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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samikenina
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Post by samikenina » Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:28 pm

nice to see you back...and thanks for that.
He is one of my favourite people from the Ottoman history...but you didnt mention his wife..Roxelana...she fascinates me...forget Cleopatra..forget Lucretia Borgia..they are amateurs compared to the manipulative powers of this woman.
im waiting for your next installment.


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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:41 am

Hello Samikenina,

I do agree with you about the fascination of Roxelana (Hürrem Sultan) and her strong personality and power on Süleyman the Magnificent - which definitely proves the quotation of

" Behind every successful man, there is a woman :)
And behind every unsuccessful man, there are two. :evil:

Anastasia Lisovs'ka, also variously known as Roxelana, and often also by her Turkish name of Khourrem (or Hürrem or Karima), meaning "the laughing one", (circa 1510 - April 18, 1558) was the wife of sultan Süleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire.

Hürrem was born to a father who was a Ruthenian Orthodox priest, in what was then Poland (now Ukraine), possibly in Rohatyn. She was captured by Crimean Tatars during one of their frequent raids into Ukraine and taken to Istanbul in the 1520s as a slave, but was selected for Süleyman's Harem.

In the Harem, she gradually worked her way up to become Süleyman's favourite concubine. In 1534 she used her influence to have Süleyman's firstborn son, together with his mother, sent away to be a provincial governor, before apparently persuading Süleyman to have him strangled.

Hürrem was to bear Süleyman five children and, in an astonishing break with tradition, eventually became his wife, leading to one of her sons, Selim, inheriting the empire. Khourrem also acted as Süleyman's advisor on matters of state, and she was also active in foreign affairs and international politics.

Aside from her political concerns, Hürrem engaged in several major works of public building, from Mecca to Jerusalem, modeling her charitable foundations in part after the caliph Harun al-Rashid's wife Zubaida. She endowed a mosque in Istanbul.

Hürrem died on April 18, 1558. She is buried in a domed mausoleum decorated in exquisite Iznik tiles depicting the garden of paradise, perhaps in homage to her smiling and joyful nature. Her mausoleum is adjacent to Suleyman's, a separate and more somber domed structure, at the Süleymaniye Mosque.

For more information on Süleyman the Magnificent and Hürrem Sultan

http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/ ... elana.html

With all good wishes from Jerusalem
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Post by Love 2 Travel » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:20 am

Thankyou again ,Selahttin for another of your excellent posts. l enjoy reading them a lot.

Cheers,

Martin
Hi from Australia. Always looking for somewhere interesting to go. Advice graciously excepted and given.

Cheers

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Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:42 pm

Hello Martin,

If are still looking for somewhere interesting to go and haven't been to Jerusalem yet you won't regret coming here to Jerusalem.

It is more than interesting but charming, fascinating and stunning.

With all good wishes
Selahattin Tümer

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Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150

Post by carrie » Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:39 pm

From the Turkish press

http://www.turkishpress.com/travel/view.asp?id=113831

Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150


ISTANBUL – The 150th anniversary of the opening of Dolmabahçe Palace, which is among Istanbul's most unique historic places, will be celebrated with various activities.

The program was announced on Monday by Parliament Speaker Bülent Arýnç. An anniversary evening, an international symposium, exhibitions, concerts, and painting and photography competitions are among the activities that will take place throughout the year.

Noting that the palace was opened on June 7, 1856 Arýnç said the evening of June 7 would be one of the most spectacular activities of the 150th year celebrations. He stated that national palaces have been affiliated with Parliament since the time of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and added: “I’m proud to be the speaker of the assembly responsible for keeping our cultural inheritance alive. We hope that Dolmabahçe Palace’s 150th anniversary celebration program will be a reflection of the culture of our civilization.”

Dolmabahçe Palace, where the Ottoman sultans lived and Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died, has 285 rooms and 43 halls. It is surrounded by an elaborate garden, and there is a ballroom located at its center.

The palace can be visited on specified days of the week.

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Re: Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:04 pm

WHAT MAKES SULEIMAN " THE MAGNIFICENT" ? - A WELL DESERVED NICKNAME (PART 2)

Not only literature and poetry but also calligraphy, shadow puppet theatre, tiles and textiles, book illustration, music, and other arts also flourished during the time of Suleiman the Magnificent. Artists working at the palace’s studios or accompanying Sultan Suleiman on his military campaigns created many impressive albums of miniature paintings. With encouragement from the Sultan and his high-ranking officials, distinguished works were produced by historians, jurists, scientists and scholars.

Poetry made giant strides in the Suleimanic Age. The prominent historian of the Ottomans, Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, writes that this period represented the highest achievement of Ottoman poetry. In his six-volume “A History of Ottoman Poetry,” published in the early twentieth century, the British Orientalist E.J.W. Gibb refers to "Its pre-eminence over earlier times" and explains that, "At no time, even in Turkey, was greater encouragement given to poetry than during the reign of this Sultan." In his own right, Suleiman was an esteemed poet although he cannot be ranked as one of the giants of classical Ottoman verse. He turned out a few consummate lyrics and dozens of well-wrought pieces in conventional forms. He used the nom de plume “Muhibbi” in his poems. The chief feature of his poems is not, as with so many of his contemporaries, mere verbal elegance; it is their evident sincerity of feeling which strikes us most as we read those verses with their undertone of calm humility.

Human and divine love, the paramount theme of classical Turkish poetry, constitutes the quintessence of Suleiman’s poetic art. His verses run the gamut from adoration of God the Beloved in the highest aspirations of Sufism (Islamic mysticism) to profane love. Many of Suleiman’s poems concern deeply personal matters including his love for his wife Hürrem and his chastisement of his rebel son Bayezid. True to the Ottoman convention of commemorating many events by means of chronograms (poems in which the assigned numerical values of the letters, usually in the closing line, add up to the year of the event), Sultan Suleiman composed an elegy for his beloved son Mehmed who died in 1543 and ended the poem with the line "Most distinguished of the princes, my Sultan Mehmed" in which the total numerical value is the year of his son’s death.

A number of lines from Suleiman’s verses have become proverbs with which many Turks interlace their conversation. The line, "Everyone aims at the same meaning, but many are the versions of the story" is among the best known. (In Turkish -Cümlenin maksûdu bir ammâ rivâyât muhtelif) Some of these are so popular that the people who quote them do not even know the poet was none other than Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. By far the most famous line by Suleiman is, "In this world a spell of good health is the best state."

In Turkish:

Halk içinde muteber bir nesne yok devlet gibi.

Olmaya devlet cihanda, bir nefes sıhhat gibi.

Saltanat dedikleri bir cihân kavgasıdır.

Olmaya baht ü saadet dünyada vahdet gibi.

Through his wordplay on "state," Suleiman stressed that good health is superior to any other condition or to sovereignty or political power. Many of his verses, in fact, articulate his belief in the supremacy of love over earthly kingdom, of religious faith over secular power. His poems reveal that, as Gibb observes, "This Sultan, though one of the most powerful and successful sovereigns who ever lived, was yet undazzled by the splendour of his position, and never forgot to reckon at its true value that worldly glory of which he had so great a share."

With all good wishes.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:12 pm

[TIP 18] BRIEF HISTORY OF ANKARA (Dedicated to Tavsan - True Ankara Lover)

Although the modern look of the city makes one think otherwise, the vibrant history of Ankara can be traced back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians.

Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians' defeat at the hands of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. In 333 BC, Alexander came from Gordium to Ankara and stayed in the city for a period of time. After his death at Babylon in 323 BC and the subsequent division of his empire amongst his generals, Ankara and its environs fell into the share of Antigonus.

In 278 BC, Ankara was occupied by the Gaulish race of Galatians, who were the first to make Ankara their capital. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning "anchor" in Greek. Ankara's organized and written history starts with the Galatians.

The city subsequently fell to the Roman Empire in 189 BC and became the capital of the Roman province of Galatia. Under Roman rule, Ankara became a gate to the east for Rome, and as such was well developed, achieving the status of "city-state" or polis. The city's military as well as logistical significance lasted well into the long Byzantine Empire reign, even after its capital was moved to Constantinople. Although Ankara fell into the hands of several Arab armies numerous times after the 6th century, it remained an important crossroads polis within the Byzantine Empire until the late 11th century.

In 1071 Seljuk Sultan Alparslan threw open the door to Anatolia for the Turks by his victory at Malazgirt. He then annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory in 1073. Orhan I, second "bey" of the Ottoman Empire captured the city in 1356. Another Turkic leader, Timur Lenk besieged Ankara as part of his campaign in Anatolia, but in 1403 Ankara was again under Ottoman control.

At the close of World War I, Turkey was under the control of the Ottoman sultan and having lost the war, was being shared by Greeks, French, British, and Italians. The leader of the Turkish nationalists, Kemal Atatürk established the headquarters of his resistance movement in Ankara in 1919. After the War of Independence was won and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, Turkey was declared a republic on October 29, 1923, Ankara having replaced İstanbul (formerly Constantinople) as the capital of the new Republic of Turkey on October 13, 1923.

In my next post, I will be giving information about modern Ankara and ways of discovering its hidden beauties which are scattered in and around the city.

With all good wishes.
Selahattin Tümer

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Re: Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:23 pm

[TIP 19] THE MUSEUM OF ANATOLIAN CIVILIZATIONS IN ANKARA (Dedicated to Tavsan - True Ankara Lover)

It has been such a long time since I wrote on this forum but recent developments which have been taking place in this corner of the world put my official duties here in Jerusalem in front of my voluntary Turkey travel guiding mission. For this reason I am a bit late to realize a promise which I made in my previous post that I will be giving information about modern Ankara and ways of discovering its hidden beauties which are scattered in and around the city.

So, without any hesitation I should say “Museum of Anatolian Civilizations” in Ankara occupies the first rank among the hidden beauties to be discovered in the city. Apart from interested tourists, it is a must-visit place for anybody coming to Ankara on a diplomatic, business or academic mission. Do spare at least 2-3 hours to visit this unbelievable place if you happen to come to Ankara one day.

In order to understand and appreciate the long and rich history of mankind on earth in general and in Anatolia (Asia Minor/modern day Turkey) in particular, I believe one cannot find a better place than Museum of Anatolian Civilizations – nickname is Memory of Mankind- in Ankara. This unique Museum is small by size but it is very well organized and wonderfully displayed and the invaluable collections from various civilizations take us all through a journey in time. The journey starts with the stone age and it takes us back to Paleolithic Period - some 2 000 000 years (yes two million years) and stage by stage shows us the intellectual, social, economic and philosophical development of mankind on earth.

On display, there are so many objects, tools, ornaments, weapons etc. (by the way what is on display is barely 1/10 of the items in the museum depots) which are likely to shock you and make you change all your previously learned historic data and preconceptions about the role of Anatolia-Turkey as a source of civilizations in human history. You will start questioning why you were taught that Jericho is the oldest center of civilization/settlement on earth after seeing the Çatalhöyük section in the museum. You will start questioning why the first depictions of a supreme being in human’s mind was not a male (God) but a female (Goddess Kybele-Mother Goddess of Anatolia). You will also wonder why regardless of time and place, almost all human beings went through the same intellectual development process. After seeing the shapes and patterns on the clay vases and vessels excavated from Çatalhöyük or Hacılar dating back to some six thousand years, you will start wondering these vessels can easily be the predecessors of similar type of vessels which may well be found somewhere in Africa, South America or Europe. The only difference is the time space of some four thousand years. How on earth these people who are thousands of miles away from each other and thousands of years away from each other could shape and paint similar clay vessels and geometric patterns? What on earth these golden swasticas got to do during Bronze Age (some five thousand years ago) ? Did they herald the rise of Nazis in Germany in 1940’s or did they simply represent Deity where the lines of the cross represent spirit and matter, and the four arms bent at right angles represent the perpetual motion (cycles) of the forces of visible and invisible Kosmos. Or when applied to the Microcosm, did the symbol represent man as the link between heaven and earth while he stands with right hand pointing to heaven and left hand pointing to Earth. The lines of the cross represent the male and female principles in nature, or the positive and negative?

This list of questions is inexhaustible and waiting to be explored and answered. You won’t regret the hours you will spend in this unique Museum.


With all good wishes from Jerusalem.
Last edited by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE on Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Selahattin Tümer

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Re: Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:03 pm

[TIP 20] TRADITIONAL TURKISH SHADOW THEATRE - KARAGÖZ & HACİVAT


Apart from being a holy month when Muslims abstain from food and drink, Ramadan also means abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and fighting, and sexual intercourse. Therefore, fasting helps to develop good behavior as well as to train the body and the soul.

The month of Ramadan in the Turkish tradition, especially for the children, used to mean family reunions and endless entertainment after dinner. One of the most popular ways of entertainment was the traditional Turkish shadow play taking its name from its main characters Karagöz and Hacivat. This tradition got started in the Ottoman period and was widely performed for the public and in private houses between the 17th and 19th centuries especially during Ramadan, and at circumcisions, feast festivals, coffee houses and even in gardens.

According to a legend, Karagöz and Hacivat were working as construction workers in a mosque in Bursa. Although their satiric jokes entertained other workers it also held up and delayed the building of the mosque by their constant joking together. As a result it made the sultan very angry, so they were executed. The construction of the mosque was completed without them, but their comrades did not forget them and kept their jokes alive, telling them over and over. In time, the adventures of Karagoz and Hacivat gained a new dimension and the traditional Turkish shadow puppet theatre was born. Their monumental tomb stands in Bursa today and for those visiting Bursa, they can pay their tribute to these two legendary heroes in Çekirge district.


For more information please visit, http://www.karagoz.net/english/shadowplay.htm

With all good wishes from Jerusalem.
Selahattin Tümer

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Re: Dolmabahce Palace Turns 150

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:33 pm

[TIP 21] THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FALSIFIED GENOCIDE CLAIMS

One of the basic duties of an official tour guide is not only to guide the tourists at archaeological sites, museums and other touristic places but also to give her/his clients correct, genuine and comprehensive information on every single question asked to her/him concerning the history, culture and other current events regarding her/his country and people.

It may be quite smooth and easy to do guiding in Egypt, France, Italy, England, Spain, Greece, Israel etc., as the visitors/clients are ready to receive what they are being offered from the historical, cultural and social point of view and very few (perhaps none) of the visitors have any doubts, bias, preconceptions or hostile feelings for the country they are visiting. Unfortunately, it is not always the case in the Turkey guiding experience. Throughout my 32 years of professional guiding, I have always had at least one or two persons (sometimes more) in my groups who had some reservations (?) for the country they are visiting. I have always tried to answer and bring explanations to their questions to the best of my knowledge and have tried to show them the other side of the story. Usually, at the end of a 7-10 day tour, after seeing the country and the genuine hospitality and friendship of the Turkish people, even the most fanatic ones start reconsidering their prejudices and realize that Turkey and the Turkish people are not made up of only the Midnight Express, Armenian problem, Kurdish problem, Cyprus problem, human rights abuses. (These are what they have been told and shown by their mass media for years).

For those who may be interested in learning what really happened in Anatolia at the turn of the last century, I would recommend that they visit this website which reflects "the other side of the story" from reliable sources and with concrete evidences.

http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/

At the end of the day, of course, it is all up to you to decide what is right and what is wrong. However, we should not forget the fact that history is too serious to be re-written and to be put on trial in national parliaments by politicians seeking for a few more votes, or by authors seeking for fame and fortune by defaming his native country and people without any concrete evidence or proof even if they won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


With all good wishes from Jerusalem.
Selahattin Tümer

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