April 16, 2020

Turkey Destination Guide

Once part of the Silk Road, Turkey contains plenty of world-famous monuments and ruins. A succession of empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman) have left their mark on the land from the quarters of the Sultan in Istanbul to the Lycian ruins on the Mediterranean beaches. With plenty of history, varied landscapes and some of the best food in the Mediterranean, your visit is sure to be unforgettable.

What to Do

Local spice markets are a great place to visit when traveling abroad

Photo by PAULA BARRECA BARNES on Unsplash

Built in the 1660’s, the Spice Bazaar is exactly what it sounds like. Heaps of brightly colored spices are displayed alongside jewel-like Turkish delight in this colorful and brightly lit marketplace. The marketplace is covered, so feel free to duck in on a rainy day and peruse its wares. You can even buy and make your own spice mix for a tasty souvenir.

Long part of Istanbul’s skyline, the Süleymaniye crowns one of the city’s seven hills. Designed by the most famous imperial architect, Mimar Sinan, the mosque was built between 1550 and 1557 and many of its original mosque complex buildings such a seminary, a hospital and a soup kitchen have been retained and adapted for reuse. Surrounded by gardens and the most extensive concentration of Ottoman timber houses around, you will be transported back to the days of the Ottoman Empire.

The best preserved theatre in the ancient world, it was built during Aspendos’ golden age and was used as a caravanserai (a roadside inn) during the 13th century. Currently, the open-air theatre is used to stage operas, concerts and events. Antalya’s film festival is also held here in late October. Take a seat, listen to the excellent acoustics and enjoy the cool night air as you take in a show.

Blue Mosque, Turkey

What to Eat

Don't miss the tea when in Turkey

Photo by Kelvin Yan on Unsplash

With hot milk combined with spices and a rare orchid-based flour, Salep has a coating, soothing effect. This drink is traditionally thought to provide a number of health benefits and is popular as a nightcap, often flavored with rosewater, cinnamon and a bit of ground pistachios. Due to the depleted orchid supply, it is difficult to find salep made with orchid flour outside of Turkey, so definitely do try this drink while you’re in the country.

From the southeastern region of Turkey comes a dessert so cheesy that the taste will linger in your mouth for days. Künefe is made with layers of vermicelli-like noodles held together with sweet cheese, doused with sugar syrup and served hot with a verdant sprinkling of pistachio. Have a taste of this dessert and you won’t be able to resist going back for more.

Need a strong cup of coffee to wake up in the morning? This hot, finely ground brew is sure to wake you up, if not from the strength of the brew then from the taste of coffee grounds in your mouth. This coffee is best stirred before every sip and the thicker the coffee, the stronger it is. The brew is made with finely ground, almost powder-like beans. The grounds are then added to cold water in a special pot and then heated until the liquid froths. This is traditionally done by placing the pot in a pan of hot sand over an open flame. This allows the heat to be controlled as cups on the surface of the sand stay warm while cups placed in the sand will brew. Definitely try a cup if you’re looking for a show with your coffee.

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