Monday, 06 June 2016 / Published in Istanbul, Museums, Sites

The first palace of the era following the conquest was built on today’s Beyazit Square. After that palace, which has left almost no remains, a new one was built. The new palace in Sultanahmet, of which construction ordered by Mehmed II. finished in 1478, was originally called the New Palace (Saray—i Cedid or Yeni Saray), but it was to be known as the Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayi). The initial size of the Topkapı Palace, the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire for about 380 years, was 700 thousand sqm. The palace mirroring the magnificent side of the empire was to remain as one of the “most intriguing places of the world” for hundreds of years. However, in the 19th century, the modern lifestyle represented by the new palaces of Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi and Yıldız, which were built along the Bosphorus, disgraced the Topkapı Palace. Sultans and members of their families gradually left Topkapı. When the valuable artifacts protected in the Chambers of Treasury and Sacred Relics (Kutsal Emanetler) began to attract great interest among foreign ambassadors, presentations of them has become a tradition and after the order of Sultan Abdulaziz, articles in the palace were started to be put into glass cases. Topkapı Palace was transformed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924 into a state museum.

The Topkapı Palace, which is conveying the story of a unique culture that lasted hundreds of years, constitutes the mysterious side of a cultural richness that cannot be easily explored through visiting, watching or reading. The Imperial Treasury where invaluable jewels are exhibited, the Chamber of the Sacred Relics (Kutsal Emanetler Bölümü) and the Imperial Harem are still the most popular sections of the museum. Countless artifacts including elegant wall and table clocks and pocket watches, calligraphic works, miniatures, oil paintings, documents, books and writing sets are exhibited in the museum, which has currently a total size of 80 thousand sqm.

The Topkapı Palace was representing Istanbul, and Istanbul was representing the Ottoman Empire. ln fact, Mehmed II. chose the site of the palace as if he wanted to “vanish” the Byzantine Empire. The Topkapı Palace was built on the end of the Historic Peninsula, over the remains of a Byzantine Palace Basilica. Sultan ’s Wall (Sur-i Sultani) built during the reign of Mehmed II. surrounded the land side of the palace and complemented the sea walls remaining from the Byzantine era. The Imperial Gate (Bab—i Humayun), also known as the Gate of Sultan (Saltanat Kapisi), was used to enter the palace, which was not only a residence, but it was also a big complex where the state was administered, where the princes were educated and where the servants were staying. A 300 meters long way connects the Imperial Gate with the Gate of Salutation (Babu’s—Selam), also known as the Middle Gate (Orta Kapi)The area between those two gates constitutes the First Courtyard (Avlu or Alay Meydani). The Middle Gate has two towers made of stone and it is the main gate of the palace. Upon passing this gate, the Second Courtyard (II. Avlu) is entered. The most popular structure in this area is the Tower of Justice (Adalet Kulesi). This tower was symbolizing that sultans were valuing justice above all else. The Grand Vizier and viziers gathered, ambassadors were received and banquets in honor of special guests were held here.

The section including the Enderun School was the Third Courtyard (Ill. Avlu) of the Topkapı Palace. ln the Enderun School, which was seen as the most important building surrounding the courtyard, students were trained to become statesmen, commanders and ”inner boys”, i.e., servants of the palace. Through the practice of ”devşirme”, conscripted boys from Christian families were converted to Islam and brought to the Enderun School. The Second Courtyard was surrounded mainly by administrative buildings. The most important one among them was the Imperial Council (Divan-i Humayun) building. The main meeting room of the Imperial Council was called Kubbealti (under the dome). The Window with the golden grill, at the center of the Wall decorated with mosaics and motifs, was made for the sultans. Thus, sitting behind this grill, they were able to follow deliberations of the council without being noticed…

The Gate of Felicity (Babu’s Saade) was both one of the most important gates of the palace and the entrance into the Third Courtyard (III. Avlu). Ceremonies were held and viziers going to war were sent off here. Behind this door, there were the Chamber of the Throne (Taht Odasi), the Imperial Treasury (Hazine) and the Chamber of the Sacred Relics (Kutsal Emanetler Dairesi). This gate was used to enter the private courtyard of the sultan as Well. ln the miniature above with a scene from 1789, Selim II’s ascending to the throne before the Gate of Felicity (Babu’s Saade) is portrayed. The Gate of Felicity had a symbolic meaning in the Ottoman era, but today, thousands of hurrying tourists are passing quickly through it…

As soon as entering the treasury rooms of the Topkapı Palace Museum, one of the richest collections in the world, every thought about wealth, money or richness is left behind the walls made of stones. The term “invaluable” becomes concrete and in fact, none of the artifacts here can be appraised… This section, built on the order of Mehmed ll, housed the treasury during the imperial era. One fifth of all state revenues were transferred to this treasury. Besides, valuable gifts sent by foreign statesmen were stored here. With the addition of jewelry, furs, clothes and articles owned by the sultan and his court, rumors about the ”Enderun Treasury” turned into a world~wide legend. The Enderun Treasury was separate from the treasury of the government, and in cases of financial trouble, the articles stored here were sold in order to provide support. Even the remains of this treasury, which was protected by about 150 inner boys, are sufficient to astonish people. Of course, the most popular ones among the articles dating from various centuries are the Spoonmaker’s Diamond (Kaşıkçı Elması and the Topkapı Dagger (Topkapı Hanceri), which were mentioned in novels and movies as well. Besides these two unique articles that are worldwide famous, thrones, crests, swords, chandeliers, state medals and ornaments take visitors’ breaths away.

Monday, 06 June 2016 / Published in Marmara, Winter

Uludag, Turkey’s most popular ski resort, is located within the Marmara region, 32 km south of Bursa, and offers a four-month long skiing season. Declared a National park in 1961 for its natural fabric and rich flora and fauna, Uludag is visited by throngs of people between December and/March, that is during the three-month long skiing season. With incoming skiers and hotel workers, UIudag’s population sustains a dramatic increase in this period. Uludag caters to skiers in winter and hosts camping, trekking, hunting events and picnic excursions in summer. Its climate di?ers according to altitude. The lower levels have a Mediterranean climate, which turns into a humid microthermal climate as altitude increases, and becomes glacial at higher altitudes. The most prominent Uludag destinations with activities for all seasons are: the hotel region-Cennet Kaya wolfram-mine region- trekking tracks around Lakes region, 11 pistes offering Alpine snowboarding, cross country and heli-skiing, 7 chairlift and 6 Teleski facilities with a total capacity of 10,000 people per hour; Sarialan, Kirazli, Kadi and Sabra Plateaus to the north of Uludag, moraine found at an altitude of 2000 m. and Kilimli, Kara and Aynali Lakes, and Bakacak Hill where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Bursa.

Alkoclar Hotel
1.Gelisim Bolgesi Uludag/Bursa
(+90) 224 285 23 22
www.alkoclar.com.tr – info@alkoclar.com.tr
Alkoclar, identified with Bursa Uludag, is preferred primarily by ski lovers and by those who prefer ski holiday with family. Alkoglar Uludag, one of the first region hotels in Uludag, which aims to offer a privileged winter looks forward to have you as guests with it sone card system valid in both regions and 21 lift advantages. Alkoclar Uludag Hotel is preferred by the guests because of its location very close to the ski slope view and its view. The hotel also o?ers many choices for the nightlife as well to its guests. it also hosts many educational institutions and schools which aims to make students love skiing.

Alkoclar Zone 2 Hotel
2.GeIisim Bolgesi Uludag/Bursa
(+90) 224 285 22 88 51
www.alkoclar.com.tr – zone2@Alkoclar.com.tr
Alkoclar Zone Hotel is located at Second Hotels region at Uludag Mountain and provides the guests rich tasteful experience with wide range of menu. The hotel is called as the “pearl” of this region with spacious lobby, entertainment activities and live music. Alkoclar Zone, presents both ski fun and work life under the some umbrella with quality and friendly service understanding thanks to 5 meeting rooms.The guests have possibility to reach both two regions with 17 facilities with one ski pass. They can use Alkoctlar Teleski, Fahri Chairlift, Beceren Teleski, Osman Yuce Chairlift, Belvu Teleski, Mandra Telecabin, Italian Teleski, Tutyeli Chairlift, Kusaklikaya Chairlift in the first region; and Mandira Teleski, Kirkgozler Teleski, Maden Chairlift, Beden Terbiyesi Chairlift, Baia Teleski, Alkoclar-Karinna Teleski, Kartanesi Teleski in the second region all day with one card.

Beceren Hotel
1.Gelisim Bolgesi Uludag / Bursa
(+90) Z24 285 21 11
www.beceren.com.tr – info@beceren.com.tr
Beceren Hotel, being the pioneer of the ski tourism of Turkey, is providing their guests the comfort they are looking for for the last 3 generations. It has been a great set for most of the Turkish films through out years and with its unique location, you will be just a step away frown the ski lifts. In winter season, it offers full-board accommodation and in summer season, you can enjoy bed+breakfast options in Uludag. ln winter, you can enjoy ski, snowboard, snow mobile and in summer, you will have the chance to enjoy Uludag mountain with trekking, climbing, mountain biking and all—terrain vehicles. Uludag is calling you.

Grand Yazici Hotel
1.Gelisim Bolgesi Uludag / Bursa
(+90) 224 285 20 50
www.grandyaziciuludag.com – izzetyiImaz@grandyazici.com
Distance to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: 135 km. The facility has one main building including 235 rooms and has got 1 covered Restaurant and 3 bars. Kervansaray Uludag Hotel 1.Gelisim Bolgesi Uludag/Bursa (+90) 224 285 21 87 www,kervansarayhotels.com.tr uludag@kervansarayhotels.com With its unique architecture that has continued for years and has remained loyal to its original style, Kervansaray Uludag Ski Center offers its guests the comfort that only the exclusive world of select furniture and accessories can provide. Offering the elegant simplicity and comfort of 163 rooms with a view on the mountain or skiing tracks, out of which 14 are suites, Kervansaray Uludag Ski Center is proud of its ability to give its guests a feeling of home. With its 149 standard rooms of 15-20 m2 with a view on the mountain or skiing tracks, our facility has everything required to make your vacation comfortable, offering modern design, more space compared to competition and minimalist decorations that reflect the original style of the building. All of the rooms are carpeted.

Monte Baia Hotel
2.Oteller bölgesi Uludağ / Bursa
(+90) 224 285 23 83
www.baiahotels.com/baiauludag – monte@baiahoteIs,com
Monte Baia Uludag Mountain Hotel is located 1 km to 1st Hotels Region, 35 kilometers to Bursa City Center; offers you the vacation you are longing for with its dynamic environment and minimalist design; At Monte Baia Uludag Mountain Hotel you will enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Sunday, 05 June 2016 / Published in Christianity, Museums, Religious, Sites

The seven ecumenical church consils were all held in Turkey. The chart below provides general information on these seven concils. All dates are AD.

I. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :325 / Nicea in the Emperor’s summer palace
Participants :Convened by Constantine with over 300 bishops present
Heresy :Arianism
Outcome :Creed adopted stating that Jesus was “true God from true God, begotten not made of the same substance with the Father through whom all things were made

II. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :381 / Constantinople in the Hagie Irene Church
Participants :Convened by Emperor Theodisius with 150 eastern bishop present including Gregory of Nazianus, Gregory of Nyssa, and Cyril of Jerusalem
Heresy :Arianism and Apollinarianism
Outcome :Teaching of Arius and Apollinarius denounced; refined the Nicene Creed by making 10 additions to the next and affirmed the deity of the Holly Spirit

III. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :431 / Ephesus in Church of Mary
Participants :Convened by Emperor Theodisius II with over 200 bishop present
Heresy :Nestorianism and Pelagianism
Outcome :Teaching of Nestorius denounced Mary called “Theotokos” ( God-bearer) and Pelagius condemned for his view of original sin.

IV. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :451 / Chalcedon in St.Euphemia Church
Participants :Convened by Emperor Marcian with about 370 bishop present
Heresy :Eutychianism
Outcome :Eutyches’teaching denounced and a brief definition of faith declaring that Christ’s two natures were “unmixed,unchanged,undivided, and inseparable

V. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :553 / Constantinople in Hagia Sophia Church
Participants :Convened by Emperor Justinian I with about 152 mostly Eastern bishop present
Heresy :Monophysitism
Outcome :Affirmed that Christ had both a human nature and a divine nature

VI. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :680 / Constantinople in Hagia Sophia Church
Participants :Convened by Emperor Constantine IV with 170 bishop present
Heresy :Monothelitism
Outcome :Affirmed that Christ had both a divine and human will ; condemned Pope Honorius for supporting Monothelitism

VII. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Date / Location :787 / Nicea in Hagia Sophia Church there
Participants :Convened by Emperor Constantine VI and his mother Irene with 367 bishop present
Heresy :Iconaclasm
Outcome :Veneration of icons and statutes declared legitimate; these were restored to the churches

Wednesday, 01 June 2016 / Published in Useful information

Banks and ATMs : Banks are open between 09:00 – 17:00 , you can find ATMs every corner in major cities. Approximate transaction charge is between 1%-4%

Public toilets : You can find public toilets in museums, sites, parks and gasoline stations. Most of them ask money (approx 1 TL ). There are two different type of toilet; “alaturka” and “ala franga” Alaturka toilet is a toilet used by squatting, rather than sitting. Alafranga toilet is as you know. Most of the public toilets provide touilets paper but you may keep your paper tissue. You can alway find clean water and soap there.

Homosexuality : Normally, homosexuality is acceptible in Turkey’s major cities. But other cities a little conservative about homosexuality. You can find more details here http://www.kaosgl.com/

Electricity : The whole country is available 220 volt current and 50 Hz cycle.Plugs are two entrances. Sometimes you need to use transformer or adaptor for your special electricity machines.

Working hours : Generally all government and municipality offices are open between 09:30 – 16:00, Shopping Malls and stores are open between 10:00 – 22:00

Emergency : Police dial 155, Emergency service dial 112, Fire department dial 110

Tipping : Tip ( bahsis ) is important portion of tourism worker’s income. You can give aproximate %5-10 of total amoun tip in restaurants, $€ 1 to hotel porters, $€ 10 to your driver, $€ 20-30 to your tour guide.

Credit cards : Most of stores accept Visa/Mastercards, but AMEX cards not commonly.

Post offices : Regular postal services in Istanbul and all Turkey are provided by PTT ( yellow background and black uppercase )All are open between 08:00 – 18:00 in major cities, other can be closed at 17:00.

Public holidays : January 1, April 23, May 1, May 19, August 30, October 29

Time : GMT + 2

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