TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Feedback from travelers recently returned from Turkey: what's good, what's bad, what they found

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OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE
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TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:07 pm

(TIP 1)

A Remote Monastery worth visiting in Cappadocia


For keen explorers of early monastic life in Cappadocia, Keşlik Monastery (Between Mustafapaşa - Sinasos and Taşkınpaşa, near Cemil village) is waiting for you. I would recommend you to visit this extraordinarily well preserved monastery, with its beautiful frescoes which are hidden behind a thin layer of smoke, its refectory, kitchen, hiding chambers, baptistery, winery, escape tunnels etc. You will also feel the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the monastic life which you cannot find in the crowded Göreme Open Air Museum area. If you wish and if he is not busy with hosting somebody, the guard (bekçi) Mr Cabir (0536-887 55 17), who is a keen and dedicated gentle man definitely in love with the place, will happily show you around with his electric torch and you will be amazed by his knowledge of history and archaeology.

For photographs of monastery and Mr. Cabir please visit http://papillontravels.net/turkey6.htm

I hope you won't regret sparing a couple of hours to this special place and meeting this wonderful man Cabir.

With all good wishes
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:14 am

(TIP 2)

A Newly Restored- Reopened Hamam (Turkish Bath)


Those who want to experience an authentic hamam (Turkish Bath) in İstanbul can add a newly restored one to their list.

The Turkish bath, "Hacı Evhaddin Hamamı" was originally built by Sinan, the Grand Architect of Suleyman the Magnificent in 1573.

It has recently been renovated and refurnished and now run by Nuran Hanım.

Working Hours:

Monday - Friday

07:00 - 10:00 Men only
10:00 - 18:00 Women only
18:00 - 24:00 Men only

Sat. & Sunday

07:00 - 24:00 Men only


* If it is a group reservation, the working hours can be rearranged or the hamam can be fully booked and closed for the group.

ADDRESS: HACI EVHADDIN CAD. NO:67 YEDIKULE / ISTANBUL

FOR RESERVATION: 0212 632 49 24 (NURAN HANIM or MUSTAFA BEY)


--------------------

If you stay around Sultanahmet or Taksim area here is a list of historic Turkish baths for your information.

1. Çemberlitaş Hamamı (Tel: 0212 520 18 50)
Built by Sinan in 1584.

2.Cağaloğlu Hamamı (Tel: 0212 522 24 24)
Built by Süleyman Ağa and Abdullah Ağa in 1741.

3. Süleymaniye Hamamı (Tel: : 0212 520 34 10)
Built By Sinan in 1557.

4. Galatasaray Hamamı (Tel: 0212 252 42 42)
Built in 1715.



With all good wishes
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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SusanInToronto
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Post by SusanInToronto » Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:35 pm

Your posts are great!

We enjoyed our experience at a hamam in Fethiye a few years ago - probably not a traditional, 'authentic' experience, but very relaxing nevertheless. 8)

My husband and I are definitely planning to visit a hamam when we're in Istanbul in September. I'd love to go the day we arrive - seems like a nice way to relax after a long flight, but unfortunately we arrive on a Sunday rather late in the afternoon. We will want to go to a hamam where we can go at the same time - not necessarily together - but at the same time. I think that Çemberlitaş and Cağaloğlu close earlier on Sunday. Do you know about the others?

Thanks.
Susan B

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:06 pm

Dear Susan,

It is a good idea to go to a hamam right after your arrival in İstanbul to relax after a long flight. You can go to Çemberlitaş Hamamı together with your husband. You go to Ladies' section and he goes to Men's section.

I have just phoned the manager and learned that they are open from 6.00 a.m till 12.00 p.m. everyday. I hope this will be fine as far as your arrival and check in time at the hotel is concerned. Visit their website for details and lovely photographs.

http://www.cemberlitashamami.com.tr/

Enjoy the experince in a real historic bath of Grand Architect Sinan.

With all good wishes
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Post by SusanInToronto » Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:29 pm

Wow, thanks very much - I'm so looking forward to it! 8)
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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:59 pm

(TIP 3)
The Little Big Man in Antakya (Antioch) - SCULPTOR ABDULLAH ÖZALP


I have been meaning to write about this wiseman and sculptor of Antioch for a long time. He lives in a tiny house in Harbiye (Daphne) district of Antakya and carves unbelievable busts, torsos, statues out of granite, marble, limestone etc. in his garden. His pieces can easily compete with the ones you admire in the museums of Ephesus (Selçuk), Aphrodisias, İstanbul and Antalya. He has no formal education or training in sculpture but instinctively he gives the stone a kind of soul and vitality which can easily compete with the ones created by his colleagues in antiquity.

https://mattiamarinolli.wordpress.com/2 ... lah-ozalp/

If you happen to visit Antakya one day, do pay him a visit. He will not only open his doors but also his heart to you. Who knows, you will take along with you a unique piece carved by him. (Maybe the head of Zeus, Apollon or Marcus Aurelius).

P.S. I forgot to take his address but here is his phone number.
0326-231 32 88. Anyway, his house is very close to the last/first stop of the minibuses (Dolmuş) in Harbiye. If you ask him to anybody, they can show you his house.

With all good wishes.
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Laurie
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Keslik Monastery

Post by Laurie » Sat Jul 16, 2005 4:12 am

We returned from an amazing trip to Turkey earlier this week. While in Cappadocia, we stayed at the wonderful Esbelli Evi and received terrific advice from the owner, Suha Ersoz. One of the places he recommended was the Keslik Monastery and it was a true gem of a place. We were there with our two young children for well over an hour and didn't see anybody other than Mr. Cabir and friends. He was so friendly; took us on a tour of his garden and provided helpful information on the monastery buildings.

Suha also recommended Soganli and the hours we spent there were among the best we spent in Cappadocia. We had the valley to ourselves, climbed into a number of interesting cave churches, many with well-preserved paintings, and had delicious lentil soup at a tiny restaurant under the trees. Our kids (6 and 8) were free to poke into every nook and cranny and really had a great time exploring this beautiful place at a very leisurely pace.

One more of Suha's recommendations: for an incredible dinner, visit the Old Greek House in Mustafapasa. GREAT food!

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:14 pm

(TIP 4)
TEZHİP-ILLUMINATION

Due to my hecting programme nowadays, I seem to be neglecting my duties in posting some more tips from my treasure trove. This time, I would like to give some information about a lesser known traditional Turkish handicraft called Tezhip – Illumination.

The Turkish word for illumination (tezhip) originally comes from an Arabic term meaning working with gold. As a very widespread art discipline among Ottoman decorative arts, illumination has displayed a variety of styles over centuries, particularly in manuscripts, murakka and levha. "Muzehhib" is the term used for performers of this art. Deriving from Central Asia, this decorative art has become the mystical expression of concrete and abstract form, making a whole with calligraphy and blending the beauty of nature with the philosophy of Islam.

The best examples of calligraphy and tezhip can be viewed in Topkapı Palace Museum (Calligraphy Section) in Istanbul and Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi Mausoleum Museum in Konya.

For further information on Tezhip:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~agokcen/Tezhipintro1.htm

For pictures:

http://www.turkislamsanatlari.com/tezhi ... tezhip.asp#

For Topkapı Palace:

http://www.ee.bilkent.edu.tr/~history/topkapi.html


With all good wishes.
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Sep 02, 2005 2:23 pm

(TIP 5)
IN ADDITION TO SARDIS: SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION

In addition to the practical information given by Carrie, under the name "Ancient City Of Sardes" in Travelers' Reports section, I would like to give some Biblical reference to the places in Turkey because throughout my guiding experience with Christian pilgrimage tours, I have come to the conclusion that the great majority of the travelers (I am not talking about the few enthusiasts and Christian theologians) are not aware of the fact that most of the places they read about in the Bible or in other religious sources do exist in modern day Turkey. Here is the list of the Seven Churches of Revelation and their modern Turkish place names.

PHILADELPHIA (ALAŞEHİR)

An ancient city of Lydia in the west of Asia Minor. In his message to the Bishop of that city, John praises the zeal of the Church and promises it great increase (Rev. 3:7-13).

SARDIS (SART-SALİHLİ))

The capital of Lydia. The church of Sardis is one of the seven churches of Asia addressed by John in Revelation. The "angel" (perhaps the bishop) of the church is reproved as dead in spirit, and only a few of its members are found worthy (Rev. 3:1-4).

EPHESUS (EFES/SELÇUK)

The chief city of western Asia Minor in Paul's time. He first visited it briefly towards the close of his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19); and during his third journey he made it his residence for quite a long time (Acts 19), until circumstances forced him to leave (Acts 20). Later in life, Paul came back to Ephesus again and left Timothy there as bishop (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6). John addressed the first of the seven letters in the Revelation to the angel, that is, the bishop of Ephesus. In this letter, there is much praise, but also a reproach that the fervor of charity had cooled (Rev. 2:1-7).

SMYRNA (İZMİR)

A city on the west coast of Asia Minor which in Biblical times was a thriving commercial center. It was founded as a Greek colony before 1000 B.C., but was destroyed in 600 B.C., and rebuilt 200 years later. Eventually, it was dominated by Rome. Smyrna was one of the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:11; 2:8-11). Polycarp, the bishop of this church, died as a martyr about 169 A.D.

THYATIRA (AKHİSAR)

A city of Asia Minor northwest of Sardis. It was famous for its dyes and dyeing industry. Lydia, the seller of purple who was baptized by Paul, came from Thyatira (Acts 16:14-15). It was the site of one of the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:11). In his vision, John was told to write a letter to the church there. Because it was the center of certain magical and superstitious practices led by the evil woman Jezebel, it was threatened by John (Rev. 2:18-29).

PERGAMUM (BERGAMA)

A city of Mysia in Asia Minor. John addressed a complaint to the Bishop of Pergamum in which he mentioned the heresy of the Nicolaites (Rev. 2:12-17).

LAODICEA (GONCALI-On the way to Pamukkale from Denizli)

A city in Phrygia, on the river Lycus, in Asia Minor. In Revelation, John writes to the bishop of that city and reproves him for the lukewarm state of the church over which he presides (Rev. 3:14-22). Paul wrote a letter to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:15-16) which is either lost or which may be the same letter as that to the Ephesians, which was a circular letter.


With all good wishes.
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:12 pm

(TIP 6)

THE BLUE VOYAGE - HOW DID IT START ?

The whole idea of the Blue Cruise/Voyage originates from the famous Turkish writer Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı (Halikarnas Balıkçısı - Fisherman of Halicarnassus) who was sent on an exile to Bodrum in 1925. During his exile years in Bodrum he fell in love with this fishing village (It was indeed a fishing village at that time only accessible from the sea) and he decided to settle there after completing his exile days. This very well educated Turkish writer, painter, cartoonist, environmentalist, translator, tour guide (by the way he is the guru of tour guides in Turkey) etc. - above all a true philanthropist intellectual- started going on blue cruises with his archaeologist, historian, writer and other intellectual friends to discover the natural, historical, cultural and archaeological treasures of Western Anatolia. These voyages were some sort of nostalgic trips to history, natural beauty and archaeology where he developed a deep insight in Anatolian culture and history. To him, the roots of the western civilization lie in Ionia and Caria (Western shores of Anatolia or Eastern shores of the Aegean Sea) rather than in Greece because the Greek colonists who came to colonize and exploit the wealth and richness of Asia Minor around 1000 B.C. got assimilated and were educated in the Ionic culture which had already reached a much higher level in Asia Minor (Anatolia). His theory is quite logical as these Greek colonists were not able to create anything in the name of civilization and culture in the Greek mainland, whereas they created wonders in the Anatolian soil under the supervision of their wise and educated Ionian/Anatolian masters. In a way, in the hands of a good educator, the apprentice exceeded its master.

So, he wrote various books on these voyages and his views reflecting the true nature of the nostalgic past of the area most of which have become a kind of holy relict for the Turkish elite.

Within the past 10 years or so, these voyages have become quite popular with the Turks and the tourists (you can clearly imagine that these are a bit commercialized) and it is no longer possible to sleep in the deserted silent coves under the stars because you will most probably be disturbed by another gulet (hand made wooden boat) anchored nearby. In a way the gist, the innocence and the virginity of the experience is a bit ruined nowadays. However, if you are lucky and have a very experienced captain, he will definitely find a deserted place for you to swim, relax, explore and sleep.




With all good wishes.
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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