Turkey is more than just the bridge-nation between the East and the West. From Istanbul’s minaret-adorned skies of Istanbul to the gracious hospitality of the Turkish people, this magnificent travel destination has more than enough to offer anyone on Turkey holidays. Its history is speckled by numerous invasions and settlements by foreign nations, giving it a rare combination of cultural influences and heritage.
A good starting point would be to check out wonderful sites such as the Blue Mosque, one of Turkey’s most famous landmarks and situated in Istanbul. The name is from the blue Iznik tiles that grace its interior. It was built in the 15th century and currently functions as both a place of worship and a tourist attraction. Other major sights are the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest, covered markets; the replica of the Trojan Horse in Troy; and the Whirling Dervishes in Konya city commemorating Sufi, the great poet and teacher.
If you attend a few of Turkey’s many festivals you gain an insight into the nation’s highly accommodating and glamorous culture. Some of the popular Turkish family-oriented festivals include the Bursa International Folklore Festival, which is aimed at reviving Turkish traditions through dance competitions and music, and the Caretta Caretta, which celebrates the Loggerhead sea turtles of Dalyan through lots of music and dance, water sport contests and competitions at the beach. If you’d like to attend more general festivals, don’t miss the Mevlâna Week and Whirling Dervish Ceremonies held every December in Konya.
On to Turkish cuisine, Turkey’s borderline geographical location fuses together tasty delicacies from different cultures, generally consisting of herbs, fish, and vegetables. Other ingredients to make it into the cuisine are chicken, beef, lamb, garlic, lentils and nuts. Some of the best Turkish specialties include the “pilav,” a tasty rice dish, and “borek”, pastry pies stuffed with meat, potatoes or cheese.
And Turkey just wouldn’t be complete without the Turkish people. They’re always eager to help… sometimes too eager! But just a tip: declining invitations is a no-no, and you can really offend someone by doing so, which is never good when you’re in a foreign land and surrounded by strangers. Make the most of their genuine warmth and hospitality. They may even be able to sure you places outsides of the tourist traps. Then you’d be enjoying an even more authentic Turkish experience. That’s real travel!