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Hiking in Turkey: Istanbul and the Lycian Way

Program Number: 20923RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/1/2014 - 3/13/2014; 3/17/2015 - 3/29/2015; 11/6/2015 - 11/18/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Turkey
Price starting at: $3,721.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 26; 11 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

In what is today Turkey, on a peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean, the ancient Lycians fought and formed uneasy alliances to protect their beautiful land and cultured lifestyle from the likes of Athens and Persia. Hike sections of the Lycian Way, a 316-mile footpath tracing the Turquoise Coast, to find the well-preserved ruins of Lycia, savor spectacular vistas and hear legends like that of the fire-breathing Chimera. Plus a walking excursion in Istanbul reveals the city’s most magnificent landmarks.




Highlights

• Discover Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman Sultans.
• Walk sections of the famed Lycian Way, stopping to explore ancient ruins and admire stunning views.
• At the peak of Mount Chimaera, find the volcanic “eternal flame” that inspired the myth of the fire-breathing Chimera monster.



Activity Particulars

Hiking up to five miles per day; some uneven, hilly and rocky terrain.




Date Specific Information

3-1-2014, 3-17-2015, 11-6-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Istanbul, 2 nights; flight to Antalya, 1 night; coach to Cirali, 3 nights; coach to Yediburunlar, Fethiye, 4 nights; coach to Dalaman, flight to Istanbul, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Istanbul
2 nights

Explore the grand city of Istanbul on foot, including visits to the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman Sultans. Then enjoy a boat excursion on the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Europe and Asia.



Flight to Antalya
1 night
Coach to Cirali
3 nights

From Antalya, journey into the Taurus Mountains, where you hike to the ruins of Termessos, an ancient hilltop city. Explore the seaside ruins of Phaselis, a city conquered by Alexander the Great. Hike to the peak of Mount Chimaera, noted for its “eternal flame,” which inspired the myth of the Chimera monster. Set out on walks along the Lycian Way, finding ancient fortresses, villages and necropolises. Take a boat excursion to the charming hamlet of Kekova.



Coach to Fethiye
4 nights
Coach to Dalaman
Flight to Istanbul
1 night
Departure

Continue to Fethiye to walk more of the beautiful Lycian Way. Discover seldom-visited ruins of ancient cities and the ghost town of Kayaköy, home to Greek Christians until the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Learn about traditional agricultural life in this region as you meet the hardy people who inhabit its villages.




Turkey

Turkey is bracketed by seas on three sides, which has facilitated its status as a crossroads of different civilizations for tens of thousands of years. It is modernizing rapidly, but its past is everywhere apparent. It is a country where centuries-old mosques and castles blend with modern streets and buildings to create a unique blend of past and present, European and Oriental influences.



Accommodations
Istanbul: Four-star hotel along the ancient city walls of Constantinople, airport hotel (final night). Antalya: Award-winning boutique hotel. Cirali: Charming seaside bungalows with private facilities. Fethiye: Tiny mountaintop hotel with spectacular coastal views.
Meals and Lodgings
   Armada Hotel Istanbul
  Istanbul, Turkey 2 nights
   Tuvana Hotel
  Antalya, Turkey 1 night
   Arcadia Holiday
  Olympos, Turkey
Kas/Kekova, Turkey
3 nights
   Yediburunlar Light House Hotel
  Fethiye/Lycian Way, Turkey 4 nights
   Airport Hotel
  Istanbul, Turkey 1 night
 Armada Hotel Istanbul
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Armada hotel is centrally located in the old city of Istanbul, on the city's historical peninsula. It is surrounded by the ancient city walls and is within walking distance and has views of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Open since 1994, the building was constructed on the site of a series of row houses which were built for the marine soldiers of the famed Ottoman Admiral Hayrettin Pasha (Barbarossa) in the 16th century. The hotel's façade replicates the original structures.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Cad, 24
Sultanahmet
Istanbul,  34400 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
web: www.armadahotel.com.tr
  Room amenities: 110 rooms, decorated in the Ottoman style with traditional Edirnekari woodwork painting, are a graceful blend of past and present and offer all modern amenities, including air conditioning, central heat, hair dryer, mini-bar, cable TV, direct-dial telephone, Internet connection and safety-deposit box.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, bars, rooftop terrace, room service and laundry service.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact info@baltactours.com Contact the Program Provider for reservations; info@baltactours.com.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Tuvana Hotel
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Surrounded by gardens, the elegant Tuvana Hotel is in the historic center of Antalya, only 1500 ft from Hadrian's Gate. It features an outdoor pool and spacious guest rooms with traditional Ottoman décor. Air-conditioned rooms have hardwood floors and furnishings made from oak and pine wood. They come equipped with free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and a DVD player. Some rooms have a balcony. In the morning, the hotel serves a buffet breakfast. Seraser Restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining, serving international and Turkish cuisine made from fresh ingredients. Guests can relax on the grounds, which are filled with orange and plum trees. Tuvana Hotel is one mile from Konyaalti Beach and is a 5-minute walk from Mermerli Beach. The hotel offers 24-hour front desk service and free on-site private parking.
  Contact info: Tuzcular Mah. Karanlik Sokak
No: 18 Kaleici
Antalya,   Turkey
phone: + 90 242 244-4053
web: www.tuvanahotel.com
  Room amenities: Air-conditioned rooms have hardwood floors and furnishings made from oak and pine wood. They come equipped with free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and a DVD player. Some rooms have a balcony.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Grounds, Terrace, Non-Smoking Rooms, Safe, Heating, Air Conditioning, Restaurant With Dining Menu
  Smoking allowed: No

 Arcadia Holiday
Type: Lodge
  Description: If you are looking for nature, beauty and a retreat away from the stress of everyday life, you will find it in Arcadia. Sit on your porch and look out onto the turquoise waves of the Mediterranean Sea. Lie under a sun umbrella until the mood for a dip in the ocean strikes you. Hike up to the mysterious fires of the Chimera hidden in the surrounding mountains. Everything is on the doorstep. Arcadia offers five separate and spacious pine bungalows, all hand-made with loving attention to detail. Each room has air conditioning and heating, a mini-bar, coffee maker, a telephone and wireless internet access.
  Contact info: Cirali, Olympos
Antalya,   Turkey
phone: + 90 242 825-7340
web: www.arcadiaholiday.com/
  Room amenities: Each room has air conditioning and heating, a mini-bar, coffee maker, a telephone and wireless internet access.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, beach front location, A/C in rooms, wi-fi
  Smoking allowed: No

 Yediburunlar Light House Hotel
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Yediburunlar is one of the most magical corners of Turkey. This location is perched on the mountains running parallel along the splendid coastline of southern Turkey. The hotel is located on top of the hills, enjoying a stunning view of the mountains and the sea. The hotel has only 9 rooms and is the most suitable hotel to enjoy hikes along the Lycian Way.
  Contact info: Yediburunlar Bogazici Village Esen
Fethiye
Mugla,   Turkey
phone: + 90 252 679 1001
web: www.walkyediburunlar.com
  Room amenities: A/C, hairdryer, private bathroom, great views.
  Facility amenities: 9 unique rooms equipped with private bathrooms. Restaurant, outdoor seating seating area, outdoor bathtub.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Airport Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the airport, making it easy to transfer to flights.
  Contact info: Istanbul Ataturk Airport
Istanbul,   Turkey
phone: + 90 212 465-4030
web: www.airporthotelistanbul.com
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, satellite tv, music, wireless internet.
  Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, gym, internet, business center, restaurant, free shuttle service.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: 165 EUR, INCL tax and BRKF Please contact info@baltactours.com for inquiries and reservations.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
6 p.m. on arrival day, in the hotel lobby for welcome and orientation You will be staying at Armada Hotel Istanbul that night.
  End of Program:
08:00AM at the Airport Hotel in Istanbul on the final day You will be staying at Airport Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Passport needs to be valid for 6 months. Tourist visa for Turkey can be purchased at the airport of arrival. It costs $20 USD in cash for US citizens and $60 in cash for Canada citizens, at the time of writing. Participants can also purchase and print an electronic visa online at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. Visa fee is the same. Make sure the duration of your visa covers your entire stay in Turkey so please enter your date of arrival carefully.
  Parking availability:
.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Shuttle buses are available to the city center.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Istanbul
  Nearest city or town:  Istanbul
  Nearest airport:  Istanbul Ataturk
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Participants should look for the Road Scholar sign or their names on a sign board after clearing passport control and customs. Independent travelers may take a taxi directly to the hotel. Taxis are available outside the terminal and will cost around $40 USD to the hotel. Shuttle buses are available for all domestic and international aircraft landing at Istanbul Airport, in front of the arrivals terminal. Ticket to Taksim Sq costs 10 TL ($6) per person, is payable on the bus in cash only and the trip lasts about 40 minutes. http://havatas.com/en/coach.aspx?i=1 Participants can also write to info@baltactours.com to arrange a private transfer or for more information.
  From End of Program
  Location: Istanbul
  Transportation from site: Participants can simply walk from the Airport Hotel to the check-in area at the Istanbul Airport's international terminal.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: There will be a few hikes hikes where the elevation will be slightly above 3,000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: No specific equipment will be required. However a hiking pole is highly recommended. Participants may wish to bring their own pole, but please be advised that hiking poles will be provided before the start of the program in Turkey. Sturdy and comfortable walking/hiking shoes are a must.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Flight
(Saturday, March 1)
   
 Depart From: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Day 2: Arrival in Istanbul. Welcome meeting and dinner at the hotel.
(Sunday, March 2)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Welcome Meeting at the Hotel to get to know your Group Leader and fellow group members. We will gather in our private meeting room at the hotel at 6:00PM where your group leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedules, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner at the Hotel
   
Accommodations: Armada Hotel Istanbul
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Highlights of the Old City of Istanbul
(Monday, March 3)

Note: This will be a walking tour of the main monuments and museums in the old city of Istanbul. Walking up to 1 ½ miles on busy streets of Istanbul, sometimes on cobblestone streets.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: This morning you will start your day with a walking trip to the breathtaking Church of Hagia Sophia. You will learn about the architecture of this unique 1,500 year old building and awe at its size and glamour. You will then visit the Underground Cisterns, built in 532 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in order to store water for his city. Then will follow a visit to the Blue Mosque, the world famous mosque of Istanbul built in 1616.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in the old city
 Afternoon: Visit the Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the power and wealth of the Ottoman Empire. You will also be able to visit the Harem and catch a glimpse of daily life behind closed doors. Walk down to the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar in Turkish) where the exotic aromas of the Orient will capture you immediately. We will end the day with a private cruise on the wonderful Bosphorus and see its lovely waterfront houses and palaces. On the way back to the hotel, time permitting, stop at the Grand Bazaar, a maze of 4,000 shops and alleys, an old shopping mall for bargains.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Armada Hotel Istanbul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Flight to Antalya and field trip to Termessos, a city perched upon the Taurus Mountains.
(Tuesday, March 4)

Note: 1/4 mile hike up to the ancient city of Termessos.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Transfer to Istanbul Airport to catch an early flight to Antalya.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in the city
 Afternoon: Hike to see the ruins of Termessos, a Greco-Roman ancient site located on the top of a hill. Due ot its rugged location, even Alexander the Great could not conquer this city. Activity Detail: Hiking (uphill to the ancient site and then downhill to the parking garage) about 2 miles on uneven terrain. Hike difficulty: 6/10
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Tuvana Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Excursions to Phaselis and hike to Chimera, the mythological fire breathing monster.
(Wednesday, March 5)

Note: Hike up to Chimera on a rocky trail for about 45 minutes and then down back on the same trail.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Depart from Antalya heading south. Stop at Phaselis to see this beautiful ancient town located right on the Mediterranean. Alexander the Great spent the winter of 334BC here on his way to conquer the rest of the known world. Activity Detail: Hiking on flat surface in ancient town about 3/4 mile. Hike difficulty: 4/10
 Lunch: Lunch on route at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: After arriving in Olympos and checking in at the hotel, enjoy brisk a hike to see the eternal flame of Chimera, burning forever for centuries on the slopes of the Taurus mountains. Activity level: Hiking uphill (1 mile), sometimes steep and rocky, then same path downhill, total 2 miles. Hike difficulty: 8/10
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Arcadia Holiday
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Fields trip to Demre to see the ancient city of Myra and the church of St.Nicholas.
(Thursday, March 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Field trip to visit Demre and Myra, birth place of St.Nicholas. Wonder at the ancient tombs carved out of the rock in Myra. Activity level: Easy walking about 1/4 mile in Myra. Hike difficulty: 2/10
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Myra
 Afternoon: Enjoy a hike on the Lycian Way, crisscrossing valleys near Olympos. Activity Level: Strenuous hike up to 3 miles. Hike level: 8/10
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Arcadia Holiday
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Field trip to Kekova, one of the most picturesque spots in Turkey
(Friday, March 7)

Note: Hike up to the necropolis and the old citadel of Simena through paths in the old village.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Depart for Kekova, a small hamlet with Lycian ruins and a fascinating necropolis. On the water, the village is not accessible by land yet it is not an island. Take a short boat ride to reach the site.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch in Kekova
 Afternoon: Hike to the ruins of Simena to see the fortress and the necropolis (cemetery) behind it. Activity level: Hike up to the acropolis and then to the necropolis through the village. 1/4 mile uphill, then downhill same trail. Hike difficulty: 6/10
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in Cirali
   
Accommodations: Arcadia Holiday
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Field trips to Patara and Pinara, ancient Lycian towns. Enjoy hikes to these seldom visited ruins.
(Saturday, March 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Depart for Yediburunlar Light House Hotel on the Lycian Way. Check in at the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own on route in the small resort town of Kas
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon hike on the Lycian Way and visit the ancient town of Patara. Activity Level: Hike in an ancient city, total distance: 1 mile. Hike difficulty level: 4/10
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel
   
Accommodations: Yediburunlar Light House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Hike to Kayakoy, an abandoned ghost village during the Exchange of Citizens between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s.
(Sunday, March 9)

Note: Hike on the old and sometimes rocky streets of the abandoned village of Kayakoy.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Visit Kayakoy, an abandoned village during the Exchange of Citizens in 1920s between Turkey and Greece. Learn about the story of this exchange and the people affected by this exchange. Activity level: Hike on uneven and rocky terrain at times. Total distance: 2 miles. Hike difficulty: 7/10
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant on route
 Afternoon: Enjoy a hike around the hotel on the Lycian Way. Activity Level: Optional hike around the hotel, about 1 ½ miles. Hike difficulty: 7-8/10
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Yediburunlar Light House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Hike to Oludeniz and Faralya on the Lycian trail with stunning views of the Mediterranean.
(Monday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Visit Oludeniz, (the Dead Lagoon) and wonder at its pristine beach.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Hike to Faralya and Kabak Valley, a pristine cove on the Mediterranean also on the Lycian Way. Activity Level: Hike challenging at times. Some participants may need walking sticks/canes. Hike level: 8½/10
 Dinner: Dinner at at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Yediburunlar Light House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Sydima, a nearby village to explore pastoral and traditional/agricultural life
(Tuesday, March 11)

Note: Strenuous hike on uneven path



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Hike to Sydima, a small and romantic village built on top of the ancient ruins of a Lycian town. Meet the villagers to learn about their rural life.
 Lunch: Lunch in the village, hosted by the locals
 Afternoon: Enjoy an optional hike along the Lycian Way Activity Level: Great hike up to 2 miles, level: 7/10
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Yediburunlar Light House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Transfer to Dalaman Airport to fly to Istanbul
(Wednesday, March 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Morning at leisure or optional hike on the Lycian Way. Activity Level: Optional hike on the Lycian Trail with difficulty level of 7/10. Up to 2 miles.
 Lunch: Lunch on route to the airport
 Afternoon: Transfer to Dalaman Airport to fly to Istanbul. Visit and hike the ancient towns of Pinara and Tlos, once part of the Lycian League. Fly to Istanbul and transfer to Airport Hotel upon arrival. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Fly home
(Thursday, March 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Check in for your international flight and depart Istanbul for home
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Lycian Way


Author: Kate Clow


Description: The Lycian Way, Turkey's first long-distance walk, celebrated its 10th birthday in 2009. This 500km coastal trail has risen from obscurity to international acclaim, featured in "Time" magazine and selected by the BBC as one of the world's 30 best walks. As the route matures, the walker profile is changing from dedicated backpacker to supported trekker, active holidaymaker and enthusiast for archeology and local culture. The route remains stunningly beautiful, snaking over the steep coastal cliffs, dipping to isolated beaches, climbing through cedar forest. This is the 2009, 3rd edition of the official route guide. The book contains detailed route and historical site descriptions, altitude profiles and a large detachable map. Route updates, downloadable GPS files, accommodation and transport information and links to firms providing holidays on the Lycian Way are all on the website.



A Short History Of Byzantium


Author: John Julius Norwich


Description: No time to wade, albeit enjoyably, through his three volume Byzantium series? This recent edition is based on his Byzantium trilogy and is equally as intelligent and inspired. Norwich is, as always, ever entertaining and engaging about this subject. An efficient read without loss of style or spirit. If you can’t manage three volumes right now, this one is for you.



Ataturk: A biography of Mustafa Kemal - Father of Modern Turkey


Author: Lord Kinross


Description: Kinross tells the story of Ataturk in such an engaging way that you stay glued to the page. Beginning with his birth in 1881 in Salonika, Greece, during the usual Balkan struggles, the book traces his youth through his early education and military service. Along the way Kinross reveals the experiences that formed Ataturk’s rebel spirit, leads you through the evolution of his hatred for the rich, the corrupt, and the abusive religious and political classes. He takes you onto the battlefield where Ataturk’s leadership and inspiration routs the Greeks who invaded Turkey in the aftermath of W.W.I. Kinross takes you step by step through the formation of a new, secular Republic, free of domination by Sultans, Moslem Caliphs or foreign countries, and describes how Turkey secured a place among nations. You’ll learn of Ataturk’s commitment to equality for all people, men and women alike, and how he lead the new Turkish nation westward by adopting the western alphabet overnight, creating a new Turkish language, and provided free education for all. A “must read” in order to understand present-day Turkey’s struggle to maintain the secular principles Ataturk established.



Birds Without Wings


Author: Louis de Bernières


Description: In his first novel since Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It’s a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn’t Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is an enchantment.



Blue Guide to Turkey


Author: Bernard McDonagh


Description: Blue Guides are complete and jam-packed with historical and practical information. This one lives up to the reputation. You want to go to Nemrut Dag and learn what you’re looking at once you’re there? The Blue Guide is for you. Painstakingly researched it is a course book text on the history of civilization and includes detailed town plans, up-to-date classical site information, route maps, hotel recommendations and lots of information about Turkish customs, food and history. From one end of the country to the other! It’s all there. The book to have, whether you’re exploring Turkey with us in a group or out there on your own.



Classical Turkey


Author: John Freely


Description: A well written, well illustrated, architectural guide for travelers new to the Graeco-Roman sites of Western Turkey. Detailed with good drawings of most ruins accompanied by historical information about these great sites. Freely is the master.



Constantinople; City of the World’s Desire, 1453-1924


Author: Philip Mansel


Description: Mansel is a noted historian and author of several works about the Sultans and the Ottoman World. This book focuses on the political and architectural history of the capital Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and covers the span of the Ottoman empire. The book ends on November 17, 1922 when the last Sultan and a small party slipped out of Palace at 8 AM and scrambled aboard a British naval ship that hauled anchor for Malta at 8:43 AM. A fine work, lots of detail, very readable and helpful in sorting out the complexities of 600 years of Ottoman power.



Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds


Author: Stephen Kinzer


Description: A passionate love for the Turkish people and an optimism that its ruling class can complete Turkey's transformation into a Western-style democracy mark Kinzer's reflections on a country that sits geographically and culturally at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Kinzer, the former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, gives a concise introduction to Turkey: Kemal Ataterk's post-WWI establishment of the modern secular Turkish state; the odd makeup of contemporary society, in which the military enforces Ataterk's reforms. In stylized but substantive prose, he devotes chapters to the problems he sees plaguing Turkish society: Islamic fundamentalism, frictions regarding the large Kurdish minority and the lack of democratic freedoms. Kinzer's commonsense, if naeve, solution: the ruling military elite, which takes power when it feels Turkey is threatened, must follow the modernizing path of Ataterk whom Kinzer obviously admires a step further and increase human rights and press freedoms. Kinzer's journalistic eye serves him well as he goes beyond the political, vividly describing, for instance, the importance and allure of the narghile salon, where Turks smoke water pipes. Here, as elsewhere, Kinzer drops his journalist veneer and gets personal, explaining that he enjoys the salons in part "because the sensation of smoking a water pipe is so seductive and satisfying." Readers who want a one-volume guide to this fascinating country need look no further.



Harem - The World Behind the Veil


Author: Alev Lytle Croutier


Description: The author left Turkey at age 18 for the US, returning 15 years later to visit her birthplace and family. Intrigued upon learning that her grandmother had lived in a harem, she interviewed aunts and other family members about their recollections. About that same time (mid 1970’s) the Harem of Topkapi Palace was opened to visitors. With thoughtful research and richly illustrated, Croutier pieces together a realistic description of daily life in the Sultan’s Harem. Her fascinating insights into customs, food and ceremony of the Palace through 450 hundred years, make this an enjoyable read. The addition of family photographs and an amusing chapter about Western misconceptions of the term “harem” sets this work apart from all other books of its kind.



Istanbul: The Imperial City


Author: John Freely


Description: Whether you call it Byzantium, Constantinople, or Istanbul, the “old Turkish hand” John Freely tells the story of each creation and decline up to today’s Istanbul under the Turkish Republic. Spirited and colorful, Freely gives his readers a lively account of the turmoil each incarnation brought. In addition to “page turning history”, Freely gives a complete listing of monuments & museums in the city - he has lived there for decades. This is the one to read on Istanbul if you have a short list of books and limited time to get into its history.



Istanbul: Memories and the City


Author: Orhan Pamuk


Description: Turkish novelist Pamuk (Snow) presents a breathtaking portrait of a city, an elegy for a dead civilization and a meditation on life's complicated intimacies. The author, born in 1952 into a rapidly fading bourgeois family in Istanbul, spins a masterful tale, moving from his fractured extended family, all living in a communal apartment building, out into the city and encompassing the entire Ottoman Empire. Pamuk sees the slow collapse of the once powerful empire hanging like a pall over the city and its citizens. Central to many Istanbul residents' character is the concept of hüzün (melancholy). Istanbul's hüzün, Pamuk writes, "is a way of looking at life that... is ultimately as life affirming as it is negating." His world apparently in permanent decline, Pamuk revels in the darkness and decay manifest around him. He minutely describes horrific accidents on the Bosphorus Strait and his own recurring fantasies of murder and mayhem. Throughout, Pamuk details the breakdown of his family: elders die, his parents fight and grow apart, and he must find his way in the world. This is a powerful, sometimes disturbing literary journey through the soul of a great city told by one of its great writers.



My Name Is Red


Author: Orhan Pamuk


Description: A dead man, a dog, a murderer, a coin, two lovers, and a tree take turns narrating this tale, which is Pamuk's follow-up to the well-reviewed but little read The New Life (1997). Set in sixteenth-century Istanbul, the novel is equal parts mystery, love story, and a philosophical discussion on the nature of art and artistic vision. Two men have been killed: Elegant, a miniaturist engaged (with others) on a book project glorifying the life of the sultan, and Enishte, the man who hired the artists to do the book. During a trip to Venice, Enishte became particularly entranced with the new Italian painting, particularly its use of perspective and figurative art. He urged his employees to adapt the new art form in their illustrations of the grand book they are producing. Black, Enishte's nephew, wants to win the hand of Enishte's daughter, Shekure, which he can only do by solving the murders. This intellectual mystery will appeal to fans of Eco, Pears, and Perez-Reverte.



Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey


Author: Anastasia M. Ashman, Jennifer Eaton Gokmen


Description: As the Western world struggles to comprehend the paradoxes of modern Turkey, Tales from the Expat Harem reveals its most personal nuances. This illuminating anthology provides a window into the country from the perspective of thirty-two expatriates from seven different nations—artists, entrepreneurs, Peace Corps volunteers, archaeologists, missionaries, and others—who established lives in Turkey for work, love, or adventure. Through narrative essays covering the last four decades, these diverse women unveil the mystique of the “Orient,” describe religious conflict, embrace cultural discovery, and maneuver familial traditions, customs, and responsibilities. Poignant, humorous, and transcendent, the essays take readers to weddings and workplaces, down cobbled Byzantine streets, into boisterous bazaars along the Silk Road, and deep into the feminine stronghold of steamy Ottoman bathhouses. The outcome is a stunning collection of voices from women suspended between two homes as they redefine their identities and reshape their world views.



The Bastard of Istanbul


Author: Elif Shafak


Description: In her second novel written in English (The Saint of Incipient Insanities was the first), Turkish novelist Shafak tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian "question" in her signature style. In a novel that overflows with a kitchen sink's worth of zany characters, women are front and center: Asya Kazanci, an angst-ridden 19-year-old Istanbulite is the bastard of the title; her beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha (who intended to have an abortion), has raised Asya among three generations of complicated and colorful female relations (including religious clairvoyant Auntie Banu and bar-brawl widow, Auntie Cevriye). The Kazanci men either die young or take a permanent hike like Mustafa, Zeliha's beloved brother who immigrated to America years ago. Mustafa's Armenian-American stepdaughter, Armanoush, who grew up on her family's stories of the 1915 genocide, shows up in Istanbul looking for her roots and for vindication from her new Turkish family. The Kazanci women lament Armanoush's family's suffering, but have no sense of Turkish responsibility for it; Asya's boho cohorts insist there was no genocide at all. As the debate escalates, Mustafa arrives in Istanbul, and a long-hidden secret connecting the histories of the two families is revealed. Shafak was charged with "public denigration of Turkishness" when the novel was published in Turkey earlier this year (the charges were later dropped). She incorporates a political taboo into an entertaining and insightful ensemble novel, one that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence.



The Turks Today


Author: Andrew Mango


Description: Istanbul-born, British-based Mango (Atatürk) offers an insightful, sympathetic portrait of recent Turkish history. The first third of the book discusses the growth of the Turkish state after Atatürk's death in 1938, with a fitful spread of democracy, clashes with Greece and the departure of Istanbul's Greek community. Economic and social conflict from 1960 to 1980 was subsequently "contained" by a military-driven constitution and rapprochement with Europe. A battle over the logo of the mayoralty of Ankara, the capital, illustrates the recent negotiations between Islamists and secularists. Istanbul, whose "infrastructure does not match its size," is growing as a regional base. In impoverished, traditionalist eastern Turkey, "the Third World has not been banished," though Mango argues that integration with the state—if not assimilation—is the best hope for the Kurdish minority. Turkey today, Mango suggests, resembles the late modernizing countries of southern Europe in many ways. He sees potential for a fully democratic and secular state, but warns that it takes time to "implant Western institutions in non-Western soil." Though this volume lacks some of the bite and immediacy of a journalist's book like Stephen Kinzer's Crescent and Star, it emerges as a more thorough introduction to a less-known but increasingly vital country.





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