Turkey: An Independent Travel Guide

This travel guide to Turkey is intended to show foreign would-be travelers and residents what Turkey is really like, unbiased by glossy brochures or homepages by Turkish authorities or individuals, nor by Greeks/Armenians/Kurds/... who pour venom on Turkey, etc. No offense meant to any of these homepages, but I think they are often of little practical value to foreign would-be visitors to Turkey. Consequently, you should not expect any photos/sounds/smells from Turkey in these pages: for fast downloads, this guide is limited to textual information, the rest can wait until you get there or can be found on other sites. This travel page is thus not redundant with (most) other services on Turkey, as it is only about travel, with special focus on independent travel!

Note that this travel guide is just a service I provide as a pastime, but not as my profession (I am an academic in computing science!). Please contact an on/offline travel agent, and/or the nearest Turkish consulate, if you cannot find the desired information starting from this travel guide. But I will reply to "interesting" requests (if you promise to give feedback), especially that I have made some wonderful friends this way!

In 2012, I decided to stop maintaining this guide, but it still contains a lot of correct and useful information.

Contents

1. Online Information 2. Printed Information 3. Letters from/to Readers of this Guide Happy traveling in Turkey,
Pierre Flener

Copyright © 1995-2012 Pierre Flener. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written permission. Last updated 7 June 2012 by Pierre Flener.


1. Online Information

Facts & FAQs | Safety & Health | Languages Spoken | Money & Exchange Rates | Independent Travel Information | Impressions from (Foreign) Visitors


Facts & FAQs

The
CIA World Factbook has lots of interesting facts about Turkey.

If you understand French, then TÍte de Turc is a non-governmental organisation aiming at dismantling common prejudices against Turkey.

Similar information, from the Turkish Government's viewpoint and only regarding political issues, is in English at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Kurdish Information Network has some very objective facts and background information on the "Kurdish question", but also information on, and pointers to, more "extreme" viewpoints.


Safety & Health

The
US State Department Travel Warnings & Consular Information Sheets give an up-to-date, though slightly paranoid (it's for US citizens!), estimate of the current political/economical/religious/... climate in Turkey. See Letters from/to Readers of this Guide in this travel guide for other opinions.

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has excellent information about staying healthy in Turkey and the Middle East.


Languages Spoken

The
Ethnologue Database has an astoundingly long list of all languages spoken in Turkey.

Roughly Speaking has a well-designed Turkish language guide for travellers and expatriates.

The Turkish Phrasebook of Lonely Planet Publications is also invaluable for getting around Turkey.

The Dictionary of the Turkic Languages published by Routledge in 1996 includes the Turkish language.

Michael C. Martin's Foreign Languages for Travelers has some basic lessons (with sounds!) for the traveler on the Turkish language and pointers to many other language-related resources.

Online Turkish has a few free trial lessons (with sounds!) of Turkish.

There are a couple introductory courses on the Kurmanji dialect of the Kurdish language.


Money & Exchange Rates

The
Turkish Republic Central Bank (TCMB) has today's exchange rates.

The OANDA Currency Converter also allows you to find out the weekly exchange rates of the New Turkish Lira (TRY) vs. other currencies.


Independent Travel Information

Excellent travel-related pages on Turkey are at:

Many, many others are linked to by these.


Impressions from (Foreign) Visitors

There are the seven parts of my own
Diary of a Foreigner Living in Turkey.

Kerem Almac is a Turkish photographer who maintains Turkey in Photos, a travel guide with focus on culture and history.

Turkish Travel aims to provide credible, accurate and timely Travel Articles and regular updates for travellers, including tourists, business travellers, expatriates, and others to Turkey.

Dick Osseman maintains an astounding archive of the many thousands of Turkey pictures he shot.

Khaled Elsayed has a very nice collection of photos about istanbul.

Jan Van Assche and Ayse Ergurbuz have some nice photos and information on Turkey.

Tayfun DemirŲz is a Turk maintaining insightful anecdotes of istanbul, from a local's point of view.

Izzet Keribar is a Turkish professional photographer who has some superb galleries of photos on Turkey.

Derek Szabo is a professional photographer who has some nice photos of Istanbul, from his trip in 1998.

Barbara Sher writes in Kilim Women about her part-time life in Ortahisar, Cappadocia.

Petter Andersen put together a cute page called My Travels in Turkey.

Paulo de Oliveira compiled the informative Turkey Ride based on a trip to Turkey with his father.

Jim and Geri published their journal on a trip to Western Turkey in April 1998.

TravelASSIST Magazine has at least two stories on Turkey, namely Timeless Turkey - istanbul and Treading Turkey's Ancient Stones.

Also see the Travel-Library.com and Turkish Radio Hour for travel articles on Turkey.

Lonely Planet Publications have travellers' feedback from Turkey and the Thorn Tree branch on the Middle East, a bulletin board for travellers.


2. Printed Information

Lonely Planet | Rough Guides | Guide du Routard | Eat Smart Guides


Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet Publications have several city, region, and country guides covering (at least parts of) Turkey, as well as a Turkish atlas and a Turkish phrasebook. They are all highly recommended! Choosing between any of these and the Rough Guides, I'd take whichever is the most suitable and the most recent.

Lonely Planet Publications also have:

The following book is no longer mentioned by them, but is worth tracking down second-hand: Excellent selection of treks in Turkey, from one-day hikes to lengthy treks in the mountains to ascensions of volcanos and other high peaks. Detailed stone-by-stone descriptions of the trails, because detailed maps of Turkey are somehow hard to come by. Interesting cultural background sections, and practical details on where/what/when to stock up on edibles and equipment. Needs an update and extension!


Rough Guides

Rough Guides have a guidebook and a phrasebook on Turkey. They are both highly recommended! Choosing between any of these and the Lonely Planet guides, I'd take whichever is the most suitable and the most recent.


Guide du Routard

Les Guides du Routard ont: Assez bon, mais (comme d'habitude) un peu mince sur le côté historique. Bonne couverture le long des côtes de l'Egée et de la Méditerranée, de la Cappadoce (excellentes descriptions de randonnées), et du Mont Nemrut. Faible cependant sur tout le reste du pays (notamment la moitié Est).


Eat Smart Guides

Don't read this book unless there is a nearby phone or travel agent: the Petersons will make your mouth water so much that you'll want to leave for Turkey right away! Also, once in Turkey, they will help you go beyond street food, so as to endulge in one of the world's finest cuisines. Their list of Turkish menu items and ingredients is really comprehensive (it successfully passed scrutiny by some of my female students!), and they provide historical and regional overviews, a small compilation of useful phrases for restaurants and markets, and of course some recipes to try before/after your journey. Their mind-set is right: they want to provide travelers the opportunity to learn the culture through the cuisine, and I highly recommend this book!


3. Letters from/to Readers of this Guide

Safety & Health | Opinions on the Book/Movie "Midnight Express" | Crossing to/from Greece/Italy/Georgia/Iran | Buses, Trains, Car Rentals, Taxis | Itineraries | Istanbul | Central Anatolia: Ankara, Cappadocia, etc. | Mediterranean Coast: Antalya, Fethiye, etc. | Aegean Coast: Izmir, Bodrum, Marmaris, etc. | Skiing | Cuisine | Nostalgia

Editor's note:
I considerably edited the following threads so as to keep them short and informative (and spell/grammar-checked). I also annotated them whenever I don't agree with other people, or have updates to what they wrote. Sometimes, I also include private followup email conversations I had with readers.


Safety & Health


From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

Comments on 6 weeks in Turkey during August and September '94:

Safety:  We had  several  occasions  in late  evening to walk dark,  almost
empty, rural lanes and Istanbul  side street and were never  threatened  at
all.  Local men even carry their  wallets in the back pocket of their pants
without  concern for theft.  Every  traveler  we met agreed with us that we
felt safer in Turkey than in our own home towns.

Water:  No one  drinks  from the tap and good  bottled  water is cheap  and
available everywhere.

---

From: Pierre Flener
To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld)
Subject: Re: Safety in Turkey
Date: March 1994 [but still valid]

>enter Turkey via eastern Europe, drive to Istanbul, and then to Izmir.
>We would spend probably 10-14 days and then drive out the same way.

This  should be safer  than the East.  I can't say "safe,  period"  because
there  have been  attacks  in the West as well  (though  none  targeted  at
tourists since 1995!).

>Some of the state dept info is awfully scary, especially re:acts of
>terrorism and the eastern provinces.  While we know that there are no
>guarantees while traveling, we also have no interest in taking foolish
>risks, especially with children.

I see.  But, as I wrote,  SDTAs are rather  paranoid in general.  Moreover,
they always fail to acknowledge  that the USA itself is probably one of the
most  unsafe  countries  in the  world to be (or  travel)!!!  See  Florida,
Texas, and so on.  See the crime rates in all the big cities, and  recently
even  in  small  towns.  But I can  tell  you  that I don't  know a  single
expatriate here in Turkey (and I live in Central Anatolia, not in the West)
who left the  country  out of fear of the  PKK, or is  paranoid  about  PKK
threats:  we just  decided not to go "too much" east,  period.  Overall, we
all fully  agree  that, *even  with* the PKK threat, we are much safer here
than we'd be in many other  parts of this  world,  including  (especially?)
our own Western countries.

Turkey is  wonderful,  as you said, so enjoy it!  So why avoid  places  you
like, but that have  (extremely)  low risks?  You don't stop  driving  your
car, or flying  cross-country,  or whatever, just because there are certain
risks, eh?  Well, I think you  *don't*  increase  these  everyday  risks by
coming to western or central Turkey!  You might even reduce them...

---

From: ga@chmt.wits.ac.za (Gokhan Akbay)
Newsgroups: rec.travel, soc.culture.turkish
Subject: Re: Turkey?
Date: August 1994

>kocero@hacktic.nl (mirzo mirzo) writes:
>>[...]  I'm thinking about a last minute trip to Turkey, leaving
>>Sept 10.  Any advice on weather conditions, places to go, not to go, etc
>>would be much appreciated.
>DON'T GO.
>There is a war in Turkey between the Kurds and Turkish Government.
>Every penny you will spend in that country will be used for buying
>weapons that will be used against the Kurdish population.
>It is also for your own safety.

There's nothing dangerous but some operations against PKK terrorists on the
south-east  part of Turkey.  You may safely go and have a nice  holiday  on
the west and south coasts of Turkey,  which are some of the most  beautiful
places in the world,  especially  Marmaris,  Bodrum, Alanya,  Antalya, Kas,
Cesme,  Kusadasi,  etc.  The  weather  conditions  during the first half of
September  on the  mentioned  places  are  perfect.  You may do all kind of
sea-sports.

[Editor's note: This  is  your  typical  thread  about  safety  in  Turkey:
		somebody  asks  an  innocent   question,  some   Turkophobe
		intimidates her/him with biased and incomplete information,
		some Turk[-ophile]  counters with some facts and a pamphlet
		on Turkey's  resorts that are finally no different from any
		others in the world.]

---

From: llustig@delphi.com (Larry Lustig)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.misc
Subject: Re: Women traveling in Turkey
Date: June 1995

>we are a young couple and we intend to travel to Turkey in 
>summer. [...] So our major concern is that we will have 
>a lot of hassle because of sexual harassment.

Turkey is a wonderful  country with friendly,  helpful  people.  It is true
that it is difficult to be "left alone", but this is largely because people
approach  you  constantly  to meet  you, and buy you tea.  It's  one of the
places in the world that I have felt the safest travelling.

However,  things are a bit  different  for women.  In the major  cities (at
least in Istanbul)  there is a certain  amount of  liberalism  in dress and
customs.  Outside  the  big  cities,   however,  women  should  maintain  a
conservative  mode of dress:  such as a long skirt, a blouse with  sleeves,
and,  preferably,  a head scarf.  For a woman alone, even speaking to a man
(other than a shopkeeper) not related to her can be considered flirtatious.
If you're  together  most of the time and  respect  the local ways of doing
things, you should get along fine.


Opinions on the Book/Movie "Midnight Express"


From: nalipson@mbox.riga.lv (Nathan Alexander Lipson)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe
Subject: Re: Midnight Express
Date: July 1995

hellas@digital.net wrote:

> MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is the TRUE story of an American tourist, who was
> caught by the Turkish police, trying to pass hashish out of Turkey.
> The film shows us the barbaric situation that exists in Turkey, the
> human rights abuses, and the insanity of the government.

Oliver Stone, who created that film, is a shameless sleaze monger.  To the
extent that the story is true, that dumb American drug smuggler was
unlucky.  You "hellas", are contemptible for trying to recycle the horrific
images of the film, 20 years on, in your perpetual campaign to vilify
Turkey.  For the most part, Turkey is a civilized country, and foreigners
are treated with respect -- provided they don't get involved in military
politics or drug-trafficking.  The Turkish state is not a socialist
democratic institution, any Turk will tell you.  But the task of ruling
Turkey is extraordinarily difficult.

[...]

To be fair, Greeks certainly do have good historical reason to loathe
Turkey.  But Turkish society has changed so much in the past 20 years,
that young Greeks should look to the future.

I love Greece, but I dislike attitudes stereotypical of a Greece from
a time that has passed.  Greece will never reconquer Anatolia.  I'm
confident that most Greeks reading Usenet are more reasonable and
realistic than the minority who post these inflammatory ...  ah ....
flames.

[Pierre Flener's note: Well-said, Nate!  I would add that William
(Billy) Hayes, the "dumb American drug smuggler", himself denies many
scenes of the film.  For instance, he was in a low security prison,
and he did not kill a guard to get out: read his book for many other
important differences with the movie, especially on the tone!

The movie was directed by Alan Parker, with the screenplay by Oliver
Stone (who won an Oscar for it, with another Oscar going to Giorgio
Moroder for the music score), and is a US production from 1978.  The
story starts in the early 1970s, in Istanbul, after Turkey announced that
drug smugglers would be subject to severe prison sentences.  But
Billy Hayes foolishly thought he could dupe the Turkish security
system...

"Midnight express" may well be prison slang for "escape", but in this
case it also means something else, if one cares to research it.  In
fact, the book and movie title refer to a midnight train service from
Istanbul to Edirne (on the Bulgarian border), which line for a short
segment ran through Greek territory, between 1923 (when the Republic
of Turkey was proclaimed from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire) and the
late 1970s (when a bypass line was built).  During that time, Greek
border police would board and guard the train while it was on Greek
territory.  Now, during the 1960s and 1970s, foreigners sentenced for
drug-related offences in Turkey would be quietly released by the
Turkish Government during their appeals, using this train: they would
board in Istanbul with all their possessions, save their passports,
and be bidden to jump off on the Greek segment, with the connivance of
the Greek guards!  They would be jailed in Greece until they had a new
passport via their consulates.  This diplomatic trick allowed the
Turkish Government to meet US demands and yet avoid inernational
outrage when smugglers were actually severely punished.  Billy Hayes
himself has always been correct about this issue, except in the book
that he co-wrote, and that Alan Parker would pick up this story and
twist it to fuel anti-Turkish sentiments on a very wide scale is
heinous.  The damage that this movie and book have inflicted by itself
on Turkey's reputation is incalculable.  When twisting a true story,
why not set it into an imaginary country?  Since when are drug
smugglers heroes?!  Since when are governments catching and convicting
drug sumgglers villains?  Since when are governments diplomatically
releasing prisoners villains?]


Crossing to/from Greece/Italy/Georgia/Iran


From: Pierre Flener
To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld)
Subject: Re: Ferries between Turkey and Greece/Italy
Date: August 1994

There are ferries from/to the Greek islands that are closest to Turkey:

	Kos    <--> Bodrum   (is said to be the cheapest)
	Rhodos <--> Marmaris
	Chios  <--> CeSme
	Lesbos <--> AyvalIk
	Samos  <--> KuSadasI

but they are  horrendously  overpriced  for an average of 2 hours  passage.
Trips from  Greece to Turkey  include  payment of a hefty  harbor tax (~$35
total), but not vice-versa (~$??  total).  Day-round-trips  from Greece are
cheaper.  Overnight   round-trips  from  Greece  thus  are  expensive,  and
furthermore  invalidate any return-ticket of any charter-flight  you had to
Greece (the Turkish  entry/exit stamps are highly visible in your passport,
and Greek  authorities  don't want to see these because you are supposed to
spend your money in Greece).  If you are on a one-way trip  between  Greece
and  Turkey,  it's thus  advisable  to hop from  Turkey to the first  Greek
island, rather than the other way round!  These ferries  usually can take a
few cars (but I'm afraid that will be very expensive).

There  also is a  weekly  ferry  from  Santorini  to  Marmaris  via  Crete,
Karpathos, and Rhodos.

There  are *no*  other  ferries  to  Greece,  not even to  Athens.  Getting
to/from  Athens by ferry is a 2-step  operation:  first hop to the  nearest
Greek  island,  and then  get the next  ferry  from  there  to  Athens  (or
vice-versa).

Weekly  ferries  go from  Venice/Ancona  (Italy)  to  Izmir/Cesme/Marmaris/
Antalya:  ask your travel agent, and mention Turkish Maritime Lines.  These
are big ferries  (mostly used by  car/caravan/truck-drivers),  and take 2.5
days (3 nights).  No passages in the off-season.

(I think) there are ferries from  KuSadasI to Italy, on Italian  companies,
but they don't stop in Greece either.

These are looong trips, but not too expensive.

---

From: Pierre Flener
To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld)
Subject: Re: Ferries between Turkey and Greece
Date: August 1994

>Do you know about ferries from these Greek islands (near Turkey) to
>Athens.  Are there regular services?

Virtually  every Greek  island has regular  and  frequent  services  (often
overnight)  to Athens,  and  definitely  all those ones  along the  Turkish
coast.  So this is absolutely no problem.

>We are trying to get from Istanbul to Athens, preferably by bus&/boat
>(since it's cheaper than air) in one day.  Do you think it's practical?

By  train:  almost  24h  from  istanbul  to  Thessaloniki  (I know  this is
absurdly long, although border  formalities  "only" take ~2h; legend has it
that  people  took a stroll off the train and  easily  jumped  back onto it
again ;-), and then almost  another day by train to Athens.  So this option
is only for die-hard train-fans,  especially that the train is likely to be
more than full in high-  season.  Buy 2 tickets,  rather  than only 1:  the
first up to the  Greek  border,  the  second  from  there to  Athens.  Much
cheaper.

By bus, along the train route:  not much faster.  Same ticketing  technique
recommended for savings.

By  direct  boat:  impossible.  (There  are  Turkey  <-->  Italy   ferries,
crossing the Channel of Corinth, but not docking anywhere in Greece.)

By air:  not so  expensive  after all.  Look for bucket shops in  istanbul,
near the Blue Mosque on Divan  Yolu.  The only means to make it in one day.

But why do this trip in one day?  There are many interesting  things to see
along the way!  Turkey's  most perfect  mosque, the  Selimiye  Camii, is in
Edirne.  Mt.  Olympus, the throne of Jupiter,  awaits your ascent  south of
Thessaloniki.  A  little  in-land,  the  world-famous  and  unique  Meteora
monasteries beg a visit.  And endlessly so on.  Take your time!

---

From: rwarrick@america.net (Mary Ellen & Dick Warrick)
Newsgroups: bit.listserv.travel-l
Subject: Re: Greece and Turkey
Date: June 1995

We just  returned  from a 7 week  visit to  Greece  and  Turkey (2 weeks in
Turkey).

We had absolutely no problem with border crossings.  [...]

I  frequently  used ATMs in both  countries.  Some banks would take my bank
debit card (Plus  system) but many  wouldn't.  I  generally  had no problem
with Visa or Master  Card.  I'm not sure but I think that  Master  Card was
better  accepted.  A few times I had to try several banks and several cards
to get one to work.  I think I didn't  notice was that there was a limit on
the amount of cash you could withdraw.  Several times when the ATM wouldn't
give me any money, I think it was  because I was asking for too much.  They
never said so, just  refused to honor my card.  If you have  problems,  you
might ask for a smaller  amount.  [...]  Availability  depends on where you
will be going.  The large  towns all have many  banks with  ATMs.  We spent
several days in  Cappadocia  (Goreme) and had to drive to a nearby town for
an ATM (Urgup).

---

From: jack@cee.hw.ac.uk (Jack Campin)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Turkey border crossing from Georgia?
Date: April 1994

>Is it possible to cross into Turkey from Tbilisi, Georgia?  Air, train,
>whatever.

This  information  is two years  old, and I'd like an update if anyone  has
one:

What country are you a citizen of?  I tried to go the other way.  There are
*very* cheap buses between  Trabzon and Sochi, but these only takes Turkish
and ex-Soviet  citizens.  (You get what you pay for, these were some of the
worst buses I've ever seen).  Others  needed to go by boat or fly; the visa
was expensive and the fares were extortionate.

---

From: smortaz@handel.Eng.Sun.COM (Shahrokh Mortazavi)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.iranian, soc.culture.turkish
Subject: Re: Crossing frontier area Turkey/Iran
Date: September 1994

>[...] The question that's bothering me most is this: how difficult
>(or perhaps: how easy) is it going to be to cross the Turkish/Iranian
>border?  I mean, with the Kurdish problem over there (hey, peace to
>all!), is it dangerous for a western (Dutch) tourist to cross the
>area?

You might want to check out the book `A survival  guide to  visiting  Iran'
(or something  close to that).  It lists all the do's, dont's, and gotcha's
of visiting Iran under iri.

[Editor's note:

The  mentioned  book is David  St.  Vincent's  excellent  "Iran - A  Travel
Survival  Kit", from Lonely Planet (1992).  Any of the guidebooks on Turkey
(see  section  2 of this  travel  guide)  should  also  give  you  valuable
information on this border crossing.  Briefly:

 + it seems (according to my own recent  experience) right now _impossible_
to go to Iran on a *tourist-visa* _w/o_ taking a (hugely expensive) package
tour, unless you are from a country with which Iran has agreements (usually
countries with Muslim populations).

 + however,  *transit-visas* for Iran (usually between Turkey and Pakistan)
are  usually  _easy_ to obtain at Iranian  consulates,  w/i 24hrs and for a
small fee (valid for 7 days, but  apparently  easy to extend once in Iran),
especially when you are from a European Union country.  Some consuls (e.g.,
the one in  Ankara)  require  a letter  of  recommendation  from  your  own
embassy,  which is often a difficult  business:  the trick is to pretend to
your own authorities that you will apply for a  _tourist-visa_  *and* _fly_
into Iran, because  otherwise  they fear you'll  travel  _overland_  and be
kidnapped  by the PKK, and  they  will  refuse  to write  such a letter  of
recommendation for you.

]


Buses, Trains, Car Rentals, Taxis


From: Pierre Flener
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Buses and Trains in Turkey
Date: 1990 [but still valid]

>Once in Turkey.... Use the bus system... It is cheap, and they speak
>English at the bus stations.  Dress for hot hot weather, and take
>plenty of drinking water on the bus.

Although I fully agree on the benefits of the marvelous  Turkish bus system
[cheap; reliable;  relatively fast (expect average 60km/h, stops included);
reserved  seats only; some buses have A/C; frequent  stops for relaxing; no
communication  problem  when  buying  your  seat;  and many  more], I don't
understand  why  you  suggest  taking  water  on the  bus!  Indeed,  I have
traveled for several  thousand miles on Turkish buses all over the country,
and I always benefited from the following service:

+ free  mineral  water  (cooled,  sealed   bottles;   seemingly   unlimited
  supplies);

+ free "eau de cologne" after every stop, for refreshing your hands & face.

Richer  companies  even  offer you  chocolate  sweets,  ...  Yes, buses are
definitely a good way to discover Turkey and the Turks.

On the other  hand,  stay clear of the  trains,  except on the  istanbul  -
Ankara line (9h), with excellent overnight  connections, and the istanbul -
izmir  line  (11h),  with  a  ferry-ride  across  the  Marmara  Sea,  where
tremendous improvements have been made in recent years.  Trains are cheaper
than  buses, but on others  than the two lines  above  incredibly  slow and
often overcrowded.

---

From: Iain Mac an Tŗilleir <106655.3333@compuserve.com>
To: Pierre Flener
Subject: Train Travel in Turkey
Date: January 1998

Contrary to most advice  received,  myself and friends  travelled  by train
extensively  last year in Western and Central  Turkey.  We  experienced  no
problems,  apart from a slight delay to the Pamukkale  Ekspresi en route to
Denizli.  It was an even better way of getting to know Turkish  people, and
far less  hair-raising  that  belting  through  the  mountains  of  Central
Anatolia by bus.  It can  actually be fun to take it easy on the train from
Ankara to Kars rather than  participate  in a race  between two buses along
the  highway  east.  The long stops at certain  stations  such as Afyon and
Kayseri allow you to get off and see a little of such places.

---

From: tuglua@csgrad.cs.vt.edu (Ali Tuglu)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.turkish
Subject: Re: Travel in Turkey - info needed
Date: February 1994

>I'm going to visit Turkey in April, for a conference in Antalya:
> -Traveling from Istanbul to Antalya: train or car?

No train connection  between Istanbul and Antalya.  Use the bus system, the
most  convenient and economical one.  I would suggest the companies  Ulusoy
or Varan.

[Editor's note: These companies are the top-bracket, which means pricey and
		slooow.  For almost half the price, and  virtually the same
		quality,   and   faster    travel,   try    Pamukkale/Kamil
		KoC/any-other-company-with-a-fancy-ticket-office.]

> - Hotels and restaurants near the main roads: prices, type of food,
>some suggestions of menus?

If you take the companies I have suggested, it will be no problem.

[Editor's note: This will be pricey and bad highway food...]

> - Best (touristic) route, for a one or two full day trip?

Along the coast, by car.  But tiring, I believe.

> - Interesting places to visit in that route?

So many, get a map!  But 2 days is not enough.

> - Price of gasoline, high-way tolls, taxis, rent-a-car?

I am not sure about these ones.  I would say higher than you would  expect.

[Editor's note: Gas is about $0.60/liter.  Very cheap highway tolls:  about
		$1.5 per  100km.  Taxis are  dirt-cheap  and  usually  have
		working meters.  I have no info about rental cars.]

---

From: Jay_Mann@equinox.gen.nz (Jay Mann)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Buses in Turkey
Date: April 1994

Turkish buses are  fascinating,  frequent, with  excellent  coverage of the
country.  They are also filled with cigarette  smoke, day and night.  After
a number of bad  experiences,  I would only  travel in them if I had a seat
right in the front, where  there's a fighting  chance for a breath of fresh
air.

[Editor's note: All upper-class bus companies have  air-conditioned  buses,
		and some even start introducing  non-smoking trips on major
		hauls  (but avoid  seats  near the  driver,  as he might be
		chain-smoking all the way...).]

---

From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

Turkish inter city buses are on-time, air-conditioned  Mercedes Benzes with
great  suspension  systems and amazingly low fares.  (A  comfortable 6 hour
trip costs under $20, shorter ones much less.)

---

From: gokanerk@ix.netcom.com (Erkut Gokan)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe
Subject: Re: Eastern Turkey: Real advice wanted
Date: June 1995

I have not been to Eastern  Turkey for a long  time.  But I know  renting a
car one way is  either  not  possible  or  prohibitively  expensive.  Also,
Eastern  Turkey  is  very   mountainous  and  the  roads  can  be  somewhat
challenging  for  someone  who is not used to driving in that  region.  The
rest of Turkey is very pleasurable to drive.

Your  best bet would be to rent the car from,  and  return  it to  Antalya.
Keep in mind that  gasoline  is  expensive  in  Turkey as it is in  Western
Europe.  So driving a car over long distances can be an expensive choice.

[Editor's note: Gas prices are cheaper than in *any* European country, but,
		at about  $0.60/liter, stand of course no comparison to oil
		producing countries.]

Alternatively,  you may want to try  taking  buses (The bus  system is very
good, a lot  better  than it is in the US.  The buses are very new and they
go  everywhere on frequent  schedules.  Also don't take that Greek  rubbish
seriously about buses being stopped by soldiers every 50 km.  Very recently
I took some  Europeans and Americans  with me to Turkey.  We traveled  many
thousand miles.  Nobody ever stopped our bus or asked for an id.  Actually,
many people told me how secure they had felt in  Turkey--even  more so than
in  the  US).  The  rest  of  the  time  you  can  take   taxis.  They  are
inexpensive,  but be sure  to  negotiate  before  you  accept  a ride  with
unmetered taxis.

The Turkish people are very friendly,  especially in rural areas.  Treating
guests well is something  like a matter of honor.  People may invite you to
their   houses  to  dine   and/or  to  stay.  Turks  take  pride  in  their
hospitality.

It may be helpful to speak a few Turkish words.  Also  Europeans  indicated
to me that more people  understood  German in Turkey than English.  This is
due to 2 million Turkish workers living in Germany.


Itineraries


From: luttrell@netcom.com (Jordan D. Luttrell)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

We spent some two to three  weeks in Turkey in late May, two years ago, and
enjoyed it tremendously.  I have never heard *anyone* say they didn't enjoy
Turkey.  A great choice.

I would say,  however,  that the Aegean was the least  favorite part of our
trip.  That is the part of  Turkey  which is the most  exposed  to  Western
tourism, and where you are most likely to encounter an  "us-them"  response
from the Turks.

My own first choice in Turkey would be to go inland, for sure to Cappadocia
and then to a little  town on a vast lake,  Egirdir.  There was a wonderful
travel article which we followed  almost  religiously and which, if you are
interested,  I will copy and send to you.  It took us, among other  places,
to  Afyon  where in a  nearby  locale  we  sampled,  on the  ground,  three
different  civilizations,  going  as far  back as the  Hittites.  This  was
almost worth the price of the whole trip itself.

We also enjoyed Istanbul tremendously.  [...]

---

From: sinan@ittpub.nl (Sinan ???)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Turkey
Date: March 1994

>Hi. I'm going to be in Turkey for about a week in July and I was
>wondering which cities are recommended along the route from Istanbul
>to Marmaris.

Istanbul - Bursa (ex-capital of the Ottoman empire) - Ayvalik (Aegean coast
town) - Izmir  (3rd  largest  city) - Cesme (sea  resort) -  Kusadasi  (sea
resort & Virgin Mary's house & Ephesus  antique city) - Didim (sea resort &
Apollon   temple)  -  Fethiye,   Bodrum,   Koycegiz,   Gocek  (all  seaside
towns/townships).

---

From: jack@cee.hw.ac.uk (Jack Campin)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Turkey in June/July: Info please
Date: April 1994

>Villages and small hotels (with air conditioning) that are off the
>beaten path and can be used as a base of operations for exploration?

You will hardly find air  conditioning  anywhere except in big-city  luxury
hotels.  Thank God.  The  country has enough of an energy  problem  without
squandering it on this crap.

>Interesting auto routes?

Get the Turk Turing ve Otomobil  Kurumu's  guidebook.  This has *masses* of
information  on  motoring in Turkey.  Last I saw it was only  available  in
Turkish but even if you only have a few words of the language  you'll still
be able to get far more out of it than  from  any  English-language  source
I've seen.  The TTOK's  headquarters  is in Sisli,  Istanbul.  Say hello to
Zeynep from me if you visit them.  They are very helpful.

---

From: Gary Oliver (karakomik@delphi.com)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Turkey in June/July: Info please
Date: April 1994

I was in Turkey for 4 weeks last September, and did the reverse of what you
present - went from  Istanbul to Ankara to Antalya, from there rented a car
and drove along the coast to Izmir.  The trip was  wonderful,  but if I had
to do it over, I would do the  opposite -- from  Istanbul to the Aegean (or
Ege Deniz in Turkish)  around to Antalya.  [...]  Do you speak Turkish?  If
not, I would  recommend that you take tours of Cappadocia and Ephesus.  The
tours are very  inexpensive  and  usually  led by  eager-to-please  college
students.

[Editor's note: "Very inexpensive" only if you have a lot of money...]

Turkey is a very large  country,  and I don't  know how you  travel,  but I
would not attempt to explore  much of the Black Sea (Kara Deniz)  coast and
do everything  else you listed in 4 to 5 weeks.  Budget had the best prices
on car rentals then (about $50US a day for 7 or more days).

I really enjoyed my trip to Turkey - the people are  hard-working  and very
friendly.  I have  fantasized  about moving  there.  If you would like more
information from me, just ask.


Istanbul


From: Pierre Flener
To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld)
Subject: Re: istanbul
Date: May 1994

The  cheapest  hotels  are  to the  left  upon  leaving  the  European-side
RW-station (Sirkeci), in Sultanahmet, and in Aksaray/Lale.

If it is a city-map  you are looking  for:  don't buy one, as they give you
convenient ones for free at the tourist information stand between Aya Sofia
and the Blue Mosque.

A hint that will save you a lot of money:  go to "GenCtur" (a travel agency
on  Yerebatan  caddesi)  and  buy  a  YIEE-card  (Youth  Int'l  Educational
Exchange)  for ~$3.  They might not check if you really are a student,  but
there might be a restriction to people younger than 26.  This card gets you
free  entrance to all the State  museums, e.g.  Aya Sofia,  TopkapI  Palace
(except the Harem), the Yerebatan Cistern, etc.

My  favorites  in  istanbul   are:  the  three  big  mosques   (Aya  Sofia,
Sultanahmet   a.k.a.  the  Blue  Mosque,  the  Suleymaniye),   the  TopkapI
palace/museum,  the Islamic museum on the Hippodrome,  the Grand Bazaar and
Egyptian Bazaar (don't buy anything inside though:  huge savings if you buy
the  same  stuff  just   outside),   the  Galata   tower,  the   DolmabahCe
palace/museum,  a Bosphorus  crossing to the Asian side (nice  sunsets over
the big  mosques:  ideal for  dinner!), a Bosphorus  cruise up to the Black
Sea, a Marmara Sea trip to the Princes' Islands, the Yerebatan Cistern (see
"James  Bond:  From Russia with Love"  afterwards).  You can easily do most
of this in 3 days.  "Advanced"  visitors  will travel along the Golden Horn
to the "Pierre Loti" Cafe and the wonderful Eyup mosque nearby (it's a holy
shrine),  they will visit the superb  Sokullu  mosque next to the KUCUk Aya
Sofya near KumkapI  (it's small, but perfect in its  proportions,  and thus
much easier to  comprehend  than the big ones).  "Real" (tm)  Turkey can be
seen when  leaving  the  Egyptian  Bazaar at the far end  (compared  to the
Bosphorus)  and taking the street  parallel to the Golden Horn (but not the
one along the Golden  Horn):  you'll walk past  (decaying)  Ottoman  wooden
houses and  experience a very lively  market  street with  typical  Ottoman
compartmentation  into  specializations:  fruits, veggies,  hammers, safes,
shoes, shovels, clothes, nails, and endlessly so on, until the first bridge
or so.  Or go on a Sunday  afternoon  to  YIldIz  ParkI to get a lesson  on
family life (the park between  TopkapI and the RW station also does it).  I
personally  don't like so much the  tourist-traps  or show-cases,  like the
Ottoman house street (mostly  pensions)  along the TopkapI walls, or Taksim
Square and the pedestrian  istiklal  caddesi  leading to it, or the KumkapI
fish restaurants, CiCek PasajI on istiklal caddesi, etc.

---

From: peterson@cs.umass.edu (Jon Peterson)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Help: Istanbul accommodations - reservations
Date: January 1994

>Can anyone suggest a place that is reasonably priced (ie. under $30
>double) that would accept reservations? I would appreciate any personal
>recommendations along with phone numbers and, even better, fax numbers.
>A place that would take reservations in English would be ideal (my
>Turkish is non-existent).

I was in  Istanbul  in the summer of '91, as a  backpacker,  and found that
cheap  lodging was very easy to come by.  I don't know if you can reserve a
room at these  places in  advance...  but  frankly I don't think it will be
necessary.  First of all, even in June -- when,  presumably,  there will be
the greatest  number of travelers  seeking cheap lodging -- there were many
vacancies.  Secondly,  you expressed a little  nervousness  about  arriving
late at night.  But Turks  seem to stay up and about  rather  late into the
night -- at  midnight,  there  is still  much  activity,  both  social  and
commercial.  So  probably  you'll be able to find  something,  unless  your
flight is greatly  delayed  (in which case it would  probably  be wisest to
wait until light  anyway).  Of course, it's  possible that life in Istanbul
is  entirely  different  in the winter, so take this advice with a grain of
salt.

[Editor's note:  Winter is *no* problem either.]

[...]  in the Sultanahmet  district [...]  There are numerous small hotels,
all reasonably inexpensive (we paid around US$4 or $5 per person per night,
for a room for three, and a bathroom  shared on the floor, in that area; if
you're used to  back-packing  and finding  accommodations  later you should
have no problems.  Also, the  Sultanahmet  district is only about a five or
ten minute walk from  Topkapi  palace, the Blue  Mosque, and other sites of
interest.

It's a wonderful city.  Enjoy your trip.

---

From: sinan@ittpub.nl (Sinan ???)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Istanbul - travel to and exploring?
Date: March 1994

>> What on earth should I see in Istanbul?
>
> Covered Bazaar.
> Suleymaniye Mosque (Blue Mosque)
> Hagia Sophia
> Bosphorus
> Topkapi Palace & Museum
> Old city

The Water  Cistern.  Located a few 100 feet from Aya  Sofia,  for a nominal
fee (~1US$) you go below the city into an  enormous  chamber,  filled  with
columns,  arches,  and water.  Built 1200  years ago (if memory  serves) to
supply water to the city, you walk in the half light listening to classical
music, examining the pillars, feeling awe/peace.  Very cool and relaxing.

Also, while the guide books can be extremely helpful, they also can tend to
steer people wrong.  Case in point:  two separate  publications mention the
"Sultan  Pub"  as  the  place  to go.  Don't.  Filled  with  rich  American
students,  the prices were  higher  than  prices in the U.S.  for beers and
food.  Go a few blocks to someone (anyone!)  more authentic, and it will be
worth it.

---

From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

Istanbul is a fascinating,  world-class city.  The Sultanahmet  area, where
the Blue Mosque, Aga Sophia Church,  Topkapi Palace and numerous other city
highlights  are  located,  is  the  best  place  to  stay.  [...]  We  also
recommend seeing the Whirling  Dervishes  perform their riveting  religious
ceremony  at 5 pm the last  Sunday of most months in their  Museum of Divan
Literature.  Most guidebooks don't mention it.  Call 212/245-4141 to verify
date and time.


Central Anatolia: Ankara, Cappadocia, etc.


From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

Ankara is  Turkey's  capital and was the  noisiest,  smoggiest,  costliest,
dirtiest  city we saw in the country!  Despite its fine Museum of Anatolian
Civilization, we do not recommend  staying here except as a quick overnight
to cut the long bus trip from Cappadocia to Bursa or Istanbul.

[Editor's note: Very few  people  will agree  with this  review!  Ankara is
		much more livable,  tremendously  cheaper, and also greener
		than  Istanbul.  As a  very  big  city,  it  should  not be
		compared  with  small  towns.  Admittedly,  except  for the
		sensational  museum,  it has not much to keep the  traveler
		for more than a night.]

Bursa is a charming city with fine architecture, gardens, mausoleums of the
earliest  sultans,  and  excellent  public  transportation.  Dont  miss the
scenic cable car ride up Uludag mountain where you can hike for miles along
quiet  trails  through  the  pines.  We also  enjoyed  the  Turkish  baths,
separated by sex, at the lovely old Eski  Kaplikalari  Hamam near the Hotel
Karavansaray Terminal.  (I enjoyed bath, massage, and body scrub for $6.)

Cappadocia is fascinating  with its fairy chimney rock  formations,  houses
cut into the soft lava rock, and three  underground  cities (each can house
up to 20,000  people!)  which were  carved in the rock  1,000  years ago by
Byzantine  Christians  protecting  themselves from invading  Ottomans.  The
whole area makes for fascinating sight-seeing and/or hiking.

---

From: Pierre Flener
To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld)
Subject: Re: Cappadocia
Date: September 1994

In Cappadocia,  you must see the openair museums of GOreme and Zelve, climb
the  troglodyte  fortresses of uChisar and ortahisar,  visit the potters in
Avanos,  taste the wine in  UrgUp,  trek in the  GUllUdere  and  KIzIlcIkur
valleys  behind  CavuSin,  and many  others.  If you  have  your own set of
wheels, visit an underground  city  (KaymaklI,  Derinkuyu, or MazIkOy), the
canyon of the ihlara Valley, and one of the nearby caravanserais.

---

From: TGQA18A@prodigy.com (William Smith)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe
Subject: Re: Pamukkale (and area)
Date: June 1995

It was many years ago that I was in Pamukkale  (1977) but I still  remember
it as one of the most fantastic  sights I've ever seen (the calcium  cliffs
just hanging there above a vast plain and very nice warm water to wade in).
[...]  There is very little to do in  Pamukkale,  not really a town at all.
Besides  the water and  cliffs,  there are old ruins of  Hierapolis  at the
site.  The water was considered  curative in classical  times and there are
many  tombs in the  area.  I'd say it is worth  the  trip.  At least  for a
night's stay; more fun pursuits can be found in other towns.

[Editor's Note: BEWARE!!!  The site is destroyed  in the  meantime,  in the
		sense that the greedy  hotels on top of the falls  feed the
		water 6 days out of 7 into  their  pools, so that you would
		be lucky to see any  water on the falls at all.  There  are
		cigarette  butts and other trash  floating  around,  not to
		mention that the calcium  cliffs aren't  exactly  white any
		more,  especially  because  the  road to the  hotels  leads
		virtually through the falls.  In 1986 already (!), I didn't
		heed triple  advice not to go there, and then I  absolutely
		hated the place.  Ever since, I discourage  whoever asks me
		about it, but most  people  don't  believe me and go out of
		their ways to get there  anyway, but later  confirm  that I
		was  absolutely  right!  Unless  you want to  learn  how to
		totally wreck a natural  wonder,  going there is a complete
		waste of time:  boycott the place!]

---

From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

Egirdir:  Major  highlights  of our trip  were  this  cool,  mountain  lake
village (2 1/2 hours north of Antalya)  [...].  Here we enjoyed  the beach,
lake swimming, row boating,  delicious  home cooked dinners with our fellow
guests, a colorful  Sunday market in a nearby  smaller  village, and a fine
all day taxi-tour  during which we hiked  through shady Andir Canyon taking
time to swim in cool waters at the base of beautiful waterfalls.  [...]


Mediterranean Coast: Antalya, Fethiye, etc.


From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia
Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed
Date: April 1995

Southwestern  coastal  towns are lovely  with their  archaeological  ruins,
beaches, and waters.  All-day boat rides and mini-bus tours often  included
lunch and cost about $12 per person.  Highlights  included:  the Seluk area
for  sightseeing,  the ruins of Ephesus,  Priene, and lovely  Pamuak  Beach
lined  with 1 and 2  bedroom  housekeeping  bungalows  for $30  and $40 per
night; and  Dalyan,  with views of Lykian  rock tombs  [...], and the [...]
boat trip to the Caunus ruins, Turtle Beach,  thermal mud baths, and a swim
in clear Lake  Kyceriz.  Pretty Kas had our favorite  all-day  swimming and
ruins-viewing boat ride, as well as pleasant,  unpressured  browsing in its
handicraft shops.


Aegean Coast: Izmir, Bodrum, Marmaris, etc.


From: rich002@ibm.net (Richard Blacklock)
Newsgroups: rec.travel.misc
Subject: Re: Troy
Date: June 1995

In regards to Troy,  while it is amazing to be at the site where  Troy once
was, there really isn't a lot to see, and I think you would be disappointed
after such a lengthy  drive.  The drive down the  Aegean  coast  however is
quite beautiful,  especially as you get to the southwestern part of Turkey.

---

From: avci@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU (Ayhan Varol Bayer)
Newsgroups: bit.listserv.travel-l
Subject: Re: Turkey
Date: March 1995

>We like the colors of the sea and nice, clean sandy beaches, calm coves.
>We were told that the izmir-bodrum-marmaris region can offer this

1.  Kusadasi:  Major touristic city and  entertainment and shopping center.
Nice and clean beaches on National Park 20km far to Kusadasi.  You can find
many beaches in and near Kusadasi but in the National  Park, forest and sea
hug each other.

DO NOT forget to visit  Virgin Mary House (very  important  especially  for
Christians)  and Ephesus  (major  harbor  city of Ionia),  Sirince  Village
(typical village) near Kusadasi (10km).

2.  DIDYMA  (Golden  Sand):  Very  famous  place with its  beautiful  sandy
beach.  From  Kusadasi  to Didyma you can visit on the way some  historical
places such as Priene, Miletos, Apollo temple.

3.  GOKOVA:  Natural and clean beaches with wonderful sight seeing.

4.  MARMARIS:  Major  touristic  city with many  entertainment  centers and
shopping centers.  Around there you can find many beaches.

5.  BODRUM:  Major  historical  touristic city like Marmaris but there is a
castle  which is an  underwater  museum  now.  I know that this is the best
underwater  museum in the world because  there are many unique  things from
very old times that were discovered by American and Turkish researchers.

This is only a summary.  You can find there many beautiful places.


Skiing


From: mehtap@cfmu.eurocontrol.be (Mehtap Kologlu)
Newsgroups: rec.travel
Subject: Re: Skiing in Turkey
Date: December 1993

>Does anyone have advice regarding skiing Turkey?
>Some of my concerns are:
> - Can I rent ski equipment at the mountains?

I would  recommend  Uludag  or  Kartalkaya  in  Turkey.  And you  can  find
everything there.

[Editor's note:  UludaG is totally overrated, and a snobbish place.]

> - Are the slopes reasonably challenging?  Is snow reliable?

Yes both of them.  Especially Uludag.


Cuisine

Also see
Eat Smart Guides in this guide!


From: jack@cee.hw.ac.uk (Jack Campin)
Newsgroups: rec.travel, soc.culture.turkish, rec.food.cooking
Subject: ayran (yogurt drink)
Date: March 1994

>While [in Istanbul], I became addicted to the local drink involving
>yogurt.  Anyone remember its name and a recipe for me (sour yogurt and
>water)?

It's  called  ayran.  It's a  mixture  of  yogurt,  salt and  water  served
chilled.  The best  yogurts for this are full-fat  live ones; here I prefer
the "Pakav" or "Pakeeza" brands you get in Indian/Pakistani  shops, but the
Greek ones work OK too though they're more  expensive.  Don't bother if all
you can get is some reduced-fat,  killed,  added-emulsifier  or even (urgh)
sweetened kind.

A good book on Turkish food is Nevin Halici's "Turkish Cooking", though for
anyone who's been there the pictures  make it difficult not to  impulse-buy
the next time you go past a travel agents.

Other cold  drinks  you  shouldn't  miss in  Turkey:  vishne  (sour  cherry
cordial), shira (lightly  fermented grape juice, a summer  specialty), boza
("lightly fermented sweetened wheat porridge", I suppose you'd call it - it
tastes a lot better than that description suggests; it's a winter specialty
made by the same people who do shira).

---

From: mue@cony.gsf.de (Bernhard Muenzer)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.turkish, rec.food.cooking
Subject: Re: ayran (yogurt drink)
Date: March 1994

I tried  (cultured)  buttermilk  with  water and salt, and  found it a good
substitute if no sour yoghurt is available.


Nostalgia


From: lower@sfu.ca (Stephen K. Lower)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.turkish
Subject: A visitor's appreciation of Turkey
Date: April 1994

We just  returned  from a  delightful  and  interesting  holiday in Turkey,
ranging by air and bus between  Kayseri and  Istanbul.  We were  impressed,
above  all, by the  warmth  and  friendliness  of the  people  we met,  and
secondly, by the excellent food, especially in Konya.

Several  things  we  especially   liked,  which  would  be  Turkey's  major
contributions  to the world (or at least to North America if North  America
would only accept them):

Ayran (the yogurt  drink),  which we now make at home.  Something  like the
lassi of India.

The dolmuS  (shared  taxi) -- given the large number of localities  in N.A.
without any public transport, this would seem an ideal solution.

Those  "bottom-washers"  on modern Turkish toilets; a great contribution to
personal  hygiene,  simpler and more convenient than the European bidet.  I
am considering  installing one at home, but will have to do something about
our very cold water!

[Editor's note: Beware!  Westerners  don't have the same immunity levels as
		Middle Eastern people,  precisely  because they were raised
		to use toilet paper.  Unless you thoroughly wash your hands
		after each trip to the toilet, you might soon  regret  your
		preference for this new  experience.  Also note that Middle
		Eastern   people  do  this  with  their  left   hands,  and
		*everything  else* with their right hands  (hence  reducing
		the infection  risks), whereas  Westerners tend to use both
		hands indiscriminately.]

Turkish classical and traditional  music; we brought back a number of tapes
and CDs (as well as a saz).  It's a shame that this aspect of Turkey's rich
culture is so little known in the West.