ISTANBUL - CITY OF MYSTERY AND INTRIQUE

Trip Start May 28, 2007
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25
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Trip End Dec 31, 2007


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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, June 18, 2007

ISTANBUL, FORMERLY KNOWN AS CONSTANTINOPLE FOR 1630 YEARS (300 AD TO 1930 AD).
CLOSEST ASIAN CITY TO EUROPE.
CLOSEST EUROPEAN CITY TO ASIA.
ONLY CITY THAT IS ON TWO CONTINENTS  -  EUROPE AND ASIA.
CITY IS A CROSS ROADS BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST  -  AND THIS IS HOW IT PROMOTES AND PRESENTS IT'S SELF.

THE CITY IS NOW OVER 2600 YEARS OLD  -  IT WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY THE GREEKS IN 656 BC BY A GENTLEMAN OF THE NAME OF BYZANTIUM,  WHO VERY MODESTLY NAMED THE CITY AFTER HIMSELF  -  BYZANTINE  -  WHICH WAS THE CUSTOM IN THOSE TIMES.

CITY WAS CALLED BYZANTINE FOR 956 YEARS FROM 656 BC TO 300 AD WHEN EMPEROR CONSTANTINE MADE IT THE CAPITAL OF THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE AND VERY MODESTLY RENAMED IT AFTER HIMSELF, WHICH WAS THE CUSTOM IN THOSE TIMES, AS CONSTANTINOPLE.

THE HAY DAY OF CONSTANTINOPLE WAS FOR 300 YEARS FROM 300AD TO 600AD AS THE CAPITAL OF THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE.
WALLS BUILT AROUND THE CITY IN 325AD ARE STILL STANDING TODAY AND ARE STILL IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE.

OWNERSHIP OF THE CITY HAS ONLY CHANGED ONCE IN THE 2,000 YEARS  -  IN 1452AD OWNERSHIP CHANGED FROM THE GREEKS TO THE TURKS.  HAD A SECOND HAY DAY OF 300 YEARS FROM 1452AD TO 1752AD AS THE CAPITAL OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE.

IT HAS A POPULATION OF 15,000,000 NOW, SO IT IS STILL DOING OKAY  -  BUT IT IS NOT A HAY DAY ANYMORE.  -  LARGEST CITY IN TURKEY, WHICH HAS A POPULATION OF 70,000,000.

HAS THE LARGEST BAZAAR IN THE WORLD AND IT IS COVERED  -  40,000 SHOPS IN IT.  SHOP AFTER SHOP AFTER SHOP AFTER SHOP WITH DISPLAY WINDOWS FILLED WITH GOLD JEWELERY AND OTHER GOLD OBJECTS.  IT BOGGLES THE MIND SEEING THIS DISPLAY OF GOLD.

BIG SELLING ITEMS IN ISTANBUL AND THE BAZAAR ARE:
   - GOLD JEWELERY (SILVER TOO, BUT TO A LESSER EXTENT)
   - LOTS AND LOTS OF VERY BIG STONE RINGS (SEMI-PRECIOUS)
   - CARPETS (CARPET PRICES CAN RANGE FROM $10,000 TO $100,000'S)
   - LEATHER GOODS
   - SILK GOODS (IE SCARVES, ETC.) THE MOST EXPENSIVE CARPETS ARE WOVEN FROM SILK.

PRICES ARE QUOTED AND PAYMENT ASKED FOR IN:
   - EURO'S
   - USA DOLLARS
   - AND LAST, TURKEY LIRA.

THE MERCHANTS SEEM TO PREFER EURO'S AND THEN USA DOLLARS
TO GETTING THE TURKEY LIRA.
I HAD TURKEY LIRA BUT THE MERCHANTS DID NOT WANT THEM - THEY WANTED EURO'S (WHICH I DID HAVE) OR USA DOLLARS (WHICH I DID NOT HAVE)

TURKEY IS A VERY INTERESTING PLACE BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN THE CENTRE OF 5 CIVILIZATIONS:
   - GREEK  656BC to 100BC
   - ROMAN 100BC to 476BC
   - BYZANTINE  476AD to 1452BC
   - OTTOMAN EMPIRE 1452AD to 1923AD
   - MODERN DAY TURKEY, PART OF THE MODERN WORLD - OR AT LEAST TRYING TO BE.

MANY ANCIENT, HISTORIC BUILDINGS, MONUMENTS, STRUCTURES (AMPHITHEATRES, AQUEDUCTS, ROADS, ETC.) AND RUINS FROM EACH ERA THAT ARE STILL STANDING AND INTACT TODAY.

HAIGH SOFIA BUILT IN 325AD  -  STILL BEING USED TODAY  -  LARGEST CHURCH IN THE WORLD FOR OVER 1,000 YEARS.
IT WAS BUILT IN 5 YEARS WITH 10,000 SLAVES - HOWEVER, THEY DID CHEAT A LITTLE BIT BY USING MARBLE, MARBLE PILLARS AND STATUES FROM OTHER SITES

WALLS OF CONSTANTINOPLE BUILT IN 325AD ARE STILL STANDING TODAY.

THE BLUE MOSQUE AND TOPAKI PALACE BUILT ABOUT 1600AD

GIGANTIC UNDER GROUND CISTERN BUILT ABOUT 400AD TO STORE WATER DURING SIEGES IS STILL INTACT TODAY - OVER 300 MARBLE PILLARS USED IN ITS CONSTRUCTION -  FEATURED IN THE JAMES BOND MOVIE, "FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE"

EGYPTIAN OBELISK, BUILT ABOUT 1500BC IN EGYPT BROUGHT TO CONSTANTINOPLE ABOUT 325AD  - IT IS MADE FROM ONE STONE - 150 FT. HIGH AND WEIGHTS ABOUT 800 TONS. IT IS STILL STANDING AS A MONUMENT TO THE GREATER GLORY OF ROME  -  THERE ARE AT LEAST 16 OF THESE TYPES OF OBELISK'S IN ROME - APPARENTLY THE ROMANS LIKED TO COLLECT THEM.

TURKEY IS DEFINITELY WORTH A TRIP/HOLIDAY/VACATION ON ITS OWN - IT HAS A LOT TO OFFER AND IS A VERY INTERESTING PLACE  -  LISE AND I PLAN ON KEEPING IT IN MIND WHEN WE BACKPACK AROUND THE WORLD.

BECAUSE OF THE MIXTURE OF RACES HERE IN TURKEY FROM THE GREEK, ROMAN, BYZANTINE AND OTTOMAN EMPIRE ERA'S MANY OF THE PEOPLE HERE HAVE A VERY EUROPEAN OR NORTH AMERICAN LOOK.

THE COUNTRY IS 95% MUSLIM, 5% CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH.

IN ISTANBUL THERE ARE:
   - 3,000 MOSQUES
   - 300 CHURCHES
   - 30 SYNAGOGUES
OF THE 3,000 MOSQUES, ONLY ABOUT 200 ARE REALLY, HUGE, GIGANTIC MOSQUES IN SIZE.


MEDITERRANEAN DAVE, AND
THE VERY LOVELY LISE
LIVE WELL
LAUGH OFTEN
LOVE MUCH
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We are "A" group travel agency located in Istanbul - Turkey privateistanbultours.com is run by New Deal Travel Agency, a Turkish, Australian and American managed tour operator and destination management company for Istanbul & Turkey, specializing in providing flexible private tours, travel packages, meetings. We hold a group A travel agency license, under TURSAB - the Turkish Tour Operator Authority.

www.privateistanbultours.com

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