As you all know a group of wayward soldiers tried to take over control in Turkey last night. The whole country was out in the streets protesting and protecting the government and so called coup failed even before it started. Unfortunately there are some casualties but majority of the illegal actors are captured and soon they will all be answering for their crimes. The mastermind of this illegal act is currently residing in Pennsylvania, US. His name is Fethullah Gulen if it is really his name. I seriously doubt it. God helped this nation once again. Be at peace!
It is May 29, the 563rd anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople by Turks. Exactly 563 years ago, 21 year old Sultan Mehmed II took it from the Eastern Roman Empire and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Although it had been tried by others many times before, no one made it possible but this young, passionate, and genius sultan.
He had his eyes on the city for a long time and he knew it would happen one way or the other, so he started his campaign by building a fort at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus strait, right across from another fort built by his great grandfather Sultan Bayezid the lightning. He was called ‘’the lightning’’ for his ability to move his troops lightning fast in the battlefield during the fights. Bayezid had tried to take the city about 60 years before Mehmed II but due to Timur the Lame’s attacks in the east, he had to withdraw to be back soon but unfortunately he was captured by Timur and died in captivity leaving his unfinished job to his grandson Mehmed II.
Young sultan completed the fort in just 4 months which is a really short time considering the size of the fort. It is from North to South 250 meters long, and from East to West between 50 and 125 meters long covering a total of 31,000 square meters. The legend says even the Sultan worked in construction to finish it as soon as possible. The idea was to stop any help to the city coming from the Europeans through the Black sea. And guess what? It worked.
After all the preparations were made and the campaign was ready to go, the Sultan sent a messenger to the Roman emperor asking him to hand the city over without a fight. He was guaranteed of safety and peace in return, for himself and all the citizens in the city but he refused it and the war began on April 6 1453, and lasted 54 days until the city was conquered by the Ottomans on May 29, 1453.
It took a lot more than swords and arrows. Sultan himself, being an engineer, designed the biggest cannons ever built to the date and penetrated the immense walls built by the Romans many centuries ago. The Ottomans also transported their ships over a hill called Galata to reach the weaker walls surrounding the Golden horn which is a natural bay shaped like a horn. It is impossible to describe how fierce the war was. Without a doubt, it is one of the greatest wars of all times. Turkey Tours by Local Guides invites you to witness historical events like the Conquest of Constantinople which changed the flow of history drastically through their eyes. Visit our Tours page for more details.
Did you know that tulips are originally from Turkey, not Holland? Most people would not know that and we cannot blame them, can we? The Dutch took tulip business very seriously and it paid off. Now they are the number one tulip producer in the world which is about to change, and thank God for that. The latest tulip event that took place in Istanbul is the gigantic tulip carpet they built ( perhaps I should have said ” they grew”) in Sultanahmet square. As you can see in the pictures, it is absolutely gorgeous, and location wise no better place could have been chosen. It is right in between two fascinating landmarks ; Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque ( AKA Sultanahmet Camii). If you have not seen it yet, I suggest you go there now and enjoy the beautiful carpet. For a detailed tour of the area you can contact Turkey Tours by Local Guides team at email@example.com
Warning: Do not attempt to lie down on the carpet! I know it is tempting but it is way too beautiful to do that.
Well, I think it is pretty much self explanatory. Samsung people filmed their latest commercial in one of the most scenic locations in Turkey. I don’t know if we should focus on the phone or the scenery but it is pretty nice.
At this moment the procession came – 3 carriages of ladies of the Harem magnificently dressed in black with their faces veiled in white and the handles of the doors held by Eunuchs, hideous black creatures, tall, coarse, fat for the most part, dressed in long black coats and white collars and red fezzes. Then came other carriages with the ministers and then the carriage of the Sultan – Abdul Hamid. He was accompanied by the Grand Vizier, but of him I saw nothing, so much was one’s attention fixed on the Sultan himself – a small inscrutable, impassive man, with foxy red beard, Jewish nose and plain red fez. He entered the grounds of the Mosque and then the Mosque itself and immediately the soldiers who had saluted with fixed bayonets as he passed and had shouted Hurrah stood at ease while coffee and Peak Frean’s biscuits were distributed among them. [After] about half an hour the service was over and the procession reformed: the Sheik returned as he had gone, on foot, with his white turban he was a most impressive sight. The soldiers crowded round the Sultan’s carriage and ran beside him as he drove up the hill on the way to the Palace. For the first time extracts from the Koran were read by the Sheik Islam from a balcony and the soldiers said some word apparently equivalent to “Amen”. Some in a most impressive way held out their hands as they made their responses and people of many different nationalities joined in this Moslem ceremonial.
As soon as the crowds had begun to disperse we found our guide and he conducted us to our carriage and off we drove – to find ourselves soon in the midst of the procession, through crowded streets lined with people who had come to see the sight, driving side by side with the Turkish soldiers accompanied by Turkish bands. As we neared our hotel we saw great excitement in one of the streets: evidently something had happened and in little groups people stood at their shop doors talking excitedly: the banks were being closed and we heard as we reached our hotel that another person had been killed. Soldiers had been discharging their bullets and one had struck a barber and killed him.
After lunch we went aboard the Bagdad for our return journey.
Then we returned over the wonderful Galata Bridge to our hotel. On this bridge one meets people of all nationalities: Negroes, Arabs, Messapotamians, people of all colours, all costumes, veiled women, unveiled women. This too was the constant wonder of the streets, the people and their costumes! Then the streets were most interesting with regard to the animals, the dogs swarm everywhere, wolf-like creatures in the distance, unspeakably mangy, wounded, unclean near to. Oxen and bisons draw large waggons here and people of all classes seem to ride in carriages (with two horses) unless it is that in the East people try to disguise their wealth and these shabby people are really better off than they appear. The Greek priests with their high hats, their long dark beards and apparently long hair twisted up in the nape of their necks were quite a feature of the scene: the red fez on most heads made the scene quite coloured, while white and coloured turbans varied the aspect.
Mr and Mrs Thomson (the Presbyterian missioner here who came to meet us) came to lunch with us and then we tool 3 carriages (we were joined by the Baroness le Fougère, wife of a French Consul going to a port on the Black Sea) and drove through Stamboul. We visited a Turkish Delight shop where they were making the sweets and bought some of these, then we drove to the Hippodrome and saw the wonderful Delphic column, the oldest thing in Constantinople. On the way we met a funeral of one of the men killed in the melée. Then we went to the Museum where there are 3 beautiful sarcophagi recently dug up in Sidon and dating from the time of the best Greek art. One of these with figures of the weeping women known as the Pleureuses is most beautifully carved in white marble.
We then visited the Grand Bazaar – streets on streets of shops covered over with domed roofs, gaily painted. There seemed to be a perfect labyrinth of these and we had carefully to keep together while passing through the maze. We made a few purchases and then went on. We visited the Pigeon (??) Mosque and here saw a letter writer with a serious faced woman in black dictating to him as he wrote. Feeling somewhat tired, we stopped at a café for tea and sat on chairs on the narrow pavement drinking Turkish tea or coffee and eating cakes which we bought from an itinerant vendor with his tray of delicious cakes and biscuits. After visiting another Mosque, the party divided, some who were tired returning to the hotel, while I went on with Mr Thomson to see the tomb of Mahmoud I, the Conqueror of 1453, a most delightful little mosaic Mosque and the old walls. This Mosque lay in the suburbs of the town and a bevy of little boys ran to call the Imam who showed us over. He was a most picturesque figure with a green turban indicating that he had not only been to Mecca but was also a descendant of the prophet, a long coat of many colours, a round pleasant smiling face and a knowledge of English that made his descriptions quite intelligible though often comic. This Mosque had also been a Christian church and still has mosaics and frescoes with figures of Christ and the Madonna, not altered as in S. Sophia. The old Imam seems to enjoy displaying his treasures and to really love the place. We next visited the walls, saw the place where Mahmoud the Conqueror had broken through and the hill in the distance on which the Crusaders had encamped, the tower in which the man in M. Crawford’s hero was imprisoned and the Count of Paris and a little Greek cemetery outside the walls. Then we drove back to the hotel through Stamboul – through all sorts of scenes. Jewish, Turkish, Greek, Armenian quarters – some of the men looked sullen and some dangerous but we arrived safely to find we were being anxiously looked for as another officer had been shot not far from our hotel and there was fear lest the trouble should break out again.
Friday we went to the Selamilik. Every Friday the Sultan drives from his palace to the Mosque nearby and about 50,000 soldiers in the most magnificent uniform assemble in the square while a small enclosure is kept for European visitors. We left the hotel about 10.30 and drove along the road towards the palace, passing the barracks which the soldiers had burned down just recently until we came to the square in front of the Mosque. Regiments of soldiers were marching along the same road while on the side of the road were groups of veiled women waiting to see the procession. We presented our passports and visiting cards and were admitted to the enclosure.
The sun poured down upon us as we stood waiting for the procession. The Lancers took up their position at the foot of the hill: the great space in front of the palace was filled with a seething Turkish crowd with soldiers outlining the square and at one time there was considerable disturbance here and some people were apparently ejected. The uniforms were Eastern and magnificent. Some blue ones embroidered in silver were very fine and many of the men impressed one with their splendour and the fineness of their face. The soldiers as a mass seemed ill-groomed and slouching: one in front of us showed his bare heel through his worn shoes.
Just before the Sultan came a great hush fell on the people and the white turbanned figure who was to give the call to prayer appeared on the gallery of the Minaret and in a most musical voice sounded the call to prayer.
Constantinople April 14 – 17 1909
We had a gorgeous view of the approach to Constantinople from the Captain’s bridge: it reminded me just a little of the approach to Venice from the Lido but as one drew nearer the cupolas and minarets became clearer and one realised how wonderful a position it is that the city occupies. The Sea of Marmara narrows towards the Bosphorus and with Scutari on the one side and Constantinople on the other it is difficult at first to see the entrance to the Bosphorus.
The city is piled on its seven hills so that it presents a beautiful front to the sea even before one turns the Seraglio Point with the Tower of Leander on the opposite shore and enters he Golden Horn. As we came nearer there was a great noise of firing and we were astonished to see the Turkish war boats with their decks crowded and their guns positioned. We heard as soon as we came up to the gate and were met by friends that we had come at an unfortunate time, that the soldiers had mutinied and shut up their officers and that one minister had been shot and about 50 other people killed or injured. Cook’s man would not allow his party to go on shore to have a look round that night. He evidently thought it not safe and the Frenchman, M. La Boussière who came to meet us urged us to stay on board for the night. However we drove up to our hotel as soon as we had got through the Customs: the scene on the quay was indescribable, dogs, men of all nationalities, dirt, noise, picturesque costumes, great shouts in a language we were totally unfamiliar with added to the atmosphere of strangeness and anxiety caused by the news of the Revolution.
When we reached the hotel we found that the rooms we had booked were not to be had as the people occupying them were unable to leave because of the disturbance. However we got some rooms given to us and heard shots every now and then as we went to bed. A tremendous fusillade was very alarming in the early hours, but next morning we were told that matters had quieted down and that it would be possible to visit S. Sophie;, which the day before had been in the hands of the soldiers and the centre of the disturbance, which as far as we could understand was partly a matter of the Moslem religion and partly a reactionary movement on the part of the Sultan, who we found had given an amnesty to all those who had attacked their officers.
Accordingly as the news was satisfactory we hired a guide and two carriages and drove first to S. Sophia. Here we had to put on slippers before going in: it is difficult to express the effect this building had on us: originally a Christian church all crosses, Christian mosaics which had been converted into Moslem ones. The expanse and space of the building is most impressive, also the beautiful Persian carpets with which it is covered. Each section about 6 ft. long and 3 ft. wide is meant for one man to kneel on and to prostrate himself on. Separate spaces are reserved for women – rather like little pens. All the carpets are made so that they face Mecca which is a little to the S of the East of the Christian altar.
We saw the mark of Mahomet’s hand on the wall, the fountains where men wash their hands, their arms, their feet and their head before going in to prayer.
We had too little time to see this magnificent building where we would fain have lingered, but we hastened on to the Mosque of Achmed which is smaller but in its own way most beautiful, having its walls of blue and white faience, and having 4 huge columns supporting the dome over 100 ft. in circumference, which makes it light and unlike every Christian church one has seen. The carpets here were of very varied and beautiful designs and colours.
We then went to the Museum of the Janissaries: a kind of Turkish Madame Tussaud’s: curious but otherwise not much worth visiting.
to be continued…
Celebrity Cruises canceled a stop in Istanbul earlier this week because of concerns with terrorism. They say that they have been monitoring the situation in Istanbul closely and taking action to protect their passengers. Well, to me it seems like they are just evading some big docking charges by spending people’s valuable time at sea or some Greek islands. Celebrity passengers should know that Istanbul is safe, probably safer than those so called Greek islands they are going to visit (without their consent )anyway. If I was onboard one of those ships, I would sue Celebrity Cruises for ruining my holiday. Look at the map closely, there are 4 big ships and a small one docked in the port of Istanbul right now. Would they be here if it was not SAFE? Marine traffic istanbul
30 May, 2015 – 1 June, 2015
Hugh Jackman – an Evening with Hugh Jackman – with a full orchestra
THE LEGENDARY NAME of BROADWAY in ISTANBUL!
Even though “Hugh Jackman – An Evening with Hugh Jackman” may be a set performance, it is in effect a concert that also contains improvisations. Hugh Jackman is a Tony-Award-winning actor renown the world over, most notably by his roles in movies such as ”Wolverine”, ”X-Men”, ”Les Misérables” and ”Real Steel.” The Australian artist puts his talent in song and dance on full display before our very eyes and he is accompanied by dancers and an orchestra of thirty two pieces during the performance.
The show features various segments, including tributes to classic movie musicals like ”Singin’ in the Rain” and ”Guys and Dolls” as well as odes to the Aborigine culture of Jackman’s native Australia and Peter Allen, the Australian composer Jackman earned a Tony Award for playing in The Boy From Oz. Jackman improvises often throughout the show. His charming interactions keep things fresh and funny.
An international movie star who got his start in Australian theater, Jackman earned a Tony for his Broadway debut in The Boy From Oz in 2004, the same year he first hosted the Tony ceremony. He returned to Broadway in the 2009 hit “A Steady Rain” opposite Daniel Craig, followed by the solo concert “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway” in 2011. In 2012, he played the role of Jean Valjean in the musical movie “Les Misérables.”
Musical Director – Patrick Vaccariello
Piano – Jim Laev
Guitar – JJ McGeehan
Drums – Brian Brake
Australian Musicians – Paul Boon & Nate Mundraby
Stage Manager – Kim Vernace
Choreographer – Angie Canuel
Wardrobe/Props- Heidi Neven
Video – Alex Nichols
And he visited some very important tourist attractions in istanbul such as the Topkapi palace
The fairy-like panorama of cotton-white travertine and the rich Roman and early Christian architectural remains make Pamukkale, Hierapolis, one of the most famous surviving examples of ancient Turkey.
Pamukkale means ” Cotton Castle” in Turkish.The marvellous cotton-white plateau formed by calcium oxide rich waters turned the southern slope of Çaldağ into an amazing travertine which draws thousands of people every year.
Our Pamukkale tour covers the following sights;
*Hierapolis ancient city,
As for the price, we don’t have a fix price but it is around 200 USD per person.