Europe

Birmingham Modern And Cultured

Article: Melek Cevahiroğlu Ömür Photo: Tom Smith Date: Thursday, 03 July 2014

EXEMPLIFYING EVERY ASPECT OF EUROPEAN CULTURE, BIRMINGHAM JUSTLY DESERVES THE EPITHET COSMOPOLITAN FOR ITS FRIENDLY PEOPLE, ART AND CULTURE, AND MULTICULTURAL EATERIES, NOT TO MENTION ITS CONNECTION TO THE ENGLISH CANAL SYSTEM, WHICH HAS LEFT ITS MARK ON THE CITY’S PAST AND PRESENT.

Where did the Industrial Revolution begin? Under what conditions did migrants from the countryside to the cities live? What was the urban architecture of the 19th century like? If you have questions like these, Birmingham is precisely where you need to be. England’s second largest city, Birmingham is a perfect Victorian metropolis with its architecture evocative of the Industrial Revolution and the sociocultural atmosphere of the time.

Pushing The Pedals In Europe

Date: Wednesday, 02 July 2014

THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BICYCLE RACE, THE TOUR DE FRANCE IS BEING RUN FOR THE 101ST TIME.

Hosted by Britain following a seven-year hiatus, the opening stage starts at Leeds in West Yorkshire. The tour, which returns home after three stages in Britain, will also go briefly into Spain and Belgium for a stage each before finishing on Paris’s famed Avenue des Champs Elysées.
To commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, this year’s route during the tour’s opening week will pass through some of the areas where the war was fought, such as Chemin des Dames and Verdun, where some 10,700 lost their lives.
The 22 teams entering the race, July 5 to 27, will cover a total of 3,656-kilometers in the 21 different stages. Cobblestone streets in northern France and six summit finishes are some of the outstanding features of this year’s tour.

Traveling Biennial

Date: Wednesday, 02 July 2014

ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST IMPORTANT CONTEMPORARY ART BIENNIALS, MANIFESTA IS BRINGING CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS TOGETHER FOR THE 10TH TIME.

Launched with the idea of creating a contemporary art platform for the Eastern European countries and first mounted at Rotterdam in 1994, Manifesta is taking place this year June 28 to October 31. Manifesta, which was inspired by the transformation the countries of Eastern Europe underwent between 1989 and 1991, aims this year to showcase the changes that have taken place in art and ociety since the Berlin Wall came down. Without a fixed venue and held in a different country each time, this year’s biennial is at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

You will find a complete list of all participating national and international contemporary artists, among them Vadim Fishkin, Elena Kovylina, Tatzu Nishi and Thomas Hirschhorn, on the festival website, manifesta10.org

Europe, Keeping Its Traditions Alive

Date: Wednesday, 02 July 2014

ONE OF CROATIA’S PARAMOUNT CULTURAL EVENTS, ZAGREB INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL IS BRIGHTENING UP THE MONTH OF JULY.

The festival, where numerous folklore groups from Croatia and other European countries are represented, is taking place in the capital Zagreb, July 16 to 20. In its 49th edition, the festival this year is dedicated to the people and traditions of the Medimurje region in northern Croatia, a tiny area that is home to several forms of traditional culture including folk music and dancing. Besides dance and musical performances, workshops, exhibitions and a fair selling traditional handicrafts are all part of the festival. Visit the website at www.msf.hr for information about the festival program.

Münster / Osnabrück

Illustration: The Design Surgery Date: Tuesday, 01 July 2014

CUISINE
If you're in Münster on a Wednesday or Saturday, you could also go to the farmer's market at the Domplatz and discover some fresh local bread, cheese and sweets.

SHOPPING
Shop and bask in the historic ambience on the Prinzipalmarkt, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, jam-packed with authentic old buildings.

CLIMATE
Winters mild with no snowfall, summers warm.

 

Europe In The Caucasus: Tbilisi

Article: Melih Uslu Photo: Yunus Emre Çaylak Date: Thursday, 29 May 2014

GEORGIA’S 1500-YEAR-OLD CAPITAL, TBILISI IS RAPIDLY BECOMING A CULTURAL HUB. MAGNIFICENT, NEWLY RESTORED BUILDINGS, REFURBISHED MUSEUMS AND CHIC RESTAURANTS ARE LEADING THE CITY’S REMARKABLE TRANSFORMATION.

Rustaveli Avenue running straight through the heart of Tbilisi may at first blush remind you of the elegant boulevards of Paris. Its conspicuously broad sidewalks are like an outdoor museum of architecture boasting everything from Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Colonnaded by trees every ten paces or so, the avenue is also adorned with fantastical street lamps and sculptures large and small. Prominent venues like the Parliament Building with its sixteen columns, Rustaveli Theater, the National Museum, the Opera and the Museum of Fine Arts all stand here on this avenue where the traffic never stops all day long. And you won’t see the unsightly pedestrian overpasses that create visual pollution either. Tbilisi has solved this problem with underpasses.  
Abuzz and dazzling with colorful lights by night, Rustaveli Avenue is lined with elegant cafes where white-gloved waiters serve guests at old-fashioned marble tables. The avenue ends at Freedom Square, in the middle of which a giant column with a statue will grab your attention, a monument to the rebirth of Tbilisi. The opulent mansions on the streets connecting to the square are a throwback to the city’s wealth in the 19th century. If you delve into these streets, the balconies with their wood and wrought iron decorations will catch your eye and you will feel as if you stepped into an ancient fairy tale. You’ll find a florist on almost every corner. There’s a big flower market in Tbilisi because the natives love flowers as well as art. Indeed, the city even has an art market that is well worth seeing.

CONFLUENCE OF CULTURES
Foremost among the places preserving Tbilisi’s multicultural identity is the Old Town. Mosques, synagogues and churches rise side by side in this area, where you will also come across traces of the Ottoman presence. Cafes and gift shops abound now in this quarter’s narrow streets. The 19th century Friday Mosque in the Azeri Quarter was built on the site of an older mosque, using red brick. The road up the wooded hill next to the mosque leads to the botanical garden, a green area with trees and plant species endemic to the Caucasus that welcomes guests from all over the world. A few minutes’ walk from here will take you to Tbilisi’s famous sulphur baths, said to be a remedy for everything from rheumatism to dermatological conditions. Spas like this enjoyed enormous popularity across a broad swath from Europe to Iran in the 19th century, and Russia’s famous poet, Pushkin, is known to have said of them: “I’ve never seen such luxury in all my life. I was literally reborn in Tbilisi!” We tried them and decided he was right! Following a refreshing bath, we strolled along two lovely streets: Shardeni with its cafes and Shavteli, known for its puppet theater and quirky clock tower.

GATEWAY TO ASIA
Arising in Turkey and emptying into the Caspian Sea, the Kura River flows through the center of Tbilisi. There are more than ten cities, among which Tbilisi is currently the biggest, in the vicinity of this river whose banks are known to have supported human settlement for 7,000 years. According to numerous sources, this river forms a natural border between Europe and Asia, making Tbilisi a gateway to Europe for people coming from Asia and a gateway to Asia for people coming from Europe. Historic bridges join the two banks of the river, which is likened to an emerald for its green hue. A large flea market is set up daily near the one called Dry Bridge, where you can find everything from old gramophones to sterling silver place settings. The more recently built Bridge of Peace was erected to showcase the city’s modern face.
For a bird’s-eye view of Tbilisi, a ride on the Air Tram is your best bet. Magnificent views are to be had from the cable cars that glide along a line connecting two hills overlooking the city, and at the end stop you can also take in a glorious sunset. As long as you’re here, don’t forget to stop at Tbilisi Castle just a few steps away and at the Monument to Queen Tamara, the Mother of Georgia.
After a pleasant tour of Tbilisi, we head outside the city to the old Georgian town of Mtskheta. Only 20 minutes from Tbilisi, it’s an easy outing with breathtaking landscapes along the way. Situated at the confluence of the country’s two great rivers, Mtskheta boasts thousand-year-old monasteries atop wild, deserted hills and loads of charming restaurants on the riverbank. If you happen to go to Tbilisi, be sure to include Mtskheta in your itinerary. Both cities are ready and eager to show you their beauty.

TBILISI GUIDE
INNER CITY TRANSPORT
Tbilisi airport is about 18 kilometers from the city center. If you take a taxi, it will cost you around 50 lari (30 USD). Inside the city, fares run anywhere from 5 to 10 lari. We recommend however that you first agree on the fare with the driver. Car rentals start from 80 lari a day. You can also tour the city on City Tour buses: www.hoponhopoff.ge

VISAS AND FOREIGN CURRENCY
Turkish citizens need no visa for Georgia. You simply leave Turkey on your Turkish ID, no exit stamp required. Currency exchanges are easy to find in Tbilisi and most are open until midnight. One U.S. dollar is equivalent to approximately 1.75 Georgian lari.

A PLETHORA OF HOTELS
There are plenty of choices of accommodation in Tbilisi, with four-star hotel chains offering double rooms starting from a hundred dollars a night as well as numerous hostels and bed&breakfasts at the city center for just 20 dollars a night.

GEORGIAN CUISINE
Rich in savory pastries, vegetables, salads, mushrooms, wild mountain herbs, walnuts, pomegranates and cheeses. “Haçapuri” cheese-topped flatbread, Georgian mushroom “khinkali”, cheese torte, shepherd’s salad with walnuts, eggplant with spinach and pomegranate, and pickled linden leaves are some treats unique to the region.

RUSTIC RESTAURANTS
About half an hour from Tbilisi by car, Sighnagi is an historic settlement well worth a visit. There are lots of rustic restaurants in this town, perched atop a green hill looking out over the Great Caucasus Range.

GETTING THERE
Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Tbilisi-Istanbul flights daily. Departure times are 07:05 a.m. and 1:10, 2:50 and 9:30 p.m. from Istanbul. There is also a flight at ten past midnight. From Tbilisi, departure times are 4:15, 8:25 and 11:20 a.m., and 5:15 and 6:55 p.m. The flight take two and a half hours. www.turkishairlines.com

Gift Of Sultan Murad: Kosovo

Article: Hasan Ekmen Photo: Edis Potori Date: Tuesday, 29 April 2014

KOSOVO IN THE HEART OF THE BALKANS IS DECKED WITH MOUNTAINS AND PLAINS AND ADORNED WITH RIVERS AND STREAMS. THIS COUNTRY, WHICH HAS OPENED ITS HEART WIDE TO CULTURE, HISTORY AND NATURE TOURISM, IS EUROPE’S YOUNGEST COUNTRY.

Stretching as far as the eye can see, Kosovo Field bore witness to several great wars in history. After the first Battle of Kosovo Field, fought here in 1389, the territory was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and remained Turkish soil until the Balkan War of 1912. Becoming part of Yugoslavia in 1943, it came under United Nations control in 1999 and remained so until it finally declared its independence on February 17, 2008.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
The multitude of languages spoken in Kosovo points to a cultural richness dating back to the uniquely Ottoman tradition of empire. Together with the Albanian language, Turkish, Bosnian, Serbian and Romany are spoken in the country. We begin to explore this spanking new Balkan country from its energetic capital, Prishtina. Construction and restoration work on every side strike the eye in this city, a sign of the dynamism engendered by independence. Turkish firms, of course, also have a substantial share in the rapid development initiative under way here. The Kosovar youth that throng the streets are full of hope for the future, and Kosovo in turn believes in its young people. “Our country is not populous,” say the people of this land of just 1,800,000, “but we are full of hope and energy. We are going to rise quickly!”

INVITATION TO KOSOVO
Named for Nena Tereze (Mother Teresa), who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work, a pedestrian thoroughfare runs through the heart of Prishtina with its population of 600,000. Another major avenue that intersects it is named for former U.S. President Bill Clinton. A statue of Mother Teresa stands at the city center. Another of the city’s prominent monuments, Newborn, was erected as a symbol of independence. Prishtina also boasts some surprisingly modern cafes. And the food served in the city’s restaurants and cafes is tastier and of higher quality than you might imagine. Plus, the city’s shopping centers promise a rich variety at convenient prices. We hasten our steps toward the quarter of Madrasa, where there are numerous sights worth seeing such as mosques, madrasas, a bath and a market as well as examples of civilian architecture, all from the Ottoman period. But the most striking structure in this part of the city, where you will feel as if you are in an Anatolian town, is the 26-meter-high clock tower, also an Ottoman legacy. The Mosque of Mehmed the Conqueror, aka the Great Mosque, was built in 1462. Erected at the behest of the sultan, the mosque has been renovated from tip to toe by TİKA (the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency). Immediately next to Kosovo’s oldest Ottoman mosque stands an historic bath. The Yashar Pasha Mosque opposite dates to 1835. On either side of the two mosques stand two historic mansions which house the Fine Arts Academy and Kosovo Museum today.

CITY OF TOLERANCE
When in Prishtina, be sure to explore the neighboring countryside. Just 21 kilometers north of the city is Kosovo Field, where the great battle was fought. A mausoleum for Sultan Murad I stands on the battlefield along the Mitrovica road. We head now for Kosovo’s second largest city, Prizren, where there is certainly something to see. Church and mosque, Christian and Muslim, live side by side in Prizren, cheek by jowl in the same apartment building on the same street. Writer Fahri Tuna, Balkan Consultant for the Governor of Edirne Province and a man who knows Kosovo well, says that Prizren has more mosques than any other city in the Balkans: “Don’t be deceived by the six-pointed star you will see frequently in the Kosovo mosques. It was used by the Ottomans and is known as the Star of Solomon.” Continuing our tour of the city, we cross the historic Stone Bridge and come to Sinan Pasha Mosque, a 17th century Ottoman monument and virtual icon of the city. Namazgâh Mosque, a mark of Mehmed the Conqueror’s conquest of the city in 1455, and the mosque known in common parlance as the “Kırık” or Broken Mosque for its unusual architecture, are some of Prizren’s other treasures. Even such a brief tour as ours suffices to show that there are warm, friendly people in Europe’s newest country. They await your visit.

KOSOVO GUIDE
WINTER TOURISM’S NEW ADDRESS
Encircled by high mountains, Kosovo is ideal for mountain climbing and winter sports as well as honeymooning.
Popular for their ski resorts and mountain holidays, Brezovica in the Sharr Mountains and Bjeshkët e Namuna, the “Accursed Mountains” of the Rugova region, are among the country’s touristic treasures.

CHOFTA AND CHEBAB
In addition to mouthwatering dishes like “chofta” (kofta), “chebab” (kebab), pasha chofta and güveç stew, Kosovo’s roast lamb, moussaka, and “ayvari” made of roasted, mashed red peppers are also famous. The area’s cheese, yoghurt, rice pudding and tulumba pastry are worth trying, too.

THE PARIS OF TREKKING
As well as the city of Gjilan in eastern Kosovo and the city of Peć, home of the father of the late Turkish poet, Mehmet Akif Ersoy, in the Bjeshët e Namuna range to the west, the Gora region in southern Kosovo’s Sharr Mountains and the Pashtrik (Sarı Saltuk) Mountains offer natural landscapes of stunning beauty for everything from trekking to canoeing.

FAMOUS KOSOVARS
Tahir Efendi, the father of poet Mehmet Akif, who penned the words of Turkey’s national anthem, was a Kosovan. Writer and director Gani Müjde, artist and writer Münib Engin Noyan are Kosovan, too. Ali Sami Yen, founder of the Galatasaray Sports Club and Ali Şen, businessman and former president of Fenerbahçe Sports Club  were also known to be Kosovan. Families of artists Suzan Kardeş and Candan Erçetin and journalist Fehmi Koru are Kosovan as well.

GETTING THERE
Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Prishtina-Istanbul flights daily. Departure times are 7:35 a.m. and 7:10 p.m. from Istanbul and 9:05 a.m. and 8:40 p.m. from Prishtina. For information: www.turkishairlines.com

Sicily Below The Boot

Date: Tuesday, 29 April 2014

HOME TO DOZENS OF DIVERSE CULTURES DURING ITS 2,700-YEAR HISTORY, CATANIA IS SICILY’S SECOND LARGEST CITY.

- Its Baroque architecture is one of Catania’s distinguishing characteristics. You will feel you are in the 17th century amidst the examples of theater architecture at the city center.
- Make a day tour to Mount Aetna, Europe’s highest volcano at 3,323 meters.
- Savor sea and sun at La Plaja south of the city.
- Go to Piazza del Duomo to see Catania’s iconic elephant sculpture, “U Liotru”, and from there to the city’s major shopping avenue, Via Etnea.
- Shop at the vibrant food and clothing market set up on Via Etnea daily except Sundays.
- The 19th century Villa Bellini is a city park and a great place to spend a sunny day in May  and recoup your energy.

Erol Makzume’s Florence

Article: Hasan Mert Kaya Photo: Serkan Eldeleklioğlu Date: Tuesday, 29 April 2014

WITH ITS HISTORIC TEXTURE, SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES AND FOOD CULTURE, FLORENCE IS ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST POPULAR DESTINATIONS. WE ASKED WRITER, COLLECTOR AND BUSINESSMAN EROL MAKZUME ABOUT THE CITY.

Erol Makzume’s Florence

Q:How should we view Florence?
A:Florence is the city that led the Renaissance. All the famous figures like Dante, Boccaccio, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are here.

Q:What drew you to the city?
A:There are countless Renaissance and post-Renaissance artistic monuments all over the place. The air fairs, exhibitions and auctions also make the city extremely attractive.

Q:What are the city’s must-see’s?
A:The Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio, which forms the setting for Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno, the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, and the Ponte Vecchio. These are undoubtedly the places most frequented by tourists and me. One of my favorite museums is the Stibbert Museum, which has a collection of European, Ottoman and Japanese arms and armor.

Q:What should one buy and eat in Florence?
A:The best thing is to come back with a lovely, locally made leather handbag or pair of shoes. The city has also produced fashion geniuses like Roberto Cavalli and Emilio Pucci. The most appealing places for me are the ones that are little known to tourists but where Florentines eat.

Berlin In 5 Questions

Article: Melih Uslu Date: Tuesday, 29 April 2014

BERLIN IS HOME TO THE BRANDENBURG GATE AND THE BERLIN WALL AND OTHER IMPORTANT LANDMARKS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY. HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE CITY?

01_ What is the name of the avenue that stretches from the Brandenburg Gate to the TV Tower and is lined with many of the city’s architectural wonders?

  1. Reichstag
  2. Bebelplatz
  3. Zeughaus
  4. Unter den Linden

02_ The Temple of Zeus with its U-shaped, colonnaded altar at the Pergamon Museum on Berlin’s famous Museum Island is one of the masterpieces of antiquity. From where in Anatolia was it taken?

  1. Ephesus
  2. Aspendos
  3. Bergama
  4. Perge

03_What is the name of the grand avenue that Otto von Bismarck, the first German Chancellor, had laid out in Berlin to rival the Champs Elysées in Paris?

  1. Kurfürstendamm
  2. Mitte
  3. Altes
  4. Neue

04_ In which direction along the banks of the Spree does the East Side Gallery, the longest and best-preserved segment of the historic Berlin Wall?

  1. East
  2. West
  3. North
  4. South

05_ In which year did the Berlin Zoological Garden, one of Europe’s oldest zoos boasting upwards of 1,400 species, open?

  1. 1844
  2. 1894
  3. 1904
  4. 1044

ANSWERS

  1. d Unter den Linden
  2. c Bergama
  3. a Kurfürstendamm
  4. c North
  5. a 1844

The French Open At 123!

Date: Monday, 28 April 2014

FIRST HELD IN 1891, THE FRENCH OPEN IS AGAIN AWAITED WITH BATED BREATH.

The second in the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the French Open, staged at Paris’s Stade Roland Garros, will take place this year from May 25 to June 8. Distinguished from the other Grand Slam tournaments by being played on clay courts, the French Open is eagerly anticipated. Winners of last year’s tournament were Rafael Nidal in the men’s singles and Serana Williams in the women’s singles.

Heart Of Basketball To Beat In Milan!

Date: Monday, 28 April 2014

TURKISH AIRLINES EUROLEAGUE IS CAPPING THE SEASON WITH A SPECTACULAR FINALE IN MILAN.

Europe’s number one basketball tournament, Turkish Airlines Euroleague is also one of the world’s most prestigious. And now it’s time for the finals. Four formidable teams will compete in the Final Four, to be played in Milan, May 15 to 18, to determine Europe’s best. The Final Four, which was held in Istanbul in 2012 and in London in 2013, is going to energize Milan for four days running with a round of exciting events.

On The Mediterranean Riviera Of France

Date: Monday, 28 April 2014

HOME TO NUMEROUS ARTISTS, THE CITY OF NICE ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA IS A VIRTUAL OPEN-AIR MUSEUM.

MATISSE MUSEUM AND CHAGALL MUSEUM
Touring the museums of Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, two of the giants of modern art, will also inspire your children.

PARC DU CHÂTEAU
Perched atop a 92-meter-high hill, Parc du Château can be approached either by elevator or by climbing the steps. Besides affording a spectacular view of the city, the chateau also boasts an enormous park where your children will have fun.

THE BEACHES
Spending time on Nice’s magnificent beaches in the Mediterranean climate will be a pleasure for both you and your kids. What’s more, if you like you can rent a small boat or take diving lessons.

Turkey And Switzerland Hand In Hand

Date: Monday, 28 April 2014

Proceeds from the TurcArt: Exhibition of Turkish and Swiss Artists, organized and hosted by Heritage Genève and the Association Swiss-Turkish, will be donated through the Aegean Contemporary Education Foundation to provide scholarships to students of the Fine Arts. The exhibition, at Heritage Genève Art Gallery in Geneva’s Old Town, can be seen from May 8 to 31.

Istanbul’s Mediterranean Sister Naples

Article: Aslı Ulusoy-Pannuti Photo: Haluk Çobanoğlu Date: Monday, 31 March 2014

CITY ON THE SEA... JUST LIKE ISTANBUL. JUMBLE OF SOUNDS AND SMELLS… JUST LIKE ISTANBUL HEART-STEALER… JUST LIKE ISTANBUL. THAT’S 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

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