Turkey 26 September until 10 October 2007

Turkey, a trip organised by the OAD travel agency.

From 26 September until 10 October 2007 we made a roundtrip with our friend Martin to Turkey. The trip was organised by tour operator OAD and that turned out to be a perfect choice. What we noticed in Turkye were very helpful people, hospitality, pride, delicious food, terrific atmosphere, great temperature and weather. Beautiful ancient sites, museums, mosques and magnificent nature, beside a fantastic (Belgian) guide Güven completed our roundtrip.

 From Antalya we went to Aphrodisias, near the village of Geyre. Here the Goddess Aphrodite was worshipped and the site has macnificent antique places like the Agora, Odeon and the Hippodrome (25.000 spectators, 250 m. long) and is known for its marble statues. 

Pamukkale is the next stop. The famous terraces of limestone, and the antique city Hiërapolis with the beautiful theatre from the 2nd century BC. The next place to visit is Efeze, the illustrious open air museum of the ancient Greek (1000 BC) and the Roman empire (4th century BC). Known for the Hadrianus temple, the gate of Hercules, the Odeon, the Celsus library and the theatre of Efeze (24.000 spectators).

Kusadasi and from there to Selçuk, the Johannes basilica, the antique Pergamum where the Acropolis was adorned with the most steep theater in the ancient Greek world. Other interesting sights are the temple of Trojanus and the sanctuary of Aesculapius.
From Pergamum we went to mythical ans legendary city of Troy, known from Homerus as Ilium (Trojan horse) which is probably related to Troy VIIa. Schliemann found on this place the ancient Troy, but still no one is really sure. From Troy nothing more remains than some walls. 


Istanbul is  the next stop for three nights. Istanbul has a lot of things to offer, too much for this short period, so it is sure that we will return to this beautiful city, where East meets West, separated by the Bosporus. We visited the Hippodrome and the very beautiful Sultan Ahmet Camii, or so called blue mosque because of the blue Iznik tiles. It was built between 1609-1616. The Topkapi Saraya, once the palace of the Ottoman Sultans and the women of the Harem. After a very interesting boat trip on the Bosporus, with magnificent views of the city and the ancient walls of Europe fortress from 1452, we also visited the Spice, or Egyptian, bazaar, Misir Çarsişi and the Great Bazaar, the Kapali Çarşi built by Mehmet II, just after conquering Istanbul in 1453, and the Süleymaniye mosque, built between 1550 and 1557 by the famous architect Sinan. Finally we ended our visit with the Haghia Sophia (church of the holy wisdom), the most important church of the Byzantine world, consecrated in 537 by emperor Justinianus, with beautiful mosaics from the 9th century. The Haghia Sophia is designed as an earthly reflection of paradise. 

From Istanbul we went to Bursa to see, the Silk Bazaar Koza Han, founded in 1491, the great mosque, Ulu Camii and the green mosque, Yeşil Camii. Ulu Camii, built between 1369 and 1399, is famous of the 192 shields with Arabic calligraphic and the three stories absolution fountain decorated with glass. Yeşil Camii is the most important mosque of Bursa. The construction, early Ottoman style, was finished in 1420, just 1 year before the death of Mehmet I.
Next stop is Ankara, where we visited the mausoleum of the first president of the Turkish republic, the founder of the modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Pasja, known as Kemal Atatürk. We also visited the museum of Anatolia Civilization with a fantastic collection of art.


A complete different feature of Turkey is Cappadocia.  A spectacular landscape from eroded tuff stone. Also known for the carpet and ceramic industry. It is here where we made our first, exiting trip with an air balloon above the tuff stone landscape. We even received a, well-deserved, certificate for this act of heroism.

We stayed for some days in Avanos, from which place we made trips to Göreme, Zelve and Uçhisar. Christian fugitives hid in the 7th century in the valleys and easy to be cut caves, where lots of Churches, like the Esmali kilisı and the Tokali kilise, both from the 11th century, can be seen, and of course the surrealistic landscape views, eroded tuff stone in combination with not eroded basalt, was the main item. This environment is the result of the volcanic eruptions of Erciyes Dagi and Hassan Dagi. Avanos is also known for the great quality of carpets.

On the program also the famous underground city in Kaymaklı, a city of 2,5 sq km and up to seven floors, was built in the 6th until the 10th century by the Christians as hiding place for the Persian and Arabic invasions.
On the way to the last place to visit in this roundtrip, Konya, we visited a so called karvanserais, Sultanhani, a very strong walled tavern for human and animal travellers, built in the 13th-14th century along the famous silk route from China to Istanbul.

Finally in Konya we visited the Mevlâna museum, with the tomb of Mevlâna and the Convent. Mevlâna Jalaladdin Rumi (1228-1273) was grounder of the Mevlevi sect, known for the famous Dervishes dancing in meditation, the Semâ, which can last for several hours. And then for our last day back to Antalya, where we visited the old city, with the Hadrian gate, the harbor and the fantastic museum.  

A great and interesting roundtrip which could not be better with special thanks to our excellent and more then pleasant Professional Tour Guide Güven Dündar, and the very nice group of people we travelled with.
pictures of Turkey