Gate 1 Travel
March 24 ~ April 5, 2014
Our adventure to Turkey started out like with our drive to Syracuse,
then a flight to JFK. Our flights to Istanbul were on time and
comfortable. We found the trip advertised on Groupon.com last fall
and decided to take a chance on this tour company. It was a great
experience! We were very pleased with the 13 day Affordable Turkey trip.
The Tour Manager, Mehmet Uzan, was terrific in every way. He was
very attentive to our traveling needs and was extremely knowledgeable
about Turkey's history and current events. He made every effort to see that
we had a successful travel experience.
Following are but a few of over 1730 photos we took on the trip.
It was a great challenge to capture this great country in the few
photos posted on this web page. But here goes!
It is breakfast time on March 26th and this is a view of
Istanbul from our hotel dining room. The Galata Bridge
is in the photo. That bridge connects European Istanbul to
Asian Istanbul while crossing the Golden Horn.
Our first stop of the morning was the Hippodrome which encompassed
the Sultanahmet Square leading to The Blue Mosque. Above are the
Walled Obelisk in the background and the plinth Obelisk with its
Egyptian hieroglyphics in the foreground. Both were
imported to Istanbul by Turkish emperors.
Shops selling souvenirs were found along all our routes
for the day and at all other stops during the trip.
Above is the Mosque of Sultan Ahmat. It is also known as
the Blue Mosque, a 17th century Ottoman mosque
famous for its six minarets. After walking along a Sultanahmet
Square, we entered the Mosque.
The Blue Mosque is noted for its interior blue tiles. Prayer
services are held here in the late morning each day.
Men and women pray in separate areas.
A view of the ornate decorations inside the Mosque.
Carol is wearing a head covering as was required to
enter the Mosque. This fountain serves a place
for the men of the congregation of the Mosque to
wash their feet before prayers.
Spring tulips were in bloom on the Hippodrome.
The tulip is the flower of Turkey.
The next stop on our walking tour was The
Church of St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia).
The great Byzantine Basilica was built in the 6th century.
It is located further down the Hippodrome.
A view of the interior of St. Sophia. It was a very busy day with
many school children and others visiting the Church.
Beautiful decorations adorned the Church.
After our morning visits to The Blue Mosque
and St. Sophia, it was lunch time.
We went to a nearby section of the Hippodrome area with
restaurants and shops for lunch. As we walked along we
came upon this very interesting truck. It is a trash
collecting vehicle. The trash containers in this area are buried
into the ground with only the top of the receptacle showing.
This truck pulled the receptacle out of its location magnetically,
moved the container over the truck and emptied the trash in
the back as shown here. Really neat way to handle
a serious city problem!
After lunch, we walked to the nearby Underground Cistern
where we spent some time exploring this cistern that was
constructed by Byzantium Emperor Justinianus. Fish are swimming
in the fresh water. A scene from "Russia with Love",
a 1963 James Bond movie, was filmed here!
It was a very interesting stop but hard to photograph.
The back door of the Cistern building. We are now walking
to our next stop of the day, Topkapi Palace.
A vendor selling hot Turkish tea and coffee at
the gate of Topkapi Palace.
The entrance to the Topkapi Palace.
A Chapel on the Palace grounds.
A view of the Bosphorus Sea from the Palace.
One of several buildings on Palace grounds.
One of the wings of the Palace where exhibits could be viewed.
Many ornate decorations were found on the walls of the Palace.
At the rear of the Palace you could see boat traffic on the
Bosphorus. Above is one of the several ferry boats
that ply the waters between the European and
Asian Istanbul sections.
There was a pretty fountain in the yard of one of the
building at the back of the Palace.
Building at the rear of the Palace.
As we strolled along we came upon this group of workmen
planting flowers in the Palace garden.
After this stop, we ventured back to our tour bus which
took us to our last stop of the day.
It was at the covered Grand Bazaar in down town Istanbul.
The next morning we checked out of our hotel and boarded our
bus for a drive along the Dardanelles to the town of Gelibolu.
We crossed the Dardanelles on a ferry boat like this one.
It was about a thirty minute voyage.
The dock at Gelibolu were busy as many ferry boats used
this as a place to take on their loads.
This is the town of Lapseki where we left the
ferry to drive on to our next stop.
As we sailed across the Dardanelles, we passed a
Turkish Coast Guard ship.
After leaving our ferry boat we drove to Canakkale where
we proceeded to the nearby classical city of Troy ruins.
This replica of the Trojan Wooden Horse greeted our group
as we entered the ruins of Troy.
Carol is waving from an upper window.
The above ruins reflect this 4000-year-old city. It was the
legendary center of the Trojan war,
made immoral by Homer's epic poem, The Iliad.
The ruins, which were the result of earth quakes many
century's ago, were found through out the city.
A small amphitheater of the city of Troy.
Carol is standing by another fountain for preparing
to visit the temple of Troy.
The Akol Hotel was harbor side in Canakkale from which
we could view the beautiful Aegean Sea.
The Hollywood movie Trojan Horse was located in a harbor
side park in front of our hotel. It was very large and impressive.
The next morning we drove to Asclepion the
ancient Roman spa center.
An impressive display of ancient structures.
The location of ancient baths.
On a distant peak you could see Pergamon Acropolis and the
Temple of Trojan on a nearby hill.
Note: The large Acropolis on the steep hill is an
example of an inaccessible fortress.
Our hotel at Kusadasi.
Our first stop of the morning was at the house of the Virgin Mary.
It is known that St. John spent the last years of his life in Ephesus.
Jesus left his mother with John; therefore, it is believed that Mother
Mary came to Ephesus and lived here until the end of her life. The
remains of a basement, found next to the scared spring, lead to the
belief that this was the final home of the Virgin Mary. Above is
the small chapel at the site of the sacred spring.
The ancient sacred spring. Note the messages of hope
attached to boards hung on the nearby wall.
A statute of the Virgin Mary on the highway near Ephesus.
A view of the beginning street of Ephesus.
The Odeon, built in the 2nd century AD, was the assembly
hall for administration of the city senators.
A view as one walks along the Curetes Way.
Another view as we walk down Curetes Way.
One of many reconstructed buildings along Curetes Way.
Community latrines in a reconstructed building.
Water flowed below the seats.
Ephesus Celus Library, at the intersection of the Curetes and the
Marble Streets, was one of the leading restoration projects, not
only in Ephesus, but in the whole world. The outstanding structure,
built in the 2nd century by a Roman Consul in memory of his father.
The Marble street.
The entrance to the Basilica of St. John.
Reconstruction at the basilica.
Another scene at the Basilica.
In front of the Tomb of St. John.
The Castle of Kusadasi seen from the Basilica.
After our visit to Kusadasi we traveled the next day to Pamukkale,
Necropolis and Hieropolis. Above is a picture of the Travertines.
Travertines, are the result of rich calcium content in the mineral
water from nearby thermal springs that leaves behind amazing
crystallized land formations.
You could walk on some places in the formations,
but you could not wear your shoes.
The Theater of Hierapolis
The hot spring pool found at the rest center of Hierapolis.
Interesting ruins at Hierapolis.
One of Turkeys snow capped Mountains.
An interesting building along the way. Turkey is building thousands
of 4 and 5 story apartment building for their citizens.
Our next stop was at Konya, the home of the Cotton Castle.
We had a day long drive from Pamukkale.
Above is the Mevlana Museum (1274).
Grave markers in the courtyard of Mevlana Museum.
Sultanhani Kervansaray have been used since the 10th century.
Trade across Turkey in medieval Seljuk times was dependent on camel
trains (kervan, anglicized as caravan), which stopped
by night at inns known as kervansaray or caravanserai ,
literally 'caravan palaces'.
Inside of the Sultanhani Kervansaray located at Konya.
Gate 1 Foundation adopted Sehit Yumusak Primary School
in the of Sultanhani. The Foundation has identified the most
crucial improvements that are necessary for an optimal
learning environment. The school was established in 1995
and currently has 117 pupils attending the school. Currently the
Gate 1 Foundation is building a cafeteria building next to the school.
Previously the Foundation assisted in improving sanitary
facilities and general repairs to the school building.
A typical classroom.
Like American schools coats are hung in the hall ways.
Gate 1 travelers were encouraged to bring gifts to the
school for its students. John was able to bring one of his unique
Kaleidoscopes for the school. John is pictured with
some of the students and school staff.
The school principal with the kaleidoscope John gave the school.
On our way to Cappadocia we visited a rest stop with a MacDonald's.
We did not visit the restaurant!
At the same rest stop we found these 8 ATMs to serve the travelers
needs. It was very easy to use ATM in Turkey.
When we arrived in Cappadocia we went directly to visit a Carpet
atelier where we observed these ladies weaving carpets.
After demonstrations of silk processing and carpet weaving.
We got the sales pitch for buying a carpet.
Above is a photo of the many carpets that were for sale.
As we drove along we stopped to take photos of this Turkish
Mountain. It was a beautiful sight on a clear day.
The high point of this evening was a visit to a Whirling
Dervishes Performance. The performance of Sufis is
called a Sema. Part of the Sema ritual is a form of Sufi dance
that was born out of Rumi’s inspiration. In the Sema,
the dancers are called “whirling dervishes”.
Due to the fact that temple where the Dervishes performed is
rather dark inside, and taking photos of their
dancing was difficult we have used two internet
photos to represent the performance we
saw rather than our dark photos.
Our second day in Cappadocia, we were up very early in
the morning to take a hot air balloon ride
over the the countryside of Cappadocia.
Here is a photo of a balloon being heated up with
warm air prior to lift off.
Our gate 1 group of fliers.
Hot Air Balloons everywhere, can you count them?
Our Balloon basket decorated for the post flight celebration.
Our balloon Pilot, Mustafa Aga, is toasting our successful flight.
We were served champagne and cherry juice.
This was one of those wonderful
Later in the day of touring in Cappadocia we visited a series
of underground caves. This is the building to gain access to the caves.
Fairie Rocks found near Cappadocia. They had interesting caps on top
of the various rock formations due to natural erosion.
More Fairie rock formations.
Camel rides were offered here.
More rock formations along the road we were traveling.
Our next stop of the morning was at the Open Air Museum.
One of the rock formations that were part of the Open Air Museum.
More interesting rock formations at the museum.
Our Gate 1 tour group being briefed by our tour Manager Mehmet.
Some of the original frescoes inside the carved out rooms
above are still visible.
There were several Temples were carved out of the volcanic
tufa rock formations in the park.
On day 11, of our trip we drove from Cappadocia to Ankara.
Carol is standing in front of Anitkabir.
The Mausoleum of Kernal Ataturk, founder and first
president of the Turkish Republic.
There were honor guards from all four of Turkey's military corps
on duty at the Anitkabir where the Mausoleum.
Our next stop was at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
The museum was built in two Ottoman buildings near
Ankara Castle. The museum was experiencing a major renovation.
Therefore the number of exhibits was very limited.
After our drive from Ankara to Istanbul we had an opportunity
to sail on the Bosphorus before going to our hotel. It was a fun
experience due to the fact that the only passengers on the
boat were Gate 1 travelers. We started our voyage from the
area near the Galata Bridge.
Stores and shops built in under the Galata Bridge.
The Mosque of Ortakoy
Bosphorus Boat Traffic.
The entrance to the Spice Bazaar near the harbor. It was our
last stop of the day before our traditional farewell dinner.
It was also Friday afternoon and the Bazaar was packed.
Our farewell dinner was very nice and it was a pleasant
way to say goodbye to our newly made traveling friends.
Tomorrow morning our group of 40 heads for their homes
in the USA and Canada. This was a terrific trip and a very
good travel value. It is hard to imagine all the sights were saw
during our brief 11 day visit to Turkey. We would recommend
this trip to everyone who wants to visit Turkey.
A last memory of a great trip to Turkey!