Dear friends, many warm greetings from Turkey!
The Middle East and Turkey has been the cradle of many wonderful civilizations over the past the thousand years. From Urartus to Hittites, from Lydians to Ottomans, the land of Anatolia has been hosting wonderful treasures and they are waiting to be discovered. This region proves the Middle Eastern folk saying “Sun rises from the East” with its many layers of incredible cultures. In our tours, we try to get a little taste from each culture by visiting monuments, cities or places which once was hosting very elaborate societies. We stroll around the hills of Cappadochia just like the Orthodox monks did 1500 years ago! We visit the 13th Century built Eshrefoglu Mosque in Beysehir and great mystic poet Rumi's tomb in Konya to feel the presence of early Turkish people in Anatolia. We also spend wonderful 3 days in Istanbul to experience the grandeur of the Byzantium and the Ottomans. In two weeks, we make almost 3000 miles of traveling and visiting to cover the Western half of Turkey. Once we finish our trip, you are pleasantly tired and satisfied with the scenery, people, music, shopping and especially the food!
Again, my personal emphasis in this tour will be on the traditional places and life styles of these regions. I am not interested in visiting places where you have to share the experience with literally thousands of others. I personally want to feel the sentiments of the ancient people who live in these places without being disturbed by too many visitors. This particular tour will provide us such an experience and I am sure you'll also enjoy the remoteness from major tourist centers during these journeys.
While the trend toward globalization has been changing the world rapidly, Turkey is still a remarkably traditional country where you can experience centuries-old ways of life. I suggest very strongly that you travel sooner rather than later to catch the last glimpses of the traditional culture, music, cuisine, hospitality and warmth of this fascinating country which has been a meeting place of East and West for millennia.
As you know very well that the best way of understanding other people and appreciate other cultures is going there and getting in touch with these people! I strongly believe that if more people had traveled around the world, more unlikely that they would have bad feelings against each other. Not knowing the “other” is the main reason for all these troubles in our times. Therefore if the world needs to be a better place for humanity, we need to reach out and shake our neighbor's hands more. This is also the best way to appreciate who we are and what we have in our hand.
The most important question in your mind probably is the "security" during this tour. Although nobody can really prevent very un-expected incidents, I feel that we will be much safer in Turkey during this tour than in our hometowns in America. Turkish people have proven many times that they have a very clear understanding of the difference between the political power and the ordinary population of a country. We'll be just another touring group of very nice people who have great appreciation of Turkey and Turkish things. Therefore I expect that Turkish people will show us the traditional Turkish hospitality regardless of their private opinions about the American government's actions in Iraq or in the Middle East in general.
We have already completed our 13th year of Turkey Cultural Tours with great success. In each tour, we traveled around 3500 kilometers thru wonderful scenery, amazing history, delightful food and great people. I am sure all of our participants are enjoying their memories thru the photos they took during these tours. If you have ever wondered about traveling Turkey, May will be your best time indeed. Please see the links below and let me know if you wish to be a part of this great adventure.
Please join us in May 2016 for this wonderful journey all around Turkey. Our emphasis in this tour will be the Mystical and Cultural Heritage of the land of Anatolia. Such an orientation gives us the opportunity of seeing rare locations where typical tours wouldn’t even consider visiting. Considering the dramatic changes happening in Turkey just like anywhere across the globe, I would genuinely suggest that you visit Turkey before the culture changes too much.
SUGGESTED READING LIST ABOUT TURKEY:
1. A PEACE TO END ALL PEACE: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East: By David Fromkin, AVON books (One of the best books on the Middle-East and Turkey related issues!!)
2. THE OTTOMAN TURKS: An Introductory History to 1923: Justin McCharty
3. TURKISH REFLECTIONS: A biography of a Place: Mary Lee Settle
4 THE SULTAN'S SERAGLIO: An intimate portrait of life at the Ottoman Court : Ottavio Bon, et al
5. TURKISH STORIES FROM 4 DECADES: Aziz Nesin, Louis Mitler (trans)
6. ATATURK: Lord Kinross
7: OTTOMAN CENTURIES: Lord Kinross
8. HISTORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND MODERN TURKEY: Stanford Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw
9. AN ANTHOLOGY OF TURKISH LITERATURE: Edited by Kemal Silay , Indiana Univ.
10: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: (Film; to see how the British dismembered the Turkish Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Much parallels with our own times with the Kurdish problems in Turkey and Iraq).
11. THE DROP THAT BECAME THE SEA Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre,translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan isbn# 0-939660-30-X
12. THE ESSENTIAL RUMI trans by Colman Barks isbn# 0-06-250959-4
13. HUMAN LANDSCAPES by Nazim Hikmet trans by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk isbn#0-89255-068-6
14.THE CARAVAN MOVES ON by Irfan Orga isbn#0-907871-97-6
15. PORTRAIT OF A TURKISH FAMILY by Irfan Orga isbn# 0-907871-81-x
16. THE BOOK OF DEDE KORKUT a collection from the heroic age of the Oghuz Turks isbn# 0-14-044298-7
17. AZIYADE by Pierre Loti isbn# 975-6937-03-3
18. THE PEOPLES OF THE HILLS by Charles Burney and David Marshall Lang isbn# 1-84212-252-5
19. A BYZANTINE JOURNEY by John Ash isbn#1-86164-015-x
20. THE LORD OF THE PAHTHER SKIN by Shota Rustaveli trans by R. H. Stevenson isbn#0-87395-320-7
21. ANCIENT TURKEY by Seton Lloyd, isbn#0-520-22042-0
22. QUARELLING WITH GOD: Rebel Mystic Sufi Poets of Turkey by Jennifer Ferarro and Latif Bolat