April 7, 2008

The Great Architect, Sinan

(b. Anatolia, Turkey 1489; d. Istanbul, Turkey 1588)

Mimar Koca Sinan, the "Great Architect Sinan", was born of Greek Christian parents in Anatolia, Turkey in 1489. Drafted as a soldier into the Ottoman royal house in 1512, he quickly advanced from calvary officer to construction officer. As construction officer he built bridges and fortifications. In 1538 he was appointed Architect of the Abode of Felicity.
During his career Sinan built hundreds of buildings including mosques, palaces, harems, chapels, tombs, schools, almshouses, madrassahs, caravan serais, granaries, fountains, aqueducts and hospitals. Of this diverse group of works, his mosques have been most influential.
His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. He had under him an extensive governmental department and trained many assistants who, in turn, distinguished themselves, including Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa , architect of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period, and is often compared to Michelangelo as a Western contemporary. The stature of Michelangelo and his plans for St Peter's Basilica in Rome were well-known in Istanbul, since he (and also Leonardo da Vinci) received an invitation to build a bridge over the Bosphorus
For his mosques, Sinan adopted the design of the Hagia Sophia to create a building in which the central dome would appear weightless and in which the interior surfaces would appear bathed in light. He used buttressing on the exterior of his buildings to open the interiors. He often designed his mosques as part of a complex comprising schools, baths, guesthouses and hospitals.
Generally considered the greatest of all Ottoman architects, Sinan's career spanned fifty years. His great mosques are the archetypal image of Turkish Ottoman architecture. Sinan died in Istanbul, Turkey in 1588.

February 8, 2008

Have You Ever Tasted Baklava?

Baklava or baklawa is a rich, sweet pastry featured in many cuisines of the former Ottoman countries. It is a pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios and sweetened with syrup or honey.
Baklava consists of 30 or more sheets of phyllo dough brushed with lots of butter, and layered with finely chopped pistachios, walnuts, and/or almonds. After baking, a syrup of honey, rose water and lemon juice (sometimes spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, etc) is poured over the pastry and allowed to soak in.
Gaziantep, a city in Turkey, is famous for its baklava and, in Turkey, is widely regarded as the native city of the dessert.

The history of baklava is not well-documented; but although it has been claimed by many ethnic groups, the best evidence is that it is of Central Asian Turkic origin, with its current form being developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace

February 2, 2008

Turkish Folk Music, Amazing Show

Watch this amazing show. The group Sultans of the Dance is making their show Fire of Anatolia. First you'll see the belly dancers and then you'll watch one of the folk dances from the black sea region. The name of the folk dance is Horon. I hope you'll enjoy it.

January 31, 2008

Houses of Safranbolu

Safranbolu which is famous with its historical houses is established by an Ion Princess. The city and its surroundings has seen many civilizations like Roman, Byzantine, Seljukians and Ottoman. Safranbolu was an important roadhouse on the Kastamonu-Gerede-Istanbul part of the silk road.Safranbolu was included in the "List of World Inheritance" bu UNESCO in 1994 and became a world city because of its success in protecting its natural heritage. Safranbolu has 1008 traces that are being protected in the natural tissue as an expression of the historical and cultural wealth. Rock Graves, mounds, Cinci Ýnn and Turkish Bath, Köprülü Mehmet Pacha Mosque, İzzet Mehmet Paşa Mosque, Yemeniciler Arastası, İncekaya Water Vault, Houses, Fountains and Tombs are some of the traces that has survived.

Safranbolu has won its first fame with its houses that have a traditional and special architecture. These houses are wonderful architecture samples that shows Turkish society life of 18th and 19th centuries. These splendid houses which carry the effects of crowded family structure, economic wealth and local climate properties are defined as "Five sided architecture" because of their roofs.

Safranbolu houses are buildings with 2-3 floors, 6-8 rooms, balconies, lots of windows in every room. In these buildings; esthetical use of stone, unbelievable quality of wood work, ornaments of wall and ceilings, pools inside the houses, stairs and door knockers... All of them are magnificent.In house settlement neighborhood was the most important thing people care. Narrow streets with Albanian pavement made people closer.

Safranbolu has very interesting natural beauties besides its historical dimension and houses. Saffron plant which can paint a liquid of 10 times heavier to yellow and gave its name to the city; grows in safranbolu and is very important for the city. The other famous crop of Safranbolu is Çavuş Grape. Safranbolu is besides known with its delight. By introducing Safranbolu increasing interest develops tourism here. Today Safranbolu is an interest focus of cultural tourism.


Safranbolu; is in the West Black Sea region and is 406 kms away from Istanbul, 240 kms. away from Ankara and 10 kms. from Karabük. A huge part of the road that connects Safranbolu to Ankara and Istanbul is highway. The closest connection to the sea is 91 kms far touristic Inkumu and 97 kms far touristic Amasra.In Safranbolu you can live four seasons. Safranbolu is such a city center that you can have all kind of restaurants and hotel


The most important thing that brings Safranbolu to the forefront in Turkey and the world is the Safranbolu houses which are an example of Turkish architecture. These houses are important due to their place in urban life and their architecture. In other terms, the Safranbolu houses are an important structure that continue to survive centuries-old to our modern day urban life.

The houses are in two parts of Safranbolu. The first are the houses in the “Şehir” (the town Centre and Kıranköy) and these are used in winter. The second are the houses in “Bağlar” and they are used as summer houses.

Almost everybody there has a winter house and a summer house. The residents in the region live in the town during winter and go to the summer houses in Bağlar when the weather starts to warm up. The production and trade in the “Town Centre - Çarşı” continues through the summer months as usual.

inside one of the safranbolu houses that are turned to a museum

Three factors contrbute to the sizes and designs of the houses in Safranbolu: large families with many members, raining climate, cultural and financial richness.

Architects of today often emphasise the design of “respect for the environment” of the Safranbolu houses has. The relationships between nature-human-home, street-house and street-town is very structured and balanced. There is a great respect not only fort he environment but also to neighbours. No house prevents the view of another. In short, the “view is equally shared” in Safranbolu.
Stone, mud brick, timber and turkish roof tiles have been used to build the houses that are not only functional for use by people but also logically designed. No matter what the shape of the land is, the upper floors of the house are always contructed appropriatly geometrical.
The gardens are separated from the street with stone walls. The double wing doors lead to the garden and sometimes straight into the house. It is possible to see the grandeur at the entrance, the door.
As a result of the tradition of the separate quarters for men and women, some house have two entrances.
At the entrance of the house, there is the courtyard or “foyer” on the ground floor. Here, there is a wooden cage called a “gliste” to allow light to come inside and to help in drying out the wood which is stacked behind it. Also on the groud floow is the stables, large boilers and cellars.
A stairway, displaying skillful mastery in wood handicraft, takes you to the upper floors. İkinci kat diğer katlara göre daha basıktır. On this floor, there is a kitchen that can also be used as a bedroom. There is a wooden cylindrical turning cupboard between the kitchen and the mens quaters used for serving of meals. The daily living quaters are on the middle floor. It is easier to heat this floor on cold winter days.
The third flor is were the Safronbolu house meets perfection. The ceiling is higher on this flor. The rooms are entered through the doors which are open to four diagonal sides like a pergola that is made of many sides. The entrance of the doors to the rooms are from the corners and there are special wooden screen that prevent a direct entrance to the room. The pergolas and rooms are decorated with wooden handcarvings. There are divans in each room and most rooms have a fireplace. The side walss of the rooms contain wooden cupboards and shelves. Each room has been designed to accomodate a nuclear family or relatives as an independant quarter. Due to this reason, each room contains a small bathroom much like a shower cabin inside the wooden cupboard called a “yüklül”.
The protruding structures of the Safranbolu houses not only gives the houses an aesthetic look but it also allows the person sitting by the window a view of the whole street.
It is common to come across handcarved decorations on the pergolas, terraces and in rooms.
The windows of the house are specially designed and are narrow and long. The windows have wooden shutters and also wooden, handcrafted cages called “muşabak”. Although the number of windows changes according to the size of the room, there are generally many windows. This gives the illusion of a large room from the interior and also a unique aesthetic from the outside.

January 24, 2008

Soundtrack of Kavakyelleri

This soundtrack is from one of the most popular serial films, Kavakyelleri. I watch it every thursday. It's about the story of four friends.

Antalya, The Most Touristic City of Turkey

Antalya Marina

The city of Antalya stretches along the bay bearing its name, and is built at 39 meters altitude on a rocky coastline. One is immediately struck by the Taurus mountains rising to 3086 meters above this coastline, intersperesed withvalleys of varying sizes. Land and sea everywhere meet the beaches stretching for miles or the steep cliffs. The Taurus mountains against the blue backdrop of the sky, the precipices and especially the caves close to the sea add another dimension to the beauty of the region.

Small and large streams emerging from the west side of the Taurus water the plains on their journey to the Mediterranean. This translucent running water, cascading into the sea at points along the coast, is another attractive sight.

The plant life of Antalya is extremely varied. Every kind of tropical plant can be found along the coast. Visitors to Antalya are struck by the size attained by the different species of cactus. When you reach the foothills of the Taurus, you will see they are covered in the typical Mediterranean maquis, while the forests are full of thriving oaks and pine trees. The coton and sesame plantations and citrus and banana groves of the plains have a beauty of their own.

Antalya Beach

In Antalya the four seasons only appear on the calendar, as there is no real winter here, so much so that when in 1985 for the first time in 60 years snow fell, it was front page news.
The summers are hot and rainless while the other months are warm and often rainy, with a mean annual temperature of 18.7 °C. On average there is no rain for 309.5 days a year. It is very rare for the temperature to drop below zero. During the last 40 years the highest recorded temperature was 44.6 °C. In Antalya the average humidty rate is 64%, whereas the seat temperatures are 17.6 °C in January, 18.0 °C in April, 27.7 °C in August and 24.5 °C in September.


Termessos is perhaps the most interesting ancient city in Antalya region. It is a Psidian city built at a height of 1050 meters in the Taurus Mountains. Termessos constitutes an unusual synthesis of a large number of rare plants and animal species, which are under protection in the Termessos National Park. When turning off the Antalya-Burdur highway (11 km.) in the direction of Korkuteli, the Termessos signpost will be seen 14 km. further on, and Termessos itself is a further 9 km. A visit to this site requires time and the stamina to walk uphill, because Termessos is built entirely on a mountainous area difficult to access.

The inhabitants of Termessos were known as the Solyms but unlike those of other cities of the time they did not come from the sea and were entirely of Anatolian origin. What is known of their history commences principally at the time that Alexander the Great surrounded the city in 333 B.C., which he likened to an eagle's nest and failed to conquer. Termessos, after a gradual decline, was finally abandoned in the 5th century A.D. Some of the remains found there are the walls, the Hadrian's triumphal arch, the cisterns, the theater, the gymnasium, the agora, the odeon and the heroon. Among the tombs which are scattered far and wide can be seen those of Alcates, Agatemeros and the Lion decorated sarcophagi, which are extraordinary.

Hadrian's Gate

This is one of the best preserved monuments in Antalya. This Roman edifice was built in 130 A.D. to honor the Emperor Hadrian. Formerly the city walls enclosed the outside of the gate and it was not used for many years. This may be the reason why it has not been destroyed, and it was only revealed when the walls collapsed. It is considered as Pamphylia's most beautiful Gate. The upper part has three apertures in the shape of a cupola, and except for the pillars is built entirely of white marble. The ornamentation is very striking. The original Gate was two storeys but little is known of the top storey.

On either side of the Gate are towers, which are known not to have been built at the same time. The southern one is known as the Julia Sancta tower and is a work of the Hadrian era. It was constructed of plain stone blocks. While the base of the northern tower belongs to antiquity, the upper part is left over from the Seljuks.

It is worth while stopping in front of the Gate and reflecting for a few moments. On the one hand you are standing on modern Antalya's dual carriageway, lined with palm and orange trees, Ataturk Caddesi, while behind you is ancient Attaleia, the past and the present separated by Pamphylia's most beautiful Gate, which itself has on either side towers representing the art and civilization of two different epochs. This blending of the epochs is something peculiar to Antalya and can be often seen.

January 12, 2008

She is My Favorite

Candan Ercetin, the singer, is one of my favorites. Last year she's started to a program in tv. Below you'll watch her singing a turkish folk song in her program. This folk song is sang almost in every turkish entertainments, like weddings etc.

A Turkish Love Song

This song means a lot to me. It is our love song with my husband before me got married. And in our wedding party, we came in the saloon with this song. It was charming...

The songs name is "We Stole Love From Angels"... Here's the lyrics in turkish and english.

We Stole Love From Angels
Look into my eyes underneath the light of the stars.
The wind has something to say to us, hear it.
Look into my eyes underneath the light of the stars.
The wind has something to say to us, hear it.

Sometimes the loudest screams are only a whisper.
Don't they know? Those great storms will come and pass.
We stole love from the angels,
We've become tightly attached to each other.
We stole love from the angels,
We've become tightly attached to each other.

Biz Aşkı Meleklerden Çaldık (turkish)
Bak yıldızlar altında gözlerimin içine
Duy rüzgarların bize anlattığı birşey var
Bak yıldızlar altında gözlerimin içine
Duy rüzgarların bize anlattığı birşey var

Bir fısıltı gibi bazen o en büyük çığlıklar
Bilmezler mi gelir geçer en büyük fırtınalar
Biz aşkı meleklerden çaldık
Birbirimize sımsıkı bağlandık
Biz aşkı meleklerden çaldık
Birbirimize sımsıkı bağlandık

January 11, 2008

Soundtrack of Calikusu, An Old Turkish Film

Below there's a video of an old turkish film soundtrack from 1986. I used to love this film and its soundtrack very much, so i want to share it with you. This film is based on a novel "Calikusu". It's about a girl who loves a man very much. But she had a heartbreak and she left the town, became a teacher in the anatolian villages. But in the years of 1900's the conditions are very hard especially for a woman in Anatolia. I hope you like it.

January 8, 2008

Hugs To Humanity

Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi is an Anatolian holy man who gave hope and inspiration to humanity. Mevlana was born in 1207 in Khorasan, and died in 1273 in Konya. He took his first lessons from his father Bahaeddin Veled, who was known as “sultan of scholars”. While he was studying Sufism he met Ahi Sems Tebrizi, and after this meeting his own ideas began to emerge. It is his poems about Sufism, however, for which he is chiefly remembered, respected and admired today.

The branch of love comes from ancient times, and its root from immortality,

That greatness is too much for this mind and morals,

Fade away, pass through your existence. Your existence is murder.

Love is nothing other than finding the truth.

According to Mevlana, love is the only thing necessary to attain God. A plant or an animal may also love, but it is only man who has the capacity to love with his body, mind, thoughts and memory. Mevlana exalts the state of being in love with a woman because if someone loves someone else, he also loves himself, humanity, the universe and God. The most beautiful love, “Love of Truth,” begins when someone reaches this level of wisdom. Followers of Mevlana (Mevlevi) spin around and around in a ritual called “sema.” This ritual symbolizes a world united in love and keeping step with the world’s universal rotation. While one of their hands points to the sky, the other hand points to the ground meaning “Love from God spreads to the earth”. The spirit bursts forth from God and is immortal. The sound of the nay (a reed flute) tells of man’s longing to return to his initial source.
He means that the universe is an endless place within the existence of God, and as a small part of the whole, man keeps that divine essence inside him by saying, “You who search for God, it’s you that you’re searching for....”

Come, no matter what you are,

Whether atheist or sun worshipper.

Whether you’ve backslid a thousand times,

Come, no matter what you are.

As we see, all mankind are brothers, and differences between religions do not square well with the divine presence. Mevlana attaches great importance to women and maintains that men and women are equal, saying, “The more you insist women should cover themselves up, the more you incite people’s desire to see them.
Like a man, if a woman’s heart is good, she will chose the path of goodness independent of your prohibitory actions. If her heart is bad, you can’t influence whatever you do.” Mevlana’s students were called Kitap-el Esrar (Clerks of the Secret). There were Muslims, Christians, Jews, Iranians, Armenians, Rums and Turks among them. His students from different cultures and religions collected his poems and gave them as a gift to later generations.

watch the sema show

Unesco declared that "2007, The Year of Mevlana". This year there has been a gorgeous sema show in Turkey with 300 whirling dervish. Click here to watch this show.

January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

I wish everyone a very happy new year. I wish there will be peace in the world. I wish everyone happiness, success, love and money. Below there are photos from Turkey on December 31, 2007.