Karakoy tram stop, Istanbul

The Golden Horn, Istanbul

Outside the New Mosque (Yeni Cami), Istanbul

Inside the Blue Mosque, Istanbul

View of the Blue Mosque from Aya Sofya, Istanbul

Inside the Kariye Museum (Chora Museum), Istanbul

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

On the streets of Kars

At the ruins of Ani, Kars

Urgup, Cappadocia

Rose Valley, Cappadocia

On a hot-air balloon, Cappadocia

Aya Sofya, Istanbul

Sumela Monastery, Trabzon

Church of St Gregory (Abughamrentz), Ani, Kars

Inside the Church of St Gregory (Tigran Honentz), Ani, Kars

Galata bridge, Istanbul

I am finding it difficult to describe my trip to Turkey. From the touristic point of view, its charms are obvious - spectacular geography, stunning Byzantine monuments, a rich and varied cuisine, Armenian ruins in the east, Greek and Roman ruins in the west, and Ottoman and Seljuk architecture scattered throughout the country. And then there's modern Istanbul - chic cafes and art galleries hidden in its elegant, winding streets, a city perched by the sea, laidback and dynamic at the same time.

Piecing together everything I saw together is another story - the history buff in me wants to understand everything in chronological order, actions and consequences, the clash of invading cultures and their influence on each other. Turkey is such a complex confluence of cultures and even its recent history (to say nothing of its modern politics) is difficult to grasp. I was glad I didn't cram too much in two weeks - I needed lots of room to digest what I saw. 

More posts to come, on some of the places I visited, I promise.   


Nomadic D. said…
You may not feel like you crammed to much in, which is great, but it looks like you did a lot! How wonderful that you got all the way out to Trabzon and Cappadocia! I go to Istanbul once every year or two to visit family and love it, but have always wanted to take time and venture out more, those fairy chimneys are high on my list! Can't wait to hear more about your trip as you continue to digest it...
hannah-rose said…
These pictures are incredible. I am really.... The picture inside the palace with that wide window looking out onto the ocean? I remember seeing that on your instagram and thinking 'this is not real'.. what a place. I've never been to turkey and to be honest have never really felt a burning desire to go there - other than for the hagia sophia - but your pictures and this post has changed all that. I am always drawn to ideas of old and new, clashing together in one city. That's the charm for me. I think I might have to make Turkey next on my travel list!

Jocy said…
What lovely pictures. I've also returned from a trip to Turkey, but have not digested it yet, especially Istanbul, where we spent about 9 days. Also, having done a part of the Silk Roads a few years ago (but more Kazakhstan and western China), I had such different expectations of coming to Turkey and continuing that journey. It was different than what I had imagined and even after the shock wore off and the charm took hold, I still grasp for words to describe my impression. I loved it, for sure. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts on your trip!
Pret a Porter P said…
I remember being fascinated learning about the Byzantine empire. (From a fashion stand point, Dolce & Gabbana did an astounding collection using Byzantine art work). The hot air balloon ride and the Blue Mosque look amazing.
Unknown said…
Very nice pictures! Turkey seems to be a pool of history and cultures, it must have been terribly interesting to visit!

Your pictures made me think of the book "the Sheen on the Silk" by Anne Perry. The novel depicts a young woman coming up to Constantinople to try and save her brother's honor, some 800 years ago. If you like Turkey's cross cultural background you should check this book out :)
Frances said…
Gorgeous pictures. I spent a couple of weeks in Turkey last year and this took me straight back - we went to Istanbul, Cappadocia and then headed to the coast. I sometimes struggle to remember how I was somewhere so beautiful. Your pictures have reminded me again.

I would love to go back and go some exploring.
Ammu said…
Gorgeous photos. You have such a good eye :)
I am hoping to visit Singapore next month - will you be in town?
lin said…
nomadic d: i only had 5 days in istanbul and i can imagine how tempting it is to just want to stay there - such a great city. cappadocia is pretty accessible i think, thanks to the flights out of istanbul.

hannah-rose: thanks! definitely keep turkey in mind the next time you feel a touch of wanderlust - istanbul alone is a great destination and the rest of turkey is so underrated. i don't think i've been anywhere else where you can really feel the mix of these great civilisations.

jocy: you took the words out of my mouth! and how awesome does that trip on the silk road sound. i've always wanted to do a trip of the route in central asia and i hope i get round to doing it some day!

pret a porter p: byzantium really captures the imagination and i love a book i bought while i was in turkey that's giving me such a great introduction into the empire. personally, i like the chanel couture collection karl lagerfeld did inspired by byzantine motifs.

kali vine: thanks! it really was interesting being in a place where civilisations literally clashed, and so much of what you read about the history sounds very familiar to the modern world! so much to take in.

thanks for the book recommendation, i definitely will check it out.

frances: thanks! the coast was one place i wished i spent more time at - we made it to the black sea coast but just briefly. i definitely want to go back as well.

ammu: thanks! yes i will be around, my number hasn't changed so drop me line when you're here!
petrichore said…
That's a dream mine to visit those regions/cities in Turkey - thanks for sharing photos!
mel said…
What beautiful photos!! Thank you for sharing and looking forward to your thoughts on visiting these places. I hope to travel there one day too!

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