When l first arrived in Turkey, flying into the airport in Izmir, I confirmed my vague suspicions that Turkey was a hot, dusty desert of low rolling hills and sparse, scrubby vegetation. But when I got on the ground and traveled around a bit, I discovered that this relatively big country, has craggy, snow capped mountains, broad lakes, cool pine forests, miles of white beaches, snowy winters, long summers a lot to offer a tourist.
At the end of summer on the Anatolian plateau, after months of straight sunshine, the land is dry and dusty. When I flew into Ankara I didn’t notice that the city was pretty well deserted. Why stay in the city when there are so many nicer places to be? The Black Sea coast is relatively close and the Sea of Marmara and the beaches of the Aegean a day’s bus or train ride, to Ephesus. Izmir’s people seek out the good places and wait until the city is pleasant again.
The Istanbullus leave their city for villas and cabins on the shores of the Bosphorus or for hotels and resorts on the nearby Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara. As the season passes and the weather cools, the places to prolong outdoor activities are the numerous spas and hot springs, especially those at Pamukkale (the old Greco-Roman spa of Hierapolis), where one can stay in a modern resort hotel for $20 double and swim in its pool of warm mineral water strewn with columns and other artifacts from the ancient past. Before getting to izmir for private ephesus tours we decide to take a trip to Manisa, we was so excited to see Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary in Izmir. (see: Ephesus Tours Videos).
Turkey is a country of subtle beauties. An early-morning scene on the Ana tolian plateau: a mesa in the distance with a nomad’s tent at the base, his horse quietly grazing in the dewy grass as the sun creeps across the plain; the incredi ble blue color of the Aegean Sea; a caravan of gypsies in their picturesque wag ons passing a moonscape of rock pinnacles once hollowed out and inhabited by early Christians; the palm trees lining the waterfront in Izmir moving gently in the wind, the whole town dominated by a citadel dating from the time of Alex ander the Great; the sun setting into the Golden Horn of Istanbul, seeming to turn the water to gold and thus giving the river its name. Add to these the stories of a dozen civilizations, each of which has helped form the Turkey of today, and you have a place to compel your imagination and hold your interest for quite a while especially Istanbul.
Turkey holiday and travel, istanbul tours, is the city of the former Caliphate of Islam and of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church, of Turkish mosques and Byzantine churches. In the museums are beautiful Christian mosaics and ancient Turkish miniatures. The effect on a visitor is an instant fascination with the Oriental fac ets of the city and a comfortable familiarity with the Occidental. After a morn ing spent in the sultan’s Seraglio, there’s a lunchof wienerschnitzel and beer; or, conversely, a day in Istanbul’s European quarter and a dinner of shish kebap and rak?. The city harbors an amazing variety of peoples even today, and each holds to its ancient traditions and way of life. On the Golden Horn, children crowd to Greek schools in the section called Fener. In Galata there are two syn agogues, attended by people whose ancient forebears were driven from Spain by the Inquisition and who even today speak a dialect of Spanish. In the section called Beyo?lu, once the old city of Pera, little carpenters’ and tailors’ shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses bear Russian, Italian, German, French, and Bal kan names. Near the Bosphorus in Asia is a Polish village where the best pork products in Turkey are made. And over all these different flavors added by mi norities is the Turkish culture, its great mosques, delicate faience, Turkish De light, and tradition of the romance of the East.
The sun sets in ?zmir, poised between the twin mountain peaks that domi nate the harbor, said to be the place where the goddess Nemesis lived ; the call to prayer drifts up from the minarets in the city of Bursa to the slopes of the Asian Mount Olympus, now Turkey’s most popular ski resort; in the fast-growing va cation town of Ephesus Ku?adas? on the Aegean coast a Turk sits in his coffeehouse, drinking Turkish coffee and smoking a bubbling narghile; a modern cruise ship steams toward the ancient cities of Tarsus and Antioch, the sun rising on its bow. Ephesus and the Cappadocia is what Turkey holds for the visitor today, and all of it at prices that equal or beat the lowest in Europe.