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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Al
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Post by Al » Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:39 am

"...the area is known to be the playground of most fanatical and fundementalist sects in Turkey"

OK, that part doesn't sound too exciting.

A few years ago when I was looking for pictures of this mosque, I couldn't find any. I know it's not on the main tourist route (which, is a good thing in some ways). Driving by the outside, it looked like it would be a packed in site and hard to photograph.

I don't expect to be in Istanbul for a few years, but I want to visit this site on my next trip.

Thanks!!!!!!!!!


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Post by carrie » Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:26 am

Dear Selahattin,

Like always great info and I really enjoyed the pictures of the Blue Mosque.

samikenina
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Post by samikenina » Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:19 pm

hi selahattin..as usual really enjoyable information.
i spent the Şeker Bayramı down in Antakya and we did some sightseeing.(as well as kissing and shaking hands with thousands of relatives..and eating) What can you tell me about a place called Harbiye..ive been there so many times but know little about it and there isn't much in my little travel book. i was interested to know that the mosaics in the museum came from Harbiye...and also is it true that Cleopatra got married to Anthony there??
and have you tried the soap..yusufs father makes his own..well he gets the ingredients to his own recipe then gives these to the man that 'cooks'' the soap. its supposed to be the same recipe that the ancients used...is that also true?

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:36 pm

Dear Samikenina,

Here are the answers to your questions to the best of my knowledge because it is really difficult to differentiate between fact and fantasy (myth) in this magical place called Antakya.

Antakya (Antioch ad Orontes or Syrian Antioch) is steeped in history and mythology at every step and Harbiye (Daphne), 8 km. after Antioch, is the place where Apollo fell in love with Daphne and tried to have her, but Mother Earth, in order to save Daphne, turned her into an elegant daphne (laurel) tree. The site is full of these trees accompanying the orchid gardens, and waterfalls where you may have a pleasant meal in many of the restaurants scattered all around. (My personal favourite is Kule Restaurant). Also in myth it was here that Paris gave the golden apple to Venus. In history it is reputed to be where Mark Anthony married Cleopatra as well.

Daphne's pleasant climate (in contrast to Antioch which is hot and muggy) drew the wealthy Antiochenes to build their homes here in the suburbs. As you suggest, many of the mosaics displayed in the Antakya Museum- scenes from mythology such as Paris and Helen, Narcissus, Medea, Apollo and Daphne, Oceanos, Bakhus etc- were originally the floors of those houses.

For beautiful pictures of mosaics in Antakya Museum which houses one of the richest and most beautiful mosaics in the world please visit;

http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/antakya_museum&page=1

As far as the natural soap is concerned, you have to check Yusuf's father's hair to certify its magic. This must be the real natural green or dark cream colored soap which has been made and used by the locals for centuries. The main ingredients are oliveoil, soda and laurel leaves but I don't know the right proportions to mix. In good old days, soap makers used to visit the families in autumn and boiled/made their soap in their gardens. (You can still see this old practice in some remote villages in Antakya).

If made properly, this soap is very good for skin and hair and you don't need any shampoo, cream or hair conditioner to preserve the beauty of your hair and skin.

With all good wishes.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Post by samikenina » Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:29 pm

thank you Selahttin....yusuf's father and all his brothers have thick hair they are all in their 60's and apart from having thich hair..no bald patches Yusuf's father has jet black hair . He uses olive oil and oil from the daphne seed in the soap. i have come back from there with my usual allowance..2 kilos...its great soap..lathers up well and has a mild natural perfume. it looks odd its a khaki colour and cut in big slabs..but so what :)

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:35 pm

As long as it works who cares about the color, shape or smell :lol:
Selahattin Tümer

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:37 am

(TIP 14) THE ROMAN BATHS IN ANKARA

I wonder how many of us who live in Ankara know the fact that one of the world’s largest Roman period baths is located in Ankara. The bath, situated on Çankırı Caddesi (Avenue) in Ulus, has all the typical features: a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (cool room) and caldarium (hot room). The Roman bath is estimated to have been built at the time of Emperor Caracalla (3rd century A.D.) in honor of Asclepios,the god of medicine. Although only the basement and first floors remain today, they give very clear idea about the dimensions of the bath. As usual, this public bath was a focal point of Roman social life. The ruins of the Roman baths of Ankara provide an interesting example of how the Romans built hollow spaces below the pavement of the various halls to provide them with uniform heating. The area of the baths is today an open air museum where the Turkish authorities have displayed ruins of temples and other Roman buildings found in different locations in Ankara. By the number of capitals, columns, funerary inscriptions, etc. one understands the size and the importance of Roman Ankara. A saying referred to Rome could be applied to Ankara: "Quanta Ankara fuit, ipsa ruina dixit" (how great Ankara was, its ruins tell it by themselves).

With all good wishes
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Thu Dec 29, 2005 4:41 pm

(TIP 15) THE ESSENCE OF MEVLEVI WAY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

The essential meaning of Mevlevi brotherhood is to be of service to all people of the world, to rescue people from pessimism and hopelessness. In their interpretation, the patron saint Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi came as a unifier to all humanity. Men and women of the present day Mevlevi path marry, raise families, work, and take part in the joys and sorrows of the world while at the same time attempting to attain a reunion with God by giving emphasis to their spiritual state. Their intention is to live as true human beings, cleansed of animalistic, carnal characteristics. While developing spiritually, each one is to be as an example to others of loving kindness, patience and tolerance.

The relationship with the spiritual master is of great importance and essence in this path. As the representative of Mevlana, he offers each disciple appropriate guidance. Also, through spiritual chats which are the basic to Mevlevis, prayer services, the Sema, and night vigils, the disciple develops spiritually. Music and the Sema are food for the spirit. The Sema, both for those turning and those participating but not turning, is a means of bringing them closer to the realization of the Unity of God.

With all good wishes from Jerusalem.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:57 pm

(TIP 16) THE SEVEN ADVICE OF MEVLANA JELALUDDIN RUMI

* In generosity and helping others, be like a river

* In compassion and grace, be like the sun

* In concealing others' faults, be like a night

* In anger and fury, be like dead

* In modesty and humility, be like earth

* In tolerance, be like a sea

* EITHER EXIST AS YOU ARE OR BE AS YOU LOOK .....



With all good wishes
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:46 pm

(TIP 17) WHAT MAKES SULEIMAN " THE MAGNIFICENT" ? - A WELL DESERVED NICKNAME

Sultan Suleiman, known as “the Magnificent” in the West and in the Islamic world as “the Lawgiver” (in Turkish Kanuni; in Arabic Al-Qānūnī), a nickname stemming from his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system was the tenth Osmanli sultan of the Ottoman Empire and its longest-serving, reigning from 1520 to 1566. Under his leadership, the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith and became a world power. Suleiman was considered one of the pre-eminent rulers of 16th-century Europe, a respected rival to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I of France, Henry VIII of England, and Sigismund II of Poland. He personally led Ottoman armies to conquer Belgrade, Rhodes and most of Hungary, besieged Vienna, and annexed huge territories of North Africa as far west as Morocco, and most of the Middle East. Briefly, Ottomans achieved naval dominance in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf, and the empire continued to expand for a century after his death.
Within the empire, Suleiman was known as a fair ruler and an opponent of corruption. He was a great patron of artists and philosophers, and was noted as one of the greatest Islamic poets, as well as an accomplished goldsmith. Prior to Suleiman, by 1517 the Ottoman Empire under his father Sultan Selim I took over Palestine from the Egyptian Mamelukes. Suleiman was so taken with the city of Jerusalem and its plight that he ordered the construction of a magnificent fortress-wall that still stands around the Old City.

Suleiman the Magnificent was a creative conqueror who wielded both the sword and the pen. At his death, he left behind a more sprawling Ottoman dominion than ever before – and more verses than any other Sultan. Thanks to his patronage and the vibrant cultural milieu of the Suleimanic Age, Ottoman poetry, which had been evolving for some two hundred years, reached the apogee of its classical era. It was to become a crowning achievement.

With justifiable pride, Sultan Suleiman referred to himself as the emperor of far-flung lands and seas in many of his poems. His reputation as a "world conqueror" has remained intact since the first half of the sixteenth century. In describing most of his predecessors and successors, Europe employed neutral adjectives or pejorative terms, but reserved the name "Grande Turke" for Suleiman. To the Turks, he was (and still is) "Kanuni" but Europeans expressed their admiration for him and his resplendent rule by calling him Suleiman the Magnificent.

The reign of Suleiman heralded the growth of the Ottoman state into one of the most expansive empires ever. It embraced all or part of the territories that would be present-day Turkey, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Albania and many others. This powerful empire, under Suleiman, also produced some of the glorious achievements of classical Ottoman art and architecture. Royal chief architect Sinan created for Suleiman and his family many edifices, including the Süleymaniye (Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul) which is a masterpiece of mosque architecture and which dominates the Istanbul skyline over the Golden Horn.

If you ever visit Istanbul, do not miss to visit Süleymaniye (Suleiman Mosque) – a less frequently visited mosque complex when compared with the Blue Mosque- and his humble tomb next to it. If you still have some time to spare you can taste the delicacies of authentic Ottoman-Turkish cuisine at Darüzziyafe Restaurant which operates in Suleiman’s soup kitchen-imarethane built for the needy.

I will be giving more information about his poetic side in my next posting.


With all good wishes from Jerusalem
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com


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