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By: rustam khairi zahari

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Friday, 9-Jul-2010 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
...Turkey's delights...7 - Cappadocia

our bus-mates...serious dudes ehh
caves here...
caves there...caves everywhere
Interestingly the tour package that we got involved using normal express bus n not d tourist-specific bus...probably thats d norm over here. Because of this, we managed to experience Turkey's inter-city's public transport n one of the amazing facets of this is their RnR for d buses. Unlike Malaysia's RnR, over here d buses in Turkey got washed thoroughly while at d RnR, exterior-wise at least...probably as an incentive for them to stop there. N these RnRs r basically a glamorised gas station.

Cappadocia...hhmm...I have this place in mind as one of d places to visit since I have covered it in some of my classes because of its uniqueness...cities and communities that lived in caves. Basically, d inside walls of d caves were soft enough for these people to carve out living n other functional space. BTW...even our hotel is constructed as such.

We left Pamukkale at nite n arrived in Cappadocia in d morning...n even its bus station has a cave-motive design. After a short breather, we jumped onto a tour van n explored d place further. We visited caves that have already been abandoned as well as those still being occupied. N no tour would be complete without a short stop at a factory or more to d deep-pocketed tourists of course

note: this fotopages has not been updated for more than a year actually...n this particular entry was uploaded only on 28/7/2011

...n finally published another year later on 7/8/2012 - 18th Ramadhan, a day after Nuzul Quran...have a blessed Ramadhan Kareem insyaAllah

Thursday, 8-Jul-2010 08:12 Email | Share | | Bookmark
...Turkey's delights...6 - Denizli / Pamukkale

view from our room
...dead family members would be placed on d shelves
...part of Hierapolis drainage system

We ceq-in into a family-run hotel in Pamukkale yesterday evening...n there r many such hotels near-by catering to d tourists wanting to see d famous hot spring. This white hot spring terrace can usually be found on Turkey's tourist guide/brochure n claimed to have healing properties. Our itinerary today is to have a tour of another Greek-Roman ancient city of Hierapolis, experience d hot springs n later on make our way to Cappadocia.

this is our base while in Pamukkale: Koray is even equipped with a pool but didn't see anybody using it...too busy ronda2 elsewhere kott

n this is our 'Turkish' breakfast...very healthy nasi lemak/roti canai/teh tarik!!

our tour starts with a visit to this hot spring [forgot d actual name of d place]...d Brazilian guy above is one members of our tour group...must be very a good footballer gamaknye...

next stop is Hierapolis, believed to be established close to the 4th century BC, currently a World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination. In addition to interesting classical ruins, the site offers a thermal 'Sacred Pool' in which visitors can swim with ancient artifacts, n a view of the spectacular white terraces of Pamukkale.

n how did we explore this ancient city...what else......with a walk of about a few kilometres...n in hot sun I like to add. I think if we do this on a daily basis we can qualify to run in Boston marathon. BTW...d dude in d cowboy hat is Suleyman, our tour guide. He proudly told us that he was raised in Canada n was introduced to drinking beer since in his early teen..hhmm

as we were coming from d west of d city, we encountered d necropolis 1st...basically d place for d another word...kubur. D above is one example of a kubur for a family. N interestingly in those days...occupying d kubur is on lease-basis...with those unable or can't afford to continue d lease would be relocated elsewhere.

after d necropolis, we stopped by for a breather @ this gate...probably used previously as a security ceq-point or for toll/tax collection

as in other ancient Greek-Roman cities, d road is made of marble n in some areas u can see deep marks/scars carved by d wheels of d many carriages that used to ply d route

n of course it has its own theatre...n read somewhere that it could even catered to a water-based events as its staging area can be flooded with H2O.

BTW...there were quite a few 'model-looking' photo-shoots while we were there...probably from Eastern Europe [ooppss...image dah delete la]

some views of d Pamukkale white-terrace hot springs...

after d end of our hike...we had our lunch...n later on visited this onyx factory...where they shaped d natural green stones into various contraptions.

n in d evening we were on d road again...this time on an over-nite bus...with Cappadocia as our next destination.

Wednesday, 7-Jul-2010 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
...Turkey's delights...5 - Izmir / Ephesus / Seljuk

this 2-snakes used as a medical symbol
in front of Library of Celsus
Isabey Masjid...but beers can be bought right outside it

D tour that we hopped on will take us to visit some of d western as well as d central parts of Turkey. It is a tailor-made 5-day tour that will take us on a flight from Istanbul [1] to Izmir [2], then a bus to Denizli [3], followed by an overnite bus to Cappadocia [4] and finally a flight back to Istanbul. Interestingly d buses used in transporting us between d cities are normal public transportation bus...n not a tour bus. Our tour started early today @ 5.15am with a transfer service from Nippon Hotel to d airport

this is Izmir, our 1st stop after our flight from Istanbul...a nice town situated right next to d Aegean Sea...but no time to frolicking on d beach as we have a full day ahead of us to visit a number of historical attractions...

we 1st headed to d House of Virgin Mary [Maryam] located in a nature park between Ephesus and Seljuk...believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary. A Christian shrine can be found attached to d house n this is considered as a sacred site for them.

U can see d 'prayer wall' behind us on the way to the House of the Virgin...basically they write down their doa on a white paper n stick it onto d wall

d house is located @ d top of a hill n on d way there a statute has been erected...probably as another tourist attractions...or for a foto op

our next stop is d ancient Greeks/Roman city of Ephesus established in 3rd/4th century. As u can see...there r many many tourists on site so u really need to manoeuvre nimbly between d bodies. We r on d former Main Street of d city n in d olde days they must be lots of businesses operating along d road...kalau ada kedai mamak kan best!! BTW...d streets r made of marble as this material can be found in abundance locally n it is long-lasting.

another advanced feature of d city was d availability of d proper drainage n sewer system. D above is a common public toilet...where businessmen, politicians n whats not would discuss contemporary issues and gossips while buang air...hhmm...must be one smelly meeting...huhu

one of d main features of Ephesus is d facade of the Library of Celsus...this could be an example of ancient green building as it faces east so the reading rooms receive the morning light

in addition, they also some sort of planning each city must have a theatre that can accommodate at least 10% of d city's population...n d one above served d people of Ephesus

it was quite a walk from one end of d city to another...penat gak la n must be lots of calories burned. Anyway, as in any well-known tourist attractions world wide, u can also find d above right after exiting d ancient city of Ephesus. least they r thinking green by using low-energy bulbs...hihi

after a lunch break @ a local restaurant [included in d tour package...yey!!], we went to visit Artemis temple next...but most parts of d building has been destroyed in one of d wars many centuries ago...n now only 1 column left intact [in d background]

then we visited a silk carpet factory...with a demo by a local girl on how to weave d carpet...

...n later to a pottery factory...everything was hand-made...including individually painting each piece of d pottery

our final stop on d tour was d Isabey Masjid.. a beautiful example of Seljuk Turkish architecture in an atmospheric location n oldest known example of a Turkish masjid with a courtyard. D masjid was built in 1375 at the direction of the Emir of Aydin with columns and stones from the ruins of the city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis were incorporated into the about recycle!! D lady in red was our guide, Gonja, who was quite lively n has done her homework well on facts of d sites we visited

n d dewan solat of d masjid...u may notice that d top of d columns r of different designs as they were recycled from elsewhere. Afterwards both of us were taken to a bus station for our onward journey onto Denizli. Unfortunately d bus was air-condless n only small top windows r openable...paneh den.

Tuesday, 6-Jul-2010 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
...Turkey's delights...4

would u believe that is is a tanah perkuburan...
3D scanning by some local uni students

Since d bazaar that we visited yesterday was very grand...we decided to have another round ronda-ing d site today. Additionally, we also managed to make a reservation to tour other sites within Turkey at a very attractive price involving 2 domestic flights from tomorrow. How? Our advice is for those interested to try n avoid travel agents on d main n busy streets n go to those slightly hidden from major thoroughfares.

...Turkish pretzels?

d bazaar...plenty of people as usual

n d nyopping goes on...d carpet guy below is d one married to a Malaysian mentioned before

info aplenty about d significance of d place historically

n we also paid a visit to d antique corner...tapi tak beli ape2 pun...

Monday, 5-Jul-2010 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
...Turkey's delights...3

...a very laid-back conference it seems
...presentation time

Our Istanbul adventure continued after d paper presentations were done n over with. Our main agenda today is to visit d Grand Bazaar or known locally as Kapalı Çarşı, which is translated to 'Covered Market'. For this trip we were joined by additonal delegates from d UM team...with me as d 'unofficial' guide

this is one of d entrances for d Grand Bazaar...n how grand is d bazaar...well, some claims that there r as many as 4000 shops within it. BTW...took d above when it was closing time...that is why d door was not wide open.

a seen above, there r variety of wares on offer n some of them were zoned together...such as jewelery zone, antique zone, etc.

this shop needs special mention...did u notice d Malaysian flag behind d display glass. It turned out that d owner of d business is married to a Malaysian lady n his mom-in-law is a lecturer in IIUM Kuantan...hhmm

n FYI d bazaar closed at 7pm...yeahh...quite early hah...but fret not...there r many other things to see in d surrounding area...

...including Istanbul Universitesi

n of is alfresco chow time near d bazaar before we headed home to Taksim

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