• The foundations of aviation in Turkey were laid in 1912. Soon afterwards Turkish civil aviation gained tremendous dynamism through figures like Vecihi Hürkuş and Nuri Demirağ. Civil aviation has been on a rising trajectory in the last 30 years as well. In a letter that appeared in the April 1985 issue of Skylife magazine, the then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal seems to be describing civil aviation today. He put forward a vision, a vision that has now been realized. The success of Turkish civil aviation today - a collaboration between state and private enterprise. And now, as of January 2014 three prominent names in the industry have also come into key positions in European civil aviation. Skylife magazine asked them about their goals and the secrets of their success.

    Turkish Airlines’ President & CEO Temel Kotil, who assumed the chairmanship of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) at the new year, says his success stems from the success of Turkish Airlines.

    One of the big problems in Europe is that governments view airlines as a source of revenue. The German, French, Spanish and British governments in particular impose very high taxes on airlines. Turkey is a good example in that respect because it has lowered taxes and put the emphasis on infrastructure, thereby contributing to the growth of Turkish Airlines.

    TURKISH AIRLINES’ SUCCESS
    Turkish Airlines, which in 2003, even in 1993, had 10 million passengers and was among the top 40, rose to 13th in the world ranking in the short space of 10 years. During that period, it captured the world’s attention as the airline that was always making a profit. As a theoretical and mathematical model, it was the top airline in Europe. Today we dominate the Europe-Africa and Middle East market. We aim to increase our capacity to 450 planes by 2023. This means that a single airline will be transporting 120 million passengers a year, more than any other airline in the world. We are approaching an annual turnover of 24 million dollars, which makes us a giant. We have completed our plan and program and are simply putting them into practice now. Turkey can do this thanks to its very unusual dynamics.

    ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN AIRLINES
    One of the leading organizations in the sector, the Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 31 European airlines. Its purpose is to represent the sector to the European Union and relevant stakeholders.

    Deputy Director General of Civil Aviation Haydar Yalçın, who was elected President of the EUROCONTROL Provisional Council, says that Turkish civil aviation gained new dynamism through the legislative amendments passed in 2005.

    Turkey is surpassing itself in the field of civil aviation. Our target is to be one of the 36 members of the International Civil Aviation Organization Council (ICAO) in 2016. We initiated efforts last year aimed at becoming one of the 8 member countries representing Europe on the Council and, God willing, we are going to achieve our goal in 2016. That membership will crown Turkey’s growth of the last 10-12 years.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF EUROCONTROL
    An international organization that works in coordination with civilian and military authorities, Eurocontrol is responsible for managing air traffic and ensuring airspace safety in the European region as well as expanding capacity to provide as efficient service as possible. In addition to managing Europe’s air traffic network on a daily basis, it also undertakes the key role of managing crisis situations. The task of ensuring the security of all airspace, which is managed according to standards and in harmony with all stakeholders, is carried out with contributions from Turkey as well. The role and contributions of each stakeholder in the airspace are at least as important as those of every other, and we therefore need to take a regional, indeed a global, view of aviation security news.

    EUROCONTROL
    The purpose of European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol for short) is to support its member states to achieve safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly air traffic operations across the European region.

    Representing the European region on the Governing Board of ACI World (Airports Council International), TAV Airports Executive Committee Chairman Sani Şener attributes the increase in the commercial value of airlines to service quality.

    Ataturk Airport was one of Turkey’s biggest build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects when we took it over in 1997. It was completed ahead of schedule, in record time. Infrastructure at airports around the world is in a parlous state today, but the airports in Turkey are spanking new, and all are privatization projects. Airports are an entirely commercial business. In other words, if you don’t enhance their commercial value it’s impossible to keep them afloat on aviation revenues alone, or to serve the airlines.

    CIVIL AVIATION AROUND THE WORLD
    Civil aviation around the world is managed by an organization known as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations with 191 members, each one of which has the right to control over its own civil aviation. You can’t simply go after profit in the aviation sector. National interests are the primary concern, and you also have to promote social benefit. The government may enact legislation to make aviation safer and more secure, but the fact is that you can’t have aviation without the private sector.

    ACI WORLD
    Founded in 1991, the Airports Council International (ACI) represents its member airports in their relations with governments and other aviation organizations, as well as being responsible for developing standards and policies.

  • From time immemorial, people have made culinary use of the herbs and spices that grow in their environment, and the capers that grow in Turkey are no exception. The Caparis bush, which sends roots down as far as 12 meters especially in poor, dry soil with high salt or limestone content, are used not only in food and medicine but also in the paint industry. Before being consumed, capers must first be pickled in brine. The name “caper”, for this small berry that was used to enhance the taste of food in regions without mustard or spices, is derived from the Aramaic word, “qapar”. Known by a number of different names around Turkey, capers today have settled into the language as “capari” under the influence of their use in western cooking. Nevertheless, in Ottoman cuisine, capers are known to have been pickled in vinegar and mandrake root as far back as the 14th century. Based on Ottoman palace kitchen records, capers and pickled caper blossoms were procured from the town of Osmancık in Çorum province. The sources mention a dish called caper soup but little is known as yet about how it was made. Considered by the experts to have therapeutic value, capers are used in local dishes all along the shores of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is also a leading producer of capers.

  • How did the Healthy Beverages project come about?
    The project was sparked when Turkish Airlines’ Board and Executive Committee Chairman Hamdi Topçu said, “I’d like our company to be number one in beverages as it is in inflight food.” Starting with Topçu, Senior Vice-President for Catering and Inflight Products Ahmet Doğan, Turkish Do&Co Marmara Regional Director Berna Orak, and Customer Product Coordinator Zafer Bilge also got behind the project and put forth a tremendous effort. As a person who loves his country, I undertook the project with no thought of remuneration for my professional services. I would guess that many foreign airlines are going to follow suit and put teas of this type on their menus.

    Why are healthy beverages so important?
    The research we did shows that people around the world are slowly beginning to learn to eat healthier food but not to drink healthier beverages. The effect of fattening, calorific beverages high in acids, sugar and glucose syrup is far greater than that of the calories we get from food. In that sense the project we’ve undertaken with Turkish Airlines is a very serious social responsibility project. Turkish Airlines, which flies millions of people a year, is going to improve health through these teas.

    What sort of beverage menus can our passengers expect to see?
    There are hot and cold herbal teas on the menu as well as a beverage specially for children. The beverage menu will be updated every three months in keeping with the season and other needs. We also have a surprise in store during Ramadan. We’ve concocted some beverages that will aid in reducing the discomfort experienced in the evening after iftar (fast-breaking). Our cinnamon and vinegar tea is going to relieve the indigestion our passengers often experience after iftar, and our tamarind tea will make them feel cool and refreshed.

    What are the benefits of the children’s beverages?
    For the first time in the world we have created a children’s drink that is both healthy and tasty and contains no sugar, acids, artificial coloring, corn syrup or preservatives. It consists of carob powder, bitter cocoa and date syrup mixed with natural fresh milk. This drink strengthens the bones, aids growth, and contains proteins as well as minerals like iron and calcium. If a child doesn’t want to eat on the plane, don’t insist. He will get more than enough nourishment by simply having a glass of this beverage.

    Will these beverages only be served during flight?
    Our CIP lounges are also going to have healthy beverage corners very soon so that passengers will be able to benefit from their relaxing and curative effects even before they board the plane.

  • Our traditional music, widely yet erroneously referred to as "Turkish Art Music", is the sublime music of a magnificent civilization. It would be more correct to call it "Turkish Classical Music", or simply "Ottoman Music". There are even those who prefer to call it “Istanbul music”, given that Islamic art and civilization rose to the pinnacle of perfection in the Ottoman capital. But this music is unique neither to Istanbul, nor to the Ottoman palace. The famed composer Dede Efendi was the son of a man who managed an Ottoman hamam, and Kömürcüzâde Hafız Mehmed Efendi and Basmacı Abdi Efendi were both from the artisan class. Figures like Edirneli Zurnazen Ahmed Çelebi, Lavtacı Hristo Ağa, Diyarbekirli Mahmud Ağa describe the diversity and richness of those who contributed to this music.
    Ottoman art strove for an exalted form of beauty, what is termed in the West “sublime art”. Like Ottoman architecture, calligraphy, illumination and poetry, Ottoman music was music that aspired to abstract beauty, music that speaks to us from beyond time and this world, music that gives wings to the human soul.

    MUSIC AS A WAY OF EDIFICATION
    Classical Turkish music is not a form of entertainment, but neither is it a kind of dead, lifeless music that numbs the listener to sleep. Called “the glorious art of music” by our forefathers, it was regarded as a form of edification and an expression of lofty ideas.

    FRUIT OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
    Ottoman music is part and parcel of the overall picture of Ottoman civilization, and one of its most precious fruits. With its songs and folk ballads, its military bands, its sacred chants and rituals, as well as its lullabies, classical Turkish music is the manifestation of a great civilization - a high claim grounded in its having its own way of thinking and outlook on life, at the heart of which lies the principle of the Unity of God. It is a unique and original sound erected on a foundation that exalts Unity and that discerns and expresses Oneness among the many. It is a music of faith and love in which military bands were employed in the “minor battles” against the enemy, and divine chants and sacred music in the “great battle” against egoism and self-absorption.

    DIFFERENT FROM WESTERN MUSIC
    Let us speak briefly about the unique character and properties of this music. The sound system of Turkish music is quite different from that of Western music, in which whole notes  are divided into two half-tones, as represented by the black keys between two white keys on the piano. In our music, the whole tone is generally accepted as being divided not into two but into nine intervals. The octave has 12 tones in the Western system but 43 ‘perde’ or micro-tones in Turkish music. In other words, if we were to build a piano for Turkish music, it would have to have at least eight black keys between every two white keys! These “intervals”, which do not exist in Western music, are what give Turkish music its special character. They are also the reason why Turkish music cannot be played on Western instruments.

    TURKISH ART MUSIC VS TURKISH FOLK MUSIC
    Turkish folk music and Turkish classical music arose from the same source and have always influenced each other. They are merely products of the same musical culture performed in different venues. Both have the same sound system as well as the same structure in terms of “makams” (modes or scales), usûl (rhythm) and form. The distinction between Turkish art music and Turkish folk music did not even exist in Ottoman times. Terms like “Alla Turca” (or Alafranga in Turkish) and monophonic versus polyphonic were invented to express the cultural contrast between East and West.

    WHAT ARE “MAKAM” AND “USÛL”?
    Without getting too technical, we might say that the best way of defining the word “makam” is to compare it to a taste. There is a certain flavor created by certain sound intervals and melodic lines that we could call the “makam”, a bit like the modes of early Western music. These makams, each one of which has a different emotional feel to it - a different “mood” - are not strict rules that limit the composer but rather are what make it possible for a certain “taste” to be felt, and as such they are perhaps the most characteristic trait of this music. There are 587 different makams in Turkish music. As for “usûl”, that is the term used for the rhythmic patterns created by the various beats and time divisions, and there are 80 of them in Turkish music!

    IS TURKISH MUSIC REALLY MONOPHONIC?
    Church music organized hymns around specific intervals so that everyone could sing them in unison, and it developed a special technique for doing this. Western classical music, which was born of church music, is a magnificent kind of music in which different melodies are played, one on top of the other in a harmonic whole, by musical instruments, including the human voice. Structurally, this music exhibits a vertical development, comparable to that of cathedral architecture, which is created by playing simple melodies simultaneously.
    Classical Turkish music is an aesthetic monument which, like other forms of eastern music, does not employ harmony or polyphony but in which rich melodic structure and variety have pride of place. Leaving aside the shortcomings and impoverishment inherently implied by the term “monophonic”, it is high time the unique richness of this splendid civilization was recognized.
    Turkish music was never a music widely performed outside the military milieu and the dervish lodge. It is a music performed not by mammoth choruses but rather by small groups of one instrument of each kind, on the order of chamber music.  

    PATRONS OF TURKISH MUSIC
    The Ottoman palace perpetuated this age-old tradition of music among the Turks by bringing together and supporting its most distinguished performers, as it did calligraphers and poets. In the artists it patronized, artistic excellence was always the primary consideration with no distinctions of race, language, religion or sect, thanks to which foreign and minority artists were able to make enormous contributions. The societies that were part of the Islamic cultural milieu exchanged lyrics and instruments and even inter-married.
    Besides being the sultan, Selim III was also a great man of music who played the tanbour (long-necked lute) and the ney (reed flute) as well as composing. There were a number of master tanbour players in the palace during his reign, but his own tanbour teacher was a Jewish composer by the name of Tanburi İsak Fresco Romano, and a contest held by Selim III to come up with a specifically Turkish form of musical notation was won by a member of the Armenian community, Hamparsum Limonciyan, even though his main rival in the competition was, like the sultan himself, a member of the Mevlevi order of dervishes by the name of Nâsır Abdülbâki Dede.
    There is no one-to-one correspondence between the development of Ottoman music and the political and economic history of the Ottoman state. While there are few composers or compositions from the most brilliant periods of Ottoman history, the greatest musicians and composers emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries during periods of decline.

    TITANS OF TURKISH MUSIC
    Countless composers and performers have scaled the heights of this music from past to present. There must be at least as many unknown composers who have left no trace as there are the hundreds of figures who created this magnificent tableau. Among those giants are Buhûrizâde Mustafa Itrî (d.1712), Hafız Post (d. 1693), Seyyid Nuh (d.1714), Zaharya (d.1740), İsmail Dede Efendi (d.1846), Zekâi Dede Efendi (d.1897) and last but not least Tanbûrî Cemil Bey (d.1916).

    THE TEACHING OF TURKISH MUSIC
    Turkish music is taught through reading musical notation but from teacher to student in a method known as “meşk”, in which the teacher provides the student with a model to imitate and the two of them practice it together. The teacher passes his own work along to his student, who learns and executes it exactly as it came from the lips of the master. Students of the great masters like Niyazi Sayın, Kani Karaca, Alâeddin Yavaşça, Bekir Sıdkı Sezgin, Necdet Yaşar, Cinuçen Tanrıkorur and İhsan Özgen continue to train pupils today in the tradition they launched.

    Ours is the music of a civilization. We created our own original sound by giving and taking sounds based on “Tevhid”, or the Unity of God. Our music is an expression of tranquility, edification and love, as is our civilization itself. SAVAŞ BARKÇIN

    What makes music worthwhile are its forms of expression and the emotions, ideas, concepts and approaches it conveys. Turkish classical music expresses sublime emotions and ideas through a flawless approach and a refined aesthetic. This is a perfect kind of music, thoroughly mystical and expressive of “aşk” (love). TIMUÇİN ÇEVİKOĞLU

    ITRÎ
    The world knows Itrî for his Nât-ı Şerif in the Rast mode, which is recited at the beginning of the Mevlevî ceremony written by the great mystic, Mevlânâ, himself. But his Segâh Tekbir and Segâh Salât are also among the rare works that bring the shared cultural code of Islamic civilization to the present generation through music.

    If we say that classical Turkish music is not “today’s music”, we are forfeiting another point of communication with our own past. Even though the people of today may be living in another culture, in a different atmosphere, they can still derive pleasure from this music. What’s more, they will find in it a magical key to understanding the past. MEHMET GÜNTEKİN

    Our music is one of the centuries-old branches of the great plane tree that is our civilization. To understand that music better and appreciate its splendor, we need to remember it in the context of the many other components that make up our culture. Not only music but all the components of our culture exemplify all the different means we have developed for getting closer to God. Our greatest achievement in the days to come will be to take that glorious past into the future without letting it fall to the ground. MURAT SALİM TOKAÇ

    Turkish music attracts extraordinary interest all over the world for its sounds, its makams, its rhythms and its instruments. This interest leads people to study and learn about the other areas of a culture they have come to know through music. That the sound of the kemençe (small fiddle with three strings) was chosen for Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning film Argo, for which Alexandre Desplat wrote the music, means to me that fabulous music can be shared with everyone no loss of its original character. DERYA TÜRKAN

    VENUES FOR TURKISH MUSIC
    1-HARBIYE MILITARY MUSEUM
    The military band that was an indispensable element of Turkish warfare from the time of the Huns was a psychological weapon aimed at instilling fear in the enemy from afar. In peacetime, concerts were given by this band, which was renamed the Mehterhane by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The sources of this music were the airs performed since 1361 by a large ensemble of pipes and drums at the traditional oiled wrestling contests at Kırkpınar in Thrace. Starting in the 18th century, Mehter music sparked a fashion among western composers to compose operas, symphonies and concertos in the style of the Turkish military band. Grétry and Haydn were the pioneers of this style, dubbed “alla turca”, reached its apogee in Mozart and Beethoven. In 1828, Sultan Mahmud II abolished the Janissary Corps and the Mehter band and its repertoire. To hear Mehter music today, follow the programs of the Military Museum in Harbiye, Istanbul. Museum is open to public visits every day from 9 AM to 5 PM except monday and tuesday.

    2-THE GELIBOLU MEVLEVIHANE
    The Mevlevi music that accompanies the whirling ceremony is regarded as the pinnacle of Turkish classical music. These works, which, formally speaking, are long and complex in structure, performed as an unaccompanied vocal solo with a eulogy to the Prophet Mohammad, continue with an instrumental prelude and, following a ritual in four parts, close with a final instrumental solo and a chant from the Quran, followed by a number of different prayer-like sections. Even the great non-Mevlevi composers could not refrain from composing such music, which they enriched with mind-boggling beauty. Circulated orally during periods when training in Turkish music was interrupted, Mevlevi music performed a great pedagogical role for many musicians. The Gelibolu Mevlevihane is a venue where Mevlevi music is performed regularly. If you go to a performance, be sure to have a look at the newly revamped museum.

    3-THE PALACE SCHOOL
    Founded in 1363, the Enderun, or Palace School, evolved into a full-fledged university in the time of Mehmed the Conqueror. Music of course occupied a prominent place among lessons in poetry, law, logic, geography, astronomy, calligraphy, illumination, paper cutting, painting and archery. The top composers were trained at this learned institution, where students came from all over the Islamic world to be educated, and those composers then taught new pupils at the same school.

    4-DEDE EFENDI HOUSE
    This charming house in the Cankurtaran quarter of Sultanahmet was the home of the Turkish titan among composers, Hammamizade İsmail Dede Efendi. The Society for the Preservation of Historic Turkish Houses regularly holds Turkish music concerts at this venue, which is also its headquarters. You can tour the house, now a museum, where the great composer lived and perhaps hear some of his compositions.

    5-ÜSKÜDAR MUSIC SOCIETY
    The “Emin Ongan Üsküdar Music Society”, who trained countless performers and musicians in Turkish art music is active today with its choruses for various age groups and levels.

    6-OMAR
    Established for the purpose of studying the history of Ottoman music, classifying the works and making the collection thus created easily accessible, the “Istanbul University Ottoman Period Music Performance and Research Center” (OMAR) has been active since January 2012. Besides its work to perform a key archival function for Turkish classical music, it also provides a joint platform for discussion for faculty members and academics.

  • You are celebrating 40 years as a performer. As someone who has been at the top of his art for 40 years, can you tell us what Turkish music means to you?
    I believe that music is a language, like Turkish, English, Arabic. Not everyone can speak the language of music - that good fortune is not granted to everyone - but everyone can understand it. For me this is God’s greatest gift. What can be expressed in this language are not things that can be expressed in the language I use when speaking or writing. That is why God gave us this abstract language. I have seen that through music I can describe even the most difficult-to-describe feelings to people I don’t know and have not formally met, people who don’t speak the same language, eat the same food or believe in the same religion as I do. My teacher Cahid Gözkân used to say, “There is unity in music.” When music begins, noise stops, conversation ceases, the affairs of the world come to a halt, and everyone pricks up his ears.

    Can you tell us your story? How did you get involved with the oud?
    I started playing music in Konya, first on the bağlama (a stringed instrument). Of course, I was very small then. My father had just died. There was a wedding in our village and we went to that village from Konya as guests at the wedding. When the musicians arrived (saz, bağlama, cura players) they sent the children outside, because the men wanted to sing and play among themselves. Since my father had been a prominent person in the village, I was treated as a guest and allowed to stay.
    I remember waiting for a lull, then grabbing one of the instruments and going outside and starting to play it. I was able to play; it was even easy for me! It was my first encounter with the instrument. Later, my older brother brought home a bağlama. I’ll never forget that night. We played the Turkish folk song, “A light burned on the mountaintop / I went in pursuit of my beloved.”
    In Konya, folk music is played on classical instruments like the kanun (zither) and the oud (lute). The bağlama and, especially, the divan saz (a larger version of the bağlama) are used as well, but the oud and the kanun are the main instruments. I must have gotten enthusiastic about them and started playing the oud. The oud brought me in touch with the Mevlânâ Commemoration held every year in Konya. In 1973, as a young man of 18, I joined the masters who came for the festivities. Great musical masters would come for those annually held ceremonies, and I would sit at their feet for a week. Then I would spend the whole next year trying to digest everything I had learned in that one week. The weeks I spent at those ceremonies were like a regular school for me. I can’t begin to mention the names of all the teachers from whom I benefited there, but Cinuçen Tanrıkorur of course has a special place for me.

    What makes the oud different from other instruments in your opinion? Why did you choose the oud?
    The oud has a very deep, full, satisfying tone. It’s an instrument that gives me satisfaction. There’s also the ease of being able to play it without looking, which facilitates singing. With the oud, a person can sing and play at the same time. It can also be used to make all kinds of music. I’ve even played jazz on the oud twice at Babylon (an Istanbul jazz club)! But I didn’t consciously think about any of that when I chose the oud. I just felt as if I had been born playing it!

    When you look back at your 40 years in music, what has been your greatest reward?
    If I have been able to serve Turkish music, that is my reward, and that is all I need. Attaining that honor is enough for me. I also love teaching and will always be proud of the students I have trained.

    What is your overriding passion in life?
    Expressing emotions through music… As I said at the start, music is a language. My teacher, Cinuçen Bey, called it “the language of the angels”. It is the language that best expresses human emotions. After learning this language, it becomes easier to express emotions.

    Necati Hoca does not take any money from his students and he has even put up video lessons on the internet free of charge for students who are too far away to come to him. He tells us about his exceptional deeds with these words; "I cannot take money for something I myself learned without paying any money. There is a reduction in the number of artists today but a proliferation of celebrities. In other words, anyone who is famous is assumed to be an artist. We need to distinguish between the two."

  • “Europe’s most beautiful city”, in the words of the great Cervantes, it was a fount of inspiration for Goethe as well: “One may write or paint as much as one likes, but this place, the shore, the gulf, Vesuvius, the citadels, the villas, everything, defies description.” It’s not for nothing that the capital of Italy’s Campania region is also a Unesco World Heritage. They call it the “cradle of civilization” and so it is. Neapolis, “the new city”, founded by a Greek colony in the 6th-7th century B.C.  Where the nymph Parthenope, tossed in the water by Ulysses, landed and came to!
    Toledo, where military garrisons were established to quell possible uprisings in the time of Spanish rule, is the city’s liveliest, and perhaps most “Neapolitan”, quarter today. Laundry draped on lines stretched over narrow streets, pepper plants dangling from window sills, women shouting out to their neighbors, street vendors hawking their wares, and the aroma of food cooking wafting over it all - how like Istanbul! No wonder my central Italian husband - who doesn’t understand a word of the Neapolitan dialect - describes his feelings in this noisy city as “alienation”, echoing my own sentiments when I roam the streets of my beloved Balat in Istanbul. A Neapolitan woman doctor’s son who has traveled in Turkey hit the nail on the head when he exclaimed upon setting eyes on Istanbul, “Wow! This is Naples!”.
    But there are also things like no other, the things that make Napoli Napoli. For one thing, the Neapolitan songs, famous all over the world, a wistful blend of sadness and longing. Ruberto Murolo, “the singers’ singer”, and Sergio Brunin are the kings of this business. And the theater, the cinema, and the actors the city has given the world, like the unforgettable comedian Toto, or the great actor Eduardo de Filippo and his family. Not to mention the dark-eyed beauty Sophia Loren, who grew up near Naples. And then the cuisine, starting with pasta and pizza…
    Pizza cannot be said to have originated in Naples, but the city is the home of the world-famous Margherita. A pizzaiolo by the name of Raffaele Esposito made a pizza of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves - to represent the red, white and green of the Italian flag - for Queen Margherita in 1889. The Queen loved it and the name stuck. Once regarded as “poor people’s food”, pizza is made best here. According to my Neapolitan teacher Natale, “People in northern Italy people eat pizza with a knife and fork, but real pizza is folded in four and eaten with the hands, just like in Naples!”
    One of the first things that springs to mind at the mention of Naples is the magnificent Galleria Umberto I shopping mall with its soaring glass dome. And the opulent Salone Margherita di Napoli with its chic shops, historic cafes and cabaret, easily comparable to Paris’s “Moulin Rouge”. This dance cafe, whose opening was attended by princesses, countesses, and prominent politicians and journalists of the day, is a symbol of Italy’s early 20th century cultural flowering. The colorful Pignasecca market place with its rows of artisans’ workshops is yet another side of the city. For Naples is city of a thousand faces. People, streets and utter pandemonium on the one hand, capital of historic kingdoms on the other. The Royal Palace of 1836 stands on Piazza Plebiscito in the heart of the city. Another palace, Capodimonte, this one from 1738, is home to southern Italy’s finest art museum, boasting works by painters from Raphael and Goya to Botticelli and Bruegel.
    And then Castel dell’Ovo, Naples’ oldest castle. This so-called “Castle of the Egg” stands guard over the nearby fishing village of Marinaro. Why “egg”, you ask? Here’s the story: According to legend, an egg hidden somewhere - nobody knows where - inside the castle is what keeps it standing. If one day the egg breaks, the castle will come crashing down, and the city of Naples will be destroyed in the natural disasters that ensue. There is also a seaside castle, Maschio Angioino, aka Castel Nuovo, harking back to the rule here of France’s Anjou dynasty. A medieval classic, it forms the backdrop today for newlywed photos at its location on the town square. Housing the Local Historical Society and the city museum, it is the protector of Naples. In short, there’s a lot to see and talk about in this city, so how about a tour plan?

    NAPLES GUIDE
    POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM
    Frozen in time in a disaster that occurred some 2,000 years ago. See Pompeii, buried under the lava and ash spewed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and the homes, theaters, bath, main square and administrative buildings at Herculaneum, which was engulfed by a river of lava in the same disaster. There are trains to both from Naples.

    ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
    Considered one of the world’s best. On exhibition are pristine murals, mosaics and an extraordinary collection of sculptures, transported here from Pompeii and Herculaneum when the museum opened at the end of the 16th century.

    NOT WITHOUT SEEING CAPRI!
    If you go to Naples, don’t come back without seeing the rich and famous Isle of Capri right off the coast. Just fifty minutes away by seabus, an hour by ferry, Capri becomes the “isle of flowers” in springtime.

    EVENTS CALENDAR
    May 1 to 30: Monuments Month. All museums are open every day, and admission is free of charge for one week of the month.
    May 1 to 4: Naples Comicon, International Comics Festival. For information: www.comicon.it
    May 4 to 7: Capri Art Film Festival. A festival held on the Isle of Capri with world-famous Hollywood stars in attendance. For information: www.caprihollywood.com

    GETTING THERE
    Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Naples-Istanbul flights every day of the week. Departure times are at 11:45 a.m. from Istanbul and 1:55 p.m. from Naples. For information: www.turkishairlines.com

  • Ahlat (or Akhlat) is the gateway to Anatolia. Here, on Lake Van’s most scenic shores, are the city of Bitlis, city of our Ottoman forefathers, and the Islamic dome of the Seljuks. Ahlat, a city perched like a seaside town on a gentle slope covered in fruit orchards...
    Surveying the deep blue waters of Lake Van and the snowy peaks of Süphan, Turkey’s third highest peak, as you sip your tea here is a pleasure like no other. Its natural beauty and fertile plain have made Ahlat a popular area of settlement throughout history. From the Urartu to the Ottoman, these lands have been home to numerous civilizations during their glorious 1,500-year past. The town also enjoys the distinction of being the largest founded by the Turks in Anatolia following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
    Turkish tribes began pouring into the region after the clash, in which the Turks routed the Byzantines. On the stone monuments at Ahlat, dubbed “City of the Oghuz Tribe” by Evliya Çelebi, you will find traces of the Turkish clans that settled in the region following the great battle. The Oghuz Kayı Clan, which founded the Ottoman Empire, stayed in Ahlat for 170 years prior to settling at Söğüt in the second half of the 13th century. Legend has it that Ertuğrul Gazi, the father of Osman Bey who founded the Ottoman dynasty, was born in Ahlat and lived there into his twenties.

    THE SEA OF AHLAT
    We know that the fish caught in Lake Van, formerly known as the Sea of Ahlat, are one of the city’s major sources of income. The local people, who made masterful use of the lake for shipping in the Middle Ages, quickly transformed Ahlat into a commercial hub. With a population of around 300,000 in the 13th and 14th centuries, Ahlat was the political capital of a vast swath of land stretching from Diyarbakır to Tabriz, becoming a city of culture and learning as well with economic prosperity. Among the famous figures produced by the city, which trained scholars in diverse fields from medicine to astronomy, are the celebrated philosopher Abu Ali al-Ahlati, the chemist and inventor Ibrahim ibn Abdullah of Ahlat, the astronomer Fahreddin Ahlati and the religious scholar Sheikh Husaini Ahlati.
    But Ahlat was also a city of artisans and architects. The domed Seljuk mausoleums (kümbet or gonbad) and the shapes of the columns of the Orkhon Monuments, the oldest inscriptions in the Turkish language, were brought to Anatolia from Central Asia, producing their finest examples at Ahlat.  Although the sources mention some 100 plus Seljuk mausoleums at Ahlat, only around 15 are still standing today and two of those are semi-destroyed. But even this figure exceeds the total number in other parts of Turkey. The most outstanding of the Ahlat kümbets, which throw light on three centuries of artistic development from the 13th to the 15th century, bear the names of Sheikh Najmuddin, Erzen Hatun, Usta Shagird and Bayındır.

    CITY OF RUINS
    Situated in a long, narrow valley, the center of Old Ahlat is known as a “city of ruins”. With remnants of Seljuk castles, mosques, bridges, towers, baths and dervish lodges, this place is like a giant open-air museum. And cheek by jowl with this mysterious city rife with the remains of structures carved into the rocks is the world’s largest Turkish-Islamic graveyard. We tour this vast site, unmatched in the world in terms of architectural richness, with Ahmet Çapkun, a researcher based at Ahlat Museum. Çapkun says that upwards of 8,100 mausoleums of historic significance have been identified in the Seljuk Graveyard, which covers approximately 50 acres. There are monumental stones as high as 3.5 meters at this burial site, which was used continuously between the 11th and 16th centuries. The main material used in the mausoleums, which include sarcophagi and cists either with or without inscriptions, is the volcanic red stone peculiar to the area. Prof. Dr. Altan Çetin of Gazi University says that the stone decorations here represent some of the rarest examples of ornamentation from the Seljuk period. He adds that geometric motifs, vegetal patterns and stylized scripts were virtually worked like lace into the stone used in the mihrabs, rosettes, muqarnas work and star motifs seen in Seljuk architecture. And indeed the stone here seems to whisper of the countless travelers who have passed through these lands. If you listen closely, you will hear a lot more than we have told you here in Ahlat, a once-vibrant Anatolian settlement that rose to a pinnacle in art, science and religion.

    AHLAT GUIDE
    AHLAT STONE
    A kind of volcanic tufa, Ahlat stone continues to be worked today. Local stonemason Tahsin Kalender was added to the UNESCO Living Human Treasures List in 2012.

    AHLAT CANES
    Ahlat’s famous tradition of handmade canes traces its roots back from Central Asia to Anatolia. What distinguishes these canes is their array of Turkish motifs carved in walnut wood. The price of the canes, decorated with animal figures, ranges as high as TL 1,500 (around 500 euros).

    SALTED PEARL MULLET
    The best-known dish in Ahlat, which boasts a rich array of original dishes, is büryan kebab Bitlis-style. Other tastes unique to the region include a meatball soup known as kilorik, a pickled cabbage dish called çorti taplama, a meat and ground wheat keşkek called harise, pickled kenger (thistle), salted pearl mullet, and murtuğa helvah with egg.

    ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM
    While you’re in Ahlat, you can visit Bitlis Ethnographic Museum where you’ll find manuscript works as well as a host of local artifacts and reanimations.

    NEW PAPŞİN HAN
    Another recommended sight at Bitlis is the medieval inn called Yeni (New) Papşin Han. Converted into a handicrafts school today, this historic hostel also offers occasional evening concerts.

    GETTING THERE
    The most convenient way of getting to Ahlat is to fly to Muş, just an hour and a half by car. Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Muş-Istanbul flights every day of the week. Departures are at 12:55 p.m. from Istanbul and 3:40 p.m. from Muş. For information:
    turkishairlines.com

Destination

  • Istanbul’s Mediterranean Sister Naples

    “Europe’s most beautiful city”, in the words of the great Cervantes, it was a fount of inspiration for Goethe as well: “One may write or paint as much as one likes, but this place, the shore, the gulf, Vesuvius, the citadels, the villas, everything, defies description.” It’s not for nothing that the capital of Italy’s Campania region is also a Unesco World Heritage. They call it the “cradle of civilization” and so it is. Neapolis, “the new city”, founded by a Greek colony in the 6th-7th century B.C.  Where the nymph Parthenope, tossed in the water by Ulysses, landed and came to!
    Toledo, where military garrisons were established to quell possible uprisings in the time of Spanish rule, is the city’s liveliest, and perhaps most “Neapolitan”, quarter today. Laundry draped on lines stretched over narrow streets, pepper plants dangling from window sills, women shouting out to their neighbors, street vendors hawking their wares, and the aroma of food cooking wafting over it all - how like Istanbul! No wonder my central Italian husband - who doesn’t understand a word of the Neapolitan dialect - describes his feelings in this noisy city as “alienation”, echoing my own sentiments when I roam the streets of my beloved Balat in Istanbul. A Neapolitan woman doctor’s son who has traveled in Turkey hit the nail on the head when he exclaimed upon setting eyes on Istanbul, “Wow! This is Naples!”.
    But there are also things like no other, the things that make Napoli Napoli. For one thing, the Neapolitan songs, famous all over the world, a wistful blend of sadness and longing. Ruberto Murolo, “the singers’ singer”, and Sergio Brunin are the kings of this business. And the theater, the cinema, and the actors the city has given the world, like the unforgettable comedian Toto, or the great actor Eduardo de Filippo and his family. Not to mention the dark-eyed beauty Sophia Loren, who grew up near Naples. And then the cuisine, starting with pasta and pizza…
    Pizza cannot be said to have originated in Naples, but the city is the home of the world-famous Margherita. A pizzaiolo by the name of Raffaele Esposito made a pizza of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves - to represent the red, white and green of the Italian flag - for Queen Margherita in 1889. The Queen loved it and the name stuck. Once regarded as “poor people’s food”, pizza is made best here. According to my Neapolitan teacher Natale, “People in northern Italy people eat pizza with a knife and fork, but real pizza is folded in four and eaten with the hands, just like in Naples!”
    One of the first things that springs to mind at the mention of Naples is the magnificent Galleria Umberto I shopping mall with its soaring glass dome. And the opulent Salone Margherita di Napoli with its chic shops, historic cafes and cabaret, easily comparable to Paris’s “Moulin Rouge”. This dance cafe, whose opening was attended by princesses, countesses, and prominent politicians and journalists of the day, is a symbol of Italy’s early 20th century cultural flowering. The colorful Pignasecca market place with its rows of artisans’ workshops is yet another side of the city. For Naples is city of a thousand faces. People, streets and utter pandemonium on the one hand, capital of historic kingdoms on the other. The Royal Palace of 1836 stands on Piazza Plebiscito in the heart of the city. Another palace, Capodimonte, this one from 1738, is home to southern Italy’s finest art museum, boasting works by painters from Raphael and Goya to Botticelli and Bruegel.
    And then Castel dell’Ovo, Naples’ oldest castle. This so-called “Castle of the Egg” stands guard over the nearby fishing village of Marinaro. Why “egg”, you ask? Here’s the story: According to legend, an egg hidden somewhere - nobody knows where - inside the castle is what keeps it standing. If one day the egg breaks, the castle will come crashing down, and the city of Naples will be destroyed in the natural disasters that ensue. There is also a seaside castle, Maschio Angioino, aka Castel Nuovo, harking back to the rule here of France’s Anjou dynasty. A medieval classic, it forms the backdrop today for newlywed photos at its location on the town square. Housing the Local Historical Society and the city museum, it is the protector of Naples. In short, there’s a lot to see and talk about in this city, so how about a tour plan?

    NAPLES GUIDE
    POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM
    Frozen in time in a disaster that occurred some 2,000 years ago. See Pompeii, buried under the lava and ash spewed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and the homes, theaters, bath, main square and administrative buildings at Herculaneum, which was engulfed by a river of lava in the same disaster. There are trains to both from Naples.

    ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
    Considered one of the world’s best. On exhibition are pristine murals, mosaics and an extraordinary collection of sculptures, transported here from Pompeii and Herculaneum when the museum opened at the end of the 16th century.

    NOT WITHOUT SEEING CAPRI!
    If you go to Naples, don’t come back without seeing the rich and famous Isle of Capri right off the coast. Just fifty minutes away by seabus, an hour by ferry, Capri becomes the “isle of flowers” in springtime.

    EVENTS CALENDAR
    May 1 to 30: Monuments Month. All museums are open every day, and admission is free of charge for one week of the month.
    May 1 to 4: Naples Comicon, International Comics Festival. For information: www.comicon.it
    May 4 to 7: Capri Art Film Festival. A festival held on the Isle of Capri with world-famous Hollywood stars in attendance. For information: www.caprihollywood.com

    GETTING THERE
    Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Naples-Istanbul flights every day of the week. Departure times are at 11:45 a.m. from Istanbul and 1:55 p.m. from Naples. For information: www.turkishairlines.com

  • Museum City Ahlat

    Ahlat (or Akhlat) is the gateway to Anatolia. Here, on Lake Van’s most scenic shores, are the city of Bitlis, city of our Ottoman forefathers, and the Islamic dome of the Seljuks. Ahlat, a city perched like a seaside town on a gentle slope covered in fruit orchards...
    Surveying the deep blue waters of Lake Van and the snowy peaks of Süphan, Turkey’s third highest peak, as you sip your tea here is a pleasure like no other. Its natural beauty and fertile plain have made Ahlat a popular area of settlement throughout history. From the Urartu to the Ottoman, these lands have been home to numerous civilizations during their glorious 1,500-year past. The town also enjoys the distinction of being the largest founded by the Turks in Anatolia following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
    Turkish tribes began pouring into the region after the clash, in which the Turks routed the Byzantines. On the stone monuments at Ahlat, dubbed “City of the Oghuz Tribe” by Evliya Çelebi, you will find traces of the Turkish clans that settled in the region following the great battle. The Oghuz Kayı Clan, which founded the Ottoman Empire, stayed in Ahlat for 170 years prior to settling at Söğüt in the second half of the 13th century. Legend has it that Ertuğrul Gazi, the father of Osman Bey who founded the Ottoman dynasty, was born in Ahlat and lived there into his twenties.

    THE SEA OF AHLAT
    We know that the fish caught in Lake Van, formerly known as the Sea of Ahlat, are one of the city’s major sources of income. The local people, who made masterful use of the lake for shipping in the Middle Ages, quickly transformed Ahlat into a commercial hub. With a population of around 300,000 in the 13th and 14th centuries, Ahlat was the political capital of a vast swath of land stretching from Diyarbakır to Tabriz, becoming a city of culture and learning as well with economic prosperity. Among the famous figures produced by the city, which trained scholars in diverse fields from medicine to astronomy, are the celebrated philosopher Abu Ali al-Ahlati, the chemist and inventor Ibrahim ibn Abdullah of Ahlat, the astronomer Fahreddin Ahlati and the religious scholar Sheikh Husaini Ahlati.
    But Ahlat was also a city of artisans and architects. The domed Seljuk mausoleums (kümbet or gonbad) and the shapes of the columns of the Orkhon Monuments, the oldest inscriptions in the Turkish language, were brought to Anatolia from Central Asia, producing their finest examples at Ahlat.  Although the sources mention some 100 plus Seljuk mausoleums at Ahlat, only around 15 are still standing today and two of those are semi-destroyed. But even this figure exceeds the total number in other parts of Turkey. The most outstanding of the Ahlat kümbets, which throw light on three centuries of artistic development from the 13th to the 15th century, bear the names of Sheikh Najmuddin, Erzen Hatun, Usta Shagird and Bayındır.

    CITY OF RUINS
    Situated in a long, narrow valley, the center of Old Ahlat is known as a “city of ruins”. With remnants of Seljuk castles, mosques, bridges, towers, baths and dervish lodges, this place is like a giant open-air museum. And cheek by jowl with this mysterious city rife with the remains of structures carved into the rocks is the world’s largest Turkish-Islamic graveyard. We tour this vast site, unmatched in the world in terms of architectural richness, with Ahmet Çapkun, a researcher based at Ahlat Museum. Çapkun says that upwards of 8,100 mausoleums of historic significance have been identified in the Seljuk Graveyard, which covers approximately 50 acres. There are monumental stones as high as 3.5 meters at this burial site, which was used continuously between the 11th and 16th centuries. The main material used in the mausoleums, which include sarcophagi and cists either with or without inscriptions, is the volcanic red stone peculiar to the area. Prof. Dr. Altan Çetin of Gazi University says that the stone decorations here represent some of the rarest examples of ornamentation from the Seljuk period. He adds that geometric motifs, vegetal patterns and stylized scripts were virtually worked like lace into the stone used in the mihrabs, rosettes, muqarnas work and star motifs seen in Seljuk architecture. And indeed the stone here seems to whisper of the countless travelers who have passed through these lands. If you listen closely, you will hear a lot more than we have told you here in Ahlat, a once-vibrant Anatolian settlement that rose to a pinnacle in art, science and religion.

    AHLAT GUIDE
    AHLAT STONE
    A kind of volcanic tufa, Ahlat stone continues to be worked today. Local stonemason Tahsin Kalender was added to the UNESCO Living Human Treasures List in 2012.

    AHLAT CANES
    Ahlat’s famous tradition of handmade canes traces its roots back from Central Asia to Anatolia. What distinguishes these canes is their array of Turkish motifs carved in walnut wood. The price of the canes, decorated with animal figures, ranges as high as TL 1,500 (around 500 euros).

    SALTED PEARL MULLET
    The best-known dish in Ahlat, which boasts a rich array of original dishes, is büryan kebab Bitlis-style. Other tastes unique to the region include a meatball soup known as kilorik, a pickled cabbage dish called çorti taplama, a meat and ground wheat keşkek called harise, pickled kenger (thistle), salted pearl mullet, and murtuğa helvah with egg.

    ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM
    While you’re in Ahlat, you can visit Bitlis Ethnographic Museum where you’ll find manuscript works as well as a host of local artifacts and reanimations.

    NEW PAPŞİN HAN
    Another recommended sight at Bitlis is the medieval inn called Yeni (New) Papşin Han. Converted into a handicrafts school today, this historic hostel also offers occasional evening concerts.

    GETTING THERE
    The most convenient way of getting to Ahlat is to fly to Muş, just an hour and a half by car. Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Muş-Istanbul flights every day of the week. Departures are at 12:55 p.m. from Istanbul and 3:40 p.m. from Muş. For information:
    turkishairlines.com

  • Basel In 48 Hours

    DAY ONE
    9:00 A.M
    The popular quarter of Grossbasel in the Old Town is an ideal spot for starting a tour. Here stands the 11th century Basel Münster (cathedral), which also boasts the tombstone of the renowned renaissance scholar Erasmus, who died in Basel in 1536. The medieval monarch Lälle Keenig meanwhile is depicted sticking out his tongue in a statue that is another Grossbasel trademark. From here you can also explore the historic quarter of Kleinbasel, which stretches along the banks of the river.

    12:00 NOON
    We are standing on the Mittlere Rheinbrücke (Middle Rhine Bridge) in port city Basel, which connects Switzerland to the sea via the River Rhine. It’s fun to watch, even photograph, the reflection of the medieval buildings in the river here. Strolling along the riverbank, we come to the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts), founded in the 17th century, where a rich collection of everything from Picasso paintings to Jean Tinguely designs is on display.

    9:00 P.M
    We have included Basel, which is home to Switzerland’s oldest university, in our night tour, because this place is as beautiful by night as it is by day. Be sure to witness the stunning play of light on the elegant fountain and water jets. The Fasnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) is another of the city’s must-see fountains. Completed in 1977, this fountain is decked with unusual

    DAY TWO
    4:00 A.M
    During the Fasnacht Festival, which kicks off on March 10 this year, all the city’s lights are extinguished towards four in the morning and people come outside carrying lanterns. You have to go to the Marktplatz to see the street shows and fantastic costumes. The Rathaus (Town Hall) on the square known for its open-air markets is itself a 16th century Renaissance palace. One of the city’s main shopping avenues also runs into this square.

    9:00 A.M
    This city, which offers countless alternatives from art galleries to theaters and cinemas, is justly proud of its museums as well. Starting with the Tinguely Museum, literally dozens of them await you with everything from dolls and antiques to history and culture. What’s more, you can visit Basel’s museums very economically by purchasing a Museum Pass Card.

    12:00 NOON
    And now for Basel’s quintessential art complex: Schaulager. A staggering diversity of shows is mounted throughout the year in this extraordinary building in minimalist Stone Age style, designed by the architecture duo Herzog & de Meuron..

    6:00 P.M
    Next is the Beyeler Foundation, where the Beyeler family’s personal art collection has been exhibited since 1997. An extensive collection from Van Gogh to Miro is on display in the galleries of this museum, which also boasts restaurants and shopping areas as well as works by Rodin in the sculpture section.

    9:00 P.M
    Choose a restaurant on the banks of the Rhine for dinner. In addition to international cuisine, you can also find local dishes in Basel. Fondue served with tiny new potatoes, grilled game meats and wild berry tortes are just some of the delicacies that await you here.

    GETTING THERE
    Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Basel-Istanbul flights daily. Departures are at 11:55 a.m. from Istanbul and at 3:05 p.m. from Basel. For information:turkishairlines.com

  • On The Red Sea Coast Aqaba

    Aqaba should be viewed from the Red Sea when the sun is slowly melting into the sea and even the outlines of the cargo ships look romantic in the distance. Indigo sea, a pencil-thin coastal strip and, behind them, a range of near-rose-pink mountains. If the sea is teeming with life, the mountains are conversely pale and barren. Not a stitch of vegetation clings to their slopes. But the attraction lies precisely in this contrast between indigo and pink, sea and sahara. This is Aqaba, one of Jordan’s surprises. The only resort town in a country eighty percent covered by desert and soothing like all cities by the sea. The white stone houses of capital Amman may dazzle, but Aqaba seems to sway like a hammock with its friendly, laid-back people, its vaulted bazaars and its palm-lined boulevards, all far removed from the routines of everyday life.

    THE CORAL SHIP
    Life in Aqaba, as you might surmise, flows along the seashore and the busy avenues running parallel to the coast. And the Red Sea that everyone who goes to the city is dying to see is rife with activities to please visitors.  A popular destination with diving buffs, the point where the coral reef is located flaunts not only its red corals for all to see but also displays a rich underwater life. There’s also something down there that isn’t a living thing, but you don’t need to dive to see it: a ship sunk on orders from King Abdullah. You can view this ship, which was sunk to make a nest for new corals, from small, glass-bottomed boats.

    EXTREME SPEED ON THE SEA
    You can either rent a paddle boat on the coast or venture out in a speedboat at Aqaba. If you crave quiet, the four-people paddle boats are recommended. Be careful of course of the waves created by speedboats and similar craft. Best of all, don a life jacket and, if you have it on your music player, listen to Umm Kulthum’s “Enta Omri” (You are My Life). As you leave the shore behind, you’ll see the heat and humidity give way to a pleasant breeze, and the hour you first thought would be interminable will suddenly seem just right. On your return, order an Arab coffee from an itinerant vendor or try a milky mint tea in a tea garden.

    FROM AQABA TO PETRA
    Two important sites are easily accessible from Aqaba: Petra and Wadi Rum. Considered one of the seven wonders of the world, Petra is just an hour and a half from Aqaba. This ancient city, known as the “rose red city” for the color of its sandstone rock formations, appears to have recovered its fame of the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C. This extensive complex, which you can tour on horse or camel, boasts a hidden canyon, the Treasury building familiar from the Indiana Jones film, and an 8,000-seat amphitheater, as well as columns, monasteries, rock dwellings and monumental tombs of all sizes. The original founders of the city, the Nabataeans were a semi-nomadic tribe, but the water canals, vestiges of which are still in evidence today, point to a knowledge of engineering quite astonishing for the time. The city’s fall from favor and abandonment in the 12th century is explained by major earthquakes and a shift in the trade routes. We owe its rediscovery to a Swiss traveler who lived in the 1800’s. There is a fee of course for touring this city that was hidden in a valley for hundreds of years: 50 dinars (approximately 70 dollars) at the entrance. Slightly annoying when locals pay only one dinar, but definitely worth it.

    A NIGHT IN WADI RUM
    On returning to Petra the plan is as follows: Get to Wadi Rum by sunset and watch night descend over the desert and the sky become a dome of stars. Night in the desert will be spent around a campfire. All eyes will be on the sky. Questions like “What will we do if a bear comes?” will not disturb the peace. Instead, you are free to revisit childhood memories conjured up by the night, the stars and the crackling wood fire. Towards morning all eyes will open wide so as not to miss the sunrise. Yes, you spent the night on the pink desert sands with only a blanket so now you deserve to tour the valley by car. You have a whole day ahead of you until the return to Aqaba just an hour away. Run and jump to your heart’s content on the desert sands. At evening you’re will bathe in the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea…

    AQABE GUIDE
    LOCAL CUISINE
    Jordan’s national dish, ‘Mensef”, may be a little heavy in summer, but it’s extremely tasty and filling with its lamb cooked in sour yoghurt and served on a bed of pilaff lined with paper-thin lavash bread. Meat and rice are the centerpiece of the local cuisine. Another traditional dish is “Kepseh”, a chicken and rice dish flavored with turmeric.

    GIFTS AND SOUVENIRS
    The glass bottles of colored desert sand will probably be your favorite buys among the souvenirs at Aqaba and Petra. Intricate figures, usually of camels and palm trees, are worked in the sand, but you can also have your own name inscribed.

    AQABA FORTRESS
    One of the city’s most prominent must-see monuments is Aqaba Fortress, built by the Mamluk Sultan Kansu Gavri and used in the Ottoman period as well. Still very impressive today with its entrance gate and high walls, this fortress stands on a hill overlooking the public beach.

    BELLE DE NUIT
    Those who call Aqaba “the bride of the Red Sea” must have in mind the fetchingly white Sharif Hussain Mosque, which gleams like a pearl by night. Stepping into in a cool, clean courtyard dotted with date palms not far from the shore is, frankly, quite pleasant.

    CLIMATE
    Two seasons are suitable for a trip to Aqaba: spring and fall. The evening hours when a pleasant breeze blows up are preferable for a city tour and shopping, because Aqaba is one of those cities that come alive after dark.

    TEA IN THE DESERT
    Wadi Rum is a place that will take you back to your childhood. You can tumble down the pink sand dunes, hear your voice echo off the rocks, even view the oasis from a slowly rising hot-air balloon. And there’s no better pick-me-up than the tea served in a Bedouin tent at the end of the tour! 

Culture & Arts

  • I Was Born Playing The Oud

    You are celebrating 40 years as a performer. As someone who has been at the top of his art for 40 years, can you tell us what Turkish music means to you?
    I believe that music is a language, like Turkish, English, Arabic. Not everyone can speak the language of music - that good fortune is not granted to everyone - but everyone can understand it. For me this is God’s greatest gift. What can be expressed in this language are not things that can be expressed in the language I use when speaking or writing. That is why God gave us this abstract language. I have seen that through music I can describe even the most difficult-to-describe feelings to people I don’t know and have not formally met, people who don’t speak the same language, eat the same food or believe in the same religion as I do. My teacher Cahid Gözkân used to say, “There is unity in music.” When music begins, noise stops, conversation ceases, the affairs of the world come to a halt, and everyone pricks up his ears.

    Can you tell us your story? How did you get involved with the oud?
    I started playing music in Konya, first on the bağlama (a stringed instrument). Of course, I was very small then. My father had just died. There was a wedding in our village and we went to that village from Konya as guests at the wedding. When the musicians arrived (saz, bağlama, cura players) they sent the children outside, because the men wanted to sing and play among themselves. Since my father had been a prominent person in the village, I was treated as a guest and allowed to stay.
    I remember waiting for a lull, then grabbing one of the instruments and going outside and starting to play it. I was able to play; it was even easy for me! It was my first encounter with the instrument. Later, my older brother brought home a bağlama. I’ll never forget that night. We played the Turkish folk song, “A light burned on the mountaintop / I went in pursuit of my beloved.”
    In Konya, folk music is played on classical instruments like the kanun (zither) and the oud (lute). The bağlama and, especially, the divan saz (a larger version of the bağlama) are used as well, but the oud and the kanun are the main instruments. I must have gotten enthusiastic about them and started playing the oud. The oud brought me in touch with the Mevlânâ Commemoration held every year in Konya. In 1973, as a young man of 18, I joined the masters who came for the festivities. Great musical masters would come for those annually held ceremonies, and I would sit at their feet for a week. Then I would spend the whole next year trying to digest everything I had learned in that one week. The weeks I spent at those ceremonies were like a regular school for me. I can’t begin to mention the names of all the teachers from whom I benefited there, but Cinuçen Tanrıkorur of course has a special place for me.

    What makes the oud different from other instruments in your opinion? Why did you choose the oud?
    The oud has a very deep, full, satisfying tone. It’s an instrument that gives me satisfaction. There’s also the ease of being able to play it without looking, which facilitates singing. With the oud, a person can sing and play at the same time. It can also be used to make all kinds of music. I’ve even played jazz on the oud twice at Babylon (an Istanbul jazz club)! But I didn’t consciously think about any of that when I chose the oud. I just felt as if I had been born playing it!

    When you look back at your 40 years in music, what has been your greatest reward?
    If I have been able to serve Turkish music, that is my reward, and that is all I need. Attaining that honor is enough for me. I also love teaching and will always be proud of the students I have trained.

    What is your overriding passion in life?
    Expressing emotions through music… As I said at the start, music is a language. My teacher, Cinuçen Bey, called it “the language of the angels”. It is the language that best expresses human emotions. After learning this language, it becomes easier to express emotions.

    Necati Hoca does not take any money from his students and he has even put up video lessons on the internet free of charge for students who are too far away to come to him. He tells us about his exceptional deeds with these words; "I cannot take money for something I myself learned without paying any money. There is a reduction in the number of artists today but a proliferation of celebrities. In other words, anyone who is famous is assumed to be an artist. We need to distinguish between the two."

  • Classical Turkish Music

    Our traditional music, widely yet erroneously referred to as "Turkish Art Music", is the sublime music of a magnificent civilization. It would be more correct to call it "Turkish Classical Music", or simply "Ottoman Music". There are even those who prefer to call it “Istanbul music”, given that Islamic art and civilization rose to the pinnacle of perfection in the Ottoman capital. But this music is unique neither to Istanbul, nor to the Ottoman palace. The famed composer Dede Efendi was the son of a man who managed an Ottoman hamam, and Kömürcüzâde Hafız Mehmed Efendi and Basmacı Abdi Efendi were both from the artisan class. Figures like Edirneli Zurnazen Ahmed Çelebi, Lavtacı Hristo Ağa, Diyarbekirli Mahmud Ağa describe the diversity and richness of those who contributed to this music.
    Ottoman art strove for an exalted form of beauty, what is termed in the West “sublime art”. Like Ottoman architecture, calligraphy, illumination and poetry, Ottoman music was music that aspired to abstract beauty, music that speaks to us from beyond time and this world, music that gives wings to the human soul.

    MUSIC AS A WAY OF EDIFICATION
    Classical Turkish music is not a form of entertainment, but neither is it a kind of dead, lifeless music that numbs the listener to sleep. Called “the glorious art of music” by our forefathers, it was regarded as a form of edification and an expression of lofty ideas.

    FRUIT OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
    Ottoman music is part and parcel of the overall picture of Ottoman civilization, and one of its most precious fruits. With its songs and folk ballads, its military bands, its sacred chants and rituals, as well as its lullabies, classical Turkish music is the manifestation of a great civilization - a high claim grounded in its having its own way of thinking and outlook on life, at the heart of which lies the principle of the Unity of God. It is a unique and original sound erected on a foundation that exalts Unity and that discerns and expresses Oneness among the many. It is a music of faith and love in which military bands were employed in the “minor battles” against the enemy, and divine chants and sacred music in the “great battle” against egoism and self-absorption.

    DIFFERENT FROM WESTERN MUSIC
    Let us speak briefly about the unique character and properties of this music. The sound system of Turkish music is quite different from that of Western music, in which whole notes  are divided into two half-tones, as represented by the black keys between two white keys on the piano. In our music, the whole tone is generally accepted as being divided not into two but into nine intervals. The octave has 12 tones in the Western system but 43 ‘perde’ or micro-tones in Turkish music. In other words, if we were to build a piano for Turkish music, it would have to have at least eight black keys between every two white keys! These “intervals”, which do not exist in Western music, are what give Turkish music its special character. They are also the reason why Turkish music cannot be played on Western instruments.

    TURKISH ART MUSIC VS TURKISH FOLK MUSIC
    Turkish folk music and Turkish classical music arose from the same source and have always influenced each other. They are merely products of the same musical culture performed in different venues. Both have the same sound system as well as the same structure in terms of “makams” (modes or scales), usûl (rhythm) and form. The distinction between Turkish art music and Turkish folk music did not even exist in Ottoman times. Terms like “Alla Turca” (or Alafranga in Turkish) and monophonic versus polyphonic were invented to express the cultural contrast between East and West.

    WHAT ARE “MAKAM” AND “USÛL”?
    Without getting too technical, we might say that the best way of defining the word “makam” is to compare it to a taste. There is a certain flavor created by certain sound intervals and melodic lines that we could call the “makam”, a bit like the modes of early Western music. These makams, each one of which has a different emotional feel to it - a different “mood” - are not strict rules that limit the composer but rather are what make it possible for a certain “taste” to be felt, and as such they are perhaps the most characteristic trait of this music. There are 587 different makams in Turkish music. As for “usûl”, that is the term used for the rhythmic patterns created by the various beats and time divisions, and there are 80 of them in Turkish music!

    IS TURKISH MUSIC REALLY MONOPHONIC?
    Church music organized hymns around specific intervals so that everyone could sing them in unison, and it developed a special technique for doing this. Western classical music, which was born of church music, is a magnificent kind of music in which different melodies are played, one on top of the other in a harmonic whole, by musical instruments, including the human voice. Structurally, this music exhibits a vertical development, comparable to that of cathedral architecture, which is created by playing simple melodies simultaneously.
    Classical Turkish music is an aesthetic monument which, like other forms of eastern music, does not employ harmony or polyphony but in which rich melodic structure and variety have pride of place. Leaving aside the shortcomings and impoverishment inherently implied by the term “monophonic”, it is high time the unique richness of this splendid civilization was recognized.
    Turkish music was never a music widely performed outside the military milieu and the dervish lodge. It is a music performed not by mammoth choruses but rather by small groups of one instrument of each kind, on the order of chamber music.  

    PATRONS OF TURKISH MUSIC
    The Ottoman palace perpetuated this age-old tradition of music among the Turks by bringing together and supporting its most distinguished performers, as it did calligraphers and poets. In the artists it patronized, artistic excellence was always the primary consideration with no distinctions of race, language, religion or sect, thanks to which foreign and minority artists were able to make enormous contributions. The societies that were part of the Islamic cultural milieu exchanged lyrics and instruments and even inter-married.
    Besides being the sultan, Selim III was also a great man of music who played the tanbour (long-necked lute) and the ney (reed flute) as well as composing. There were a number of master tanbour players in the palace during his reign, but his own tanbour teacher was a Jewish composer by the name of Tanburi İsak Fresco Romano, and a contest held by Selim III to come up with a specifically Turkish form of musical notation was won by a member of the Armenian community, Hamparsum Limonciyan, even though his main rival in the competition was, like the sultan himself, a member of the Mevlevi order of dervishes by the name of Nâsır Abdülbâki Dede.
    There is no one-to-one correspondence between the development of Ottoman music and the political and economic history of the Ottoman state. While there are few composers or compositions from the most brilliant periods of Ottoman history, the greatest musicians and composers emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries during periods of decline.

    TITANS OF TURKISH MUSIC
    Countless composers and performers have scaled the heights of this music from past to present. There must be at least as many unknown composers who have left no trace as there are the hundreds of figures who created this magnificent tableau. Among those giants are Buhûrizâde Mustafa Itrî (d.1712), Hafız Post (d. 1693), Seyyid Nuh (d.1714), Zaharya (d.1740), İsmail Dede Efendi (d.1846), Zekâi Dede Efendi (d.1897) and last but not least Tanbûrî Cemil Bey (d.1916).

    THE TEACHING OF TURKISH MUSIC
    Turkish music is taught through reading musical notation but from teacher to student in a method known as “meşk”, in which the teacher provides the student with a model to imitate and the two of them practice it together. The teacher passes his own work along to his student, who learns and executes it exactly as it came from the lips of the master. Students of the great masters like Niyazi Sayın, Kani Karaca, Alâeddin Yavaşça, Bekir Sıdkı Sezgin, Necdet Yaşar, Cinuçen Tanrıkorur and İhsan Özgen continue to train pupils today in the tradition they launched.

    Ours is the music of a civilization. We created our own original sound by giving and taking sounds based on “Tevhid”, or the Unity of God. Our music is an expression of tranquility, edification and love, as is our civilization itself. SAVAŞ BARKÇIN

    What makes music worthwhile are its forms of expression and the emotions, ideas, concepts and approaches it conveys. Turkish classical music expresses sublime emotions and ideas through a flawless approach and a refined aesthetic. This is a perfect kind of music, thoroughly mystical and expressive of “aşk” (love). TIMUÇİN ÇEVİKOĞLU

    ITRÎ
    The world knows Itrî for his Nât-ı Şerif in the Rast mode, which is recited at the beginning of the Mevlevî ceremony written by the great mystic, Mevlânâ, himself. But his Segâh Tekbir and Segâh Salât are also among the rare works that bring the shared cultural code of Islamic civilization to the present generation through music.

    If we say that classical Turkish music is not “today’s music”, we are forfeiting another point of communication with our own past. Even though the people of today may be living in another culture, in a different atmosphere, they can still derive pleasure from this music. What’s more, they will find in it a magical key to understanding the past. MEHMET GÜNTEKİN

    Our music is one of the centuries-old branches of the great plane tree that is our civilization. To understand that music better and appreciate its splendor, we need to remember it in the context of the many other components that make up our culture. Not only music but all the components of our culture exemplify all the different means we have developed for getting closer to God. Our greatest achievement in the days to come will be to take that glorious past into the future without letting it fall to the ground. MURAT SALİM TOKAÇ

    Turkish music attracts extraordinary interest all over the world for its sounds, its makams, its rhythms and its instruments. This interest leads people to study and learn about the other areas of a culture they have come to know through music. That the sound of the kemençe (small fiddle with three strings) was chosen for Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning film Argo, for which Alexandre Desplat wrote the music, means to me that fabulous music can be shared with everyone no loss of its original character. DERYA TÜRKAN

    VENUES FOR TURKISH MUSIC
    1-HARBIYE MILITARY MUSEUM
    The military band that was an indispensable element of Turkish warfare from the time of the Huns was a psychological weapon aimed at instilling fear in the enemy from afar. In peacetime, concerts were given by this band, which was renamed the Mehterhane by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The sources of this music were the airs performed since 1361 by a large ensemble of pipes and drums at the traditional oiled wrestling contests at Kırkpınar in Thrace. Starting in the 18th century, Mehter music sparked a fashion among western composers to compose operas, symphonies and concertos in the style of the Turkish military band. Grétry and Haydn were the pioneers of this style, dubbed “alla turca”, reached its apogee in Mozart and Beethoven. In 1828, Sultan Mahmud II abolished the Janissary Corps and the Mehter band and its repertoire. To hear Mehter music today, follow the programs of the Military Museum in Harbiye, Istanbul. Museum is open to public visits every day from 9 AM to 5 PM except monday and tuesday.

    2-THE GELIBOLU MEVLEVIHANE
    The Mevlevi music that accompanies the whirling ceremony is regarded as the pinnacle of Turkish classical music. These works, which, formally speaking, are long and complex in structure, performed as an unaccompanied vocal solo with a eulogy to the Prophet Mohammad, continue with an instrumental prelude and, following a ritual in four parts, close with a final instrumental solo and a chant from the Quran, followed by a number of different prayer-like sections. Even the great non-Mevlevi composers could not refrain from composing such music, which they enriched with mind-boggling beauty. Circulated orally during periods when training in Turkish music was interrupted, Mevlevi music performed a great pedagogical role for many musicians. The Gelibolu Mevlevihane is a venue where Mevlevi music is performed regularly. If you go to a performance, be sure to have a look at the newly revamped museum.

    3-THE PALACE SCHOOL
    Founded in 1363, the Enderun, or Palace School, evolved into a full-fledged university in the time of Mehmed the Conqueror. Music of course occupied a prominent place among lessons in poetry, law, logic, geography, astronomy, calligraphy, illumination, paper cutting, painting and archery. The top composers were trained at this learned institution, where students came from all over the Islamic world to be educated, and those composers then taught new pupils at the same school.

    4-DEDE EFENDI HOUSE
    This charming house in the Cankurtaran quarter of Sultanahmet was the home of the Turkish titan among composers, Hammamizade İsmail Dede Efendi. The Society for the Preservation of Historic Turkish Houses regularly holds Turkish music concerts at this venue, which is also its headquarters. You can tour the house, now a museum, where the great composer lived and perhaps hear some of his compositions.

    5-ÜSKÜDAR MUSIC SOCIETY
    The “Emin Ongan Üsküdar Music Society”, who trained countless performers and musicians in Turkish art music is active today with its choruses for various age groups and levels.

    6-OMAR
    Established for the purpose of studying the history of Ottoman music, classifying the works and making the collection thus created easily accessible, the “Istanbul University Ottoman Period Music Performance and Research Center” (OMAR) has been active since January 2012. Besides its work to perform a key archival function for Turkish classical music, it also provides a joint platform for discussion for faculty members and academics.

  • Acoustic And Electronic Music On The Same Stage

    Your music has a different sound. What are the sources you draw on?
    When I was a young man back in the sixties, I listened to rock’n’roll and a lot of different music. Then I gave it up. More than somebody who listens to music, I wanted to be somebody who produces music. The listener listens to a lot of things, but that’s not for me, because when I start composing after listening to a lot of songs, all the sounds I use are inspired by what I’ve been listening to, so it’s not really “my” music. I want to produce my own music. That’s why I stopped listening to music almost completely after I started making music. I am westernized in terms of instruments and technique. But I’m more focused on the psychological and spiritual aspect of the business. On the really important things…

    You’ve composed film and documentary music and in it you stand out as Kitaro, not part of the project. In other words, the music is something that could be listened to on the radio, for example, even without the film.
    Film music has a visual aspect. But the two sounds are distinguishable and you can tell the difference between my music and film music. Even if there is a visual element, the audience should be able to say that the music is Kitaro’s. That’s also why I concentrate on the deeper aspects. To give you an example: I composed the music for Oliver Stone’s documentary, “Heaven and Earth”. I didn’t follow the film frame by frame but rather preserved the melodic line. Stone was in Vietnam at the time and he sent me a fax: “Hi Kitaro, Congratulations!”

    What has the symphony orchestra added to your music? What do you feel when you are performing on stage?
    On the Eastern European tour the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra accompanied us. That was really nice. The orchestra is acoustic but our sound is electronic. As different as oil and water. Even though it’s difficult to balance the two, it enhances the communication. I love to go on stage because there’s an exchange of energy between our performance and the audience.

    Are you interested in any other art forms besides music?
    I take photographs. I’ve published a few photograph albums. I’m also interested in calligraphy. And I’m interested in Butoh, the traditional Japanese dance. 

  • Modernity Through Eastern Eyes

    The latest works of 16 artists from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Russia are coming together in an exhibition of contemporary art, Love me, Love me not. Featured in the show, which was curated by Dina Nasser-Khadivi, are paintings, videos and installations that highlight Azerbaijan’s rapid transition to modernity. You can see the show at Baku’s Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Center from April 3 through May 25.

Event

  • The History Of Food

    A leading event in the history field, La Storia in Piazza is in its fifth year. The theme of this year’s event, April 10 to 13 at Palazzo Ducale in Geneva, is Ages of Food. Lectures, meetings discussions, shows and exhibitions are all part of this event devoted to the history of food culture.

  • Edvard Munch At 150

    Edvard Munch is one of the most talked about artists of the 20th century. Now, the 150th anniversary of his birth is being marked by an exhibition of 80 of his works. Curator of the exhibition, at Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale, is Marc Restellini, director of the Pinacothèque de Paris. Accompanying the main exhibition, which runs till April 27, is a group of works titled Warhol after Munch, made by Andy Warhol, who was influenced by the Norwegian painter.

  • Construction Sector Meets In Istanbul

    The biggest meeting in the Turkish construction sector and in the region, 37th Yapı Fuarı - Turkeybuild Istanbul is bringing the products and services of 1,150 participating firms together with upwards of 111,000 visitors. With its business opportunities and the international activities on its program, as well as product diversity representing the latest in innovation and technology, the fair, at Büyükçekmece Tüyap May 6 to 10, is a major event in the sector.

  • Everything About Kites

    Upwards of 2,000 kites and kite-related materials from 26 countries are on display at the museum. And for a small fee, visitors can experiment with kite building in the company of instructors in the workshop on the lower floor. Admission is free at this museum, which is open daily except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sample Banner

Gastro

  • A Mediterranean Plant Capers

    From time immemorial, people have made culinary use of the herbs and spices that grow in their environment, and the capers that grow in Turkey are no exception. The Caparis bush, which sends roots down as far as 12 meters especially in poor, dry soil with high salt or limestone content, are used not only in food and medicine but also in the paint industry. Before being consumed, capers must first be pickled in brine. The name “caper”, for this small berry that was used to enhance the taste of food in regions without mustard or spices, is derived from the Aramaic word, “qapar”. Known by a number of different names around Turkey, capers today have settled into the language as “capari” under the influence of their use in western cooking. Nevertheless, in Ottoman cuisine, capers are known to have been pickled in vinegar and mandrake root as far back as the 14th century. Based on Ottoman palace kitchen records, capers and pickled caper blossoms were procured from the town of Osmancık in Çorum province. The sources mention a dish called caper soup but little is known as yet about how it was made. Considered by the experts to have therapeutic value, capers are used in local dishes all along the shores of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is also a leading producer of capers.

  • The Rich World Of Balkan Cuisine

    Slavs, Greeks, Albanians, Latins and Turks are the communities that make up the Balkans’ ancient and vibrant cultural life. Distilled in a retort of culture and faith, the distinctive elements introduced by climate add a unique richness to the Balkan cuisines. A fondness for livestock and grains brought about by the mountains is tempered in the Balkans by fish dishes from the Danube and the waters of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. At the same time, olive oil has pride of place in Balkan cooking. But what gives value to the hundreds of Balkan flavors lies hidden in an intricate web of dishes interwoven with stories. Without a doubt one of the greatest population movements of the 20th century, the mübadele, or population exchange, had a direct impact on our gastronomic world. Many tastes familiar today in Istanbul and Western Anatolia especially are tastes we came to know through the mübadele. Since the preservation of food was a major issue in the cuisines of the Balkans, pickles, dried meats and salt-cured fish emerge as nutritional solutions imposed by typically harsh winters. Opening the door on this rich gastronomic world, we encounter scores of dishes as yet little known and, following their trail, take a closer look at the Balkan cultures.

  • The Taste of the Wild

    In former times, the hunt and hunting were one of the main activities of both the Ottoman palace and palace circles. Consequently, just as many hunting lodges were built around Istanbul - and have now been surrounded by urban development - so did recipes for game, such as deer, wild duck, partridge and woodcock appear in contemporary cookery books. Even though all this demonstrates a fondness for game meat in that period, it also reveals an Ottoman sensitivity on the subject of hunting, as witnessed by the fact, for example, that hunters are warned against shooting animals during the breeding season in the charter of the Foundation created by Mehmed the Conqueror.
    Wild animals roam free by their natural instincts, and, even more importantly, they feed on rich natural and seasonal foodstuffs. Because they are continuously active, their muscles are more fibrous than those of domesticated animals, making their meat both leaner and richer in nutritional value. It is especially rich in unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.
    On the other hand, game animals are one of the foods cooks most shy away from, because their preparation demands such painstaking care. Today we can enjoy these natural flavors in the form of farmed game birds and meats and the products of regulated hunting.

    QUAIL IN POMEGRANATE SAUCE WITH CRISPY FENNEL

    INGREDIENTS
    4 quail
    1 small head of fennel
    40 g olive oil
    20 g pomegranate molasses
    10 g fresh thyme
    10 g fresh rosemary
    10 g garlic
    5 g sea salt
    10 g black peppercorns, crushed

    PREPARATION
    Marinate the quail in the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, thyme, rosemary, garlic, sea salt and black pepper mixture for 24 hours. If you are going to grill, four minutes per side will suffice to cook the quail. If you are using the oven, you’ll need close to ten minutes. Quail quickly dries out and loses its flavor, so don’t overcook. Divide the fennel into four and brown quickly in hot oil until crisp.

    OVEN-BAKED TANDOOR RABBIT

    INGREDIENTS
    1 rabbit
    2 large onions
    1 carrot
    5 bulbs of garlic
    2 tbsp butter
    1 pkg new potatoes
    10 g fresh thyme
    10 g rosemary
    Juice of 2 pomegranates
    1 tsp grated orange peel
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1 g salt salt

    PREPARATION
    Divide the rabbit into four pieces and place on a baking tray. Add one spoonful of the butter, the grated orange rind, garlic, carrot and fresh herbs. Then add a cup of water and the salt and rosemary. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 160° C oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 5 more minutes at 200° C until ready to serve. Place the remaining butter in a skillet with the orange juice and mandarin juice and cook the potatoes in this mixture for about 15 minutes.

    FOR THE SAUCE
    Puree the vegetables that cooked with the rabbit in a blender. Then remove to a pot and bring to a boil, adding water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Serve with the rabbit.

    OVEN-ROASTED WILD GOOSE

    INGREDIENTS
    1 whole goose
    1 large onions
    2 carrots
    4 red Charleston peppers
    Juice of 2 lemons
    15 g fresh rosemary
    10 g fresh thyme
    2/3 cup olive oil
    5 g sea salt
    5 g black peppercorns

    PREPARATION
    Rub the goose well with the salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice and bake, covered, with the previously peeled and diced carrots in an 180° C oven for about two hours. Then uncover and bake at 200° C for about 10 minutes. Arrange the Charleston peppers on a baking sheet, add the fresh herbs and garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake at 140° C for 80 minutes. Remove from the oven and skin the peppers.

    POMEGRANATE-POACHED PEARS

    INGREDIENTS
    4 pears
    175 g sugar
    250 g water
    Juice of 5 pomegranates
    3 cloves
    2 sticks of cinnamon
    1 lemon

    PREPARATION
    Peel the pears and let stand in water with the lemon for 10 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice, water and sugar to a pot and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Then add the cinnamon, cloves and pears and cook for about 2 hours. Chill and serve.

  • Modern Turkish Cuisine

    The sheer nature and number of ingredients and cooking methods used in Turkish cuisine are of a richness to astonish experts. That rich heritage has been squandered in the last 150 years, but a new awareness emerging in today’s world is reshaping gastronomy. Promoting their regional character through precise recipes, contemporary cuisines are finding their niches now in the world gastronomic spectrum. And in a broad-ranging initiative, Turkish cuisine, too, is being rediscovered in our country by producers and consumers alike. “Gastro tourists” from around the world are opening up a new chapter in our country’s tourism offerings. Their experience of Turkish cuisine in all its many facets will be unforgettable for these visitors. We have a traditional cuisine and the rich resources to go with it, but unfortunately our cuisine has not yet blossomed in such a way as to reflect the period in which we live. Skilled and experienced chefs therefore need to come together to accelerate the process, because cuisines have become the new determiners of the world’s intangible boundaries.

Music

  • I Was Born Playing The Oud

    You are celebrating 40 years as a performer. As someone who has been at the top of his art for 40 years, can you tell us what Turkish music means to you?
    I believe that music is a language, like Turkish, English, Arabic. Not everyone can speak the language of music - that good fortune is not granted to everyone - but everyone can understand it. For me this is God’s greatest gift. What can be expressed in this language are not things that can be expressed in the language I use when speaking or writing. That is why God gave us this abstract language. I have seen that through music I can describe even the most difficult-to-describe feelings to people I don’t know and have not formally met, people who don’t speak the same language, eat the same food or believe in the same religion as I do. My teacher Cahid Gözkân used to say, “There is unity in music.” When music begins, noise stops, conversation ceases, the affairs of the world come to a halt, and everyone pricks up his ears.

    Can you tell us your story? How did you get involved with the oud?
    I started playing music in Konya, first on the bağlama (a stringed instrument). Of course, I was very small then. My father had just died. There was a wedding in our village and we went to that village from Konya as guests at the wedding. When the musicians arrived (saz, bağlama, cura players) they sent the children outside, because the men wanted to sing and play among themselves. Since my father had been a prominent person in the village, I was treated as a guest and allowed to stay.
    I remember waiting for a lull, then grabbing one of the instruments and going outside and starting to play it. I was able to play; it was even easy for me! It was my first encounter with the instrument. Later, my older brother brought home a bağlama. I’ll never forget that night. We played the Turkish folk song, “A light burned on the mountaintop / I went in pursuit of my beloved.”
    In Konya, folk music is played on classical instruments like the kanun (zither) and the oud (lute). The bağlama and, especially, the divan saz (a larger version of the bağlama) are used as well, but the oud and the kanun are the main instruments. I must have gotten enthusiastic about them and started playing the oud. The oud brought me in touch with the Mevlânâ Commemoration held every year in Konya. In 1973, as a young man of 18, I joined the masters who came for the festivities. Great musical masters would come for those annually held ceremonies, and I would sit at their feet for a week. Then I would spend the whole next year trying to digest everything I had learned in that one week. The weeks I spent at those ceremonies were like a regular school for me. I can’t begin to mention the names of all the teachers from whom I benefited there, but Cinuçen Tanrıkorur of course has a special place for me.

    What makes the oud different from other instruments in your opinion? Why did you choose the oud?
    The oud has a very deep, full, satisfying tone. It’s an instrument that gives me satisfaction. There’s also the ease of being able to play it without looking, which facilitates singing. With the oud, a person can sing and play at the same time. It can also be used to make all kinds of music. I’ve even played jazz on the oud twice at Babylon (an Istanbul jazz club)! But I didn’t consciously think about any of that when I chose the oud. I just felt as if I had been born playing it!

    When you look back at your 40 years in music, what has been your greatest reward?
    If I have been able to serve Turkish music, that is my reward, and that is all I need. Attaining that honor is enough for me. I also love teaching and will always be proud of the students I have trained.

    What is your overriding passion in life?
    Expressing emotions through music… As I said at the start, music is a language. My teacher, Cinuçen Bey, called it “the language of the angels”. It is the language that best expresses human emotions. After learning this language, it becomes easier to express emotions.

    Necati Hoca does not take any money from his students and he has even put up video lessons on the internet free of charge for students who are too far away to come to him. He tells us about his exceptional deeds with these words; "I cannot take money for something I myself learned without paying any money. There is a reduction in the number of artists today but a proliferation of celebrities. In other words, anyone who is famous is assumed to be an artist. We need to distinguish between the two."

  • Classical Turkish Music

    Our traditional music, widely yet erroneously referred to as "Turkish Art Music", is the sublime music of a magnificent civilization. It would be more correct to call it "Turkish Classical Music", or simply "Ottoman Music". There are even those who prefer to call it “Istanbul music”, given that Islamic art and civilization rose to the pinnacle of perfection in the Ottoman capital. But this music is unique neither to Istanbul, nor to the Ottoman palace. The famed composer Dede Efendi was the son of a man who managed an Ottoman hamam, and Kömürcüzâde Hafız Mehmed Efendi and Basmacı Abdi Efendi were both from the artisan class. Figures like Edirneli Zurnazen Ahmed Çelebi, Lavtacı Hristo Ağa, Diyarbekirli Mahmud Ağa describe the diversity and richness of those who contributed to this music.
    Ottoman art strove for an exalted form of beauty, what is termed in the West “sublime art”. Like Ottoman architecture, calligraphy, illumination and poetry, Ottoman music was music that aspired to abstract beauty, music that speaks to us from beyond time and this world, music that gives wings to the human soul.

    MUSIC AS A WAY OF EDIFICATION
    Classical Turkish music is not a form of entertainment, but neither is it a kind of dead, lifeless music that numbs the listener to sleep. Called “the glorious art of music” by our forefathers, it was regarded as a form of edification and an expression of lofty ideas.

    FRUIT OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
    Ottoman music is part and parcel of the overall picture of Ottoman civilization, and one of its most precious fruits. With its songs and folk ballads, its military bands, its sacred chants and rituals, as well as its lullabies, classical Turkish music is the manifestation of a great civilization - a high claim grounded in its having its own way of thinking and outlook on life, at the heart of which lies the principle of the Unity of God. It is a unique and original sound erected on a foundation that exalts Unity and that discerns and expresses Oneness among the many. It is a music of faith and love in which military bands were employed in the “minor battles” against the enemy, and divine chants and sacred music in the “great battle” against egoism and self-absorption.

    DIFFERENT FROM WESTERN MUSIC
    Let us speak briefly about the unique character and properties of this music. The sound system of Turkish music is quite different from that of Western music, in which whole notes  are divided into two half-tones, as represented by the black keys between two white keys on the piano. In our music, the whole tone is generally accepted as being divided not into two but into nine intervals. The octave has 12 tones in the Western system but 43 ‘perde’ or micro-tones in Turkish music. In other words, if we were to build a piano for Turkish music, it would have to have at least eight black keys between every two white keys! These “intervals”, which do not exist in Western music, are what give Turkish music its special character. They are also the reason why Turkish music cannot be played on Western instruments.

    TURKISH ART MUSIC VS TURKISH FOLK MUSIC
    Turkish folk music and Turkish classical music arose from the same source and have always influenced each other. They are merely products of the same musical culture performed in different venues. Both have the same sound system as well as the same structure in terms of “makams” (modes or scales), usûl (rhythm) and form. The distinction between Turkish art music and Turkish folk music did not even exist in Ottoman times. Terms like “Alla Turca” (or Alafranga in Turkish) and monophonic versus polyphonic were invented to express the cultural contrast between East and West.

    WHAT ARE “MAKAM” AND “USÛL”?
    Without getting too technical, we might say that the best way of defining the word “makam” is to compare it to a taste. There is a certain flavor created by certain sound intervals and melodic lines that we could call the “makam”, a bit like the modes of early Western music. These makams, each one of which has a different emotional feel to it - a different “mood” - are not strict rules that limit the composer but rather are what make it possible for a certain “taste” to be felt, and as such they are perhaps the most characteristic trait of this music. There are 587 different makams in Turkish music. As for “usûl”, that is the term used for the rhythmic patterns created by the various beats and time divisions, and there are 80 of them in Turkish music!

    IS TURKISH MUSIC REALLY MONOPHONIC?
    Church music organized hymns around specific intervals so that everyone could sing them in unison, and it developed a special technique for doing this. Western classical music, which was born of church music, is a magnificent kind of music in which different melodies are played, one on top of the other in a harmonic whole, by musical instruments, including the human voice. Structurally, this music exhibits a vertical development, comparable to that of cathedral architecture, which is created by playing simple melodies simultaneously.
    Classical Turkish music is an aesthetic monument which, like other forms of eastern music, does not employ harmony or polyphony but in which rich melodic structure and variety have pride of place. Leaving aside the shortcomings and impoverishment inherently implied by the term “monophonic”, it is high time the unique richness of this splendid civilization was recognized.
    Turkish music was never a music widely performed outside the military milieu and the dervish lodge. It is a music performed not by mammoth choruses but rather by small groups of one instrument of each kind, on the order of chamber music.  

    PATRONS OF TURKISH MUSIC
    The Ottoman palace perpetuated this age-old tradition of music among the Turks by bringing together and supporting its most distinguished performers, as it did calligraphers and poets. In the artists it patronized, artistic excellence was always the primary consideration with no distinctions of race, language, religion or sect, thanks to which foreign and minority artists were able to make enormous contributions. The societies that were part of the Islamic cultural milieu exchanged lyrics and instruments and even inter-married.
    Besides being the sultan, Selim III was also a great man of music who played the tanbour (long-necked lute) and the ney (reed flute) as well as composing. There were a number of master tanbour players in the palace during his reign, but his own tanbour teacher was a Jewish composer by the name of Tanburi İsak Fresco Romano, and a contest held by Selim III to come up with a specifically Turkish form of musical notation was won by a member of the Armenian community, Hamparsum Limonciyan, even though his main rival in the competition was, like the sultan himself, a member of the Mevlevi order of dervishes by the name of Nâsır Abdülbâki Dede.
    There is no one-to-one correspondence between the development of Ottoman music and the political and economic history of the Ottoman state. While there are few composers or compositions from the most brilliant periods of Ottoman history, the greatest musicians and composers emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries during periods of decline.

    TITANS OF TURKISH MUSIC
    Countless composers and performers have scaled the heights of this music from past to present. There must be at least as many unknown composers who have left no trace as there are the hundreds of figures who created this magnificent tableau. Among those giants are Buhûrizâde Mustafa Itrî (d.1712), Hafız Post (d. 1693), Seyyid Nuh (d.1714), Zaharya (d.1740), İsmail Dede Efendi (d.1846), Zekâi Dede Efendi (d.1897) and last but not least Tanbûrî Cemil Bey (d.1916).

    THE TEACHING OF TURKISH MUSIC
    Turkish music is taught through reading musical notation but from teacher to student in a method known as “meşk”, in which the teacher provides the student with a model to imitate and the two of them practice it together. The teacher passes his own work along to his student, who learns and executes it exactly as it came from the lips of the master. Students of the great masters like Niyazi Sayın, Kani Karaca, Alâeddin Yavaşça, Bekir Sıdkı Sezgin, Necdet Yaşar, Cinuçen Tanrıkorur and İhsan Özgen continue to train pupils today in the tradition they launched.

    Ours is the music of a civilization. We created our own original sound by giving and taking sounds based on “Tevhid”, or the Unity of God. Our music is an expression of tranquility, edification and love, as is our civilization itself. SAVAŞ BARKÇIN

    What makes music worthwhile are its forms of expression and the emotions, ideas, concepts and approaches it conveys. Turkish classical music expresses sublime emotions and ideas through a flawless approach and a refined aesthetic. This is a perfect kind of music, thoroughly mystical and expressive of “aşk” (love). TIMUÇİN ÇEVİKOĞLU

    ITRÎ
    The world knows Itrî for his Nât-ı Şerif in the Rast mode, which is recited at the beginning of the Mevlevî ceremony written by the great mystic, Mevlânâ, himself. But his Segâh Tekbir and Segâh Salât are also among the rare works that bring the shared cultural code of Islamic civilization to the present generation through music.

    If we say that classical Turkish music is not “today’s music”, we are forfeiting another point of communication with our own past. Even though the people of today may be living in another culture, in a different atmosphere, they can still derive pleasure from this music. What’s more, they will find in it a magical key to understanding the past. MEHMET GÜNTEKİN

    Our music is one of the centuries-old branches of the great plane tree that is our civilization. To understand that music better and appreciate its splendor, we need to remember it in the context of the many other components that make up our culture. Not only music but all the components of our culture exemplify all the different means we have developed for getting closer to God. Our greatest achievement in the days to come will be to take that glorious past into the future without letting it fall to the ground. MURAT SALİM TOKAÇ

    Turkish music attracts extraordinary interest all over the world for its sounds, its makams, its rhythms and its instruments. This interest leads people to study and learn about the other areas of a culture they have come to know through music. That the sound of the kemençe (small fiddle with three strings) was chosen for Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning film Argo, for which Alexandre Desplat wrote the music, means to me that fabulous music can be shared with everyone no loss of its original character. DERYA TÜRKAN

    VENUES FOR TURKISH MUSIC
    1-HARBIYE MILITARY MUSEUM
    The military band that was an indispensable element of Turkish warfare from the time of the Huns was a psychological weapon aimed at instilling fear in the enemy from afar. In peacetime, concerts were given by this band, which was renamed the Mehterhane by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The sources of this music were the airs performed since 1361 by a large ensemble of pipes and drums at the traditional oiled wrestling contests at Kırkpınar in Thrace. Starting in the 18th century, Mehter music sparked a fashion among western composers to compose operas, symphonies and concertos in the style of the Turkish military band. Grétry and Haydn were the pioneers of this style, dubbed “alla turca”, reached its apogee in Mozart and Beethoven. In 1828, Sultan Mahmud II abolished the Janissary Corps and the Mehter band and its repertoire. To hear Mehter music today, follow the programs of the Military Museum in Harbiye, Istanbul. Museum is open to public visits every day from 9 AM to 5 PM except monday and tuesday.

    2-THE GELIBOLU MEVLEVIHANE
    The Mevlevi music that accompanies the whirling ceremony is regarded as the pinnacle of Turkish classical music. These works, which, formally speaking, are long and complex in structure, performed as an unaccompanied vocal solo with a eulogy to the Prophet Mohammad, continue with an instrumental prelude and, following a ritual in four parts, close with a final instrumental solo and a chant from the Quran, followed by a number of different prayer-like sections. Even the great non-Mevlevi composers could not refrain from composing such music, which they enriched with mind-boggling beauty. Circulated orally during periods when training in Turkish music was interrupted, Mevlevi music performed a great pedagogical role for many musicians. The Gelibolu Mevlevihane is a venue where Mevlevi music is performed regularly. If you go to a performance, be sure to have a look at the newly revamped museum.

    3-THE PALACE SCHOOL
    Founded in 1363, the Enderun, or Palace School, evolved into a full-fledged university in the time of Mehmed the Conqueror. Music of course occupied a prominent place among lessons in poetry, law, logic, geography, astronomy, calligraphy, illumination, paper cutting, painting and archery. The top composers were trained at this learned institution, where students came from all over the Islamic world to be educated, and those composers then taught new pupils at the same school.

    4-DEDE EFENDI HOUSE
    This charming house in the Cankurtaran quarter of Sultanahmet was the home of the Turkish titan among composers, Hammamizade İsmail Dede Efendi. The Society for the Preservation of Historic Turkish Houses regularly holds Turkish music concerts at this venue, which is also its headquarters. You can tour the house, now a museum, where the great composer lived and perhaps hear some of his compositions.

    5-ÜSKÜDAR MUSIC SOCIETY
    The “Emin Ongan Üsküdar Music Society”, who trained countless performers and musicians in Turkish art music is active today with its choruses for various age groups and levels.

    6-OMAR
    Established for the purpose of studying the history of Ottoman music, classifying the works and making the collection thus created easily accessible, the “Istanbul University Ottoman Period Music Performance and Research Center” (OMAR) has been active since January 2012. Besides its work to perform a key archival function for Turkish classical music, it also provides a joint platform for discussion for faculty members and academics.

  • Acoustic And Electronic Music On The Same Stage

    Your music has a different sound. What are the sources you draw on?
    When I was a young man back in the sixties, I listened to rock’n’roll and a lot of different music. Then I gave it up. More than somebody who listens to music, I wanted to be somebody who produces music. The listener listens to a lot of things, but that’s not for me, because when I start composing after listening to a lot of songs, all the sounds I use are inspired by what I’ve been listening to, so it’s not really “my” music. I want to produce my own music. That’s why I stopped listening to music almost completely after I started making music. I am westernized in terms of instruments and technique. But I’m more focused on the psychological and spiritual aspect of the business. On the really important things…

    You’ve composed film and documentary music and in it you stand out as Kitaro, not part of the project. In other words, the music is something that could be listened to on the radio, for example, even without the film.
    Film music has a visual aspect. But the two sounds are distinguishable and you can tell the difference between my music and film music. Even if there is a visual element, the audience should be able to say that the music is Kitaro’s. That’s also why I concentrate on the deeper aspects. To give you an example: I composed the music for Oliver Stone’s documentary, “Heaven and Earth”. I didn’t follow the film frame by frame but rather preserved the melodic line. Stone was in Vietnam at the time and he sent me a fax: “Hi Kitaro, Congratulations!”

    What has the symphony orchestra added to your music? What do you feel when you are performing on stage?
    On the Eastern European tour the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra accompanied us. That was really nice. The orchestra is acoustic but our sound is electronic. As different as oil and water. Even though it’s difficult to balance the two, it enhances the communication. I love to go on stage because there’s an exchange of energy between our performance and the audience.

    Are you interested in any other art forms besides music?
    I take photographs. I’ve published a few photograph albums. I’m also interested in calligraphy. And I’m interested in Butoh, the traditional Japanese dance. 

  • Heart Of Music Beats In Ankara

    In its 31st year, the festival is bringing music lovers together with soloists and ensembles from a broad region stretching from Russia to Venezuela. Prominent artists trained in Turkey and pursuing careers abroad will also be coming to art lovers at the festival, which boasts a program rich in classical music, chamber music, world music and dance. For information about the festival: www.ankarafestival.com

Tour

  • Washington D.C. In 5 Questions

    01_ When does the Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the world’s most vibrant springtime events, end this year?

    1. April 3
    2. April 13
    3. April 23
    4. April 30

    02_ The cherry trees that grow all over the city and leave you breathless with awe at every other step were sent to D.C. in 1912 as a symbol of friendship. From which country did these trees whose pink and white blossoms adorn the city come?

    1. Canada
    2. Mexico
    3. Argentina
    4. Japan

    03_ What is the name of the world-famous building in Washington, D.C., where the U.S. President has his office and residence?

    1. The Mall
    2. The Capitol
    3. The Senate
    4. The White House

    04_ For which U.S. president was the 170-meter obelisk known as The Monument erected?

    1. George Washington
    2. Abraham Lincoln
    3. John F. Kennedy
    4. Ronald Reagan

    05_  Which of the following is not one of the museums in Washington, D.C., which is known as a city of museums?

    1. The Museum of American History
    2. The Hermitage Museum
    3. The National Gallery of Art
    4. The Air and Space Museum

    ANSWERS

    1. b April 13
    2. d Japan
    3. d The White House
    4. a George Washington
    5. b The Hermitage Museum
  • City Of Castles

    PORTOBELLO BEACH
    If you go to Edinburgh in summer, be sure to spend a day at Portobello Beach with the family. While you savor the sunset from a beach cafe, your kids can eat ice cream and explore the old-fashioned amusement arcades.

    PRINCES STREET GARDENS
    You can pick up your edibles in one of the local markets when you go to this park, an ideal spot for a picnic in spring and summer. Lounge on the benches and bask in the view of Edinburgh Castle while your kids play in the park.

    MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD
    With its collection of children’s toys and playthings, this is the world’s first museum devoted to “childhood history”. Your kids will get an idea about the past when you tour this venue, and you can revisit your own childhood.

  • Kano

    SHOPPING
    Be sure to stop at the Kurmi Market, where you’ll find everything from shoes and carved stones to jewelry and jewelry boxes.

    CUISINE
    If you’re keen to sample the local cuisine, try miyan taushe (pumpkin seed soup) and tuwo shunkafa (pounded rice), washed down with zobo (marshmallow herbal tea).

    CLIMATE
    Kano’s climate is hot and semi-arid. Rainfall is most plentiful between June and September.

    PLACES TO SEE
    Climb Dala Hill and view the magnificent Kano landscape. Gidan Makama Museum, a 15th century former palace, houses major works of art, so pay a visit to this museum and to Dan Hausa, northern Nigeria’s first primary school. Tour the Great Mosque of Kano with its unique architecture.

    LOCAL CULTURE
    Founded some 1,400 years ago, Kano is west central Africa’s oldest city. As a stop on the Trans-Sahara trade route, it was also an important place for Islamic scholars.

    LANGUAGE
    The Hausa language, which has the largest number of speakers in northern Nigeria, is spoken.

    WHERE IN THE WORLD
    Nigeria, Africa

    TIME ZONE
    GMT + 1

    FLIGHTS
    Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Kano-Istanbul flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

  • On The Shores Of The Black Sea

    - You will feel the city’s historic texture as you tour Sinop Castle, which is thought to have been built in the 8th century by colonists from Miletus and completely covers the northern portion of the peninsula.
    - The Archaeological Museum, which opened in 1921, is home to many well-preserved artifacts. Visit this small but jam-packed museum in the heart of the city and get an idea about Sinop’s past.
    - Famous for its tasty cuisine, you can try dishes like nokul (meat pie), pilaki (fish stew), kaşık çıkartması (mamalika), ıslama and corn soup at local restaurants scattered around Sinop.
    - Be sure to pay a visit to Erfelek Tatlıca Falls, a series of 28 cascades one behind the other, just 20 kilometers from the city center.
    - Make a stop as well at the Historic Sinop Prison, which closed in 1999 and was converted into a museum used now as a set for cinema and TV productions as well as a venue for cultural events.