Turkey for Christmas!

Turkish Airlines flight from Toronto to Istanbul late on Saturday, December 21st….. the day the ice storm came to town. The flight was delayed by about 2 hours in part because of electrical problems at the check-in desk and in part because the plane needed to de-ice. But we made it. We started our descent into Istanbul as the sun started setting on Sunday the 22nd.


a night time view of lowrise residential buildings at night.  There is a lot of light from the street below.
Above: View from the hotel window.
Istanbul is a fascinating city. There are lots of men – the shopkeepers are men, the waiters are men, in fact I have seen very few women working (in my very limited experience).

two older Turkish men sitting on a bench talking to each other.  They are dressed for cold weather

An afternoon chat


Selling baklava and similar kinds of sweets.

A store display of many types of turkish delight and other sweets.

Above: Pomegranate, chocolate, and walnuts are very popular ingredients in the sweets that are sold in the shops. The Turkish Delight in front are plain, i.e. there is nothing added to it. The square log shaped pieces of Turkish Delight contain nuts and they can be purchased in slices, usually with a 250g minimum. The brown and white pinwheel shaped candy is made of chocolate and a white nougat.

Istanbul is an interesting mix of Christian and Muslem, East and West, modern and traditional.


Maddam Outlet is ready for Christmas.

There are signs of Christmas here but it is very low key.


Santa and the baklava

A corner store in an old stone and brick building.  The front is rounded and has a few large windows.

Antik Bufe on the corner.

A bright wall that is covered with broken pieces of tile.

A wall that has been decorated with broken bits of coloured tiles.

The front of a restaurant that has a very bright red and white sign with the name of the restaurant as well as a coca-cola sign.  The building is orange.  The building next to it is yellow.

Kurtaran Kebap – one of many little restaurants in Istanbul

There is a lot more to Istanbul than what I have shown here but we are on the move….

The original plan was to keep these blog posts in chronological order, but something about “The best laid plans of mice and men” and me.

Konya Cemetery

Wherever I travel, I walk a local cemetery. When I was in the city of Konya, in the central Anatolia part of Turkey, I came across a large cemetery.


There were quite a few people walking in this cemetery. I wasn’t sure of the protocol so I stayed on the paths.


Above: There were quite a few tombstones with the picture of what looks like a face with a long green nose and two red eyes. I’ve been trying to find out what it symbolizes. The best explanation I have heard so far is that the green is a cedar tree and the red are pomegranates. This may or may not be accurate! The minarets in the background are those of the Mevlana Mosque.

20131228-193551.jpg Above: The stone on the left marks the grave of Fatma Dikmen. ‘Ruhuna’ translates as spirit while ‘ruhuna fatiha’ translates as praying. The words at the top of the stone describe her as being filled with the light of paradise but I am having trouble getting an exact translation.

The village of Budak

We spent some time in the village of Budak. There were lots of opportunities to take pictures of doors and windows, two of my favorite things to capture. Here is a selection of images from a walk around the village.










20131228-210149.jpg Above: The most common construction method seems to be a concrete frame that is filled in with red brick. There are many of these partially built residences throughout the country. Two or three storey buildings seem to be the rural norm while four and five storeys are typically found in towns.

20131228-210700.jpg Above: Cats, cats and more cats. Everywhere you go there are cats. I am not sure if they are feral cats or if people let their pet cats run free. This was not the cutest cat I’ve seen nor is it the worst; a lot of the cats don’t look very healthy. This cat just happened to be one that didn’t run away.

Esrefoglu Mosque

Built in 1296 by the Seljuks, one of the first tribe of Turks to arrive in what is now Turkey, the Esrefoglu Mosque is in the town of Beysehir. The roof is supported by 42 cedar columns that have stood since the 13th century. Each column is about 40cm in diameter. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rum existed in central Anatolia from 1107 to 1307.

20131229-084327.jpg Above: Exterior, main entrance to the mosque

20131229-084454.jpg Above: Prayer beads hang from hooks around the cedar columns.

Above: Tile niches such as this take their shape from the design used by the Seljuks when building caravanserais. A caravanserai was like a roadside inn and a network of them was built to facilitate trade along what became known as the Silk Road.

Above: Detail of part of the tile niche.

20131229-085022.jpg Above: The flat roof is also made of wood.


He started life just as Mustafa in 1881. In 1923 he became the first president of the newly formed Turkish Republic. In 1935 when he introduced surnames to Turkey, he gave himself the surname Ataturk which means ‘father of the Turks’. He died in November 1937. He is buried on a hill overlooking the city of Ankara; his tomb is in a large mausoleum. Antikabir is the name of the site.


stone memorial

The resting place of the second President of the Turkish Republic, Ismet Inonu, is also here. He is buried at the opposite end of the large square, known as the Ceremonial Plaza, from the tomb of Ataturk. The plaza floor is decorated with 373 rug patterns. It was designed to hold 15,000 people.


Running perpendicular to the plaza is a long ‘road’ (262 metres) known as the Road of Lions as it is lined by 24 stone lions.

stone statue of a lion who looks like he is roaring at the camera

One of the lion statues. The lion was a Hittite symbol.

At the end of the Road of Lions that is farthest from the Ceremonial Plaza are two statues.

very large stone statues of 3 women who are standing

On one side of the road are three women.


large stone statue of three men

On the other side of the road are three men – scholar, farmer and soldier.

20140102-170126.jpg Above: changing of the guard, an event that occurs every two hours.

Above: Walking down the Road of Lions.


I will continue my Turkey adventures on a second page: https://mcfcrandall.wordpress.com/turkey/part-two or use the ‘Turkey’ drop down menu at the top of the page.

  1. Tracey Bennewies says:

    Looks like you’re having a great time. And some great photo opps. Keep on snapping.

  2. domnic says:

    Story through photographs… Nice work keep it coming…:)

  3. debbie says:

    Looks like a great trip Mary!

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