Thursday, September 29, 2016


Nargile, also known as hookah or sisha, is a waterpipe used smoke tobacco which generally has been flavored and sweetened. The tradition of smoking flavoured molasses through waterpipes goes back many centuries. It’s said that they were originally invented in India. At first nargile was a simple structure made with a hollowed out coconut base and a straw. It was later introduced to Persian Kingdom. When the waterpipe arrived in Ottoman lands, it became very popular amongst members of the upper class and intellectuals. It continued to be a symbol of power and wealth for a long time. Smoking with the sultan was considered the highest honor.
Nargile became so popular that coffeehouses began to offer both coffee and waterpipes to customers. It became a very important part of coffeehouse culture. Ottoman coffehouses were cosmopolitan places and they served as sources of local information and gossip in the city. This is why both coffeehouses and nargile were seen as dangerous by the Ottoman Palace from time to time. Sultan Murad IV banned smoking on pain of death for 14 years. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, one of the most enthusiastic nargile smokers of the royal family, on the other hand used these information centers for his own benefit. He had many spies who spent their time in coffee shops in order to learn everything that was happening in the city.

Nargile lost its popularity after World War II, when people started to smoke cigarettes. Smoking nargile demanded a lot of time, on the other hand cigarettes were a perfect commodity to serve as replacement. It was an age of busy and competitive people, people who were always on the run. Cıgarettes were a more practical way to smoke. You don’t lose so much of your time when you smoke a cigarette. Smoking nargile demands an afternoon, with turkish coffee or tea, and an intellectual talk with good companions. Nargile is good to accompany calm, relaxed moments. You have time to think. You have time to talk with your friends. It’s all about entertainment and enjoying your time.

The nargile pipe consists of four pieces which are the Ağızlık (mouthpiece), Lüle (the top of the nargile), Marpuç (the tube), and Gövde (the body of the pipe). Gövde were generally manufactured in Beykoz. They were decorated with floral motifs and became unique examples of Turkish handcraft. Nowadays, it’s very diffucult to find a nargile pipe with the same high quality that was standard in the past. They are usually produced with poor quality materials, and there is less craftsmanship because all nargile pipes are usually mass-produced.

The tobacco is placed atop the tobacco-filled head, often separated by aluminum foil. The hose and mouthpiece through which the user inhales, is connected to the bowl that is half-filled with water. You should use mostly cold water and some ice. You can also add some flavored fruit powder into the glass. When the smoker inhales, the smoke passes through the waterpipe body, bubbles through the water in the bowl and is then carried to the smoker through the hose. Don’t puff strongly. Smoke gently. You should not suck too long or too frequently. Lay the hose on the table, don’t hand it to the next user. The other person will pick it up when he/she is ready.  Never light anyone else’s cigarettes on the nargile fire because this disturbs the rhythm of the burning charcoal.

Nargile has become popular again recently. You can find nargile cafes everywhere in Istanbul. The thing is only a few of them provide good quality nargile and offer the right kind of atmosphere in which you can chat comfortably with your friends. Tophane, Çemberlitaş and Kadıköy are popular spots for smoking nargile. If you have your own, you can also find many nice spots along the seaside in Anadolukavağı or the Golden Horn which are perfect for smoking nargile and comfortably enjoying your time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Oludeniz Paragliding in Fethiye

There is one of the highest commercial take-off sites in the world – Babadag Mountain located near the Oludeniz beach and and Hisaronu. If you wonder how high is Babadag Mountain then we need to notice that the Babadag Mountain paragliding heght is about 6500 ft (1960 m).Breathtaking panorama and stable weather conditions make launch site for tandem paragliding from Babadag Oludeniz Mountain the best in Europe for tandem Oludeniz paragliding in Turkey.During the Babadag paragliding Oludeniz flight you will experience exciting 360 degrees turns, wingovers and even thermal flows that may extend the descent. Contrary to popular belief Oludeniz paragliding in Fethiye does not imply Oludeniz mountain jump from the cliff but the several steps run to take off to the sky. Landing on the Oludeniz beach is as easy as taking off from Babadag Mountain - no rapid decline but just gentle touch down. All pilots are professionals with years of mount Babadag paragliding (parascending) experience so the tandem flight with the pilot is completely safe. You are insured from the moment you get on the transport truck that will take you to the launch site to landing on the Olu Deniz beach.

Enjoy breathtaking tandem Oludeniz paragliding Turkey flight with an experienced pilot. Fly along one of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey - Olu Deniz. Total airborne time is 30-40 minutes. During the Fethiye paragliding in Oludeniz Turkey you will have enough time to enjoy bird’s-eye views of stunning famous Blue Lagoon and gently land on the Oludeniz beach. Absolutely no experience is required to fly in tandem with pilot, all is under the control of professional and experienced pilot. Children under 6years and adults with heart disease and weighing more than 95 kg are not allowed to fly. Each passenger is given a helmet and flight suit. To ensure complete safety our specialists are monitoring changes in the weather and wind direction twice - before transportation to the takeoff point and straight before takeoff. Transportation to the launch site takes about 60 minutes through villages of Hisaronu and Ovacik. 

Monday, September 19, 2016


The main part of this acient church is from 12 th of century, but the funerary chapel was constructed in the 14th of century by Maria Doukania,who was the Empress of the Despotate of Epirus. The monastery housed the tomb of her husband,Micheal Galabas,a former general and high court official.

The mosaic decorations, which date from 1320, and the marble revetments are certainly worth seeing.But most impressive of all are the busts of craggy,bearded monks clustered in the corners. The bust and the cornices are inscribed with a lengthy poem honoring the husband,choirs praying to the soul of the deceased Micheal.

After the Ottoman conquest in 1453,the church was first used as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Partiarchate before it was converted into Fethiye Mosque in 1590.In the early years of the Turkish Republic,the mosque was turned into a museum.

Monday, August 15, 2016


A predecessor to the Hagia Sophia,this church represents one of Byzantium's most innovative architectural creations. One of the oldest religious sites in the city, during the Ottoman period it was known as the little Hagia Sophia.

Byzantine Emperor Justinian( r.527-65) was among the saints' devotees. According to legend,when Justinian was a young man, he was condemned to death for plotting against Emperor Anastasius. But Sergius and Bacchus appeared to the emperor in a dream,convincing him to release Justinian. After they were martyred in Syria,Justinian wanted to make this a creation for their souls.

Sultan Beyazit later converted this monastery to a bedesten ( a covered market) and an education center of Islamic art. Today, it is also famous site housing local artists' ateliers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

The Underwater Archaeology Museum, is one of Bodrum’s most popular tourist venues, and is known as the only underwater museum in Europe.

The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which received a special commendation in 1995 as a European Museum of the Year, was established in the Bodrum Castle in 1964. Initially, the restoration of the castle was the priority; later, exhibition halls were created in the available space.

The museum exhibits several collections of ancient artifacts including relics retrieved from local shipwrecks, divided over 14 exhibition departments in the museum. Many of the items found in the museums can be touched, felled and read about by visiting tourists. It’s visited by more then 300,000 visitors a year,Each shipwreck found in the museum takes it’s name from the area that they were found, the items that these ships were carrying can be seen in the display cabinets. Amongst the attractions in the Uluburun ship, which is the world’s oldest surviving sunken ship, dating back 3,500 years.Although the castle is under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Culture, all the museum exhibitions are overseen by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, an American non-profit organization with bases both in Bodrum and Texas, United States of America.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Turkey’s largest single parcel vineyard in a land of 1.168.000 m2 was established at Torbali- Izmir. They started to produce wines in 2004 from the grapes and began to be grown in organic viticulture methods in order to preserve the original as well as fruity characters. 

Experts reviewed the territorial and climatic characteristics of vineyards and as a result of soil and climate analyzes conducted, saplings supplied from Europe were shipped to Lucien Arkas Vineyards by special air-conditioned trucks. Then, they decided to plant high quality wine making grapes such as Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Marselan, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) , Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Bornova Misketi at LA Vineyards. These are the types of grapes which were thought to perfectly match the soil and conditions of Aegean and some of them were never cultivated in Turkey. At Lucien Arkas Vineyards, vines are wrapped by wire based on a cultivation system called “High trellis' to ensure that they grow upward. This provides plenty of air circulation and sunlight required for healthy growth of grapes. Also, we prune and cut the vines before harvesting and reduce the amount of bunches of grapes per vines based on “low productivity, high quality'' principle. In this way, aromatic character of grapes is strengthened. 

Awarded Wines: 

-LA Consensus Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot ,2009
-LA Organic Mon Rêve Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc, 2010 & 2012
-LA Mon Reve Tempranillo, 2010

Sunday, May 15, 2016


This church was previously known as Christ Akatalepsos Church. But in 1966 during renovation,two frescoes of the Mother of God, Kyriotissa with inscriptions were found.

This is the fourth building on the site : A roman bath ( which was close to the aqqueduct)was the first use,replaced in the late 6 th century by a small basilica. A second church was added to the south side in the 7 th century. The present church was erected in its place reusing the main apse and parts of the outer narthex.During the Roman occupation after 1204,it probably served as a Dominican monastry and was decorated with one of the oldest known fresco cycles about the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Charming villages of the Aegean 2 : Bozcaada

     "God created Tenedos so people could lead longer lives" said Heredotus. Bozcaada really is an extraordinary heaven with its streets adorned with oleander, begonia and honeysuckle. It features local wines, historical fortress, clean sea and warm - hearted people... 

  Bozcaada's Greek  and Turkish traditions have greatly influenced the island's culture.  Throug the island's longtime  Greek residents moved away, Bozcaada's Greek district still retains its original street plan and traditional Greek homes.  The Turkish district has a completely diffrent look and feel with beautiful mosques, narrow streets, fountains and hammams.

   Once you get to Bozcaada, all you may want to do is eat some divine local food, swirl some Turkish wine or rakı and relax on the beach or in a white - washed chair


    The island’s town center is divided into Greek and Turkish sections, referring to the groups who originally built the districts. You’ll see a mosque and Ottoman architecture on one side and an old church with a tall clock tower and white-washed houses like you find in Greece on the other side. 

  Bozcaada is known for its Turkish wines, so you can sample the likes of Talay, Corvus and Çamlıbağ in the city center.


   Try some of the amazing local food! The island's gastronomy reflects the culinary traditions of 500 years of Turkish - Greek cohabitation. 

  Çayır Plajı, Ayazma, Akvaryum and Tuzburnu Plajı, are also good places to take a dip in the crystalline water. 

If you find yourself in Turkey and you’re craving a taste of island life, make time for Bozcaada...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Charming villages of the Aegean 1 : Şirince

    When a group of room feeling the harsh living conditions of the City of Ephesus climbed the mountains, they discovered Şirince, a secret heaven. To keep its beauty a secret, they called this heavenly place "Çirkince"( Ugly). People from diffrent cultures and beliefs lived in peace and understanding here for centuries under the shadows of century - old trees. With plenty of valleys, waterfalls, vineyards and bird chirping, the village offers a fairy tale- like vacation to those who love peace and silence. Don't leave here without tasting the homemade fruit wine... 

Highlights of the Sirince:

  • Tasting the homemade fruit wine 
  • Visiting St Johns church which is being restored
  • Tasting olives and olive oil and buying hand made olive oil soap
  • Visiting the restored Orthodox church with fountain and statue of the Virgin Mary
  • Shopping in the  market street 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Tower, Two Mosques and a love story

Mihrimah was the beloved daughter of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and the only sister to his five sons from his beloved Hürrem Sultan. Her name  is Mihrimah which means the "sun and moon" in Farsi.

When Mihrimah is seventeen,a good age to get married in those years,there are two lovers of hers. One of them is Rüstem Pasha(the governer of Diyarbakir) and the other one is Sinan the Architect,the head architect of palace.

The padisah weds Rüstem Pasha and Mihrimah as Sinan is 50 and already married but it is clear that Sinan is deeply in love with Mihrimah Sultan.Though he isn’t able to achieve his dream, he wanted to reflect his feelings to his art.

Sinan was commissioned to design the  Mihrimah Sultan Mosque near the Bosphorus in Uskadar in 1548. The design mimics the silhouette of a woman in a skirt. After Rustem Pasa died, Sinan designed a new mosque without palace approval. He built the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque on the highest hill of Istanbul in Edirnekapi (1565).

‘Mihrimah’ means the ‘sun and moon’ and so Sinan designed the Uskadar mosque with less windows, symbolizing the moon. The Edirnekapi mosque has many windows signifying the sun. The Edirnekapi mosque also has one minaret to symbolize Sinan's loneliness and longing for one woman.

The love story suggests that on 21 March (Spring Equinox and Mihrimah's birthday), the sun will set over the single minaret in Edirnekapi and the moon will rise over the mosque in Uskadar.

 You can see both mosques from the Galata Tower. For hopeless romantics, the story is a great excuse to climb the medieval tower during a springtime sunset.