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  • Yarımburgaz Caves

    Located on the European section of İstanbul;at the end of Küçükçekmece Lake,within the Sazlıdere Valley;two Prehistoric caves interlinked going to the bottom by 1200 meters inhabited in the last 800000 (eight hundred thousand) years according to Pr.Dr.Mehmet Özdoğan.Only 15 minutes drive to Atatürk Airport. Yarımburgaz Caves were the beginning of European Farming and Civilization.

  • Nemrut Mountain

    Nemrut Dağ (Mt Nemrud) is a mountain measuring 2,150meters in height. It is located near the village of Karadut in Kahta county in the province of Adıyaman. Kings of the Kommagene dynasty from 80 B.C. to 72 A.D ruled Adıyaman and its vicinity. .The magnificent ruins on the summit of Mt Nemrud are not those of an inhabited site however.

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  • Mt. Ağrı (Ararat)

    The highest mountain in my country is located in Doğubeyazıt,Eastern Turkey at a height of 5165 meters(app.17000ft.).If you wish to have a ‘’Birds eye view’’ of Türkiye it could be a very interresting starting point for your next tour of Turkey.

  • The Historic Peninsula

    İstanbul today is split into three sections. Two are on the European section.The North European section is the newer part while the South European section (was Byzantium then Constantinople) is also referrred as the Historic Peninsula. The third section is on the Asian Continent across the Bosphorus Strait which joins the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea on the North.

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  • The Blue Mosque and the Egyptian Obelisk

    The 3500 year old;200 tons in weight, red granite Egyptian obelisk from Aswan stands in the 4th.Cent.AD Hippodrome of Constantinople;greatly contrasting with the world famous Blue Mosque (the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet the 1st) which dates back to 1616.This picture was taken from the İbrahim Paşa Palace;known as the Islamic Fine Arts Museum of İstanbul housing a fantastic Turkish Carpet collection.

WHY TÜRKİYE (TURKEY) ?

Every now and then we all feel tired and look forward to making travel plans for the holiday season.Having worked as a professional tour guide in the last fifty years one of the questions I would ask our visitors would be:’’Why did they choose Türkiye (Turkey) as a destination?’’So in this section I will elaborate some of their answers.Also I chose some videos from my past tours which I conducted and that may answer some of your questions as to why you must visit my country.

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Why Hagia Sophia, İstanbul / Türkiye ?

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Tour Videos

These are some of my tour videos

 

 

Tour Guide Awards

All three awards were presented to me in 2017

  • 44 YEARS FOR TEACHING TOURS AND TURKISH CARPETS
  • 50TH.YEARS AS A GUIDE
  • KOÇ SCHOOL
 
 

For further information; www.perlalichi.com 

Part One-

 

''Those were the days my friend we thought that they would never end.''As I watched this video of İstanbul today fifty years after it was made I remembered this old song sang by Mary Hopkin in 1968.When her song was number one on the weekly charts I was in London,England for sightseeing and you could hear it from most music stores as you passed by.Funny enough I remember asking myself at that time how on earth my life had passed so quickly that there I was twenty-one years of age.

 

This video also reminded me of another song that I still like which was sung by Orson Welles in 1984 ''I know what it is to be young but you don't know what it is to be old.So my friend let us make music together and I will play the old while you sing me the new''.

In fifty years so many things have changed;in those days it would take months for a popular song to reach Turkey.Today all you have to do is go on line and do a search and you can listen to any song you like old or new immediately.So I mentioned the names of these two older songs for the sake of my two grand-sons who visited us recently in İstanbul.Ömer is 14, Ali is 8 and currently and they live in Virginia,USA;so one day when they will read these lines then they can listen to those songs and  understand much better the sentiments I had back then and now.

 

With fourty-four years of teaching experience I must admit it is not easy to convince people or my students at present when you compare İstanbul of today with what it really was like fifty years ago.For one thing we all have nostalgic feelings and nothing compares to those moments in the past that meant so much for us.The Beatles song ''Yesterday'' is a good example for those who would like to cherish those wonderful memories,however I have chosen to live my life day by day and make the best of every day of my life as much as possible for all my life.That is how I evaluate my life today in İstanbul.I like to see my glass as full as possible because this very moment that I write all this may not be there later on.So now is all I have;as the past is gone by and who knows what will be tomorrow.Allah gave each human being a life to live as an investment.Therefore I have decided to spend this investment wisely and share my knowledge with every one as only by sharing one becomes richer as you can see those people who have made their fortunes by being leaders in the Information Technology and the enrichment one gets by helping others is beyond anyones imagination as my experience tells me.

 

In fifty years the population of İstanbul has increased some eight times which creates administerial dilemmas and this is where people will have different opinions depending on their political preferences.The outcome of how we like to live in this metropolis may even be effected by the choices we have made as to which district we should live in and which political party should be ruling the city or the government. When our football teams win we feel so much happier and whichever video you may watch today will be somewhat biassed depending on which side of the medallion you may have located yourself.If you ask to three reporters or guides today as to how they see life in istanbul today you will get three different perspectives which is normal for any city in the world.This seperation between groups of people or political parties exists worldwide however I see lately a great deal of an outside effort to label it on religious differences and even trying to send the bill to God,Allmighty and show religion as a reason for seperation.Trying to connect any Abrahamic religion of God with terrorism is a common mistake.As most Turkish people are Muslims and the Qur'an Chapter 2-Al Baqarah verse 256 says''There shall be no coercion in matters of faith.''So in conclusion according to  my opinion you should come to İstanbul right now and see the change with your own eyes and enjoy this incredible city despite its 800000;(eight hundred thousand);years of a historical baggage.This date might blow your mind however that is only the tip of an iceberg when it comes to discover the hidden treasures of the the only bicontinental metropolis in the world.

 

It is as safe as any other big metropolis in the world.Reporting live from Yeşilyurt,İstanbul on August19,2017

 

Part Two-

 

Safety in our times has become a significant issue we all must consider when making our holiday plans.However in Turkey we have had our safety problems with PKK guerillas or their recent counterparts in the last thirty-five years and more than fourty thousand lives have been lost in my country during this time frame.In this limited space I am not going to dwell and analyze why we had several coup d'etat that took place and severed our genuine efforts to live in a democratic republic or who were behind all these interventions in our local politics;but rather leave all that to the future reader of these lines.In Turkish we have a saying;''Every person has a different way of eating the yoghurt'' which simply means ''how we do business with others will be very personal''.So here is my take as I said '' It is as safe as any other big metropolis in the world'' in part one.

 

Yes geopolitically Türkiye is located in the new ''Bermuda Triangle''.On one side of this triangle is the Balkans where the first bullet was fired that initiated the First World War and ethnic segregation still continues.The other side is the Caucasus;the hinterland of the old Soviet Union and last but not the least is the Southeastern part where we border with Syria,Iraq and Iran.Therefore if you draw lines between these three geographic locations you end up with a triangle and Türkiye is located in the middle of this so called triangle.Like the phrase ''Trojan Horse'' we all learned from Homer who is regarded as the father of Western literature the phrase that I used ''Bermuda Triangle'' is related with eminent danger because of disappearing ships and planes in the vicinity of the Bermuda islands in the past.

 

Since the beginning of the so called ''Arab Spring'' we ended up with some three and a half million refugees in our country and spent some twenty-five billion dollars so far for these homeless people coming mostly from Syria and Iraq .The contribution from the International community is less than a couple of billion dollars and when compared with the per capita income of our country Turkey is the most generous country in the world according to the United Nations statistics.By the way Turkish per capita income is merely eleven thousand dollars so considering all the other richer countries in the world this apathic turning of a cold shoulder does not seem fair to Turkish tax payers.

At this point I am giving you some basic facts for you to find out more if you are interested.Turkey has been a full member of Nato since 1952 and has the second largest Armed Forces after the US army all subsidized by the Turkish tax payers.We have been expecting Nato's Collective Defense Article Five to be implemented since several years because of the Syrian and Iraqi internal disputes at our borders and the Patriot US defence missiles were removed from the troubled Syrian front and now that Türkiye has made a deal with the Russian S-400 Defense Missiles to be deplored where the Patriots were removed from our Western Allies are questioning if this is compatible with Nato standarts.!!!

 

Yes now we have a new Türkiye after the latest coup attempt of July15,2016.Turkish people  with their bare hands stopped a terrorist organization that is masterminded by Fetö in Pennsilvania,US.250 Turkish citizens were martyred with 2193 wounded veterans.These heros stopped tanks and jets to save the future of this country just like in the Galipoli Campaign.It is unaccepable to see some of our own Allies sending arms to these terrorist groups and they end up being used against the Turkish Armed Forces and even we have notified our ''Allies'' with the serial numbers of these weapons which were confiscated from these guerrillas within Turkish territory .As long as we can come to terms all of us in the United Nations to define what constitutes ''Terrorism'' then we can hope for more peace on earth.If they are terrorists to me and ''freedom fighters'' for you as it is so recognised by five permanent members of the United Nations Security Counsel then we can forget peace on earth.As long as the Gun Lobby is more effective than all the peace inititives how can one be hopeful for a better tomorrow.How safe is any city on earth now?So those countries that promote Turkey to be dangerous or politically unstable should start to do some house cleaning and decide what they should do after Brexit.Turkish elections are in two years time and the economy has grown 5% in the second quarter of this year with İstanbul Stock Exchange soaring over one hundred thousand mark.When finished in 2023 the suspension bridge over the Dardanelles will be the longest in the world spanning 2023 meters between Europe and Asia.

 

 

However fifty years ago we had no bridge connecting Europe to Asia;now we have three in İstanbul.We also have a rail tunnel for local metro trains and a vehicle tunnel under the Bosphorus so it takes only five minutes to drive from one continent to the other whereas I remember joining a queue by car and wait two hours before getting on a car ferry that took twenty minutes to cross this bicontinental city.All this has been possible even though the population has grown eight times in fifty years and some 400 new car plates join the streets of İstanbul every day.We went through some disasterous periods with garbage strikes and a very smelly Golden Horn but now people can swim and fish there.Most of those people I met when they spent a day in İstanbul after disembarking from their cruise ship kept telling me how clean İstanbul was after Athens.We had shortages of fuel and power outages for years but now Turkey is becoming an energy corridor between the East and the West.Per capita income has grown three times in the last fifteen years.İstanbul has always had chronologically shortage of water supply.Constantinople was built on seven hills and with many underground cisterns in order to have sufficent water when there was a siege so this problem is not new however with all the infrastructural investments in the last decade now we have sufficent water supply until 2050.

 

Next year in 2018 the first phase of the third istanbul airport will open and at first year will be able to service 90 Million passengers.When fully completed in 2023 by the Centennial of our Republic then will service 200 Million passengers and will be the number one airport in the world.Fifty years ago there was only one flight between İstanbul and Antalya.It would land there at 9pm and they would close the airport by 10pm which was operating by a genarator.Before we experienced last years coup attempt which also targetted our Tourism Industry we had over one thousand flights a day arriving in Antalya,Turkish Mediterrenean Riviera.So here is the bottom line how I see it today;when right now some two Million Muslim pilgrims gather at the Arafat desert outside of Mecca and tomorrow is the Sacrifice Holiday which goes back to Prophet Abraham.

 

In my humble opinion the best of Turkey and Turkish Tourism is yet to come and we really ain't seen nothing yet.

 

Reporting live from Yeşilyurt,İstanbul,Türkiye-August 31,2017.

 

Istanbul Türkiye 1967 My first year as a Professional Guide

 

WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO ACCEPT?  

Do you know how long ago the name change took place? The conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the second took place on the 29th of May 1453.So it has been 565 years ever since.You can find many books religious or political and even encyclopedias still referring to İstanbul by this famous but previous name.When the Roman Empire split into two parts at the end of the fourth century AD by Emperor Theodosius the first between his sons Arcadius and Honorius; Constantinople was flourishing rapidly while old Rome was nearing collapse and it did by 476 AD while Constantinople lasted as the capital of the Roman Empire until 1453.

 

Leaving pagan Rome behind and starting a new Christian capital on Asia Minor and calling it Constantinople was Constantine the Great's idea in 330 AD.I would say he was an emperor with a great vision for the future of his empire.Today the population of metropolitan Rome is close to four and a half million people while that of İstanbul is four times and increasing.Therefore Constantine could see that his new Rome would  have more of an advantage because of its geographic location.He was so right.Trade relations between the Black Sea and the Merditerranean basin was very important back then.Today with China emerging as a new global player,the construction of the third bridge(Yavuz Sultan Selim) over the Bosphorus Straight;widest suspension bridge in the world;will enable the new speed train from Pekin to Europe to expedite the transportation of goods which will lower the cost of the merchandise and therefore will create the economic boom that is highly needed.

 

During the days of the Ottoman Empire Athens was under the Ottoman control  for 356 years.As Constantinople became İstanbul after 1453;the Greco-Roman population who left Constantinople at that time still resent this fact even today.That is why one of the graffiti that emerged around Taksim Square of İstanbul during the ''Gezi Protests'' was ''oppression started in 1453''.At the end of May 2013 Türkiye when those protests had started had just finished its debt of 23.5 billion dollars to IMF and the interest rates were at its lowest at 4,61%;protesters chose some eight trees being relocated in the park as an excuse and blamed the government of exterminating the green relaxation area. When Recep Tayyip Erdoğan;then the Prime Minister of the country,decided to talk to the leaders of the protesters they demanded that the government would end the mega projects which at that time were about to start.The Yavuz Selim and Osmangazi bridges have been finished since then and the first phase of the busiest airport in the world will have a trial landing within a month and start to operate in ten months from now.So it was an operation of perception that we had to overcome five years ago.

 

It was some ten years ago when I was guiding a group I noticed this Greek group on top of Konyalı restaurant where the best view of the Topkapı Palace Museum is located I could see some members of this Greek group in tears.On the other hand I asked this question to a Greek colleague,born in İstanbul living in Athens if he has seen any Turkish groups visiting the Acropolis in Athens and crying his answer was negative.They will cry and never forget İstanbul because of its heritage however for the Turks Athens does not have the same weight.The Turkish people today will remember how much land was lost when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and in my opinion for religious reasons they are ever so sad for losing control of Mecca,Medina and Jerusalem.

Iraq and Syria were Ottoman territories back then so one might expect those oil rich areas which does not belong to the Turkish Republic anymore to be a matter of grave concern in a country which has to import some seventy-five percent of its oil and natural gas needs from those neighbouring countries however Türkiye would like to ensure the territorial integrity of all the counties in the world not just along her borders.

 

İstanbul,Türkiye 18 January 2018,Thursday 20.00 local time.

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The lyrics of the song:

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks.

 

Istanbul Not Constantinople Four Lads

We first met on the Acropolis of Pergamum in 2011.I had just finished my presentation to my tour group about the history of this ancient city.As I was walking towards the exit I saw Aydın Eroğlu who was giving a lecture to his group and I noticed the ambiance amongst his tour members which was rather mesmerized so I decided to meet this knowledgeable tour guide.As I approached to meet with him he received me very friendly and gave me his phone number.Following our first meeting I called him several times asking important topics about our profession.He had formed a What's App. group amongst the tour guides and he included me in that group.Later on by using the same group name he uploaded his videos on youtube;

 

www.aydinturizmcidusunceokulu.com ;

 

which literally translates to Aydın's Tourism Thinktank and I must admit it is hard to find another Tourism Thinktank in Turkey.So if you search Youtube you will find many videos reflecting some of his past works.

 

In 2016 I joined several seminars given by him and I learnt so many things about life and especially on Turkish Hand-Made Carpets.Each time we talk my learning procedure continues.Your encouragement and compliments regarding my work have been very important for me.

 

Technology has made it easier for everyone to learn with new devices coming in the marketplace however nothing can come close to the experience of being thought by an inspirational teacher like yourself.I know sometimes teachers do not get enough credit for their patience but using this opportunity now I would really like to thank you for giving us

such an education.I wish you good luck and success for all your future projects and I will keep on supporting you with pleasure.Many thanks ''Hocam'' which means My Teacher in Turkish.

 

Ufuk Ünal

Tourist Guide licensed by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry

 

Ufuk Ünal Professional Tour Guide

Mr.Aydın Eroğlu happens to be my mentor.Honestly I do not know if there are correct sentences that can describe you.Couple of years ago when I intended to learn more about Religious tours that we conduct in Türkiye I was told by some senior guides that you were the master and by divine coincidence when I was at Aspendos Theatre in Antalya with my group I saw you and  approached you with the permission granted by my group members with all my deepest sensation and kissed your hand as it is customary in our country and I requested your help.I still remember the surprised look on your face.That was the very moment when our story began.

 

Following our first meeting we met several times where you were teaching about Turkish Carpets; you conducted a series of lectures and I learnt  a lot from you on Tourism in general,Religious tours and Turkish hand-made carpets.During one of our lessons I had a phone call from one of my clients who turned out to be a very good friend of mine in time;Perla Lichi who was chosen the best designer of the world.When I told you more about her,with your thirty eight years more experience than me you gave me amazing ideas about what we could do with her in Türkiye.

 

During one of Perla's visit to İstanbul she had a chance to meet with you at ICI Hali and she fell in love with your carpet presentation.Later on in January 2017 when we attended a Turkish hand-made carpet exhibition in Doha,Qatar she visited us again.Thanks to you I had the experience of a lifetime in Doha meeting with some wonderful people as well as my Qatari guests who had been to Turkey earlier on;they admired your vast knowledge.I think the most exciting part of our Doha visit was when we had a chance to see the magnificient private carpet collection of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al-Thani on the sixth floor of Marriot Hotel,a must for any art lover;amazing carpets which I had not seen before in my life.

 

I feel honoured to be your student and enjoy each time introducing my guests to you as then they can get ''Correct Information'' and be truly mesmerised by your award winning best Turkish carpet collection and your know-how.I am so pleased to see this website will carry all your years of experience to the future generations which happens to be the very passion that can describe you the least.With all my prayers please carry on doing the work you dedicated most of your life on and thank you again for all your lessons.

 

 

Dilek Çelik ProfessionalTour Guide and Travel Agency Director
     
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    Turkish Tourism Forever

    Yeşilyurt Mah. Süsen Sk. No:1
    34149 Bakırköy/İstanbul

    Telephone:   +90 (532) 312 90 12
     

    E-mail: info@turkishtourismforever.com