- Turks introduced coffee to Europe and Anatolia was producing wine as early as 4,000 BC ….. read on for more interesting facts …..
- The only city in the world located on two continents is Istanbul, which has been the capital of three great empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman for more than 2,000 years.
- The number of archaeological excavations going on in Turkey every year is at least 150.
- The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7,500 BC)
- Abraham was born in Şanlıurfa in South Eastern Turkey
- Anatolia is the birth place of historic legends such as Omar (the poet), King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history) and St Paul the Apostle.
- Julius Ceasar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
- St Nicholas, who became popular as Father Christmas, was born in Demre on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.
- According to legend, Noah’s Ark landed on Ağrı Dağı (Mount Ararat) in Eastern Turkey.
- The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding with nearly 20 ingredients, is still served throughout Turkey.
- The last home of Virgin Mary is in Selçuk (near Ephesus)
- St John, St Nicholas, St Paul and St Peter have all lived and prayed in Southern Anatolia.
- Part of Turkey’s South Western shore was a wedding gift that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra (you can visit many ruins of Cleopatra’s not too far away from Dalyan)
- Homer was born in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and he depicted Troy in his Epic the Illiad.
- Aesop, famous for his fables and parables, was born in Anatolia.
- Leonardo da Vinci drew designs for a bridge over the Bosphorus, the strait that flows through Europe and Asia. It was never built.
- Alexander the Great conquered a large territory in what is now Turkey and cut the Gordion Knot in the Phrygian capital (Gordium) not far from Turkey’s present day capital (Ankara).
- Istanbul’s Robert College (established in 1863), is the oldest American school outside the United States.
- Early Christians escaping Roman persecution nearly 2,000 years ago sheltered in Cappadocia in Central Anatolia.
- The Amazons originated in Turkey’s North Eastern region.
- The famous Trojan wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden statue of the Trojan Horse rests today (not too far away from Gelipoli)
- Accordingly to Turkish tradition a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered “A guest from God” and should be accommodated accordingly.
- The first church built by man (St Peter’s Church) is in Antioch (Antakya).
- The first Ecumenical Council was held in Iznik
- Süleyman the Magnificent (the famous Ottoman Sultan) was a poet who wrote over 3,000 poems, some of them criticising the greed of mankind.
- Turkey is a longtime member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) since 1952.
- Turkey provides 70 percent of the world’s hazelnuts; the nut in your chocolate bar was most probably grown in Turkey.
- Istanbul has a 540 year old covered shopping mall of 64 streets, 4,000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 workers – the famous Grand Bazaar.
- The most valuable silk carpet in the world, is in the Mevlana Museum, Konya with 144 knots per square centimetre. In the 13th century Marco Polo wrote “the best and handsomest of rugs are woven here, and also silks of crimson and other rich colours”.
- Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi was the first man who flew a significant distance using wings across the Bosphorus (Visit the Gallati Tower near Taksim Square on the Asian side of Istanbul, wonderful views and a great place for something to eat too – entertainment in the evenings).
- Anatolia is the location of the first known beauty contest, judged by Paris, with Aphrodite, Hera and Athena as leading participants.
- Turkey receives children from around the world each year on April 23 to “honour and cherish the freedom and independence of all people”.
- Anatolia is the location of seven Churches of Asia.
- Tulips and Snowdrops are native to Anatolia. Ogier Chiselin De Busberg introduced tulips to Holland in 1554.
- Opium poppies are an Anatolian plant species. Good quality plants contain Morphine and Codeine, which is obtained from the milk of the plant. Oil from the seed is used in soap and bread. It grows just once a year for harvesting.
- Pizza originates from Anatolia, not Italy.
- Is the birthplace of St Paul.
- Was the first to produce and use coins 2,700 years ago.
- Gave the English language many words including turquoise, parchment, yogurt and angora and Turkish are the origins of the names Philadelphia, Paris and Europe.
- Is where Noah’s Ark landed, at Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey.
- Is the location of two of the 7 wonders of the world: The Temple of Artemis & Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
- Is the birthplace of King Midas of the “Midas touch” who turned everything he touched to gold.
- Is where State Insurance was first provided for losses of tradesman, before the 13th century.
- Provides 70% of the words hazelnuts.
- Was founded as a modern republic in 1923 by one of the greatest leaders in history, Atatürk.
- Was where the cherry was first found, by Romans who planted it throughout the world.
- One of the Three Kings who made a pilgrimage may have come from Anatolia, bearing Frankincense, a Tree native to Turkey.
- The Turkish Flag: In the 14th Century was White, 15th it was changed to Red. At one time it was Green with white crescents. Each represented a continent of Ottoman rule. In the 18th Century it was red with an eight-pointed star and a crescent. According to legend, a Turkish Commander was walking around a battlefield and noticed a reflection of a star in the bloodshed. This was chosen for the symbol of the flag. After the foundation of the Republic the flag had a combination of the star and one crescent that is the one you will see today.
- Ataturk: You will see images of this man everywhere you go in Turkey, Schools, banks, shops, bars and restaurants. Born Mustafa in 1881 in Salonika. During his schooling he was given the nickname of Kemal meaning Perfection. He joined the Military and was soon proving his abilities as a master of strategies in the First World War at Galipolli. In 1920 he was elected President of the Grand National Assembly. He made many changes to Turkey, including giving votes to women in 1934, before France, which gave women the right to vote in 1944. He banned the wearing of the Fez, Adopted the Latin alphabet he was said to have changed it in just eleven days. Traditional clothing was replaced with western style clothing. Turkish people had to take a surname, Mustafa Kemal chose Ataturk meaning Father of Turks. He adopted a new Civil Law code, established a Republic and suppressed religious brotherhoods. Without Ataturk Turkey would not be what it is today. All Turks love Ataturk, and on the anniversary of his death Nov 10th at 09.05 the whole country observes a silence
Neutrals, primaries, or rich jewel-like tones — there is a rug or kilim that will not only complement it, but will also make a positive contribution to the appearance of a room. Rugs are made in every colour that can be created by dyeing wool, from the soft browns and pinks of the Afghan kilim to the rich reds and blues of traditional Turkish tribal knotted rugs. There are the bright kilims whose tones and bold geometric patterns are at home with brilliant contemporary colours. And then there is the gabbeh, a type of rug that is uniquely modern in many ways, including its use of colour.
The colours of all these different types of rug, the richness and variety of their tones, are their most immediate charm. The colours sing out to us, communicating in a way that is direct, primitive, and seductive. But the rugs in our homes are not only beautiful in themselves; they are the culmination of a magnificent history of skill in using colour and pattern in weaving.
Colour is a fundamental part of the nomadic weavers’ creations, and of their rug’s or kilim’s appeal. Traditionally, the colours at their disposal were not huge in range, depending upon the available dyes, but they were rich in tone. The weaver’s great skill was in balancing the available colours and combining them in a satisfying composition.
It is interesting to discover, therefore, that these colours we admire were not always as we see them. The colours on a rug might well have been quite different when the rug was being woven. With a rug that is fifty or a hundred years old, this is not so surprising. You would expect the harsh sunlight of the Middle East to bleach colour from almost any material over a period of time.
But the colours of modern rugs, too, have been altered. Before being exported, rugs of all ages go through a thorough process of washing, sunning, mending, and any other adjustments that the agent or dealer feels are necessary to bring the rug to the height of its beauty before it is dispatched to the discerning collector abroad. Some, after all, will have been on the floor of a nomad’s tent for several years, decades even, being walked on (albeit without shoes) and having the dust of the sandy hillside trodden into them.
The preparation process is in five parts. Firstly, the rug is beaten in a machine to remove the bulk of the dust and dirt. If there is an unacceptable amount of fluff on the back of the rug, this is singed off with a giant blowtorch. Any bad holes are stabilized with a few large stitches to prevent them from becoming worse during washing.
Secondly, the rug is washed with water and a solution of calcium hypochlorite to give the colours a slight golden glow, before it is rinsed and dried in the sun. The washing takes place on a sloping concrete floor with water faucets along the upper edge. The rugs are scrubbed by men each holding a “kaj bill,” a long-handled tool with a flat metal head used to rake the pile vigorously up and down while at the same time they walk on it in rubber boots.
The third step is to send the rug to a remote place such as the town of Yazigol, where it lies for up to three months, its colours softening in the sunlight. Then it returns to the washing factory for the fourth stage, another thorough wash. This time shampoo is used, as well as chemical solutions that soften the wool, reduce any garish colours, and give the pile added shine. The rug is then treated with conditioner and rinsed, before being spun in a “hydro extractor” (otherwise known as an industrial spin dryer) and dried in the sun again.
Once you have seen the treatment to which rugs are subjected in a washing factory, you appreciate what superbly hardwearing objects they are. Any apprehension you might have had about cleaning the occasional spill or mark on your rug disappears (though it is always important to use only gentle chemicals for spot-cleaning, definitely not bleach)
The yard of a washing factory is a fine sight, with acres of rugs lying on pebbles to dry, or hung on rails around the edge. A huge beating machine, 20 feet high, dominates one corner, while in another a group of men sit, mending rugs that have holes or damaged fringes. This and any colour retouching is the final stage of preparing the rug for sale.
Colour retouching is known as “painting” and involves the workman literally painting colour back into a rug where dark blue colours have faded dramatically, upsetting the balance of tones in the rug’s design. Painting is considered a normal part of preparing a rug for sale in the wider market and does not detract from its value — rather the opposite, in fact, since its appearance is improved. Besides blue, the colour most frequently painted is bright orange, which is toned down with strong tea.
There are ways of checking whether a rug has been painted. A skillful painter paints only to the edge of the colour he is retouching; a less skillful one misses slightly here and there, which can easily be seen with careful inspection. The bottom of the pile can be revealing: if blue areas have been painted, the fibers near to the warp and weft will be a shade of dark gray, while the back in these areas will probably still be dark blue. Another test is simply to spit on your finger and rub the pile: a bluish shadow will appear on your finger if the pile has been painted.
The story of colour in rugs begins, of course, with the wool itself. In June the sheep are taken to the river for a preliminary wash and are then shorn. The wool is washed again, carded, and spun. The Turkoman women use a spindle that has a central metal stalk, from which protrude four curved, black plastic prongs, pointing upwards and reminiscent of the small animal horns which, together with wood, was what the spindle was originally made from. If she is not doing anything else, a woman will take her spindle out of her pocket and spin as she stands, walks, or sits. Spinning is a constant background activity for Turkoman women.
Wool is sorted into yarn for warp and weft threads on the one hand, and yarn for knotting on the other. The latter is then dyed while the other is left its natural cream, grey, or brown. Some tribes, including the Turkoman, have a tradition of also dyeing the yarn for weft threads. If you look at the back of an old Turkoman rug, you will sometimes find another entire pattern, different from the front, because the weft threads are red or pink, sometimes with alternating irregular stripes of these two, and other, natural colours. Occasionally you will also find blue weft threads, probably in a rug from Konya and other parts of central Turkey.
Dyeing is a huge and fascinating subject in itself. Today, various types of both natural and chemical dyes are used to colour the wool for rugs. The aim is to produce yarn of the most desirable colours, and while some natural dyes continue to be used because they are readily available and effective, other less effective ones have been replaced by chemical dyes that are more reliable, colourfast, and do not rot or otherwise damage the yarn.
The history of dyes can give clues to the date of a rug. Indigo, for example, is a historic dye that features in ancient African legends and is believed to have been one of the ingredients in the blue woad that barbaric Britons used to decorate themselves, with the intention of terrifying the enemy in battle. Almost everywhere in the world it was found, however, indigo was a revered and relatively rare ingredient.
The Turkish people were able to cultivate the Indigofera plant in a few areas and produce a small amount of indigo dye. Otherwise, it was imported from India. Blue, its beauty enhanced by its rarity and value, became one of the central colours of tribal weavers’ designs. Indigo’s tendency to fade was to a certain extent part of its perceived charm. Today, by contrast, synthetic indigo dye, chemically identical to the original, is easily available and the popularity of the colour blue has, if anything, increased.
Weavers and workshops understand that blue is an appealing colour to those of us who are the rugs’ ultimate customers. Blue is therefore used freely in contemporary rugs, which are known as “new production.” The blue is no less beautiful because it is created by a synthetic dye; on the contrary, it is not the dyestuff that gives the wool its beauty, or even the fact that it has been dyed by hand.
The element that gives the wool used to make Turkish tribal rugs its wonderful depth and variety is the fact that it has been carded and spun by hand. This means that the yarn is not perfectly even in thickness, even when it appears so to the naked eye. When the yarn is dyed, the finished colour is correspondingly slightly uneven, with tiny subtle variations that cause it to “sing” to the human eye, making it ever a pleasure to look at. This quality is unaffected by the method of dyeing, be it by an individual tribeswoman, by men in an outdoor factory, or by machine. In all these cases, the dye and the fibers of the wool form a chemical bond (providing the dye is administered correctly), which prevents the colour from washing out. This is the difference between a dye and a stain, which is potentially fugitive.
Occasionally a rug includes areas of colour created by machine-dyed wool or acrylic fibers in garish colours. These are more than distinctive — they leap out at you — and such a rug is extremely unlikely to be chosen by an agent or dealer for export from Turkey, even if (and this is rare indeed, but not unknown) the acrylic adds a dash of brilliance or humour to an otherwise sober composition. The dealer would simply be taking too great a risk. Hand-dyed wool is preferred because it has subtle variations that give life to the surface of the pile even when the rug appears at first glance to have a field of flat colour.
The principal colours that are still made using natural dyes are reds of all hues and yellows. Shades of red are drawn from two separate ingredients, the madder plant (known locally as “runas”) and small female beetles of the Coccus cacti (cochineal) family. To make dye from the madder plant, the root is dug up in October or November, when it is between three and nine years old (the older the plant, the darker the red). The root is then dried, ground, and boiled, and the resulting colour can be a purplish-red like wine, or it can veer towards orange.
Cochineal, like indigo, was once imported from India and used almost exclusively in eastern Turkey. In western Turkey the weavers tended to use the madder plant because it grew wild and was thus freely available, and free. The use of cochineal is fairly widespread today, however, and the dye is mainly imported from Mexico.
Women in the tribes still dye a certain amount of yarn themselves. They make or buy the dyes, then boil the yarn in them, having first soaked it in a mordant (or having added mordant to the dye), which enables the dye to adhere to the wool fibers. The final colour of the yarn is influenced by a number of factors that will never all be exactly the same twice: the age of the dye plant (or concentration of dye), the type and intensity of the mordant, the hardness of the water, its temperature and the container in which it is heated, and the relative oiliness of the wool.
Chemical dyes have been welcomed to replace certain natural dyes that actually harmed the wool — oak galls, for example, used to make black and brown, contain salts that cause the woolen fibers to wear rapidly. Other natural dyes such as the yellow drawn from saffron were known to fade.
There are various reasons, some more valid than others, why natural as opposed to chemical dyes are perceived as being desirable. One is that all things natural are seen as eco-friendly (or at least, the Western customer is believed to prefer them); another reason is anthropological — it is a loss to all mankind when human skills disappear, replaced by manufactured goods, especially skills in which man interacts with his environment, as in the knowledge and gathering of dyeing ingredients.
A third reason is historical. Invented by Sir William Henry Perkin, an Englishman, in 1856, the first chemical dyes were accidentally discovered in the quest for a synthetic form of the medicine quinine. Known as aniline dyes, they were bright and inexpensive, and were soon widely used across the world. They proved to be unreliable, however: colours faded dramatically, as can be seen in many a Victorian lady’s embroidery.
In the meantime, however, Turkish rug makers had adopted aniline dyes with enthusiasm. The reputation of the Turkish rug industry (a vital part of the economy) was at stake, and aniline dyes were forbidden in 1903. Anyone who used them risked having an arm amputated or their workshop burnt down. This experience of aniline dyes has not been forgotten, even though modern chromatic chemical dyes are unrelated to their aniline forebears, and are colourfast and reliable. Most handmade rugs are today made from a mixture of wools dyed using natural and chemical ingredients, the best of each.
In order to obtain chemically dyed wool, Turkoman tribes-women either obtain dye from a local bazaar, or they sell yarn and buy ready-dyed wool with the proceeds. They can also supply undyed yarn to an agent, who returns them dyed wool for a fee (probably their own yarn, since the Turkoman are the major producers of wool in southern Turkey). Parcels of yarn, already dyed in various colours, are supplied to settled weavers who are working on commissioned pieces.
Wool that is supplied to the weaver (or bought from a stall of the bazaar) has not necessarily been dyed by machine. Dyeing factories are often low-tech establishments where the main (possibly the only) difference between “home” and “factory” dyeing is the scale of the operation. At a dyeing factory on the outskirts of Antalya, in the south of Turkey, the process is much as it would be outside a Turkoman tent, but on a larger scale.
Here, yarn is immersed in large rectangular vats, each of which requires 1,300 gallons of water for 660 pounds of wool. Each tank has a domed boiler in the base for heating or boiling the wool for anywhere up to seven hours, after which it steeps for up to a further 24 hours (each colour has a different recipe).
After dyeing, the bundles of wool tied with coloured twine lie on the ground to dry in the sun. The entire process takes place in the open air, all year round, operated by men with the aid of machines such as boilers and hydro extractors. The same dyes are used (some natural, some chemical), and different tones emerge for the same reasons as when the wool is dyed by individuals.
Factories such as this supply wool ready-dyed (naturally and chemically) to retained rug makers in the villages. The worker is paid for his or her labor, and the rug is weighed when finished to ensure that it contains an amount of wool equal to that supplied.
Interestingly, while in the tribes it is the women who spin, dye, and weave (in addition, apparently, to doing all the other work except tending the herds), in the villages and town bazaars like Antalya, weavers are of both sexes, while dyers and the workshop overseers are invariably men.
One of the most appealing results of the yarn having been dyed by hand is the “abrash.” This is a streakiness in what would otherwise be a flat area of colour, on the field of a rug. The word itself is derived from a Turkish word referring to the dapples on a horse. Some abrashes are hardly visible; others are extremely noticeable. Abrashes are the result of two possible events. Either the weaver has changed from one batch of dyed wool to another whose colour is not exactly the same; or it is caused by the batch or skein of yarn being of slightly uneven colour.
These subtle changes in colour occur in a batch of yarn because, having been spun as well as dyed by hand, the strands are marginally thicker in some places than others, and have consequently absorbed less dye. The varying thickness of the fibers themselves can also be the cause of subtly uneven colour in a single skein of yarn, as can the amount of lanolin fat the wool contains, and the extent to which minute air bubbles cling to the fibers during the dyeing process.
Abrashes do not make a tribal rug less valuable — rather the opposite, since they are a reminder of the fact that this is a handmade work of craftsmanship, created by an individual, not a factory. A machine-made rug looks mechanical; a handmade one, especially a tribal piece, has subtle variations of colour that breathe life into it, give it added visual interest and character, and contribute to its growing beauty over the years.
One of the ways in which it is possible to identify which tribe has made a rug is its use of colour. Antalya rugs, for example, have strong, deep colours. The red is particularly beautiful, being a glowing ruby colour. Another significant tribe, the Lori, is fond of red, theirs being strong and deep, ialouch rugs also use red (as indeed do all the tribes, the dye jeing readily available and free), but with more white than most other tribes, usually with strong areas of blue and black or dark brown.
The symbolism and hidden meaning of the colours found in Turkish rugs is a perennial source of fascination. Grey, for example, has been described as being the colour of secrets and withdrawal (the latter being a not inaccurate description of its effect in a design) while yellow, the colour of sunlight, spoke of plenty, riches, power, and the attainment of happiness. Orange was said to evoke tenderness and devotion, purple self-determination and magic.
Though charming and poetic, the significance of colour can be a disappointing theme to pursue into the modern world, however. Whatever meaning the colours once had, they are largely lost to the tribes, who choose and use colour in their rug designs according only to availability, tradition, and aesthetic considerations. Their instinct is always to decorate, and the increasingly easy availability of dyed yarn is a delight to them, one that overcomes any distant, half-forgotten symbolism.
Green, for example, was the colour of the banners of the first Muslim troops, and was therefore too holy to be trodden underfoot, even without shoes. In fact, green is quite often found, albeit generally in small but telling areas.
In decorating terms, the most significant colour in a rug is generally that of the ground, the area inside the border and outside the central motif or medallion. The overall tone of a rug that has a detailed design covering the whole field is also important. If you can’t decide what this is at a glance, take a step back and screw up your eyes. This should give you a better impression of the overall hue. In tribal rugs reds, rich browns, and blues predominate. These colours obviously complement the mellow colour of polished antique furniture and wooden floors, and the patina of well-worn terracotta tiles.
Kilims, by nature of their bold geometric patterns, tend to look as nice in contemporary as in older surroundings, as do gabbehs, which are particularly well suited to modern interiors because of their free-form designs and light, vibrant colours.
Meaning of the flag
Meaning of flags is a difficult topic, especially when flags are very ancient. There is usually sparse historical evidence and a lot of legends. Moreover, individuals may have their own interpretation of their national flag.
“Red has been prominent in Turkish flags for 700 years. The star and crescent are Muslim symbols, but also have a long pre-Islamic past in Asia Minor. The basic form of the national flag was apparently established in 1793 under Sultan Selim III, when the green flags used by the navy were changed to red and a white crescent and multipointed star were added. The five-pointed star dates from approximately 1844. Except for the issuance of design specifications, no change was made when the Ottoman Empire became the Republic of Turkey and the caliphate (religious authority) was terminated. Many traditions explain the star and crescent symbol. It is known that Diana was the patron goddess of Byzantium and that her symbol was a moon. In 330, the Emperor Constantine rededicated the city – which he called Constantinople – to the Virgin Mary, whose star symbol was superimposed over the crescent. In 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks and renamed Istanbul, but its new rulers may have adopted the existing emblem for their own use”
“A reflection of the moon occulting a star, appearing in pools of blood after the battle of Kossovo in 1448 [the battle during which the Ottomans defeated the Christian forces and established the Ottoman Empirein Eastern Europe until the end of the XIXth century], led to the adoption of the Turkish flag by Sultan Murad II according to one legend. Others refer to a dream of the first Ottoman Emperor in which a crescent and star appeared from his chest and expanded, presaging the dynasty’s seizure of Constantinople. At least three other legends explain the flag.”
Ivan Sache, 20 January 1999
Earliest records of the Turkish people show that their ancestors in Central Asia date back to some time before 2000 B.C. Roaming widely throughout Asia and Europe, the Turks establislied vast empires throughout these continents.
By the 10th century, most Turks adopted the religion of lslam. Following this substantial change, the Karahanid Empire of central Asia (10th and 11th centuries) and the Ghaznavid Empire (10th and 12th centuries) developed in areas known today as Iran, Afghanistan, and Northern India.
Some Turks traveled south-west to Anatolia (Asia Minor) considered to be the cradle of civilization because it has embraced more than 20 cultures and civilizations. These civilizations included: the Hitites, Assyrians, Lydians,Greeks, Persians, Macedonians, lonians, Romans, Byzantines and Turks.
In A.D. 1071, the Turks fought a crucial war with the Byzantine Empire. Settling in Anatolia (which today covers most of Turkey), the Turks established many small feudal states and some empires.
The Seljuck Empire was the first Turkish empire in Anatolia. After the Seljucks’ influence declined, Anatolia fragmented into a number of small states. The Ottoman Turks unified these separate units, which eventually became the largest empire in recent history, the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottomans ruled for more than six centuries (1281 – 1922), in part because their system of government allowed flexibility in the practice of diverse religions, languages and cultures.
Suleyman the Magnificent
The magnificent reign of Sultan Suleyman I (1520 -1566) is known as the golden age of the Ottoman Empire.
Born during a turbulent age of continual political and military conflict, Suleyman became a dynamic leader at a very early age. To prepare for his reign that wouId begin after the death of his father (in 1520), Suleyman became governor of a province in Northwest Anatolia at the age of 15.
The Ottoman Empire more than doubled the boundaries of its realm under Suleyman the Magnificent’s direction and was transformed into a full-fledged Muslim world empire. By his death in 1566, the empire included most of Eastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa.
But land and power were only part of what made the empire years golden. As a principal patron of the arts, and as a poet himself, Suleyman supported societies of painters, architects, metal workers, weavers and ceramists who produced works of extraordinary quality. Suleyman was a catalyst in the cultural legacy that has lasted for centuries.
The 18th century marked the beginning of the decline in Ottoman power. Weakening continued until World War I (1914-1918), when Ottoman armies fought and lost on several fronts throughout the empire. Eventually, Anatolia was divided and occupied by allied forces. Although the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, the fight had just begun for the Turkish people.
Photo: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a highly respected army general from World War I, led the Turkish people in their War of independence (1919-1922) against the allied occupiers. It was the first successful war of national liberation in this century.
After many miraculous victories, the occupying forces were pushed back. And in 1923, a national Turkish state, the Republic of Turkey, was established. As the leader of the new nation, Ataturk created the foundations for a modern, secular state based on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
A figure of Turkish Independence War (Image from Turkish stamp).
Recent Turkish Foreign Policy
After World War II, developments on the international scene inspired Turkey to bolster its relations with the Western world. Determined to secure its position within the Western alliance, Turkey became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe and other major Western organizations.
Historical events of recent years including the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Gulf War, the end of the Cold War, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (which gave independence to Turkish republics in Central Asia) have increased Turkey’s importance as a power for peace and stability in the region.
Turkey is an element of stability in an otherwise turbulent part of the world. As a modern, secular democracy with a free market economy, Turkey will continue to expand its role as a commercial, political and cultural link between the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans and the West.
Florence Nightingale and the Museum
just a piece of history that you might find interesting!
In the October of 1854 when war was declared against Russia, Miss Nightingale with 38 nurses traveled to Istanbul to organize a nursing unit to care for the wounded from the Crimean battle front.
On arrival she found 2,300 wounded already installed in the Selimiye Military Barracks at Uskudar (Scudari). Within weeks the numbers rose to 10,000 wounded Turkish, French and British soldiers. She saw the over crowding of the wards, corridor and even the towers. She believed that the bad sanitary arrangements (common to all hospitals at that time) plus the overcrowding were responsive for the frightening mortality rate.
To this day she is known as “The lady of the lamp”, this phrase was coined by the wounded men who looked forward to her nightly visits as she made her way through the maze of corridors and wards, lighting her way with a candle lamp.
At the end of the Crimean War, the Barracks reverted to the purpose it was built for. An impressive building built in 1800 can easily be seen from the European shore, situated at the entrance of the Bosphorus on the Anatolian side.
This book is a true story of how June Haimoff, now in her 80’s and still living in Dalyan, found herself in a fight to save a Caretta caretta breeding site from exploitation for mass tourism. Dalyan is a very special part of the world and the, a spit of golden sand, is a beautiful part of the Turkish coastline. A truly interesting and historical place with Lycian Rock Tombs, and an ancient Roman City, Caunos, overlooking the delta, beach and out to sea.
The story of Kaptan June, as the locals called her, is gripping, amusing and pragmatic account is firmly placed in its local setting. When you read her account, and see Dalyan as it is today, it’s hard to believe that she moved to what then was a remote Turkish village in 1975. June tell the story of the campaign, how it divided the locals, together with stories of real Turkish village life and the pleasures and pitfalls of life as a solitary woman in an Eastern culture.
From the Foreword by David Bellamy. ‘dazzling, magnificent it stretched away in a flawless white arc, losing itself into the far distance under a summer haze. Serene, solitary and mysterious’ is a story of a passionate campaign – involving local, national and international authorities – not only to save the turtles from the imminent invasion to prepare for a huge resort hotel (the bulldozers had already started work) directly on the beach but also to conserve the paradise in which they lived from the ravages of tourism’s concrete blocks.
June Haimoff fell in love with Dalyan and was passionate to preserve it, together with the turtles and other wild life which she continues to do even today. She is a formidable lady! June tells her story with courage, humour, compassion and, above all, hope for a future in which all species may live together in harmony.
Previously published in 1997 as Kaptan June and the Turtles, the Second Edition features a new Prologue, two additional Chapters, bringing the story up to date, and an Index.
June has written another book that has been published (the public wanted to know more about her), Breakfast With Kaptan June, and is currently writing on another book about her life prior to saving the turtles.
June is a very talented lady, having written and performed her own songs and we are fortunate to have a copy of the ones she wrote for her campaign to protect Dalyan – it is now a conservation area. Tom has performed with June and we have had the privilege of sharing some special times with her, as you will see from the photo’s of June in fancy dress! She looks very glamorous and elegant, in fact I mistakenly thought a portrait in June’s house was her from many years ago but I recently learned that it’s actually one of Marilyn Monroe!
Did you know that ….
You can’t change the past, but you can change the way you view it – Anthony Robbins
Did you know the figure of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is based on St Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara, originally called Lycia (2 hrs from Dalyan where there are also the ruins of an ancient Roman city).
At the time the area was Greek but is now on the southern coast of Turkey. St Nicholas wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man.
Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. The anniversary of his death, 6th December, became a day to exchange gifts.
See photo’s attached showing the various images of him plus the island named after him (1.5 hours from Dalyan – near to Kaya Koy also known as The Ghost Village) and the other historical and beautiful surrounding areas, plus you can click on the following link for more details about him, http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=38.
WHY WE SAY PRESENTS ARE DELIVERED DOWN THE CHIMNEY!
One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. Another version is that one time there wasn’t an open window and so the bags of gold were dropped down the chimney. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.
A couple of years ago I sent the above to a Greek guest, Angelos, who replied:
The song we sing here is Santa (for us Santa Vasili or Basili with the same love to children like Santa Nicolas in the western culture) is coming from “Kesaria” which in Turkish is Kayseri (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kayseri) located in central Turkey. So yes according to the Greek’s he comes from Turkey as we know it nowadays, but from the Anatolia regent in the center of Turkey.
And according to wikipedia again (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_of_Caesarea)
“in Greek tradition, his name was given to Father Christmas and he is supposed to visit children and give presents every January 1 (St Basil’s Day) — unlike other traditions where Saint Nicholas arrives either on December 6 (Saint Nicholas Day) or on Christmas Eve (December 24). It is traditional on St Basil’s Day to serve “Vasilopita”, a rich bread baked with a coin inside. It is customary on his feast day to visit the homes of friends and relatives, to sing New Year carols, and to set an extra place at the table for Saint Basil. In Greek tradition and according to historical records, St Basil, of Greek heritage, is the original “Father Christmas”, who being born into a wealthy family, gave away all his possessions to the poor and those in need, the underprivileged and children. A similar story exists for another Greek bishop, St. Nicholas of Myra.
Over the centuries the two have been merged but the Western “Santa Claus” is St. Nicholas and the Eastern “Santa Claus” is St. Basil. Interestingly, I did not know that, St. Nicholas was a Bishop too with a similar story with St Basil. I guess this mix up comes from the fathers of the Church who after the schism tried to find reasons to distinguish the two churches that took separate ways without giving up on the original traditions but needed to make them a little different so they could justify the two different approaches of the main idea :-).
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others
without getting a few drops on yourself – Emerson
All our guests love visiting the farm – only a short stroll away from Spectrum Turkey – where you will receive a very warm welcome. Come and meet our landlord, Sedat, and his wife Hulya and get a real taste of traditional Turkey life. Maybe you will visit when Hulya is making her own butter or yoghurt, or when she and Sedat are collecting their honey and see Hulya scraping off the beeswax. Below are photo’s of soup stock drying in the sun, in preparation for the winter months – the next stage is where you will see that it has been sieved after which it will be stored in empty plastic water bottles as they are very keen on recycling here on the farm.
Sedat is just one of the sons of Buyuk Anne (Grandma as we call her – you can see the photo of her below making yoghurt) living on this farm. He grows his own wheat in addition to a field full of pomegranates (the recent harvest was 1300 crates each weighing 20 kilos – not including the ones that had split that they will eat themselves), has previously grown cotton (see photo below) as well as growing food for his cows, some of which he sells to other farmers.
Buyuk Anne loves our Spectrum Turkey guests calling in for a cup of tea or two – it’s hard to refuse a second cup, or should I say glass which is what they drink their tea from – tulip style ….. did you know Tulips originally came from Turkey? Also there’s a photo below of of her making brooms. Anne Anne (another word for Grandma which is basically saying Mum twice!) is using the stalks from sweetcorn but note that the corn has already been eaten and the green part will be used to feed the cows – no you might understand the expression “Waste not want not!”.
Did you know there are white pomegranates as well as the more popular red ones? Have you ever tasted the delicious syrup like mixture they make with pomegranates which they use as a salad dressing and additional ingredients with other traditional Turkish dishes?
Serdar’s Snippets (owner of Digby’s Café) –
Learn about Turkish Culture
We have had a few coffees at Digby’s over the last few weeks, giving ourselves a break at the end of the day – it is very quiet at Spectrum with just the two of us! We went with Serdar and his wife, Mine pronounced Minnie), to Fethiye because they had never been before, so we were their tour guides. When we were in the old part, with Ottoman style windows and the amphitheatre nearby, I pointed to a jewellery shop where we bought my engagement and wedding ring (that’s another story, another time!). Serdar explained that they don’t have engagement rings in Turkey, they simply buy a wedding ring and place it on the ring finger of their right hand, transferring it to the left hand when they get married. I doubt the idea will catch on in the UK!
Photo of Hanife’s engagement: here she is with Hasan, her huband, his parents and his father’s Mum – some of you have met them on the farm near Spectrum, where our apartment is.
We didn’t know that before, nor did we realise that when Turkish people get married, very often they have the registry office/serve part of the wedding but don’t actually live together until after the “reception celebrations” (best way to describe it) which could be 3 months later! The bride doesn’t wear a white wedding dress at this service, like Hanife, she wore a smart suit unless the reception is on the same day. Hanife wore her white wedding dress with red sash at her “reception” celebrations.
Generally, from our experience, there is no food or drink provided, so it’s just a night of dancing, dancing, dancing with a break when it’s time to pin money on the bride & groom, or they are given jewellery – that’s why you see lots of gold bangles in jewellery shops in Ortaca and Fethiye, not so much in Dalyan. It’s also why they can afford to invite hundreds of people because it doesn’t cost them much to have so many guests, well apart from giving pieces of wedding cake! We’ve had more wedding invitations here in the last 10 years than we’ve had all the years we lived in the UK.
The hen party is nothing like you’d expect either. The bride to be usually has a lovely new frock – often like a wedding dress, not white of course but similar to what you can see from what Hanife is wearing for her engagement celebrations – and there’s music and lots of dancing of course with the added tradition of a blob of henna on the palm of their hands and finger tips. At one function I saw what I thought was a cake with candles and was thinking the cake wasn’t big enough for everyone to get a piece, so you can imagine my surprise when a young lady came over to me with a napkin but instead it holding a piece of cake there was a blob of henna! I think it’s a shame they don’t apply the henna like they would in India, such beautiful patterns. When you see their hands against the white of their wedding dress it doesn’t look very pretty, in fact they look like incredibly heavy smokers!
However the stag party is very different because there is food and drink! Let me tell you how we found out the difference:
Many years ago when we first lived here, Tom told me we’d been invited to a wedding which was in the garden – actually more like a field – only metres from our apartment, a relation of our landlord. I was surprised to see the bride in a peach marble coloured dress; I thought she was very modern not wearing white! I commented that there weren’t many men at this wedding and then a man we knew came and had a word with Tom and off he went, disappeared for the rest of the night. I didn’t know where he’d gone, until he returned home quite merry, denying that alcohol had been served! I felt like a lucky mascot, a yabanci (foreigner) being at the hen party as it turned out to be (I kept waiting thinking the groom was going to turn up sometime!), they kept asking me to join in with the dancing and I’d often end up in the middle with them all dancing around me! I left eventually because I was hungry – Tom had told me there would be food and drink which I thought was unusual for a wedding (!) but of course he was alright, wherever he went.
I’ve put a clip of Hanife’s wedding on YouTube where you can see the sashes they were wearing pinned with money, see them and many of their guests dancing plus how Turkish people respectfully kiss their elders. Their wedding was held in Gocek, where Hanife is from and her parents and other family members still live –their homes are on the mountain overlooking the marina where most of you have sailed from when doing the 12 islands boat trip. There’s no need to hire a hall here when you can simply use an “open space” or the special salons built for wedding celebrations. Their engagement celebrations were held where the weekly market is situated, not exactly a pretty location but who cares when you are simply dancing all night? Their wedding was in a more special location, actually in the modern amphitheatre at the far end of the marina, alongside the. See YouTube: http://youtu.be/n8kDcwSh1pQ
These are just our experiences of local weddings, hen parties etc. Many families in Dalyan follow a more traditional Turkish village life style which is probably a very different experience than in Istanbul where some of you live