History of Ancient Miletus
Miletus, in the archaic period known as the ruler of the Aegean, birthplace of science and philosophy. Owed its importance to its position on trade routes and developed seamanship.
According to Homer Miletus was the exceptional Ionian city fought against the Greeks with the Trojans. Miletus is one of the 12 ionian cities located at the Western Turkey. Visited by St. Paul and mentioned in Acts Chapter 20.
It was one of the largest cities in Anatolia with a population of between 80,000 and 100,000. Highly prosperous, it founded many colonies and was the home of the 6th century BC philosophers Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Thales, the town planner Hippodamus and architect Isidorus. Miletus seems to have produced geniuses the way Aphrodisias produced sculptors. Anaximander known as the father of geography by drawing the first map of the world. Thales, was the most important among them. He was considered to be one of the 7 geniuses of the Ancient World as well as Bias of Priene and Solon of Athens. In 585 BC by calculating the solar eclipse, he became very famous. He believed that the source of life and live creations is out of water. He also calculated the height of the pyramids. Furthermore, he managed this checking up with help of the length of a persons shadow. In the day time when persons shadow was equal to his height, he made the calculations with the Pyramids.
First settlement dates back to 1600 BC by Minoans and Mycenaeans. According to the legend, the city was founded by Neleus, son of King Codrus of Athens. The residents were Carians and Cretans which moved here from a city having the same name. Neleus came to settle with his men and killed the resident males compelling the women to marry the newcomers. After this took place the women swore not to sit at the same table with their husbands and also not to call them by their names and this became a tradition for the next generations.
In the 11th century BC Ionians came to Miletus, and by 7th century BC Miletus was at its peak which was to last for more than two centuries. Miletus colonized over 90 cities such as Sinope, Amissos, Trapezos... located at the Black Sea shores of Anatolia.
With other cities of Ionia in 499 BC, Miletus rebelled against the Persians, who had captured, burned it to the ground and enslaved its surviving population. This last battle was that of Lade (Island of Lade) in 494 BC, just outside the harbor of Miletus where the Persian fleet of 600 warships defeated the Ionian force. The role of Miletus was significant in the defeat of the Persians at the Mycale battle in 479 BC. Shortly after the battle, Miletus joined the Delian Confederacy with a contribution larger than that of Ephesus. Miletus joined this alliance with 80 ships while Priene was joining with 12 ships. Upon an agreement between the Persian Satrap and Athens, Miletus and other Ionian cities of Anatolia came under the rule of the Persians again. At the end of the 5the century BC Miletus, was ruled by the Carian satraps. Captured by Alexander the Great after a siege in 334 BC. Miletus were among the cities who fought with Persians against Alexanders Army and defended their land. Afterwards ruled by the Seleucid Dynasty in the following years, Miletus remained an important trade center in the Roman times.
How far is Miletus from Ephesus?
Miletus is 50 miles away from Ephesus. After the riot took place in the theater of Ephesus. St, Paul was kicked out from the city of Ephesus. He travelled to north to Troas, Assos, Mitylene. Chios. Samos, St. Paul stopped in Miletus in 57 AD on his way back to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey. In Miletus Paul sent sends a message to the leaders of the church in Ephesus to join him in Miletus, and after speaking with them for the last time he bade them an emotional farewell. Paul warned them that he faces persecution and imprisonment when he returns to Jerusalem. Paul, boarded his ship in Miletus and sailed off via Cos, Rhodes, Patara to Jerusalem.
The Roman period was followed by Byzantine and Turkish periods. Miletus was a major port city located on a peninsula with four harbors. With the silting of the Meander River the ruins of the ancient city today are a few kilometers away from the sea. The city had a grid plan which was developed by Hippodamus when it was rebuilt in the 3rd century BC after the Persians had sacked it.
The Theater was a small Hellenistic theater with a seating capacity of 5,300, but in the beginning of the 2nd century AD it was modified to a Roman theater and held about 15,000 people. The lower section was built onto a natural hillside, and the upper is supported by vaulted substructures up to a height of 131 ft. The facade facing the harbor was 460 ft long. During the Roman period the stage building had three stories and was 111 ft wide. In front of the stage building it is still possible to see pieces depicting gladiators fighting against wild animals. From the 3rd row till the 6th, carvings show that some seats were reserved for some persons and groups. 5th row was reserved for the Jews and Theosebes (God-fearers) who are afraid of God and the 3rd row for the Jewelers. The Theosebes were Jewish sympathizing pagans with beliefs and rituals of their own. The Theosebes were one of the key groups that received attention of St. Paul and his mission.
At the top of the theater hill was a Byzantine fortress which is thought to have been built mostly with the stones of the theater in the 7th century AD but restored later by a Turkish tribe called Metesogullari.
Harbor monuments stood in front of the Lions’ Harbor. There were two of them; different in size but similar in style. The large piece was 25 ft high, mounted on a three-cornered base built on a round foundation with a diameter of 36 ft. The smaller one was only 17.5 ft.
The Delphinium was a Hellenistic open air shrine surrounded by stoas on four sides with a 6th century BC altar in the center. Together with Apollo, the dolphin was sacred for the Milesians as they believed that when the first settlers sailed they were guided by Apollo in the form of a dolphin. The annual festival and celebrations of Didyma were started here. An Ionic Stoa lay parallel to the processional road on the south of the Delphinium. It is a 1st century AD structure which had 35 Ionic columns and 19 shops behind the columns. Delphinios name meaning Dolphin in Greek is also correlated with Delphoi of Greece. According to the legend Apollo who needed priests for his temple, saw a Cretan ship at the horizon. He turned himself to dolphin and leaded the seamen where the temple was located.
The Bouleterion was a 2nd century BC building which consisted of a pro pylon, a courtyard and an auditorium. The pro pylon had three Corinthian columns and friezes depicting war scenes. It opened into a courtyard with a monumental tomb in the middle. There were four gates that opened into the main hall. The auditorium seated 1,500 people and had a wooden roof.
The Nymphaeum was first built in the 2nd century AD and rebuilt in the following century. It faced the bouleterion across the processional road and had three stories with statues of gods placed in niches and water spouting from the mouths of bronze fish.
The South Agora lay behind the bouleterion. It was a Hellenistic structure which was later remodeled in the Roman period. Today the North Gate is unfortunately another of the gems from Anatolia currently housed in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin. The South Gate was destroyed during the construction of Ilyas Bey mosque.
The Temple of Serapis lay between the south Agora and the Faustina baths. It consisted of a pronaos and a naos with Corinthian columns and a relief of Serapis on the pediment. The temple was a 3rd century BC building which was rebuilt in the 3rd century AD with a donation by Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The Baths of Faustina were 2nd century AD Roman baths which were built by Faustina, Marcus Aurelius’ wife, daughter of Antonius Pius who usually accompanied her husband on his journeys through the Empire. Faustina was famous as a waster of money belonging to others. The frigidarium had a reclining statue of the river god probably personifying the Meander River. The baths are a complex structure with Gymnasium and Stadion located next to it. Caldarium was heated by hypocaust system underground heating was practiced. Ground was over 2 feet high legs. The hot air was going through which was gathered by boiling water in the furnaces.
The Ilyas Bey Mosque was part of a complex which consisted of a mosque, medrese, cemetery and an imaret. It was built in the early 15th century by Ilyas Bey, the regional Ottoman military commander. The dome of the mosque was made of bricks. At the entrance are three arched partitions separated by two columns. The entrance is through the center arch. The mosque was destroyed in 1955.
The Caravansary is a 15th century building built by the Mentese Principality which had a lower floor for animals and an upper for people.
History of Ancient Smyrna
Smyrna is the ancient name of Izmir which the third largest city of Modern Turkey. Located 600km south of Istanbul, the largest city of Modern Turkey. The ancient name Smyrna was believed to be the name of an Amazon woman warrior like many other cities in the Aegean coastline.
For some historians, Phyrigian King Tantalos and his family were the legendary founders of the city. The daughter of Tantalos; Niobe had 7 sons and 7 daughters. Leto who had only 2 children got embarrassed by Niobe. The twins of Leto; Artemis and Apollo killed 14 children of Niobe. Niobe was so upset that she want over to Mt. Spylos and turned into a stone.
Tantalos was very much liked by the gods. One day he invited them to a feast. To check their power he had his son Pelops cooked and served to the gods. Demeter who was upset with loss of her daughter; Persephone was the only one who ate. After this event the gods punished Tantalos and sent him to Hades. His punishment was to be thirsty in the middle of a lake. While he tried to drink water, the lake became dry. Gods gave Pelops his life back. After a while Pelops sacked from Spylos and founded Pelopenessos.
First settlement of the area goes back to 3rd millennium BC in Bayrakli today. It was an Aiolian settlement during the 10th century BC migrations from Greece. Later it became an Ionian city. The Ionian refugees took the control while the Ailoian inhabitants were away for celebrations of a feast. Aiolians of Smyrna were welcomed by other Aiolian cities. The city was attacked and ruined by Alyattes of Lydia and was under the Lydian rule till the Persians came to the area in 546 BC. In 334 BC Alexander defeated the Persians in the Battle of Granikos near today's Canakkale. Alexander stayed in the city for a few days. While he was hunting in Mt. Pagos, he fell a sleep and in his dream, saw 2 goddesses saying him to move the city to where he is now. Like before the founders of the all ancient cities, inhabitants consulted to an Apollo Temple. They went to Claros for approval. According to Strabon the new city was built by Antigonos and Lysimachos following him. Lysimachos named the city of his daughter "Eurydike". However, this name did not last long. Strabon also mentioned that Smyrna was the most beautiful among the cities. Homer, the author of the earliest and finest epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey lived in Smyrna in the 8th century BC. He made his living as a court singer and storyteller.. According to Strabon there was a temple constructed after the death of Homeros, named as "Homerion".
Today from the remains of Ancient Smyrna, travelers can only see the remains of the Roman Agora. Agora was built after the earthquake in 178AD by the Roman Emperror Marcus Aerelius and was dedicated to his wife Faustina. It was one of the largest agoras of the Roman World. Romans named Agora as Forum. The basement of the Agora is quite impressive. The basement was used as shops and their storages. There is also a cistern which was able to provide water for 7.000 people. Grafittis in Ancient Greek can be seen by the travelers.
Church of Smyrna
Smyrna is among the 7 churches of Asia Minor mentioned in the book of Revelations. It is the second church mentioned in the Book of Revelation after Ephesus. Among the 7 churches, Like Philadelphia Smyrna was among the two churches which was not criticized of their faith. In the letter to Smyrna. The message speaks of false Jews and impending persecution, but encourages perseverance which will be rewarded.
The strong allegiance to Rome plus a large Jewish population which was actively hostile to the Christians made it exceptionally difficult to live as a Christian in Smyrna. The most famous martyrdom of the early church fathers was of the elderly Polycarp, the 'twelfth martyr in Smyrna', St. Polycarp was one of the diciples of John the Apostle. He is considered to be the first bishop of S,yrna. In 155AD St. Polycarp refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord, was placed upon a pyre to be burned at the ancient theater of Smyrna by the Romans. First he was thrown to the lions. But since the lions were full, they did not eat him. Afterwards the Roman prosecutors tried to burn St. Polycarp, but that did not work out too. Last he was killed by a Roman soldier.
Smyrna, the physically persecuted church. The Christian community in Smyrna was considered as a poor community and without prestige and political power. While in contrast richly adorned temples to the pagan deities. There is no Christian commonwealth; they were a tiny minority in the community devoted to a multitude of gods. The Contrast between the city and the church is marked. The Church in Smyrna had suffered but had been faithful. Physically the church in Smyrna suffered from persecution from the Jews, and they were poor, they had few luxuries and possessions, yet spiritually they were rich in the sight of Christ. Jesus sees their affliction, he knows about it, this must be of comfort to this persecuted church. The Jewish community outside the church spoke of evil of the Christian community. John promised the Christians as a result of faithfulness even unto death, they would receive a crown of life.
In the ancient times Smyrna was famous with its wine called "Pramnos". This wine was mixed with cheese, flour and honey. They used honey to sweeten the wine and added water before drinking. Drinking wine without adding water considered as a barbaric behavior. Pramnos wine of Smyrna was mentioned by Homer.
The name Smyrna may also have been taken from the ancient Greek word for myrrh, which was the chief export of the city in ancient times. Myrrh is a gum-resin extracted from a tree. Myrrh resin was used as a perfume, incense, medicine and embalming body. Myrrh is mentioned in the New Testament as one of the three gifts that the Wise Men "from the East" presented to the Christ Child. Myrrh was also present at Jesus' death and burial. Jesus was offered wine and myrrh at his crucifixion. According to John's Gospel, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus' body The Gospel of Matthew relates that as Jesus went to the cross, he was given vinegar to drink mingled with myrrh. The Romans often added the myrrh to wine to prevent it from vinegarizing (turning sour), which also provided a narcotic to deaden pain.
Kusadasi Cruise Port - Gateway to Ephesus Ancient City and the sacred sites of Christianity
Hundreds of thousands of voyagers pass through the Kusadasi Cruise Port terminal, the most popular cruise port in Turkey serving tourists travelling on Mediterranean cruises. It is also the leader in receiving tourists on board luxury liners arriving in Turkey from all over the world. The Terminal has undergone an extensive renovation in the past years. It has cafeterias, shops, taxis and public transport, and all the services necessary to make your arrival and departure from Turkey pleasant. The terminal is directly linked with downtown Kusadasi and is within a 20 minutes minutes’ drive away from the ancient city of Ephesus.
Kusadasi Cruise Port’s passenger terminal serves tens of thousands of tourists every year. All the world’s leading cruise ship companies choose Kusadasi Cruise Port as a port of call. We are convinced it is also the most beautiful port of entry. At the moment, the Kusadasi Cruise Port passenger terminal is able to handle ships of up to 3500 passengers on an ongoing basis, quickly and efficiently. Kusadasi Cruise Port is the most popular cruise port in Turkey in terms of servicing passenger and tourist ships.
The Cruise Ships that will be calling to Kusadasi Cruise Port in 2020:
We offer private tours of Ephesus and surrounding area from Kusadasi Cruise Port, for more information, please contact us.
How do you get from Izmir to Ephesus?
Going from Izmir to Ephesus
Selcuk is the modern name for Ephesus. It is a small town having a population of 35 thousand. Selcuk is 62km south of Izmir. It is an hour drive from Izmir Airport. Havas have shuttles for flights. Selcuk is also accessible by train from Izmir Airport and Izmir downtown (Basmane).
The same train also go to Denizli where Pamukkale (Hierapolis) is located.
The Train schedule between Izmir, Izmir Airport and Selcuk Town (Ephesus) is as follows:
(Click here for the official train schedule)
* For travellers who will be staying at hotels in Basmane district, we recommend them to take the 9.00am train from Basmane train station which will arrive to Selcuk at 10.15am. Our tour guide and vehicle can meet you at Selcuk train startion. After the tour you will be dropped back to Selcuk train station for your return journey. Return train will leave Selcuk at 6pm and arrive Izmir Basmane Train station at 7.15pm.
For travelers, who would travel with train from Izmir downtown or Izmir airport, we can meet them at Selcuk Train Station, after a private tour of Ephesus we can take them to their hotel in Kusadasi, Selcuk, Sirince Village or take them back to Selcuk train station. For private Ephesus Tours from selcuk train station, please contact us.
* If you do not have a rental car and staying in Selcuk or coming to Selcuk with train. We offer private walking tours of Basilica of St. John, Temple of Artemis and Ancient City of Ephesus. For more information, please contact us.
On his return journey from Corinth, Paul came to the city of Ephesus to fulfill his promise after a short visit, and he came back and Paul stayed in Ephesus about 2.5 years between 53-56AD.
Cave of St. Paul in Ephesus
During the excavations at Ephesus, more than 3,500 inscriptions have been found. Some of the most interesting are in a small cave on the slope of Bülbül Mountain (Nightingale Mountain). According to a local legend, when St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus from Jerusalem, they had no place to stay. John found this cave and hid Mary there for her safety. It was not until some time later that John located a more suitable home for Mary higher up on the mountain, known as Panaya Capoulu. In more recent years, the cave has been re-named “the Cave of St. Paul” due to the frescoes and inscriptions on the walls which refer to St. Paul.
The cave has been a Christian sacred site since the 1st or 2nd century. The walls were decorated with frescoes and inscriptions and white-washed several times, then re-painted with new images. Discovered under plaster on the walls are important 5th-century frescoes, with inscriptions, depicting the Virgin Mary, St. Paul and St. Thecla (a female disciple of Paul). This is the only known depiction of St. Paul at Ephesus and the earliest known appearance in the world of Paul and Thecla together.
The cave was discovered by a group of priests in 1892, while looking for the tomb of the Virgin Mary. Under the layers of plaster on the corridor walls are Greek phrases such as “the hidden of Mother of God” and “Paul help your servant”-written in charcoal and chalk. To protect these delicate and ancient wall frescoes, the cave is not open to the public. Unfortunately this site can not be visited during the tours of Ephesus.
What did St Paul do in Ephesus?
The first Christian congregation in Ephesus was founded by St John the Apostle and expanded by St Paul. On his return journey from Corinth, Paul came to the city of Ephesus to fulfill his promise after a short visit, and he came back and stayed for about two and a half years between 53-56AD. Most likely St. Paul wrote the Corinthians No.1 letter in Ephesus at this time period. When Paul came to Ephesus, he preached the gospel in the synagogue of Ephesus and the hall of Tyrannus. Tyrannus was an owner of a lecture hall at Ephesus. All this information is mentioned in the New Testament, in the book of Acts of the Apostles (19:9). The Ephesus Church, leaded the Seven Churches in the Asia Minor (Western Turkey today).
What happened to Paul at Ephesus?
By St. Paul’s efforts, in a short time, Ephesus became the third important city of Christianity after Jerusalem and Antioch. Christianity quickly gained popularity in Ephesus. The popularity of this new religion concerned some people in Ephesus. The silversmith Demetrius and others, who made a living by selling and making silver statues of Mother Goddess Artemis, were very upset. Demetrius and his colleagues provoked thousands of people and met them at the Ephesus theater and started a big riot in 56AD. The crowd was shouting "The Great Artemis of Ephesians". St Paul wanted to face the crowd, but the disciples didn't let him. Finally, the city clerk calmed down the crowd. Probably St. Paul was jailed in Ephesus for a while before he departed to North.
It is obvious that Ephesus had an important role in Christianity. Both St. John and St. Paul was in Ephesus but neither of them were in Ephesus at the same time.
In the New Testament, there are 13 letters of St. Paul. During his house arrest in Rome in 61 AD, St. Paul mailed 3 letters to the city of Ephesus: Timothy No.1, Timothy No. 2 and Ephesians. Paul's letters tended to be written in response to certain crises. Ephesus Church, most probably was facing major difficulties and St. Paul was aware of these.
Timothy was one of the disciples of St. Paul. St. Paul met with Timothy during his missionary journeys in Lystra. Afterwards Timothy joined Paul and Silas, and they travelled together to the city of Ephesus. After Paul had to leave the city of Ephesus. Timothy became the head of the Christian Community in Ephesus. He is considered to be the first bishop of Ephesus. Although not stated in the bible, according to some apocryphal gospels, Timothy was martyred in Ephesus in 97AD when he was 80 years old. Probably Timothy met with St. John the Apostle , although there is no mention of this in the New Testament.
We offer private biblical tours of Ephesus, focused on St. Paul and conducted by expert Ephesus tour guides. For more information, please contact us.
Documentary of Cave of St. Paul in Ephesus:
2021 Entrance Fees and Opening Hours
Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary and the nearby attracions
How much is the entrance fee for Ephesus ?
Except Terrace Houses, there is no admission fee for children under 8 years old. For the proof of age, please bring passport copies with you. For Terrace Houses under 6 year old is free of charge.
* If you are going to visit other sites besides Ephesus in Western Turkey. There is a Museum Pass which provides multi visits to many sites without waiting in lines and you can make great savings. Valid for Ancient city of Ephesus, Basilica of St. John, Terrace Houses in Ephesus, Archaelogical Museum of Ephesus, Ancient city of Aphrodisias, Temple of Didyma, Ancient city of Smyrna, Ancient City of Miletus, Ancient City of Priene, Ancient City of Sardis, Ancient City of Pergamon, Asklepion of Pergamon and many others. For more information visit the following link: Museum Pass the Aegean - Multi visit pass for West Turkey
Ephesus Ancient City - Basilica of St. John - Archaeogical Museum of Ephesus
A former Greek village, used to be known as Domatia.
This weekend we had a day trip to Ancient City of Priene and Doganbey Village with my wife, Doganbey village takes approximately 1 hour drive from Kusadasi. Doganbey is a former Greek village located by the ancient Mykale Mountains across the Greek Island of Samos, the birth place of famous mathematician Phytogoras. In 1924 there was an exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. Turks living in Greece were exchanged with the Greeks living in Turkey. This is one of the rare exchange villages. Former Greek name was 'Domatia''. Approximately 300 houses were located in this village. After this exchange in 1924 the village was hit by an earthquake in 1959 and abondoned. The villagers founded a new settlement and named as ''Yeni Doganbey" meaning the ''New Doganbey''. Today the villages stone homes are restored by their new owners from big Turkish cities who can afford to restore the ruined homes.
Visitors can enjoy seeing typical Greek homes from 19th century and can walk on the cobble stone streets. The streets and majority of the homes are restored and in very good condition. A picturesque town. We were impressed with beauty of the homes and cleanliness of the streets and great views of the Aegean sea and fresh air. There are no shops or anywhere to stay or eat. The village today is like an open air museum. The village is so quite in the winter, it was like visiting a ghost town. Majority of the home owners come to the village to spend their summers.
The visit to the village of Doganbey can be combined with Ancient City of Priene and you may lunch at a fish restaurant located at the coastal village of Karina. For custom private tours feel free to contact us.
Pictures of Doganbey Village
Tire is 60 kilometers away from Kusadasi
New York Times article about Kusadasi in 1966
New York Times had an article about Kusadasi on November 06, 1966 By ANNE LAMBTON.
I truly enjoyed reading about it. It is so funny to hear there is hardly to see someone. It is totaly different than how it is today. Writer says Kusadasi is awating an Immenent Discovery:
KUSADASI BEFORE TOURISM ARRIVES; Turkish Village on the Aegean Coast Is Awaiting Imminent 'Discovery'
KUSADASI, Turkey The Aegean coast of Turkey is one of the few remaining corners of Europe little known by tourists. It is possible to spend an entire day in this wild, unspoiled countryside without seeing another living soul, except perhaps a shepherd tending his flock, or boys fishing off the rocky coast in a boat.
The below pictures will also show you the big change:
Istanbul Walking Tour Highlights: Church of Santa Maria Draperi, Church of St. Anthony and Church of Saint Esprit.
There are around 35,000 Catholics in Turkey. Majority live in Istanbul. During our walking tours of Istanbul for the ones who are interested we visit some of the active Roman Catholic churches of Istanbul.:
Church of St. Mary Draperis
An active Roman Catholic Church located at Istiklal Avenue. Current building was built in 1769. During the 19th century Church of St. Mary Draperis became one of the most prestigious Catholic Churches in the city of Istanbul. The church is still run by reformed Franciscan Friars who offer daily masses in Italian and mass in Spanish every Sunday. In the main altar of the church visitors can notice the icon of the Virgin Mary from 16th century from the house of Clara Maria Draperis which the church was named after her. Clara Maria Draperis donated her house with a tiny chapel to Franciscan Friars of Constantinapolis in the 16th century.
Church of St. Anthony
Largest active Roman Catholic Church of Istanbul. The original church was built in 1725 by the local Italian catholic community of Istanbul, but was later demolished and replaced with the current building which was constructed on the same location. The current church of St. Anthony, along with its adjacent buildings on Istiklal Avenue, was built in 1906 in the Venetian Neo-Gothic style. Pope Giovanni XXIII, preached in this church for 10 years, when he was the Vatican's Ambassador to Turkey before being elected as Pope. He is known in Turkey with the nickname "The Turkish Pope" because of his fluent Turkish and his often expressed love for Turkey and the city of Istanbul.
Cathedral of Saint Esprit
Also known as the Cathedral of Holy Spirit. In 1846 built by the famous architect brothers Giuseppe and Gaspard Fossati who built Russian Colsulate, Dutch consulate and restored Hagia Sophia. Today It is one of the principal active Catholic Churches of Istanbul. It is the second largest Roman Catholic church in the city after St. Anthony at the Istiklal Avenue. Built in Baroque style. St. Esprit has been a destination of several papal visits to Turkey, including those of Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. A statue of Pope Benedict XV stands in the courtyard of the cathedral. Giuseppe Donizetti, a musician at the court of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, is buried in the vaults of the church.
Giuseppe Donizetti who started to be called Donizetti Pasha later played a significant role in the introduction of European music to the Ottoman military. Apart from the training of the European-style military bands of Ottoman`s modern army, he taught music at the palace to the members of the Ottoman royal family. Donizetti Pasha is believed to have composed the first national anthem of the Ottoman Empire, supported the annual Italian opera season in Pera, organised concerts and operatic performances to famous visitors visiting Istanbul.
Lonely Planet`s listing for Spice Market and Hagia Sophia
Lonely Planet has now listed the Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Market) as number five on its Best Fresh Food Markets List. And just last July the Hagia Sophia made it on to the same organization’s list of the Ten Most Beautiful Buildings in the World.
Lonely Planet`s list for Ten Most Beautiful Buildings of the World:
1. Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain
2. Potala Palace, Tibet
3. Library of Alexandria, Egypt
4. Sagrada Família, Spain
5. Taj Mahal, India
6. Imam Mosque, Iran
7. Winter Palace, Russia
8. Crac de Chevalliers, Syria
9. Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
10. Museum of Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil
To see two of the above mentioned places Spice Market and Chucrh of Hagia Sophia contact us for your personalised private tour program.
Birgi is located at western part of Turkey. A town founded on the slopes of Mt. Bozdag.
Istanbul Walking Tour Highlight: MV Savarona
During the walking tours of Istanbul, if requested we also do a 1.5 hours cruise on the Bosphorus. One of the highlights during this cruise is MV Savarona.
Savorona is a luxury yacht. She was the largest in the world in 1931, having a length of 136 meters.
Savarona is the name of an African swan living in the Indian Ocean. The ship was designed in USA for Emily Roebling Cadwallader, the grand daughter of the architect (John Roebling) who build Brooklyn Bridge. Built in Hamburg and costed US$4 million. Due to high taxes by US government. Ms. Robeling decided to sell the yacht.
In 1938, Turkish Government purchased the yacht for the founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk spent only 6 weeks before he passed away few months later. After Ataturk's death, the Savarona passed to the Turkish Naval Authorities and used as a training ship. In 1989, the yacht was rented by Mr. Kahraman Sadikoglu for 49 years. After restorations the boat is available for charters.
During the Bsphorus cruises, guests may see this Istanbul highlight moored by the shores of Bosphorus. Bosphorus cruise is a must to do in Istanbul if you have time. For suggested tour programs of Istanbul please click here.
Istanbul Walking Tour Highlight: Istiklal Street, Beyoglu
One of the symbols of Istanbul is the red nostalgic trams running in Istiklal Street that take you to the days of 19th century Istanbul. Almost everyone who comes to Istanbul enjoy a walk at Istiklal Steet. It is one of the most crowded streets of the world. People enjoy walking, wandering, browsing the stores and having a snack at a nearby restaurant.
I enjoy organizing walking tours of Istanbul that would take you through back streets of Istiklal Street and Beyoglu area. For a private walking tour of Istanbul contact us.
Overnight Trip to Akyaka from Kusadasi
kyaka not only has natural beauties but beautiful architecture.There are great works of wooden houses which are pioneered by Nail Cakirhan the famous architect. Today there is a construction code in Akyaka which makes Akyaka a spectacular location. We truly enjoyed walking through the streets of Akyaka and vieving the examples of Nail Cakirhan architecture.
Akyaka is located at the end of Gokova Gulf, by the fertile lands of Gökova plain. Once driving down the hill to Akyaka, you will have the spectacular views of the gulf of Gokova and the plain, approximately 20 minutes after Mugla city center at Sakar Pass. This area is also favorite by paragliders.
Right by the town center there is a protected forest area which provides camping opportunities in the summer times. We enjoyed great walks with great views. There is a small restaurant by the Aegean sea which is run by the local association we enjoyed great lunches here. No dinners because there is not much light here at night. They do not serve any dinners in the off season time.
We assume Akyaka becoming so crowded in the summer times. There are numerous boutique hotels to stay. We stayed in Portofino Hotel which is 2 minutes walking distance to town center. If you enjoy quiteness our recommendation is to go to Akyaka in April, May, October or November. You may enjoy renting a bike and cycling through the forests and Azmak stream. In the summertime there are boat tours through the Azmak and there are also boat trips to nearby bays for swimming. What a great location! Azmak stream and bamboos reminded us our Dalyan visit which was 2 years ago.
We recommend staying in Akyaka. In the summertime there are more opportunities to have more activities. There are so many beaches in the area, that you may enjoy swimming in the clear waters of the Aegean. For us one overnight was enough. We had 2 great days. We relaxed a lot.
Below we wanted to share some pictures of our trip. If you have any questions about Akyaka and how to go there, please do not hesitate to e-mail us.
by TransBalkan Tours is a fully licenced tour operator since 1963 and a member of TURSAB.
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