A Travellerspoint blog

Cappadocia to Ankara

Day 9

sunny 32 °C

Today we drove to the capital city of Turkey, Ankara, reaching at midday. Our hotel was centrally based so we took a local taxis to each of the places that we wanted to visit. This was relatively inexpensive especially as we split the cost amongst us.

Our first stop was at Kocatepe Mosque which is one of the world's largets mosques. It can accommodate 100,000 worshippers. It was indeed very beautiful inside.

Kocatepe Mosque

Kocatepe Mosque

Kocatepe Mosque

Kocatepe Mosque

Inside Kocatepe Mosque

Inside Kocatepe Mosque

Inside Kocatepe Mosque

Inside Kocatepe Mosque

Inside Kocatepe Mosque

Inside Kocatepe Mosque

From there we took a taxi to the Ataturk Mausoleum which houses the sarcophagus of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who was first president of the Republic of Turkey and the leader of the Turkish War of Independence.
For more info on what to see, check out this link: Ataturk's Mausoleum and Museum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Attaturk Mausoleum

Then we went to the bazaar in the Ulus/Hisar area. We saw some really old streets and observed typical village life. The people were friendly and welcoming. We bought some authentic apple tea, apricots and dates. It was nice as they let us try stuff before buying.

Hisar

Hisar


Entrance to village

Entrance to village

A typical street in Hisar

A typical street in Hisar

A local woman in Hisar

A local woman in Hisar

Ulus/Hisar area

Ulus/Hisar area


The market in Hisar

The market in Hisar

Afterwards we caught a taxi to Youth Park (similar to Gorki Park in Moscow). It is next to Lunar Park which has fairground rides. Youth Park has a very large man made lake, tea gardens, restaurants and fountains. We had a walk around and enjoyed an apple tea.

The total cost of the taxis we used was 10 Turkish Lira per person which is approx £5!!

Posted by travelbug_ 14:31 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Goodbye Turkey

sunny

We used the same transfer service as we did when we arrived in Turkey. I would thouroughly recommend them as they are friendly and efficient.

Attaturk airport is much bigger than I had expected. There are a lot of shops when you go through passport control.
Our flight wast at 10.15 am but we had arrived fairly early to avoid traffic (and it does get heavily congested) and potential queues at security and passport control.

One annoying thing was when you enter you need to get all your luggage screened before you can go through which involves you having to lift your heavy luggage onto a conveyor belt which was a bit hard to reach. I was thinking about the elderly etc who would struggle. The staff weren't even helpful, even they noticed people struggling they didn't offer to give a hand.

I was sad to leave this beautiful country but will maybe go back again to explore other parts of Turkey. Before this trip I didn't think there would be a great deal to see or do but there are loads of things to see and do all over Turkey. The scenery varies a great deal as you travel across Turkey. Have met some wonderful people and have manyhappy memories :-)

Posted by travelbug_ 06:46 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Istanbul

Day 12

sunny 32 °C

Today we explored more of Istanbul. Our hotel, Taslik, is located on a steep hill and is about a 20 min walk to the tram station. We bought our token which only costed 1.5 lira which is approx 75p which can take you to the last stop on the line. We got off at Sultanhamet which is where all the main sights are and started exploring.

The first place we stopped at was the Basillica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi ). Not many people know of this place and it is really worth a visit. It is Istanbul's largest underground cistern which was built in Byzantine times. The cistern's roof is held up by 336 columns about 8 m in height. We walked the walkways to the sounds of classical music and dripping water. It was really enchanting and beautiful. The entrance fee is about 10 Turkish Lira (approx £5).

The Basillica Cistern

The Basillica Cistern

The Basillica Cistern

The Basillica Cistern

Basillica Cistern

Basillica Cistern

In the Basillica Cistern

In the Basillica Cistern

In the Basillica Cistern

In the Basillica Cistern

In the Basillica Cistern

In the Basillica Cistern

Then we made our way to Hagia Sophia. The entrance fee is 20 Turkish Lira (approx £10). it was first an orthodox church which was later converted into a mosque and now is a museum. For nearly 1000 years it was the largets cathedral in the world until the construction of the Seville cathederal in 1520. We wondered around and marvelled at the ornate fixtures. There is an upper gallery which also can be explored. There are lots of beautiful mosaics, gold work and marble features. The architecture is stunning with very intricate designs. We stayed there for some time admiring the beauty of it.

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia

As we had been on our feet for a long time, we decided that we needed a tea break before going to Topkapi Palace. Fully rested and refreshed we made our way there. The entrance fee is 20 Turkish Lira (approx £10).
Mehmet II built the palace between 1459 and 1465 shortly after his conquest of Constantinople. It is made up of four large courtyards containing various rooms. A lot of the treasures that the Ottomon Sultans amassed are displayed there: ceramics, glass, silverware, armour, imperial costumes, manuscripts etc. You do need a good few hours to explore this place as there is so much to see. The courtyards are beautiful.

Entrance to Topkapi Palace

Entrance to Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

P10103In Topkapi Palace

P10103In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

Courtyard at Topkapi Palace

Courtyard at Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

In Topkapi Palace

Our final stop was at the famous Grand Bazaar. It is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Containing over 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops, with stalls selling goods ranging from jewellery, pottery, spice, and rugs. Armed with our wallets and getting ourselves ready to haggle, we set about to try to grab a bargain. People have said that you can get a good bargain here. However, after looking at a few stalls we noticed how everything was very much more expensive than the other places we had shopped in- about quadruple the price!! Even after haggling it still wasn't even close to what we had paid at other places. I'm glad that I didn't leave all the shopping until now. I do think that it is a bit hyped up and would recommend people buying the goods at other places. Other people we had talked to also said that they were disappointed with the Bazaar.

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

We returned back to the hotel, tired but happy that we had a great day out exploring. We were so sick of the Turkish food that some of us went to an Indian restaurant which was round the corner from the hotel. The food was absolutely delicious!!

Posted by travelbug_ 06:43 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Ankara to Gordion to Bursa

Day 10

sunny 30 °C

Today we travelled to Gordion which is the site of the Gordion Knot (the key to Asia) and more of interest for the tumulus ( a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves) of King Midas who was known for turning everything he touched into gold. There was a walk of about 70m to reach the tomb.

King Midas Tumulus

King Midas Tumulus

The tomb of King Midas

The tomb of King Midas

Outside the tomb of King Midas

Outside the tomb of King Midas

Opposite the burial mound is a museum which exhibits handmade pots and pans belonging to the Early Iron Age, iron equipment belonging to the Early Phyrigian Period, and equipment of textile production. We wondered around looking at the excavated objects.

The museum at Gordion

The museum at Gordion

Inside the museum in Gordion

Inside the museum in Gordion

We then travelled to Bursa which is a city in North Western Turkey. Traditionally, Bursa was famous for being the largest center of silk trade in the Byzantine and later the Ottoman empires, during the period of the lucrative Silk Road.
It is still known for the silk and handmade lace. We went to the silk bazaar located there where we bought some silk scarves and shawls.

the entrance to the Bazaar in Bursa

the entrance to the Bazaar in Bursa

Inside the silk bazaar in Bursa

Inside the silk bazaar in Bursa

Bursa

Bursa

Posted by travelbug_ 06:40 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Cappadocia

Day 8

sunny 32 °C

We travelled around to see the remarkable landscapes of Cappadocia located in Central Anatolia which is best known for its lunar landscape. We saw the 'fairy chimneys' and visited an underground city.

Fairy chimneys in Cappadocia

Fairy chimneys in Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia contains several underground cities, which were used by early Christians as hiding places before they became an accepted religion. A typical city would have wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels.

Underground city

Underground city

Entrance to underground city

Entrance to underground city

Inside the underground city

Inside the underground city

P1000832

P1000832

We went exploring in one of them, going through tiny tunnels which led to different levels of the city. I felt like Indiana Jones :-) There could be 8 plus levels which descend down in the earth.

Posted by travelbug_ 06:34 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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