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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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:32 pm

(TIP 30)- AYASOFYA- HAGIA SOPHIA'S ANGEL UNCOVERED

On 23 July 2009, experts have uncovered one of the six angel mosaics within the world-famous Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) Museum in Istanbul after it had been hidden for 160 years behind plaster and a metal mask.

The mosaic, which measures 1.5 meters by 1 meter, was last seen by Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati, who headed restoration efforts at the museum between 1847 and 1849, and Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid. Experts were surprised to see that the mosaic, believed to date from the 14th century, was so well preserved.

Hagia Sophia, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian between A.D. 532 and 537, was originally a basilica before it was converted into a mosque when Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1453. During the conversion process, the Ottomans covered the mosaics with plaster instead of removing them.

The building served as a mosque until 1934, when it was turned into a museum.

The uncovered mosaic is located in the pendentive, an arched triangular section supporting the building’s huge dome. After 10 days of work on the area, experts removed several layers of plaster and the metal mask to uncover the angel.

The mosaic’s true age will be assessed after an analysis by the Hagia Sofia Science Board compares it to similar mosaics. The six-winged figure is though to depict the seraphim, an angel described in the biblical book of Isaiah.

For the photo of the angel: http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=45257

Approximately 2 million visitors visit Hagia Sophia every year and do not forget to visit this 1500 year-old monument when you visit İstanbul.

With all good wishes from Khartoum.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com


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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:12 pm

(TIP 31)- ISTANBUL BECOMES ONE OF EUROPE'S CAPITAL OF CULTURE

The opening celebrations will be marked by a spectacular fireworks display choreographed by the French pyrotechnician Cristoph Berthonneau today on 16 January 2010. And by a series of cultural performances set against the backdrop of some of Istanbul's greatest landmarks throughout the year 2010.

For detail information and schedule of cultural events, please visit http://www.en.istanbul2010.org/index.htm

With all good wishes from Khartoum
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by Tavsan » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:51 pm

Precisely why Selahattin is the master when it comes to touring Turkey. Selahattin I can't wait to see Istanbul in her new status as the cultural capital of Europe. Finally, the world proclaims what all of us here at TTP already know. :) I also cannot wait to see those mosaics you described. How is Turkey in March? I assume the weather is cool and the crowds are down since it is the off-season. We are counting down for our March visit.

Tavsan

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:27 am

Dear Tavşan,

This year Turkey is experiencing an extraordinarily warm winter. I hope it will be fine in March in İstanbul. However, we should always take into account the wisdom in Turkish proverbs. One famous proverb concerning March in our tradition says; "Mart kapıdan baktırır, kazma kürek yaktırır." meaning, in March, one looks out of his door and burns the handles of his pickaxes and shovels (as one already runs out of coal and wood until March).

P.S. Do not forget to show little Sinan the masterpiece of his grand master Sinan, the Architect. Please visit Süleymaniye and have your lunch in Darüzziyafe http://www.daruzziyafe.com.tr/ within the Süleymaniye complex where you can enjoy the hidden tastes of the Ottoman cousine in a 16th century setting.

Enjoy your time in Turkey.

With all good wishes from Khartoum.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by Tavsan » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:23 am

Selahattin:

Little Sinan or Sinan Pasha as he is quickly coming to be known :) will be staying home with anne but baba will be looking out for all kinds of neat things for the little guy. Of course photos of Mimar Sinan's work will be good to frame and hang around the house or in his room for inspiration. I just read a book by a woman who put together walking tours of some of Sinan's masterpieces in Istanbul. It was a pretty good read and if you followed her book in a week or so you could hit quite a few of Sinan's contributions to Istanbul and with a few more days probably some of his work in other places.

I am also looking forward to being in Ankara. I would love to take my colleague to the retaurant just next to the Koc musuem where we lunched before but it may be too cold for them to be open since they serve a lot of food outdoors. Mom-in-Law says Recep Usta has set up shop in her neighborhood which has me thrilled and allegedly there is a new baklava place that is out of this world close to Recep Usta.

Of course we will be back in town again over the summer some time. If we are lucky perhaps you will be in town during that time too.

Tavsan

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:55 pm

(TIP 32)- ASPENDOS INTERNATIONAL OPERA AND BALLET FESTIVAL

I've just come to realize that I have been neglecting my cultural and touristic duties on TTP Forum this year as a result of my getting so involved in my commercial mission in Khartoum, Sudan. However, tourism season is at its peak in Turkey as usual and my country keeps on receiving visitors from all corners of the world. It may be a bit of a late announcement for 2010 but I would like to remind opera - ballet and history lovers to note down Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival on their agendas for 2011 if they want to live once-in-a lifetime-experience in Turkey next year.

Every summer, operas and ballets are performed in the 20,000-capacity Aspendos Amphitheatre in Antalya as part of the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the 2000-year-old amphitheatre resounds to classical tunes, attracting thousands of spectators.

Organised by the Turkish Culture Ministry's State Opera and Ballet Directorate with the participation of prominent companies such as Istanbul's State Opera and Ballet Company and Antalya's State Opera and Ballet Company, the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival guarantees first class performances. In 2010, Verdi's Aida (8 June), The Three Musketeers (11 june) and Carmen (14 June) were three of the 8 performances on the programme.

For more information please visit the official site for the Aspendos Festival http://www.aspendosfestival.gov.tr/

With all good wishes from Khartoum and enjoy your holiday in Turkey.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:04 pm


(TIP 33): 2010 FIBA WORLD BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE HOSTED BY TURKEY


The 2010 FIBA World Championship will be hosted by Turkey from August 28 to September 12, 2010. It is co-organized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Turkish Basketball Federation and the 2010 Organizing Committee. It is considered as prestigious a competition as the Olympic Basketball Tournament.

If you happen to be in İstanbul, Ankara, izmir or Kayseri between August 28 and September 12, 2010, just take a day off and treat yourself for fun, excitement and vigour. For championship schecule, teams, stars, and further info please visit;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_FIBA_ ... ampionship

http://www.fiba.com/pages/eng/fe/10/fwcm/p/index.html

With all good wishes.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:23 am

DEAR TTP READERS

I've just completed my 2 year mission in Khartoum-Sudan and appointed to Melbourne-Australia. I will be in Melbourne for the next 2 years and trying to contribute to enhance the commercial activities between two countries as well as the cultural and historic ties between Turkey and Australia which started in Gallipoli in 1915.

In the meantime, should anybody on the TTP Forum need my help, I will be glad to be able to assist him/her here from Melbourne.

With all good wishes.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:35 am

(TIP 34): SULTAN SULEIMAN THE MAGNIFICENT IS BACK IN A TV DRAMA SERIES

The life of Suleiman the Magnificent under whose rule Ottoman Empire reached its zenith and became a world power in the 16th century is on Turkish TV channel (Show TV) and attracts millions of viewers not only from Turkey but from all over Europe and the Middle East on Wednesday evenings. The name of the series is Muhteşem Yüzyıl-The Magnificent Century.

Most of the episodes are shot on authentic locations in Topkapi Palace such as the Harem, the Tower of Justice, the Audience Chamber, the Gate of Felicity, the Palace Kitchens etc and the cast, costumes and characters reflect the very intimate part of the Sultan and his Harem.

Even if one doesn't understand Turkish, the drama is worth watching for the fascinating locations and the Ottoman Palace life in the 16th century.


http://www.muhtesemyuzyil.tv/ (Official website)
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... 4%B1l&aq=f (Various Episodes on Youtube)

With all good wishes
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com

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Re: TIPS FROM A TOUR GUIDE'S TREASURE TROVE

Post by OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:06 am

(TIP 35): ROXELANA'S (HÜRREM SULTAN) HAMAM OPENS

Roxelana's hamam, a long, domed building between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and completed in 1557 by the prolific architect Sinan, is the latest Istanbul bath to be restored and opened to its former grandeur -- emerging after years of neglect as an oasis of gleaming marble and inviting alcoves. The bath's reopening coincides with a the screening of a television drama "Muhteşem Yüzyıl-The Magnificent Century" -quoted in Tip 34- based on the life of Roxelana, which has captivated Turkish audiences, but also drew complaints for its sexual content and liberty with the truth.

Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana) was born into a Ukrainian family as Aleksandra Lisowska some time around 1500 and she was captured by raiding Crimean Tartars and sold as a slave in Constantinople, where she was selected for the harem. Through her charm and guile she managed to catch the eye of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, displacing his former favourite and eventually becoming his wife. Its glamorous costumes, sumptuous interiors, and the endless conniving and plotting among the women of the harem have fed the resurgent local interest in the Ottoman Empire, from which modern Turkey was formed in 1923.

History has not viewed Roxelana kindly, portraying her as a meddlesome schemer. We don't know for sure whether Roxelana ever came to her hamam because she died in 1558 and the bath was finished in 1557. Some people think the Sultan built it for her so bathers would pray for her in her ill health. Either way the location of the hamam, right opposite the Haghia Sophia in a central position shows her power and influence.

With all good wishes.
Selahattin Tümer

selahattintumer@yahoo.com


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