Travel Pinch Me Moments

“You have to travel to see new light, find new hope, renew the mind and revitalize the soul.” Lailah Gifty Akita

It was summer in January on a beach in Napier, New Zealand.  The weather was hot and the sun was setting at 930 PM. The moon was out at the same time.  My new friend pinched the fingers of both her hands together and said, “This is a pinch me moment”.  I had heard of pinch me moments when someone wins an Academy Award or accomplishes a dream but I had never heard of it standing on a beach watching a sunset.  She explained that, “You pinch your fingers to save the moment. When I am sitting in my kitchen in England and I look out the window at the dreary weather, I will remember this moment.” 

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 As I watched the moon that night, it made sense that it is also the small moments that resonate in our minds. They are part of the story making events of our lives. Here are some of my travel pinch me moments. (photo by Cordula Reins)

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Looking out at the balloons in the air over Cappadocia, Turkey.

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Watching the sun set over the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

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Rainbow over Iguazu Falls, Missiones, Argentina

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Angor Wat, Cambodia

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Walking on the beach in Varadero, Cuba

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 Sailing on the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam

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Machu Picchu .

Seeing the elephants up close in Kruger National Park, South Africa

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The Tori Gates on Myajima, JapanIMG_1074

The view of the volcano in Santorini, Greece

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Fly safe,

JAZ

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Ten Amazing Travel Days

Ten Amazing Travel Days

“It’s a perfect day, drank Sangria in the park, later on when it gets dark, we go home”  Lou Reed

A perfect travel day is when everything falls seamlessly into place. There are days when you experience amazing things because the world is an incredible place. I picked ten of my favorite days

Cappadocia , Turkey

Cappadocia could be among my favorite places in the world.  The dramatic landscape is the result of volcanic eruptions that happened millions of years ago. Wind and water eroded the land leaving these odd surreal land formations, fairy chimneys, caves and underground cities.

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Floating across the sky at sunrise, above the lunar-like, rugged moonscape of Cappadocia in a hot air balloon was one of the most incredible mornings of my life and should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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Dubrovnik and Peljesac Penninsula, Croatia

I had a great time in Croatia with my kids. A particularly beautiful day was spent exploring the Peljesac Peninsula with our tour guide Petar Vlasik http://www.dubrovnikrivieratours.com.  We stopped at a few different wineries for wine tasting. Ston is a fortified city from the middle ages with stone ramparts said to resemble a small great wall of China. Ston is known for their lush oyster beds and salt pans and is a great place to eat the freshest oysters and buy salt.

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That night we attended a really good jazz concert at the Old Rectory Church in Dubrovnik. It was a great family memory.

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Onsets and Ryokans, Japan

Ryokan are Japanese style inns found throughout the country in hot springs resorts. Ryokan are a traditional Japanese experience, incorporating elements such as tatami floors, futon beds, Japanese style baths and local kaiseki ryori (eight course typical Japanese meals with local and seasonal specialties).

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The main activity besides eating is bathing. The geothermal springs located throughout the country( onsens) provide hot mineral-rich water for indoor and outdoor baths. The chemistry, temperature, pressure, buoyancy, sulfa and magnesium of thermal baths have curative properties . The meals show all that is beautiful about Japanese culture. Kaiseki is a multi course meal rooted in the Buddhist idea of simplicity. I have been fortunate to visit a few ryokans in Nikko, Yufuin and Iso Nagaoka. Each one has been special.

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Marajo, Brazil

Marajo is an island in Brazil in the state of Para at the mouth of the Amazon. It is the size of Switzerland and home to many beautiful birds and water buffalo.

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The story goes that a ship laden with goods and water buffalo from India hit a reef and sank off the coast of Marajo. Some of the buffalo escaped the wreck and swam to shore. The buffalo are descendants of this shipwreck though now more have been brought in. There are large herds of domesticated water buffalo on the island. At Fazenda Sanjo you can experience life on a farm in the Amazon. There is piranha fishing, riding and milking buffalo, canoeing and horseback riding through the river with the buffalo. We did the riding with the buffalo. It was definitely the most different thing I have ever seen up close and pretty amazing.

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Edinburgh, Scotland

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a summer theatre festival that includes cutting edge theatre, interesting comedians, and everything else. It is a festival where anyone can perform and my daughter’s high school took advantage of that and had a three-week summer program in Edinburgh. My son and I went to see her perform. It was my first time at the Edinburgh Fringe. Being a theatre person, I loved every minute of it and have been back a few times.

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My son worked there the following summer. The Royal Mile is the definitive part of the fringe. This road is packed full of street entertainment, groups doing excerpts from their shows (mainly musicals) and lots, lots and lots of acts trying to flyer you to get you to see their shows. There’s not really any equivalent to this anywhere else. Theatre goes on all day and all night. We had a blast.

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Cartagena, Colombia

The heat in Cartagena gives it a sleepy feeling which kind of makes it okay to sit on the wall, browse through shops and street vendors, buy fresh fruit from a woman carrying it on her head and not go to a museum.

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La Boquilla is a poor fishing village twenty minutes outside of Cartegena. It is a peninsula at the end of a beach with the Caribbean Sea on one side and a lake with mangroves on the other. The guide takes you on an old canoe through mangrove tunnels with flocks of birds and fishermen fishing for crabs ,shrimp and small fish.

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After the canoe they pull out a fresh coconut and make a hole for a straw with a machete. I walk for a long time on the beach with my feet in the Caribbean Sea. I have lunch on the beach of fresh fish, plantains and coconut rice.

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez became a writer in Cartegena. His novel Love in The Time Of Cholera Is set here. It is one of my favorites. I see Fermina riding in the horse and carriages and Florentino wandering everywhere in despair. You can see how much of Cartegena is in his books.

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Hoi An, Viet Nam

Hoi An is one of the most charming cities in Viet Nam .Hoi An’s Old Quarter is lined with two-story old Chinese buildings that now house shops with elaborately carved wooden facades and moss-covered tile roofs.

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The food market reminds visitors of another era when it was filled with goods from all over the Asia. (mangos, rambuchan, snake wine) Hoi An is a place where you can get clothes and shoes made at a reasonable price as long as you have a picture. It is also one of the best eating cities in Viet Nam and known for cooking classes and especially delicious food.

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After spending the day in the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Hoi An, i head back to the Nam Hai all-villa resort on quiet Hoi An Beach. The contemporary architecture is welcoming and eye-catching as feng shui mingles with strong modern lines.

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The Spa at the Nam Hai is truly something wonderful. Composed of 8 villas, floating around a lotus pond, it is the ideal location for a relaxing massage, steam shower and herbal tea! The people who work there are most helpful and always want to practice their English.

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Venice, Italy

Every corner you turn in Venice ,you walk deeper into some real-life watercolor painting that a camera can never do justice. It’s like no place else I’ve ever been.

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It’s  a maze of canals and small streets, whimsical bridges, and colorful buildings. And as with all mazes, you should prepare to find yourself lost a time or two. I was there with my kids and a friend,  It was during the Art Biennale in the summer.

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We got to see incredible modern art from all over the world in the morning and explore the city in the afternoon.

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An important Venetian holiday is held on the third week in July. It is the Feast of the Redentore commemorating the end of the plague that killed fifty thousand people including Titian. The fireworks display is so extensive and significant that the re-election of the mayor is contingent on their quality (sort of like us picking a governor based on his movies) I have to add that they were the most incredible fireworks of our lives –I hope that mayor got re-elected.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

It started in Tigre, a port a half hour from Buenos Aires. We sailed through the different rivers of the Delta Del Parana.

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At lunchtime, we went to Tres Esquinas in Barranca, a working class barrio in Buenos Aires for steak and empanadas. I love outdoor markets but the Sunday antiques market in Plaza Dorrego  in San Telmo is a phenomenon. The antiques are around the plaza but the shopping continues with arts and crafts vendors for many blocks. It is curbside capitalism at its finest.

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La Confiteria Ideal did not start as a tango hall but as  a pastry café in 1912. In the nineties it became a tango hall. Its faded glamour was a perfect background for the faded glamour of the tango dancers I saw that day. Dance has been a big part of my life. Andres Miguel my tour guide is a tango dancer.  tango@culturacercana.com.ar  Everything we did that day was related to tango  –  a boat on a river, good food and shopping, a milonga and always tango stories. He was the perfect tour guide for me and gave me a gift of the perfect day.

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Krueger National Park, South Africa

My daughter and my new son-in-law  were married on a safari In South Africa with sixty-five of their closest friends and family. A game park in Africa is an unlikely wedding destination. (We Love Pictures)

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You know that word that we Americans overuse for everything – awesome? i didn’t expect to have the feeling of humbleness and awe I had when seeing the African animals in the wild up close. There are moments of joy in your life. Watching your daughter get married to the right guy   in the peace and beauty of the African Bush is a distinctive moment of happiness. Watching your son officiate the wedding with intelligence, humor, kindness, sensitivity and even a bit of spirituality  (albeit in the form of animals)  makes it perfect.

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Fly safe,
JAZ

My Top Ten Instagram Photos This Year (travelwellflysafe)

“Just give me a thousand words and you may make your own pictures.”
Erica Goros

I have been instagramming for about half of the year. I see the world in pictures anyway so it is really fun for me. I learn as I go. I have “internet brain” now. i think it’s going to be a real thing. It is getting harder and harder to immerse myself in a book or lengthy article. It is much easier to spend time looking at photos that have nothing to do with anything, places I want to go or have been or finding the perfect emoji to put on my comment. My topic hopping, time-wasting, hashtagging, bad spelling sessions have resulted in this blog. (No particular order)

#sunset (Yesilkurt,Turkey)

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#hiking in#redmountain (St. George, Utah)

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impossibly#wide #beach (Marajo, Brazil)

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Can you take a bad #Venice photo? (Italy)

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#car in#cuba (Varadero,Cuba)

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#streetart in #bogota (Colombia)

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Holding up the #mountain just noticed the #cross (Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina)

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#cactus or #cacti  (Jujuy, Argentina)

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#sunset makes the best #photo (Izmir, Turkey)

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Another boring day in #marajo (Belém, Brazil)

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None of my LA photos made it into the top ten. Instagram likes me out-of-town, with mountains, a beach and a great sunset. I agree.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Seven Wonders Of The World

Seven Wonders Of The  Ancient World

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million,”

Walt Streightiff

I’ve seen two of  the Seven Wonders of the World – the Temple of Artemis  at Ephesus and the Colossus of Rhodes. I hope to see them all one day.  Most of these wonders of ancient civilizations are not  there anymore. – except the Pyramid of Giza.

The list of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World that we use today was put together in 200 BC. by a Greek Historian names Antipatros who wanted to commemorate the achievements of the ancient world. He picked them for many reasons . They were chosen  for grandeur and prestige. They were well-known unique constructions  at that time. They stood unequaled in size, design and craftsmanship.  He chose them for the vision and the purpose that inspired them. This was important to the Greeks. Did it serve as a tomb? Was its purpose to bring beauty into the world? Was it a monument to an ancient religion that no longer exists?

Completed around 550 B.C. to honor the Greek goddess of hunting and nature, the Temple of Artemis was built during the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire. Arson destroyed the temple in 356 B.C. The ancient author and philosopher Pliny described the temple as being 377 feet long and 180 feet wide (about 3 times the size of the Parthenon), with 127 Ionic columns measuring 60 feet high, and made solely of marble. Used as both a marketplace and a place of worship, the temple housed many works of art and sculpture. There is one column from the Temple of Artemis on site and the rest are in the British Museum in London.

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The Colossus of Rhodes was actually an enormous, looming 100-foot tall statue of the Greek god Helios, built on the island of Rhodes, Greece around 280 B.C. The statue was erected to commemorate the island’s patron god Helios.

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The Great Pyramid is the largest of the 3 pyramids built in the ancient city of Giza, now part of greater Cairo, Egypt. The pyramid is believed to have been built around 2560 B.C. as a tomb for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, and likely took 20 years to build. (Egyptologists argue over man-power numbers, and estimates have ranged from 14,000 to 360,000 men). When built, the pyramid measured nearly 480 feet high, with the sides each measuring about 755 feet long. In addition, each side is oriented with one of the cardinal points (north, south, east and west). Nearly 2.3 million blocks of stone, each weighing about 2 tons, form the pyramid. The pyramid remained the world’s tallest building for 4 millennia after it was built .

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The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been built by Nebuchadnezzar II, a ruler of Babylon, around 600 B.C. Though historians often debate the real existence of the gardens, because there’s no physical evidence and Babylonian documents never mention them (Greek scholars first described the gardens), accounts state that the gardens consisted of vaulted terraces raised above one another and supported on pillars – an artificial rising mountain of gardens. The amazement over the gardens stems from what would have been an extraordinarily complicated irrigation system, which brought water from the Euphrates to the gardens in an otherwise arid environment. The gardens are thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake around the first century B.C.

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This enormous statue honoring the God Zeus was built at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece around 450 B.C. Designed by the Greek sculptor Pheidias, the statue of a seated Zeus measured 40 feet tall and was carved from ivory with gold-plated accents.

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Scholars estimate the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt measured between 383 and 450 feet high and was built in the third century B.C. to act as a landmark for Pharos, a small island off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. The lighthouse’s tower was built using light-colored stone.  At its highest point, a mirror was placed to reflect sunlight during the day and at night a fire burned to give off light. Some historians believe that the light given off could be seen for some 35 miles. The lighthouse was damaged by 2 earthquakes in 1303 and 1323, and its remains were destroyed in 1480, when a fort was built on the site.

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The tomb built to hold the remains of the Persian King Mausollos and his wife, Artemisia, was designed by the Greek architects Satyrus and Pythius and constructed around 353 B.C. on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Halicarnassus in Western Turkey. The tomb stood 135 feet high, and its exterior was surrounded by an ornamental frieze. Numerous statues, bas-reliefs and columns decorated the exterior of the ornate and enormous tomb, and eventually the term “mausoleum” became used to describe any large and impressive tomb. Multiple earthquakes ultimately led to the destruction of the tomb in the 14th century.

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Why do we go to these places?  I have been to a lot of ancient ruins in my life.   When I look at a Greek column or a broken one, I see a civilization that gave us philosophy, science, art, economy, logic and democracy.  It isn’t so much what I see but what I feel standing in the depth of history. I look at the ancient stones and wonder  if they knew that what they were doing was so important? Probably not. They were just living their lives, going to the Agora,  starting a war with someone over something that seems very important at the time, falling  in love, fighting with their friends, going to work and taking care of their families and pets. Maybe it just emphasizes the human connection to the past.  There are always stray animals at ruins. I like to think they have the souls of the people who lived there.

As I write this I am trying to organize my photos from all the ruins I have seen in Turkey.  I know where they come from but I didn’t take good notes about what they actually are.  It didn’t matter to me. I just cared that I was there.  I stood where they stood. Maybe I was standing where Aristotle, Homer, Heraclitus or Helen of Troy stood. Did a girl who’s heart was broken, or a man who had miraculously made it back from a bad war stand on these steps?  I always make these stories up in my head when I am standing there trying to listen to why this column or pile of stones is important.    Since we aren’t leaving much  stone,  what will they find from us?

Fly Safe,

JAZ

In Ruins

In Ruins In Turkey

(Pergamon, Assos, Sardis, Troy,)

“The ruins of himself! now worn away, with age, yet still majestic in decay.” Homer

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Pergamon

The best way to see the Acropolis  of Pergamon is to  take the cable car up (they will try to sell you a return ticket but insist on one-way) and then walk down the ancient road  via the Gymnasium.

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The famous Library of Pergamon, which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books in the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. (beauty and brains?) Pergamon’s library on the Acropolis  is the second best in the ancient Greek civilization. When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus, partly because of competitors and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes invented a new substance called pergaminus or pergamena (parchment) after the city.

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The building that has been restored now is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order.

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The Theatre of Pergamon, one of the steepest theatres in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was constructed in the 3rd century BC.

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The famous Altar of Zeus in Pergamon is on the south of the theater. The Altar which was taken away from Pergamon in 1871  by the German engineer Carl Humann, is exhibited at the Museum of Pergamum in Berlin, in a way conforming to its original. Today the Turkish government is trying to get it back from Germany bringing the issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

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Ascieplion

The Asclepion was an ancient medical center that was founded by Archias, a local who had been cured at the Asclepion of Epidaurus (Greece). Treatments included mud baths, the use of herbs and ointments, enemas and sunbathing. Diagnosis was often by dream analysis. (treatment rooms)

Galen (AD 131–210),  was born here and studied in Alexandria, Greece and Asia Minor before becoming a physician to Pergamum’s gladiators.  He is recognized as perhaps the greatest early physician. Galen added considerably  knowledge of the circulatory and nervous systems, and also systematized medical theory. Under his influence, the medical school at Pergamum became renowned. His work was the basis for Western medicine well into the 16th century. (Galen and the symbol of the Asclepion, the snake)

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,If you are walking from the town center (2km uphill) it passes through a large military base; be off it by dusk and don’t take photos.

A Roman bazaar street , once lined with shops, leads from the entrance to the centre, where you’ll see the base of a column carved with snakes, the symbol of Asclepios (Aesculapius), god of medicine. Just as the snake sheds its skin and gains a ‘new life’, so the patients at the Asclepion were supposed to ‘shed’ their illnesses. Signs mark a circular Temple of Asciepios, a library and, beyond it, a Roman theatre.

You can take a drink from the Sacred Well, although the plastic tube out of which the water flows doesn’t look particularly sanitary), and pass along the vaulted underground corridor to the Temple of Telesphorus, another god of medicine. Patients slept in the temple hoping that Telesphorus would send a cure or diagnosis in a dream.

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Assos

After leaving the Platonic Academy in Athens, Aristotle went to Assos, where he was welcomed by King Hermias, and opened an Academy in this city. In the Academy of Assos, Aristotle became a chief to a group of philosophers and they made many innovative observations in zoölogy and biology.. Aristotle also married Pythias, the adopted daughter of Hermias.

On the acropolis 238 m above sea level are the remains of the Doric Temple of Athena, which date back to 530 BC. Six of the original 38 columns remain. It is possible to see  spectacular views of much of the surrounding area from this ancient Temple of  Athena built on top of a cliff.

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Sardis.

Sardis was the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. In the seventh century BC, the Lydians invented the first coinage in history. Some of the highlights of Sardis are the temple of Artemis –one of the largest temples of Asia Minor and the Roman Gymnasium complex. Part of the gymnasium was converted into a synagogue in the third century BC. Sardis is one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. (Gymnasium)

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Roman Temple of Artemis

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Troy

The city now believed to contain the ancient Troy of Homer’s Iliad was founded around 2920 BCE. Over its long and shaky history, Troy appears to have been destroyed at least nine times.

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Henrik Schliemann, having heard claims from an English archaeologist that the hill called Hisarlik concealed the ruins of Homer’s Troy, got permission from the Ottoman government for an archaeological dig. While Schliemann did manage to uncover four ancient towns during his excavations, the amateur archaeologist also destroyed several others along the way.

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Schliemann also found a cache of gold and other artifacts. He mistakenly believed them to be “The Treasure of Priam,” but it was later proven to be from an earlier civilization. The treasure was recently rediscovered in Russia, after having disappeared during WW2, and is at the centre of an ongoing ownership dispute. At the moment, the treasure sits in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

After Schliemann death, his assistant Wilhelm Doerpfeld worked at Troy for many years. It was he who identified the nine basic layers of the city, labeling them in the Roman numerical system still used today. An American archaeologist named Carl Blegen would find based on evidence of burning and siege, that Troy VII-a  was the likeliest time for the Trojan War.

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At Troy one can see mostly ruins or ruins of ruins. There are ruins of walls from a number of different periods scattered throughout the site, some include a gate or tower.

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Compared to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved ancient cities on the Mediterranean, the ruins of Troy are a disappointment, but for any fan of Homer or lover of mythology, the trip is well worth your time. (even if does include a few fake Trojan horses.)

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for more ancient ruins in Turkey go to All Roads Lead to Ephesus.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/all-roads-lead-to-ephesus/

 Errosthe ( Ancient Greek closing –  be healthy, sound, vigorous, fare well) and Fly Safe,

JAZ

All Roads Lead to Ephesus

All Roads Lead to Ephesus

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”      Heraclitus

Ephesus is considered  to be one of the great outdoor museums of Turkey.

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Heraclitus was born in Ephesus.

The Odeon doubled as a concert hall and a meeting place ( the Senate). It was built by   a wealthy couple in 2 AD. It seats 1500 and probably had a roof since there is no drainage.

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Toilets in Ephesus were side by side with no partition. Slaves sat on them first to warm them up for their masters.

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The Celsius Library in Ephesus with 12,000 scrolls,  was the third largest library in the ancient world,  after Alexandria and Pergamon.

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The first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was in Ephesus. The Virgin Mary lived her last years in a cottage near Ephesus. Many Popes have visited her house. It is one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.

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Before it was a Roman city, Ephesus  was an ancient Greek city of Asia Minor, near the mouth of the Menderes River, in what is today Western Turkey, south of Smyrna (now Izmir). One of the greatest of the Ionian cities, it became the leading seaport of the region. Its wealth was proverbial. The Greek city was near an old center of worship of a native nature goddess, who was equated with the Greek Artemis.  In 550 B.C., a large temple was built.

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Artemis (Diana) is very popular and has many temples) is  one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It covers an area as big as a soccer field but today has turned into a swamp.  There is one remaining column and you can only see the ruins of the foundations of this marvelous construction of the Hellenistic Age. It was  made of marble and full of sculptured columns, capitals and shafts. It was twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens.  The most beautiful  ruins that remain of this temple are  exhibited today in the British Museum in London. You can find it in the Hall Of The Stolen Goods.

The statue of many-breasted Artemis was the symbol of the temple but also of abundance, hunting and wild life. The genuine statue of Artemis, removed during the fire, is  exhibited in the Selcuk Museum in Turkey.  Many copies of this statue found during the latest excavations date back from the Roman period.

The first advertisement of the antiquity, which shows the way to the brothel, is on the Marbel Street in Ephesus.

The Grand Theatre in Ephesus has seating capacity of 24,000 people.

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Ephesus is the best preserved classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world enabling one to genuinely soak in the atmosphere of Roman times.

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Ephesus  was once a seaport and  is now located  6 miles away from the sea.

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Ephesus was discovered in Selcuk, Izmir in Western Turkey.

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Some scholars estimate the number of people living at Ephesus to have exceeded 250,000 inhabitants during Ephesus III.  This  would make it perhaps the fourth largest of its day behind: 
1) Rome; 
2) Alexandria; and 
3) Antioch.

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Got columns?

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Ephesus was the world capital of the slave trade from 100 B.C. to  100 A.D.

Sign at Ephesus – Personally, I think all children need attention.

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Ephesus terrace houses are located on the hill, opposite the  Hadrian temple.  They are also called  “the houses of rich“. They tell a lot about family life during the Roman period.

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There are six residential units on three terraces at the lower end of the slope of the Bulbul Mountain. The oldest building dates back to 1 BC and continued in use as a residence until  7 AD. The excavations of the terrace houses started in 1960.

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 Ephesus Terrace Houses are covered with protective roofing which resembles Roman houses. The mosaics on the floor and the frescos have been consolidated and two houses have been opened to the public as a museum.

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They had interior courtyards (peristyle) in the center, with the ceiling open.. On the ground floor there were living and dining rooms opening to the hall, and upstairs there were bedrooms and guest rooms.

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The heating system of the terrace houses were the same as that in the baths. Clay pipes beneath the floors and behind the walls carried hot air through the houses. The houses also had cold and hot water. The rooms had no windows, only illuminated with light coming from the open hall, so that most of the rooms were dim.

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An ancient Roman cat  is guarding the ruins.

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Heraclitus is right.  it is my second time in Ephesus. I was there in my early twenties. They have done a lot more excavation. i am a lot more interested in it now.  I  have changed also.

‘All is flux”  and fly safe,

JAZ

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Things I Have Learned In Istanbul

Things I Have Learned In Istanbul

“Life cant be that bad, I’d think from time to time. Whatever happens, I can always take a walk along the Bosphorus”   Orhan Pamuk.

 Istanbul is the only city built on two continents – Asia and Europe.

Istanbul was first known as Byzantium . The name of Constantinople came from the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great who rebuilt the city on seven hills, to match the famous seven hills of Rome. The name finally changed to Istanbul in 1930 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk proclaimed the Republic. To ensure the usage of the new name, Turkish authorities resent all mail and packages that were sent to a previous city name.

Istanbul has been capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, yet it isn’t the capital city of modern Turkey, which is Ankara. Istanbul is however the largest city in Turkey.

The Basilica Cistern is the largest and most spectacular of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city. The cistern  was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor  Justinian.  It was used to bring water to the Imperial Palace and later Topkapi Palace. The cistern looks like an eerie underground cathedral with Roman columns and Medusa. It was the setting for the 1963 James Bond film, from Russia with Love. James Bond once again appeared in Turkey  more recently in Skyfall. We had dinner at the same restaurant.

Istanbul has the biggest car ferries in the world on the Sea of Marmara.

  Suleyman the Magnificent wanted a mosque qppropriate to his title. He commissioned architect Mimar Sinan to build the Suleymaniye Mosque which was completed in 1557. The mosque had a madrasa, houses, infirmaries, caravansarais, a medical school, hamams, a Hadeth school, a hospital and shops. It is the largest mosque in Istanbul. The Suleymaniye Mosque is a beautiful example of Ottoman Islāmic architecture. There is a wonderful light spiritual feeling inside. (inner courtyard, recycled columns, interior, exterior view)

Be physically and mentally prepared to shop in the Grand Bazaar. Be thirsty for you will drink many cups of tea.  Wear comfortable shoes because there are over 5000 shops and sixty streets. The street names refer to the different trades and crafts.  I must have been on leather jacket street. Be in a good mood to deal with shopkeepers who will try to lure you in. You will have many best friends and marriage proposals.  Hone up on your bargaining skills. Allow plenty of time to explore. Take advantage of fresh squeezed pomegranate juice for energy.  Most important  – never forget your luggage allowance or you will spend the rest of your trip wondering how you will get all the leather jackets home. The Bazaar has come a long way from the original construction in the fifteenth century. They now  have a website.

Bibliophiles will want to head towards Sahaflar Çarşısı (Old Book Bazaar), which is found in a shady little courtyard west of the Grand Bazaar at the end of Kalpakçılarbaşı Caddesi. The book bazaar dates from Byzantine times. Its stallholders sell books both new and old.

The Spice Market (also known as the Eygptian Bazaar because a few centuries ago it was the market for goods brought from Egypt) was built in the seventh century near the Galtaea Bridge on the Golden Horn. It is across from the ferry docks. Spices, dried fruits, olive oil, cheeses, sausages, jams, nuts and seeds, teas, lokum  (Turkish Delight), sweets, caviar and other edibles fill most of the shops. It has become a lot more touristy in the past ten years. It is not easy to make a living just selling spices and so many other shops are now in the market as well. I should have bought saffron.

The Pera Museum has a lovely collection of European, Ottoman and Turkish paintings. They have interesting temporary exhibitions as well.  It is closed Mondays.  My favorite new painting “The Turtle Trainer”  by Osman Hamdi Bey is there.

Rustem Pasha Mosque was commissioned by Suleyman’s son in law and built by Sinan. It was completed in 1561 It is located in an old and busy market area. The mosque is known  for its beautiful Iznik tiles from the sixteenth century covering entire walls. It is a very special mosque and really lovely inside.

The Bosphorous is the biggest canal in the world.

Hagia Sophia is the most important building in Istanbul. It was built in the fourth century and is the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.

People who live in Istanbul are called  Istanbulites.

The Asian side of Istanbul is a great place to live if you are a Turkish Yuppie. (T-uppie?) They have cool restaurants and stores, gyms, many Starbucks and a Pinkberry.

The historic Sirkeci Train Station is in Istanbul. This was the last stop on the Orient Express “king of trains and train of kings” – between Paris and Constantinople from 1883 to 1977. Agatha Christie was one of the passengers of this famous train. She wrote her  novel “Murder on the Orient Express”  in Istanbul at the Pera Palace Hotel ( I stayed there)  Her book fans always want to see her room.

If you ride trains in Turkey, they’ll most likely not be from Istanbul, as all intercity trains from Haydarpasa Station on the Asian side of the Bosphorous have been cancelled until 2014,  while the rail line eastward is upgraded.

Istanbul has the third oldest subway in the world, built in 1875. It is 573 meters long and located in the Tunel neighborhood in the Beyoglu district. The  London subway was built in 1863 and the New York subway was built in 1868.

Istanbul has the only soccer stadium where you can see two continents. Turkish people take their soccer seriously. It is not unusual to see the police ready for a big game.

The first recorded international treaty in the world was the Treaty of Kadesh between the Hittite and Egyptian Empires, Hattusilis III and Ramses II, in c.1275 BC. You can see it  at the  Istanbul Archeological museum. I wish I could say that I saw it, being that I was at that museum, but I was obsessed with the Alexander Sarcophagus.

The Alexander Sarcophagus was made in the fourth century (Greek) and is covered on four sides with an exquisite bas-relief of Alexander the Great in action. It was discovered in an excavation led by artist Osman Hamdi Bey who became director of the museum.  It was at first thought to have been Alexander the Great’s sarcophagus but that was found to be untrue.  The figures are quite lifelike as is the movement and pain on the faces. It is among the most important classical antiquities ever discovered. It is totally intact and in almost perfect condition. It is said to have been done by as many as six sculptors (which is what I figured out by staring at it for a while)

The Golden Horn is entirely in Europe. It leads into the Bosphorus, which is the water that divides the two continents,  which joins the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, which in turn leads into the Mediterranean.

Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Sultans for four hundred years. Construction began in 1459 by Sultan  Mehmed II and continued over centuries. Architect Sinan redid the kitchen quarters in the sixrteenth century. It is a good example of Ottoman architecture. It houses the famous Topkapi Dagger ( made famous by the movie Topkapi) and important holy relics from the Muslim world including Mohammed’s cloak and dagger.

The Harem of the Topkapi Palace  has more than 400 rooms and was home to   the Sultan’s  mother,wives, concubines, children, servants and eunuchs. Many of the rooms and features were designed by architect Sinan.

When Istanbul was part of the Ottoman Empire there were over 1,400 public toilets all around the city. At the same time, there weren’t any in  Europe.

I don’t know what to say about the Dolmabahci Palace after looking at so much beautiful pristine  Mosque architecture.  The design could be described as Baroque Rococco Neoclassical Ottoman style.  They were not afraid to use too much gold.  The Dolmabahci Palace is the largest palace in Turkey and  has a beautiful view of the Bosphorous.  It cost five million Ottoman gold coins  in 1856. It was home to six Sultans and Ataturk. The world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is in the center hall. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has banisters of baccarat crystal.  Turks  may come to see this because Ataturk died here but they do not like this palace. It was a lot of money to spend at a time when life was not easy for most people.

Four bronze horses which  decorate  San Marco Cathedral in Venice today, were taken from Istanbul (Constantinople back then) by the Crusaders in the 13th century. I took a picture of the stolen horses when I was in Venice if they need evidence.

The Blue Mosque is the only mosque in Istanbul with six minarets, which is the largest number you can have in a mosque. It is called the Blue Mosque because of the 20,000 blue Iznik tiles inside.  The façade is  built in the same way as the Suleyman mosque. It was designed by a student of Sinan. It Is exquisite but a major tourist attraction and always very crowded. You must just stare at the ceiling if you want to feel any spirituality.

Istanbul Modern is the first and only modern art museum in Istanbul.  It opened in 2004 and is home to modern Turkish artists and Istanbul fashion week.

.The most precious remnant  of the Hippodrome and oldest monument of Constantinople is the Egyptian Obelisk, which was erected by Pharaoh Thurmosis lll  in Karnak 1471 BC. (this looks exactly like my Washington Monument photo – we are copycats)

The old city walls are a nice place to hang out.

Whatever happens, I can always take a  cruise down the Bosphorus.

For more info read Top Ten Things in Turkey

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/my-top-ten-favorite-things-in-turkey/

Top Ten Meals In Turkey

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/top-ten-meals-in-turkey/

Iyi Yolculuklar.

JAZ