Written by Speed Fenech.
Looking for exotic treasures, a landscape filled with architectural beauty, a culture that is as rich with history as it is mystifying? Then you should indulge yourself in Turkey. Turkey has some of the oldest structures in the world–with ruins that predate those in Greece. The architecture of the mosques is very unique and very beautiful. One of the finest mosques is called the “BLUE MOSQUE”. The interior of this gem features a marvelous cupola that glistens with ancient handcrafted tile mosaics.
If a visit to the mosque leaves you longing for old time craftsmanship, then take a trip to the huge market in Istanbul. It is filled with ‘everything’-spices, rugs, leather and more. We found shopping to be a special treat and could not resist buying one of the beautiful handcrafted rugs. It’s easy to see why Turkey’s carpets are considered some of the finest in the world. They are all done by hand and it can take months to complete a single rug. You can also go to a tile factory and see artists hand painting intricate designs reminiscent of the gorgeous mosaics that adorn the interior of Turkey’s beautiful buildings.
You may be surprised at the number of sites in Turkey related to early Christianity. It is here where they believe the Virgin Mary is buried. The culture is also fascinating. We learned that when a house has an eligible daughter for marriage they place a bottle in the window. If the mother of an eligible son sees the bottle, she may visit the home and inspect the household. If she likes what she sees, she may allow the son to court the girl who lives there. A novel system, huh? Turkey is also the place of the “WHIRLING DIRVISH”. It was fascinating to see this group spin around for hours in an almost hypnotic state, and amazingly, never seem to get dizzy.
As we toured through the Turkish mountains, we could see the hot springs coming out of the earth. In our hotel we found hot springs as well, in a room with water from the springs coming through walls and filling the pool. It was here that my wife, Lila, got her first (and only to date) massage. She describes the experience as the most relaxing thing she has ever done.
You can spend more money to go to a spa in the U.S. than it costs to go to Turkey where you can get the real thing–and so much more. We recommend that you indulge yourself with this culture, history, and experience. Turkey has been one of our favorite destinations.