Eco Turkey Travel News
Turkey's gifts to the world
UNESCO's World Heritage list boasts 936 sites of cultural importance and outstanding natural beauty. Turkey is the home of 10 such sites, with a further 26 listed as canditates. Let's take a closer look at the 10 sites Turkey has endowed humanity with, from Selimey Mosque to Mount Nemrut.
UNESCO names sites of outstanding significance to the common heritage of humanity as "World Heritage Sites." Today 936 cultural and natural sites are listed as World Heritage Sites. UNESCO offers financial assistance for the sites on its list, and provides technical, and educational support and guidance while carrying out awareness programmes. Naturally, the listed sites have an increased potential for tourism. However, it's not that easy to be included on the list. The World Heritage Commiittee within the institutieon investigates the sites following an application, assesses their eligibility and requires commitments from the state to protect the site. If everything goes smoothly, the parties sign an agreement together. Countries who violate the terms of the agreement are eremoved from the list. Turkey is represented on the list with 10 sites, while 26 more are awaiting approval.
The City that unites religions and cultures: Istanbul
Since the Ottoman times, Istanbul has been a city of mosques, churches and synagogues, standing side by side and claiming their fraternity. It is the only city on Earth that straddles two continents. The historical sites are located in four major regions of protection: The Sultanahmet Archaelogical Park, The Suleymaniye Protection Site, The Zeyrek Protection Site and the City Walls Protection Site. These sites are the home to marvellous works of architecture from varios periods. Dolmabahce Palace, Tophane Mosque, Galata Tower, Sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sofia and its unique mosaics, the Ottoman Empire's headquarters at Topkapi Palace, Sinan the Architect's Suleymaniye Mosque on the hills of the Golden Horn, the Grand Bazaar, the Sunken Cistern, Hagia Irene, the ancient city walls and the wooden houses are the cornerstones of the Istanbul's rich history. The fascinating city that has inspired numerous poems and songs is waiting for those who want to witness the love between two continents.
Hattusa, founded around 1650 BC, looks like an open-air archelogical museum. It consists of the Upper City of secular life and the Lower City of many temples. The Great Temple in the Lower City is Hattusa's largest religious edifice. The stonemasonry on either side of the Lion's Gate in the Upper City represents the best examples of this art. Yazilikaya, two kilometres to the northeast, is a spendid open-air temple. Witness the Hittite culture in Hattusa, the heart of architecture and art of the period.
Selimeye Mosque and Complex (Edirne)
Ast the pinnacle of Ottoman architecture the edifice was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List this year. The mosque was commissioned by Selim II in 1568, only to be completed in 1575 after a period of intense labour involving thousands of people. Its minarets and domes are awe-inspiring. It's located in central Edirne.
Anatolia's most awe-inspiring place of worship
Mount Nemrut Statues (Adiyaman)
The world's highest open-air museum and Anatolia's most awe-inspiring ancient place of worship. The huge statues of kings, some of them as tall as 10 metres and the several-metre-long inscriptions belong to the Commagene King Antiouches I commissioned and imposing mausoleum to pay homage to the gods and his ancestors.
Traditional Turkish Houses
The Safranbolu houses represent well-preserved example, of Turkish urban culture. The houses have been added one after the other to meet housing demand, covering growing expanse. The present-day town has 2000 traditional houses, 100 of which are under protection. The city took its current shope three to four centries ago.
The white holy city
Pamukkale Hierapolis (Denizli)
The ancient city of Hierapolis is named ofter Hiera, the beautiful wife of the King of Pergamum Telephos in the Helenistic Era. The city was built during the Phyrgian period. Hierapolis played a major role in the dissemination of Christianity in Asia Minor, it's also where Philip the Apostle died. A religious site was built in his memory here in the fourth century. Philip later obtained the title "Guide of the East." The city became an Episcopal centre under Byzantine control in 395. The remains of the temple, theatre, agora, water conduits, city walls, church, cathedral and Roman baths have been preserved with all their splendour. The wonderful travertines of Pamukkale are made of calcium carbonate deposited by the hot spring water. The travertines are 2700 metres long and 160 metres tall. The structuri is visible from 20 kilometres with their gleaming whiteness. There are five hot water springs with temperatures ranging between 35 and 36 C. The city shrouded in white awaits those seeking better health.
The rain and wind's work of art:
The 'fairy chimmeys,' cave churches and the fascinating frescoes of Cappadocia resemble a surreailist painting. The rock formotions have evolved through the erosion of tuff from Erciyes and Hasan Dağı volcanoes over millilons of years. Throughout history, the area has houes many civilizations. The underground cities that have been built for shelter have only been partly explored, some layers still waiting to be excavated. The natural sites of the region include Goreme National Park, Urgup, Uchisar, Avanos, Cavusin, Ortahisar, Ihlara Valley, (Mustafapasa), Soganlı Valley, Zelve Valley and Guvercinlik Valley.
The mosque that enchanted Evliya Celebi
Divrigi Ulu Mosque and Hospital (Sivas)
"The master took such great pains decorating the doors and walls of this mosque that no word of praise can capture its magnificence." This is how Evliya Celebi describes Divrigi Ulu Mosque. This is the firs site classified as "world heritage" by UNESCO (1985). It looks unassuming from the outside but the decorations on the inner walls are dazzling. It was commisioned by Ahmed Shah of the Menguclu Principality in the 13th Century.
Lycia found its tonque
Xanthos and Letoon (Antalya - Mugla)
These two locations on the Fethiye- Kas highway are home to the longest and most significant insriptions in the Lycian language. Xanthos, dating back to 3000 BC, was the largest administrative centre of Lycia in Antiquity. Letoon, on the other hand, was among the most important religious cntres of the period. The Lycian tombstones and sarcophagi and the original Harpy Monument are on display at the British Museum today.
The birthplace of the Iliad
The Archaeological City of Troy (Canakkale)
According to Homer's Iliad, "The city of the Trojan War" is five thousand years old. The skirts of the ancient Mound Ida contain the nine archaelogical layers of Troy. Some layers have revealed foundations for houses, theatres, sophisticated sewage systems, baths and tools. Thi citys is believed to be destroyed and reboult seveval times throughout history. Go for Troy if you want to trace ancient stories...
EU tourism to Turkey almost triples in past decade, minister says
The number of tourists visiting Turkey from the EU has almost tripled, increasing from 6.5 million to 18 million annually over the past 10 years, Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay said during a meeting in the European Parliament (EP) on Thursday.
Günay told the EP that ''with 31.4 million tourists, Turkey ranked sixth worldwide as a tourist destination in 2011" and noted that its tourism industry has grown by 9.8 percent in the past year, according to a Friday report by the Italian ANSAmed news service. Part of this rapid growth, said Günay, has been an explosion over the last decade in the number of tourists from EU member states, who the minister said "amounted to just 6.5 million tourists in 2000 but now number 18 million a year." Günay added in his remarks to the EP that Turkey's quickly expanding economy is evidence of its ability to claim a strong position in the EU, arguing that Turkey's membership would make the union ''more stable and dynamic.''
The minister also predicted that the tourism industry would continue to be a major driver of that economic growth throughout the summer of 2012 and predicted that despite a decrease in tourists from Israel and Syria, Turkey would host up to 33 million tourists this year.
Speaking in April to the Anatolia news agency, Günay had predicted that the 33 million expected tourists could bring Turkey roughly $25 billion in revenue in 2012. According to figures released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) in 2011, Turkey earned $23 billion from last year's tourism season.
Günay's remarks come at a time when Turkey has sought to demonstrate its strong credentials for hosting both the 2020 Olympics and the 2020 European football championship in İstanbul. "We will fulfill every requirement to win the right to host the games," Sports Minister Suat Kılıç recently told Anatolia with regard to the two competitions. Source:Today's Zaman
An Istanbul Tourist Essential: The Museum Pass
Visitors to Turkey can save time and money when visiting museums in Istanbul with the new Istanbul Museum Pass. This pre-paid card costs 72TL and provides entry into six Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism-owned museums over a period of 72 hours (3 days). The card will allow users to skip lengthy queues and go straight through the turnstiles.
Visitors in Istanbul can use The Museum Pass include:
• Hagia Sophia Museum
• Topkapı Palace Museum (excluding Harem Apartments)
• Chora Museum
• İstanbul Archaeological Museums
• Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
• İstanbul Mosaic Museum.
Turkey Wins Cultural Accolades in the UK
Istanbul was named as a runner up in the categories of 'Best Cultural City' and 'Greatest Cultural Destination' at the recent award ceremony held in London for the Telegraph Awards. These awards for the 50 Greatest Cultural Destinations, held in association with Page and Moy, were voted for by a panel of judges led by the author Anthony Horowitz, as well as by the Telegraph's readers. The Director of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in London, Tolga Tuyluoglu, said how proud he was to accept the awards. He said: 'I am delighted that Istanbul's status as a top cultural destination has been recognised in this way. These awards undoubtedly celebrate the achievements of Istanbul as a European City of Culture in 2010. They also underline the importance of Turkey's cultural attractions to the UK market.' These awards were followed closely by the announcement that a new Turkish site has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex in the former Ottoman capital of Edirne joins the nine sites already on the list. The famous architect, Sinan, himself considered this to be his best work.
Research carried out by Mintel on behalf of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in the UK earlier this year showed the importance of Turkey's history and culture for the UK market. It showed that after the weather, culture and/ or history are the second biggest draw for those who have been to Turkey or would consider visiting in the future.It is often supposed that British visitors to Turkey are mostly interested in sun, sea and sand, however, as part of this same research British visitors who had been to Turkey were asked whether they had visited a museum or historic site during their stay – a staggering 71% had done so.
WORLD'S BIGGEST MOSAIC MUSEUM OPENED IN GAZIANTEP
"Zeugma Mosaic Museum", the world's biggest mosaic museum officially opened Sept. 9 in Gaziantep in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. The Zeugma Mosaic Museum was visited by 1,288 people paying 5 Turkish Liras to enter on its first day while some 1,800 people, including children under 18 and those above 65, visited the museum for free. Museum officials said this number of visitors on a single day was a record, adding that they expected some 100,000 visitors monthly with growing interest from local and foreign tourists. The Zeugma Mosaic Museum’s enclosed area of 30,000 square meters displays a total of 1,700 square meters of mosaics in more than 7,000 square meters of exhibition halls. Museum officials said the dimensions are greater than Tunisia’s Bardo Museum, which is known as the world’s largest mosaic museum. Besides mosaics, wall paintings, fountains, columns and walls have been unearthed during various excavations at the site of the ancient Roman city of Zeugma and are now displayed in their original sizes. The ground floor of the museum exhibits a statue of the god of war, Mars, from the first century. The entrance floor exhibits mosaics unearthed in villas on the coast of the River Fırat.
Turkey won Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards 2010
Earlier in 2010 Conde Nast Traveller asked readers to vote for the things they really like about travel, from business hotels to destination spas, airlines to specialist tour operators. From your responses they compiled the Readers' Travel Awards 2010, the best the travel world has to offer...
Turkey is one of the favorite holiday destination. When asked to score it (with 'a percentage of satisfaction' figure on 10 criteria), readers gave it top marks for range of accommodation (86.48) and that increasingly important component of any holiday: value for money (87.20). Overall Turkey came 1st which a score 94.81*
Ephesus City of Glorious Riches
When Otto Benndorf, Emeritus Professor at the University of Vienna, presented his excavation project plans to the Ministry of Culture in 1893, he calculated that Ephesus could be uncovered in about five years. What followed has been the largest archaeological enterprise carried out on Turkish soil under Austrian direction – 115 years of excavations.
The excavations were originally concentrated on the civic hill of Ayasoluk and then successively extended to encompass a variety of regions of the ancient urban area. Field research was abruptly interrupted by the First World War, and in the inter-war period, research focussed on the public bathing complexes and the numerous monuments of early Christianity. Once again, a world war interrupted the activities, and it was not until 1954 that excavations recommenced. With the massive efforts of man-power and machines, entire urban regions were then brought to light during the course of the following decades. The high points of the work were, without doubt, the discovery of the altar in the Artemision and the excavation of the terrace slope houses.
Much attention has also been focussed on preserving and protecting this iconic site in order to open it to visitors. In addition to the recently-erected protective roof over Terrace Slope House 2, two completely different renovations may also be mentioned in this regard; namely, work to the façade of the Library of Celsus, and on the Memmius Monument, the four-sided victory arch erected to the memory of a 1st century AD soldier called Memmius, grandson of dictator Sulla of Roma.
Mass tourism puts huge demands on archaeology at Ephesus. The extremely high number of visitors – up to two million per year – brings revenue and enables scientific work to be displayed to the public. However, it also imposes great stress on the antiquities, and it is a balancing act to combine the often contradictory components of goal-oriented research, public relations work, and touristic marketing.
What of our latest work? During our five-month excavation campaign in 2009, a total of 174 scientists from 11 different countries, and over 60 local workers, were employed at Ephesus. In addition to archaeologists, the following specialist disciplines were also represented: restoration, architectural history, anthropology, archaeozoology, archaeometry, Byzantine studies, numismatics, epigraphy, photography, geodesy, spatial planning, chemistry, geography and geology. We undertook 12 excavation projects, as well as scientific analysis of numerous monuments and artefacts. A highlight of the 2009 excavation was the discovery of the sanctuary for the goddess Meter/Kybele at mount Panayirdag. There, we found 12 marble-reliefs showing Meter, Zeus and Hermes. Together, we are contributing ever greater knowledge and care to this glorious site.
This article is an extract from the full article published in Current World Archaeology Issue 41.
Eco Turkey Travel declared Official Supporter of World Responsible Tourism Day at London's WTM 2009
EcoTurkey, The Home of Responsible Tourism in Turkey, declared Official Supporters of WTM’s World
Responsible Tourism Day – Wednesday 12 November 2009. Official Supporters of WTM's World Responsible Tourism, Day undergo strict monitoring to ensure that they are upholding the underlying principles of The Cape Town Declaration.
Recognising Excellent Responsible Tourism Activity
They are excellent examples of just what a difference a travel business can make to the environment and local communities. In addition to year-round activity, many also celebrate WTM World Travel Market in their own special and enterprising way.
WTM World Responsible Tourism Day on Wednesday 11th November was a huge success.
This was the third successful year of this initiative, the only global day of action of its kind sponsored by BBC World News and once again supported by the UNWTO.
WTM World Responsible Tourism Day 2009 attracted over 2,000 participants to the challenging and thought provoking programme, details of what happened on the day will be updated shortly.
Travel and tourism companies and organisations in the world are under increasing pressure to work more responsibly.
For further information: http://www.wtmwrtd.com/page.cfm/link=89
EcoTurkey is a new business dedicated to promoting responsible tourism in Turkey. The website is a guide to the country, up to date travel advice and details of ethically and ecologically sound holiday packages and accommodation. The business works with environmental organisations, human rights groups and local community groups in order to promote sustainable tourism and ethical holidays in Turkey.
Istanbul European Capital of culture 2010
Although Turkey is not yet a member of the EU, the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul is named European Capital of culture 2010. All over Istanbul there are already free concerts, exhibitions of young artists and dance combined with international groups through the whole town for. The year is focused on modern and contemporary art in Istanbul. There are not only Turkish artists, but there are also projects with international artists and exchange students.
An art production center opened its doors in Istanbul’s Yenikapı district. Yenikapi center is also expected to play a part in the Istanbul European Cultural Capital project in 2010. “Living and Working in Istanbul.” The objective of the project is to host 10 internationally acclaimed artists in Istanbul, allowing them to live and work with Turkish artists to merge ideas and achieve a better understanding of Turkish culture and art. For the first time ever, the !f Istanbul AFM International Independent Film Festival will show the finest in the year’ s independent films from around the world. Bringing together the year’s most talked about films from across the globe, the !f Istanbul AFM International Independent Film Festival will be held from Feb. 12 to 22 in Istanbul. We will keep you updated with the events during the Istanbul European Capital of culture 2010.
Dalyan's Iztuzu Beach; the Best Open Space in Europe
The Times has announced Dalyan's Iztuzu Beach as the Best Open Space (Europe) category winner, in 'The Green Spaces Travel Awards 2008.' Detailed information is provided on the Times' website about the natural environment of Iztuzu Beach. Iztuzu beach has been mentioned as a rare 'thing' in the Mediterranean: 'A 4.5 km arc of golden sand stretching from the base of a pine-clad mountain to a river delta'. Many of the day trippers who arrived on large boats, are transferred to the river boats to visit the various sites around Dalyan, and finish off with a nice swim.
Iztuzu Beach has been described as a place where the people swim, walk, lie in the sun to the sound of the crumping waves during the day and at night. The beach is claimed back by nature, in particular by hundreds of loggerhead turtles, one of the oldest surviving species in the world, which lay their eggs there from May to September.
An Alternative Travel: Train Tour Cards Announced
The Turkish State Railways (TCDD) has just launched the new Train Tour Cards (Tren Tur Kartlari) which is valid for 30 days' unlimited travel on the entire Turkish rail network. You can travel back in time and visit Turkey's unknown gems. Currently you can not purchase your ticket online but you can buy your pass at all major train stations in Turkey. Please keep in mind that you will need your Passport/ ID as your Pass will be issued to your name. You can also visit the below link to read about Kathryn Tomasetti trip in Turkey.
Turkey's Biggest Ice Skating Arena to Open
Turkey’s biggest ice skating arena will be opened in the eastern province of Erzurum. An ice hockey arena with a capacity of 2000 is scheduled to open by the end of December in Erzurum, in preparation for its title as host of the World Winter Universiade Games in 2011.
New Archaeological Discovery in Yenikapi
In 2008, when homes were cleared and excavation started for Istanbul multi-million dollar Marmaray rail project, a tunnel running deep beneath the Bosphorus Straits which will for the first time link the European and Asian sides of the city by public transport; archaeologists were forced to stop in their tracks quite literally. Working day and night, they uncovered what could possibly be the “most important urban archaeological site of our time” (Cornucopia, Issue 31), unearthing the port of Byzantium, its busiest ancient port and a flotilla of sunken merchant vessels just a few meters below ground. They also found settlements, skeletons and Bronze Age burial grounds dating back 8000 years - discoveries which will re-write history as it means the city is several millennia older than we knew: The first settlements in Istanbul were originally thought to have dated back only 2,700 years. Officials said they plan to build a museum on part of the site and incorporate it into the massive state-of-the-art underground hub station, as well as a new museum and archaeological park.
Calista Luxury Resort Turns Green
The Stars of Calista Luxury Resort Turn Green…Calista Luxury Resort is still hungry for awards. Calista Luxury Resort Hotel, which introduced 'A'la Carte All Inclusive' system to the World and has crowned its quality conception with distinguished certificates and projects, has brazed a trail once more It became the first hotel in Turkey who became entitled to get GREEN STAR certification prepared within the scope of the environmental consciousness campaign initiated by the Ministry of Tourism after comprehensive works lasting 2 years. Calista Luxury Resort which got awarded with 4 international certificates in many different fields such as quality, food, environmental and occupational safety in a single inspection in 2007, the year it was founded and which broke fresh ground in hotel management industry with the food analysis laboratory established within the structure of the hotel, is targeting to set an example and become a pioneer in its sector with Green Star Certificate.