Ten Turkish Itineraries That Left A Mark

Melih Uslu December 2013

Ten Turkish Itineraries That Left A Mark

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Skylife magazine.] In honor of the occasion, we recently trotted out all the issues published up to now and started thumbing through them one by one. Every issue was like recalling to mind a journey from a distant yet still fresh past. A trip, for example, that we published last July, with photographs of the Hagia Sophia in the dreamy blue of an old engraving. Perhaps we’d forgotten how beautiful it was... This month we are highlighting attractions from all over Turkey in the pages of our magazine – places from Sinop and Artvin to Thrace and Antakya – all with special articles and original photographs by the world’s best. On the 30th anniversary of Skylife magazine we have collected for you ten travel articles about Turkey that have stuck in our memories and still look inviting in our pages today. Join us on a pleasant journey into our magazine’s extensive archive.

01_MARDİN
This city was one of photographer Fethi İzan’s major stops in southeastern Anatolia. The article, which etched a place in readers’ memories with sunset photographs of Mardin as seen from the castle and the castle as seen from Mardin, was enhanced with firsthand accounts by local figures. Further enriched with photographs of Mardin castle shot a half century later by special permission, the feature appeared in the October 2010 issue of Skylife. One of our distinguished editors, Hasan Mert Kaya likens the city to a precious gemstone in his article. Kaya, who points out that history began with writing, describes how the story of civilization in Mardin stretches far back before written history. This 10-page feature also includes photographs of Easter in Mardin.

02_MOUNT AĞRI
In November 1993, novelist Yaşar Kemal, one of Turkey’s most prominent literary figures, and Ara Güler, the doyen of Turkish photography, paired up in Skylife. The seven-page feature, which compares Mount Ağrı to a second world perched atop the first, also includes Güler’s fabulous photographs.

03_ISTANBUL
Murat Belge, author of the Istanbul Travel Guide, penned the feature, "Capital of the World", for the January 2011 issue of Skylife. Sustaining its identity as a city for 2,500 years, Istanbul is permeated with a culture Belge finds impressive. Abdullah Hekimhan’s unsurpassed photographs accompany the article. Hekimhan, who spent close to three months on his Istanbul shoot, sums up the experience in a word: “Very enjoyable!” Inviting the world’s photographers to Istanbul, Hekimhan says that taking the photos was like discovering the city’s beauty all over again. The feature, which also includes an illustrated map in a two-page-spread, describes both the city’s modern and traditional aspects.

04_CITY OF REDBUDS
Redbud season in Istanbul, by the inimitable Hilmi Yavuz… This feature, which appeared in the June 1995 issue, describes how the blossoming of this noble tree, aka the Judas tree, heralds the coming of summer in Istanbul. Poet Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s lines about the redbud are also quoted in the article.

05_THE EASTERN BLACK SEA
It was February 2011. A full 14 pages of Eastern Black Sea, complete with mist-veiled valleys and local portraits. Veteran photographer Arif Aşçı spent a month shooting in the region for this project, even recording the first worship service to be held at Sumela Monastery in 88 years. Cemal Gülas, a long-time resident in the region, wrote up this feature, which Aşçı photographed from the Kaçkar Mountains to the border with Georgia. Aşçı, who photographed the Japan feature in the same issue, says there is a surprising similarity between the local architecture of Kyoto and the old wooden houses of the Eastern Black Sea. Not long after the two features appeared, Aşçı took first place in one of the world’s most prestigious photography festivals, held in the Japanese city of Higashikawa.

06_THE AEGEAN FROM A TO Z
Assos, Bergama, Cunda… The Aegean feature, penned by writer-journalist Haşmet Babaoğlu, appeared in the August 1994 issue. Spotlighted in the feature, which follows an itinerary from Izmir to the Kazdağları Mountains and Mount Ida, are the lesser known ancient cities of the region.

07_ANTALYA
This feature, in which Turkey’s tourist locomotive is likened to the Mediterranean sun, appeared in the March 2011 issue of Skylife. Photographed by Cengiz Karlıova, it tells the story of Antalya, a confluence of civilizations from the Lycians to the Ottomans. Karlıova, who photographed the city in a 20-day shoot, has this to say about his time there: “Finding traces of history in the ancient city of Termessos, hearing the rush of the River Dim, climbing Yanartaş (flaming rock) at sunset… Experiencing nature and history was a great privilege, not to mention the allure of sea and sun in the region.” Charlize Theron waxes enthusiastic about the city as well in this feature, which also describes the city’s opportunities for nature sports.

08_FROM SİDE TO MERSİN
Skylife’s first travel article, “The Turkish Riviera” appeared in the May 1983 issue. The five-page feature, in Turkish and English, also included photographs of Ölüdeniz, Kızkalesi and Alanya.

09_KONYA
Konya and the Şeb-i Arus, or Night of Mevlana’s Reunion with God. This feature, which zooms in on the city’s rise contemporaneously with the whirling
of the dervishes, describes how it welcomes people of all faiths during the days of ‘vuslat’ or reunion at the end of December on the anniversary of the death of the great mystic, Jalal al-Din Rumi, aka Mevlana. The Konya feature details as well the city’s deep-rooted Seljuk heritage. Compiled with the help of the city’s leading cultural figures, it also tells the story of the many foreigners who have converted to Islam and settled in the city. Rıfat Ergan is one of the photographers of this feature, which opens with a skyline of the Green Dome bathed surrealistically in moonlight. Says Ergan, who has lived in Konya for years: “This city envelopes its visitors in peace and takes them on a journey to the depths of their own souls.”

10_SAKLIKENT
Writer and underwater photographer for our magazine for many years, Ali Ethem Keskin describes in this feature how he negotiated the Saklıkent (literally “hidden city”) Canyon near Fethiye. Keskin’s two and a half day adventure in this rugged, 13-kilometer-long natural gorge appeared in the September 2000 issue of Skylife.