turkish delight 

  • 1 kg white sugar
  • 4 cups of water ( 1 cup = 350 ml )
  • 90 gr starch (corn or wheat)
  • 1 tea spoon cream of tartar
  • Another cup of water
  • hazelnuts, walnuts, shredded coconut
  • 2 spoons of rose water
  • additional coloring and flavour of your choice
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 cup of additional starch

Turkish delight is also popular in Europe, Balkans and the middle-east

Step by step – how to make Turkish delight

Boil 4 cups of water with sugar. Ensure the mixture stays on fire until the sugar melts properly. Once the mixture (syrup) reaches boiling point, keep the mixture on medium heat for another hour.

Mix starch with 1 cup of water in a deep mixing bowl

Get rid of the foam on your syrup. Add 2 cups of your warm syrup into your starch-water mixture to ensure your starch-water mixture warms up a little bit.

Add your starch-water back into your syrup and cook it again on high until it boils. Once it reaches the boiling temperature, bring the heat to minimal and further cook your syrup for 70 minutes (1 hour and 10 minutes).If you have a sugar thermometer, you can check the temperature of your mixture after cooking it for an hour. For best results, make sure it reaches 113 Celsius. If you would like to use the rose-flavour, you must add the rose water in the last 10 minutes. Ensure you give the mixture a good stirring every now and then with a wooden spoon to prevent the mixture sticking to the base of the pan

Once the mixture turns golden and thickens, add your desired food coloring, aroma, hazelnuts and walnuts.

Prepare a hosting tray for your mixture. Make sure the base of the tray (or pan) is covered with a very thin layer of butter (or canola oil) and cover the base of your tray with cooking (parchment) paper. Spray some oil on your paper as well.

Pour your mixture into your tray. Sprinkle the additional 1/2 cup of starch onto your mixture and leave it to cool down place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight until firm. Leave it for 24 hours for best result.

Once you’ve done all these, mix 2 cups of icing sugar with 1/2 cup of starch. Sprinkle some flour and starch on a cutting board. Roll your (now thickened) mixture on the cutting board and then slice it into cubes.

Pour the icing sugar-starch mixture in another tray and put your cubes into this second tray. Let it wait for another 24 hours.

You should end up having approximately 100 cubes of Turkish delight!

Afiyet olsun !

Categories
Visit

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.

Categories
Visit

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