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TheGuardian Writes “Why I love Turkey?”

Istanbul
Greatest city of Turkey, no need to write more...
Nemrut
Large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC
Hagia Sophia
Orthodox Christianity Church converted into a Mosque in 1453
Anakara, Anitkabir
Capital of turkey Ankara, Anıtkabir is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Cappadocia
Fairy Chimneys, a hoodoo is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland
Mardin
It is known for the Artuqid (Artıklı or Artuklu in Turkish) architecture of its old cit

Kevin Gould who is a writer at Saturday Travel Section of TheGuardian posted his sights about beauties of Turkey. Below, you can find this writing, but before let us give a brief information about him.

Who is Kevin Gould?

Kevin writes Eat Like A Local for the Guardian’s Saturday Travel section. Having been a chef, a grocer, a restauranteur and a caterer, he and his stomach now travel the world meeting food producers, and looking for where the tourists don’t eat. Kevin’s favourite place is right here, right now; his favourite food is parsley.

From www.guardian.co.uk;

I fell in love with Turkey 28 years ago. Denim jeans were a rare western luxury then and every time the politicians got uppity the army rolled in, imposing swingeing curfews and outlawing anything cultural that seemed vaguely fun. How times change – yet it’s Turkey’s culture and history that makes her so attractive today. Nearly 2.5million Brits will holiday in Turkey this year. The face she shows most of us is thoroughly modern – sort of like Italy, but with moustaches and headscarves. Outside of the eurozone but with Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea coastlines, the country offers everything the fun-hungry all inclusive traveller wants. But a step away from the tourist areas is a Turkey of such original beauty that you’d need a thousand lifetimes to spend here, and there’d still be more to discover.

I’ve spent nearly 30 years travelling in luxury coaches, dodgy taxis, Dolmus buses, army helicopters, by boat and on foot and never fail to be thrown by the sheer diversity of a country that’s more like a continent.

Hip, cultural Istanbul is where many travellers start their voyages of discovery. Like New York isn’t America, Istanbul isn’t really Turkey, but a state in it’s own right. Unlike New York, Istanbul has 3,000 years of civilisation to inspire herself with. On the same latitude as Rome (and also built on seven hills), this was the perfect capital for the Emperor Constantine to establish the Eastern Roman empire from, just when old Rome was tearing itself to pieces.

The Byzantines came next. They were Greek-speaking Christians that were nonetheless mullah’d by thuggish crusaders, who carried off her many treasures (check out the golden lions in St Mark’s Square, Venice, for example), leaving the door open to the (Muslim) Ottomans, whose empire stretched from the gates of Vienna all the way round the Med to Mauritania. Istanbul is still the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox church. Awe-inspired pilgrims thought Haghia Sofia’s great dome was suspended from heaven by a golden chain as even you might today. Gorgeous churches, chapels and synagogues are yours to happen upon in her huddled quarters.

Check out the sixth-century Kuçuk (or, Little) Haghia Sofia around the corner from the crowds at the Blue Mosque. Properly known as the church of St Sergius and St Bacchus, its fresco’d and mosaic’d saints look so sharp and fresh, they could have been dressed by Vivienne Westwood.

Boating 10 minutes over to Asia for a cup of tea, or taking the slow ferry to the traffic-free, bougainvillea-crazy Princes’ Islands for a seafood lunch or hilltop picnic you may well be the only British traveller, but you’ll still be amongst friends, for the Turkish welcome is as genuine as it is legendary.

A meander up the Bosphorous brings you to the Black Sea with its shoals of anchovies and wild waves. Within an hour of Istanbul you’re in an Alpine land of tea gardens, hazelnut coppices and Laz-speaking, line-dancing locals who trace their roots back to Jason and his Argonauts.

Turkey’s north east, bordering Georgia and Armenia, is little visited, but the Kaçkar mountains are the intrepid walker’s paradise, with lost valleys, endless vistas and rare wildlife. The village of Yaylayar is home to 130 types of butterfly alone. Englishwoman Kate Clow has previously established two spellbinding walking trails in the Taurus Mountains; her latest is here in the Kackars.

Inland from here is Ankara with its art deco embassies, established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as Turkey’s modern capital; from here Çatalhüyük, is an easy drive. This is where wheat was first cultivated: Neolithic people lived here in organised towns about 9,500 years ago.

At school, I was rubbish at history but in Turkey, history is easy to read, and worn on everyone’s face. Turk’s ancestors were once subject to those great colonising, civilising empires, so you see pale-skinned Slavs; ginger-haired Syrians; grizzly Alpine mountain villagers; oval-eyed horse-riding farmers; triangular-faced Mongolian steppe-dwellers; flashing Arabs; proud beautiful Kurds; faded, haunted Thracians; boat-bound Aegean islanders. You see history also in every town and village.

Cappadocia is established on the tourist trail, but its pastel-painted underground churches are definitely worth the visit. Cut from the soft tufa rock, this is where early Christians hid from marauding Romans – a case of true faith made concrete.

Van, near where Turkey meets Iran, was the capital of the Urartu people in the ninth century BC, and is also famous for its swimming cats. Further south is Upper Mesopotamia, where the great Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise. Urfa is by legend where Abraham was born and Job learned his patience. Gaziantep is where baklava was invented, and Malatya is where your supermarket’s dried apricots come from. In Mardin, people speak Aramaic, just as Jesus did, and if you carry on west to the Mediterranean, you fetch up in ancient Antioch and Tarsus, where St Paul was born.

Turkey’s coastlines are beautiful, and her waters, er, turquoise. The Datça peninsula is as rocky, bird-loud and gorgeous as anywhere in the Med. As you follow the Aegean north, there’s Ephesus, of course, which is beautiful in the late afternoon after the tour buses have left. Meryem Ev is where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her last days, and when the sun’s setting over these graceful Grecian ruins, you might want to stay here forever, too.

Izmir is olive oil and wine country – Turkey is one of the world’s largest grape producers, and Turkish wines can now take their place with the best of the New World. Even if they’re really from the Ancient one.

Before you hit Troy there are the tiny Aegean islands of Bozcaada and Gökçeada, famous in Greek mythology and also as where Allied troops waited before wasting their lives at Gallipoli. Gallipoli, like neighbouring Trakya (Thrace) is wild, weird and possessed of a hauntingly empty beauty. This is where the Persian king Xerxes had the Dardanelle Straights whipped because their currents would not obey his majesty when he so badly wanted to invade Greece. This is also where I love to eat garlicky clams and salads of sea vegetables, and drink cold Truva beers.

Along the Marmara Sea you’re back in Istanbul, having travelled thousands of miles and through ten thousand years of history. Turkey’s climate ranges from snowy Alpine through wind-whipped steppe, waterless desert and balmy Mediterranean. You’ll have eaten some of the most delicious food in the world, and the Turks you’ve met will have treated you with kindness and joy. The truth is, Turks just love having visitors.

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Turkish Tea

Turkish Tea
Black Turkish Tea grown without utilizing pesticides, so it is pure natural
A Glass of Tea
Special Turkish design glass filled with tea, ready for drinkig
Apple Tea Set
In Turkey, anytime is tea time! Our traditional apple tea is caffeine-free, and enjoyable from morning to midnight
Apple Tea Set
Another apple tea set, ready for boiling

It is hard to imagine breakfasts, social gatherings, business meetings, negotiations for carpets in the Grand Bazaar, or ferry rides across the Bosphorus in Turkey without the presence of tea. With tea servers in streets, shopping malls, and parks shouting, “ÇAY!” (chai) the beverage is always within shouting distance. It is fundamental to Turkish social life and plays a large role in Turkey’s domestic economy. Tea in Turkish Social Life Although tea passed through Turkey as part of the Silk Road trade in the 1500s, it did not begin to become a part of daily life until nearly four centuries later. In 1878 Mehmet Izzet, the then governor of Adana, published the Çay RişŸalesi (Tea Pamphlet), touting the health benefits of drinking tea. Although coffee was still the preferred hot beverage during this period, the consumption of tea began to spread as tea houses opened in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. Also, tea became a cheaper alternative to coffee; one could purchase four glasses of tea for the price of one cup of coffee.

Today, Turks have one of the highest per capita consumption rates of tea, averaging about 1,000 cups per year. This high rate owes itself to the availability of places to consume tea, social customs and traditions, and domestic production along the Eastern Black Sea coast. Travel to any town in Turkey and you are sure to find a tea house or a tea garden. In smaller towns and rural areas, tea houses are the preferred social hub where news and gossip are exchanged. In the larger cities and touristy regions, tea houses welcome the young and old, as well as many foreigners. Tea gardens, another social venue for drinking tea, gained popularity in the 1950s, especially in Istanbul, and were the place where families went for their social outings. It is important to note that the Turkish tea garden is very different from a Japanese tea garden. Whereas the latter is quiet and serene and was developed in conjunction with the Japanese tea ceremony, Turkish tea gardens are hubs of social activity with kids running around, music playing, and lively conversation among various groups from students, to businessmen to retirees and foreigners. In the rural areas of Turkey, tea takes center stage at social events. A Turkish Bridal Shower, sometimes referred to as a gelin hamami because it is held in a Turkish bath, involves taking samovars of tea and pastries for all to enjoy. Five o’clock tea time is also observed in Turkey, particularly among house wives. Preparation and serving Turks prepare tea using a double tea pot. Water is boiled in the lower (larger) pot and the loose-leaf tea is steeped in the top (smaller) pot. This method allows each person to drink the tea as they desire: strong and steeped, or light with lots of water added. In central Anatolian towns such as Amasya, and in Eastern Turkey, tea is prepared in a samovar. Turks prefer to drink tea in small tulip-shaped glasses. Though the origins of this shape are not known, the clear glass allows the drinker to appreciate the crimson color of the tea. The tea glass is so important in Turkish life it is used as a measurement in recipes. As you pass tea gardens and tea houses you will hear the clinking of tiny tea spoons in the tea glasses. In large cities like Istanbul, and the capital Ankara, tea may be served in porcelain cups and mugs as in England and the United States, but the small tea-glass is by far the container of choice. Generally, two small sugar cubes will accompany tea that is served in public. In Erzurum and other towns in Eastern Turkey, tea is taken in the “KITLAMA” style, where a lump of sugar is placed between the tongue and cheek. Turks never add milk to their tea; sometimes lemon may be preferred Production Turkey’s serious attempts at cultivating tea began in 1917 in the Eastern Black Sea town of Rize. However, due the Turkish War for Independence, it was difficult for the Government-appointed agricultural engineers to gain the residents’ support, which was critical to the endeavor’s success. In 1924 the Government passed a law stating that tea, oranges, and filberts would be raised in Rize. However, it was not until the mid- to late-1930s that the Government placed a strong emphasis on cultivating tea. The first large scale cultivation occurred in 1937 when 20 tons of seeds were brought from Batum in the Georgian Republic, and planted at the central green house in Rize, yielding 30 kilos of tea.

Tea cultivation began to spread and become an inextricable part of economic life along the Eastern Black Sea Coast, so much so that towns began to change their names to have the word “Çay” in them: the town of Mapavri became Çayeli and Kadahor became Çaykara. By 1965, the production of tea had satisfied the domestic market and Turkey began to export its tea. Çay-Kur, the Directorate of Tea Establishments was founded in 1971 to coordinate both the cultivation and processing of tea, and in 1973 it went into active operation. Çay-Kur aimed to expand tea cultivation, stay abreast of innovations in tea processing technology, and import and export tea as necessary. Çay-Kur enjoyed a monopoly over Turkish tea until 1984, when tea processing and packaging were opened to private enterprise. Today, Turkey is the world’s fifth largest producer of tea, behind India, China, Kenya and Sri Lanka. Along Turkey’s Eastern Black Sea Coast tea bushes stretch from the border with the Georgian Republic to the town of Rize, Turkey’s ‘tea capital’, and extend farther westward toward Trabzon. Over 200,000 families are involved in the cultivation of tea either as owners of tea “plantations”, sharecroppers, or employees in the nearly 300 tea producing factories. All tea is produced from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis; it is the amount of fermentation that determines whether the tea turns out to be black, oolong (semi-fermented) or green (unfermented). A unique feature of Turkish tea is that no chemical substances or additives are used in the production process. Although black, loose-leaf tea is preferred in Turkey, green tea is slowly gaining in popularity due to its health benefits.

You can see related products at: Turkish Coffee, Tea & Spice Sets

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