Reflecting on Turkey
In 2006 my wife and I took a tour in Turkey, visiting numerous sites as far west as Gallipoli in the Dardanelles, south to Antalya, east to Cappadocia and back to Istanbul via Ankara and Bursa. I have been looking back through photographs taken during that trip and present below an interpretation with the benefit of hindsight and how I felt both then and now.
Turkey is a fascinating country to visit, being on the edge of both Asia and Europe. It has an ancient history dating back to “the cradle of civilisation” through to modern attempts be become part of the European Union. While it is by constitution a sectarian state, Islam is the predominant religion. Turkey also has a significant Christian history as well as evidenced at places like Ephesus and Cappadocia. The country has been invaded from all directions, and has itself been the invader, and was the leader of a significant empire prior to World War I.
What I found most fascinating was the people, as is evidenced in the images below.
We happened on this man as we were wandering the narrow streets of Uchisar in Cappadocia. He had the kind of lived-in face that was captivating and begged you to want to find out more. But time and language did not allow for this.
This girl was an opportunist. She had positioned and tethered her donkey along the path that visitors to Uchisar normally pass through and demanded money from anyone who stopped to take her photograph. The donkey didn’t care whether you took its picture, or not!
A highlight for many visitors to Cappadocia is to get up early in the morning to take a balloon ride over the fairy chimneys for which the area is famous, at sunrise. Part of the experience is hearing the roar of the burners as the hot air in the balloon is recharged so that it can regain altitude.
The weaving of rugs and kilims is a major industry in Cappadocia and many visitors succumb to taking home a souvenir. Other woven products are also available, and these saddle bags seen on a motor cycle in Uchisar caught the attention.
A visit to the Spice Market is a “must do” on the list of most visitors to Istanbul. In the alleys behind the covered market vendors sell an amazing collection of cooking and other wares. Here you will find the ordinary people of Istanbul going about the business of their everyday lives. These alleys are alive with people and seem far removed from the normal glossed-up tourist haunts.
This young fellow was found on the steps leading into the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque in Istanbul. Having reached the age for circumcision, he was dressed for the celebration and visiting the mosque before the deed was performed.
Boys will be boys! On our first visit to the Topkapi Palace there was water in this pool and the little fountain was playing. The next day the pool had been drained and the fountain turned off. This was a case of capturing the moment.