TOP 5 PICKS FROM TURKEY
Only half a century ago a backward Muslim country, Turkey has now emerged as a modern western state. Turkey’s long history has given it a profound depth of culture. Immersing yourself in that culture is as simple as soaking in Ottoman hamam, eating a kebab or visiting the ancient ruins scattering the fields, bays and mountains.
For the first time visitors like me, this place is of great surprise, with its stereotypes of kebabs and carpets is the sheer diversity found between its beaches and eastern mountains.
Here are my top 5 picks from the country:
I spent most days exploring and photographing the city which included me wandering through the street markets, viewing the Bosphorus from the rooftop of a warehouse and stepping into street side shops. Every shop is Istanbul reminds me of the unique energy and the colour of Istanbul. This city has the most famous remnant of the Byzantine empire which includes the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace. Everywhere you turn on the hilly streets, history looks back at you.
Conversations will wobble on the line between politically correct and incorrect. You might become someone’s confidante and discover local haunts while chatting about history and Bollywood. Or you might be frowned at for taking photos and scammed by traders who haven’t made a profit in three years. But eventually, if you play your cards right, you will hear stories of the living that are as fascinating as those of their past.
Here you can visit the Ottoman Mosques and the Byzantine Churches in the morning, shop in chic boutiques during the afternoon and party at glamorous nightclub through the night.
2. The Grand Bazaar
Centuries ago, Ottoman traders travelled the silk road, stopping alongside to do businesses. The tradition is still alive and so is haggling in Turkey’s Grand Bazaar.
This labyrinth and chaotic bazaar is the heart of the old city and has been so for centuries. You can be nonchalant for a while, but eventually, you're going to buy a bunch of souvenirs from competitive traders who randomly shout out ''Amir Khan'. No visit to Istanbul would be complete without a stop here.
With only a few days here and the city takes up the challenge to wow me in that little time.
Faced with Turkey’s mysterious past and its equally confounding present, you reach through the haze for something solid, and find the walls of the infamous fairy chimneys.
The result of the cooling effects of a major volcanic eruption, is this beautiful region which in the present day is all about good times; fine wine, fine food, beautiful caves and hot-air ballooning and is enough to keep you busy for days.
Famed for its intricate series of calcite shelves and crowned by ancient roman ruins- is one of the most unusual treasures in Turkey. The prosperous town of Denizli is the road to Pamukkale since most travelers use it as a place to hop on to a bus heading north.
All you need to do is gingerly tiptoe through the crystal travertines and when you reach on top reward yourself with a refreshing dunk in the ancient pool amid dramatic columns.
Make sure you have plenty of smaller currency bills to pay for taxis if you decide to go that route!
There are two main attractions in Pamukkale- the beached white travertines and the ruins of Hierapolis. Both are in the same complex.
Famed for its Byzantine church and the Roman theatre is more than just ruins. The spectacular Roman theatre, capable of seating more than 12000 spectators. The focus of Hierapolis was its sacred pool, which is now the swimming pool in the courtyard of the Antique Pool Spa.