If the Turkish Republic is a banquet for the visitor, 101 Must-See Places in Turkey is the richly descriptive menu.
This 336-page pocket-sized guidebook by Saffet Emre Tonguç and Fatih Türkmenoglu, full of fine color photographs and engaging, knowledgeable text, is the first real “insider’s guide” to the country.
The first guidebooks to Turkey were written by foreigners, from Ernest Mamboury a century ago, to the dozens of guides in a dozen languages that fill bookshop shelves today.
There was a good reason for this: Turks weren’t tourists, even in their own country, until the late 1980s. Some of the few Turks interested in touring their country actually used guidebooks written by foreigners.
That was then, and 101 Must-See Places in Turkey is now. Lead writer Saffet Emre Tonguç was named “Best Tour Guide in Turkey” in November 2007, and he’s a travel writer for Hürriyet, Turkey’s largest newspaper, so he knows the country and what people want to see.
The original edition was written and published in Turkish, for Turkish travelers, which is what makes the English edition so special: this is not the quick once-over for a two-week trip, but a book to keep on the shelf or in the car and use over and over, wherever you are in Turkey.
Of course, 101 Must-See Places in Turkeyincludes all the top, most-visited sights, but its real strength is in the rest, the places you’ll want to explore on your second, third and later visits to this fascinating country.
Besides the places and things to see and do, the guide includes tips on where to stay, where to eat, and what to eat to take advantage of the varied cuisine of this large and gastronomically varied land.
As my friend and former Lonely Planet Turkeyco-author Pat Yale puts it, “They know the Turkish poets, novelists and film-makers who have left their mark on the different localities; they know the local dishes that can add spice to a visit; they know the anecdotes that bring a smile to the lips of the reader. In short, they get under the skin of Turkey in a way that is hard for even the most experienced foreign guidebook writer.”
If you’re on your second or later trip around Turkey, you may not be able to have the “Best Tour Guide in Turkey” with you, but you can have the next-best thing: the best of his advice and travel guidance.
101 Must-See Places in Turkey, by Saffet Emre Tonguç and Fatih Türkmenoglu. Istanbul: Boyut, October 2007, 336pp. ISBN: 978-975-23-0450-5