Raphael Kessler

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Istanbul, which sits on the divide between Asia and Europe was my first proper stop in Turkey, it is a big busy city, but has its charms and I had a good time there, looking at the sites and enjoying the city. In addition I met some decent folk there which always makes it easier to enjoy a place.

The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (photo 1) is one of the best looking mosques I have seen, with lots of spindly minarets and domes overlapping domes. The dome on the Hagia Sophia  (photo 2) is very impressive, at the time it was built, a millenium and a half ago, it was the largest unsupported dome in the world. It was originally a church, built by the Roman emperor Justinian and was later converted into a mosque. These buildings and others contribute to Istanbul's attractive skyline  (photo 3).

  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Sultan Ahmet - Blue Mosque - Istanbul
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Hagia Sophia Istanbul
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Istanbul dusk
I did not find Ankara, the capital of Turkey, to be a particularly attractive city and so didn't spend long there. One of the interesting sites there is the Amit Kabir  (photo below), A massive mausoleum complex for Ataturk (the father of the Turkish republic). It was interesting to see the exhibits, which made him appear like a demigod. Whilst I was in Ankara I slept through a devastating earthquake which apparently destroyed buildings etc. I don't know I was asleep.
(c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Amit Kabir Ankara

Cappadoccia is a particularly scenic part of the country with interesting rock formations  (photo below) and lots of troglodytes.

(c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Capadoccia

The Chimera at Olimpos is particularly attractive to see at night as flames burst out of the rock (the gases involved combust spontaneously with the air), making an interesting sight. There are also a number of interesting ruins around as people have been intrigued by this phenomenon for thousands of years.

(c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Chimaera at Olimpos

The Roman ruins at Ephesus (photos 1 & 2) are very impressive and to me was the only time I have visited an archeological site like this and been able to see quite easily that it was a real town and how people actually lived. 

  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Ephesus facade
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Ephesus theatre

Pamukkale (photo below) has some very interesting and attractive crystal formations. It creates a unique panorama of a white crystalline cliff face and mineral water pools.

(c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Pammukale formations

Dogubeyazit is in the far east of Turkey very near to the border with Iran. It is also very near to what is widely believed to be Mount Ararat, where in biblical times, Noah's ark rested as the waters of the great flood receded. The scenery in the area is picturesque and there is an old attractive (although quite dilapidated) mosque (photo below) atop a small mountain which gives good views of the area.

(c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Turkey - Doguebayazit mosque



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