October 19, 2017

Where in the world can Trafalgar take you?


Merhaba (hello) Turkey, the country that gifted us tulips, cherries and coffee, the birth place of Santa Claus, where oil wrestling is the national sport,  and where you can enjoy a chicken dessert!

Apart from its quirks, Turkey is one of the most beautiful, mysterious and exotic locations on Earth. It is packed with cultural heritage and there are more than 13 spots in Turkey inscribed on Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites, and even more on the tentative list. They range from a Mesolithic temple (Göbekli Tepe) to a Biblical city (Ephesus) to a World War One battlefield (Gallipoli).

If you are a fan of ancient history or just Hollywood, then you might be interested in learning that the fabled city of Troy is believed to have existed, in real life, in Turkey. While it is believed that the city was destroyed and rebuilt many times, you will come across remnants of the fabled walls that surrounded the city and that are still in existence today. What we cannot promise is that you’ll encounter Brad Pitt.

Interestingly, while the Turkish population is 99% Muslim, the country is home to some of the most important sites in Christendom and draws draw tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims each year to visit some of its most famous sites. These include the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and the Armenian Apostolic Church in Kayseri which was established over 1,700 years.

It is not only history that makes Turkey famous. Its beautiful turquoise coastline draws sun-worshippers the world over. Ztuzu Beach, located west of Fethiye, is a major breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. The turtles arrive between May and October, climbing ashore at the exact site of their birth to lay a new generation of eggs. The beach sees around 300 nests dug each year, and government regulations have succeeded in balancing tourism with the need to protect and conserve this precious natural resource. Just down the coast, you will also find Patara, known to be the longest beach along the Mediterranean.

Want to go skiing? Don’t let Turkey’s balmy coastal climate fool you. The country is also home to spectacular mountain ranges, and during wintertime visitors can hit the slopes at nearly a dozen resorts. As a matter of fact, at Palandöken, in the eastern province of Erzurum, you will find Turkey’s highest and what is known to be Europe’s longest natural ski run of 3 125 metres.

When in Turkey, it is also best if you throw a blind eye to your budget, even if it is just for one day as it is home the one of the world’s oldest and biggest malls. Kapalı Çarı or Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is believed to date back to 1455. Currently the ‘mall’ consists of roughly 61 streets lined by more than 3,000 shops. It is said that you will never possibly be able to explore it all. But there’s no harm in trying, right?

It’s also a good idea to forget about your waistline when visiting Turkey. From mezes and salads, to fruits and fish, pilav and pasta, Turkey will tantalise your taste buds. But don’t despair meat lovers; one of the more famous meat dishes is Döner kebab, made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The outer layer is sliced vertically into thin shavings as it cooks. It may be served on a plate with various accompaniments, stuffed into a pita or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavash or yufka, known as a dürüm.

When it comes to dessert, don’t be surprised if you find some chicken in your sweet treat. The signature Ottoman treat is tavuk gösü, or chicken breast pudding. It’s a strange blend of boiled chicken, milk, and sugar, dusted with cinnamon. If it sounds too exotic, there is of course always baklava and traditional Turkish ice cream which can be eaten with knives and forks. And did we mention the Turkish delight?

Go here with Sure: Why not explore this amazingly diverse country with Trafalgar's 11 Day Wonders of Turkey package ?


Post a Comment