A fusion of ancient cultures, hospitable cats and great cuisine: a review of alternative Turkey

Merge of ancient cultures, hospitable cats and excellent cuisine: a review of alternative Turkey

Turkey firmly ranks first in the list of the most popular destinations for Russians, but most go to this country for an all-inclusive beach holiday. The reader of “Subtleties” Alice decided to discover an alternative Turkey, rich in historical and cultural attractions. Together with her friends, she went to the Aegean coast of the country and now shares her impressions.

Day One: Izmir

The journey began in Moscow: first they flew from Vnukovo to Istanbul, from there they took an internal flight to Izmir. The service of Turkish Airlines is beyond praise: Russian carriers have not been fed like this for a long time. On the flight to Istanbul, we had a full meal, on the domestic flight, a hearty sandwich. Be careful: upon arrival in Izmir, luggage must be collected at the international departures belt, not domestic ones. We got a little confused and went to the domestic flight belt, but the airport staff explained everything to us.

After the airport, we immediately went to the hotel: the choice fell on the Izmir Marriott. The hotel is not cheap, but I prefer not to save on vacation. The rooms are spacious, overlooking the embankment and the road, while the noise is not heard. There is a great bar upstairs where you can take great social media photos. The embankment of Izmir is incredibly beautiful, it is not a pity to spend the whole day on it alone. 1/1

Be sure to take a look at the picturesque street of Dario Moreno, the famous Turkish and French actor and singer: the special atmosphere of a small Jewish quarter still reigns there. Nearby is Asansor – a tower with an elevator, from the top of which offers a magnificent view of the city. We were stuck there for a good half an hour until we shot Izmir from every possible angle. 1/1

Another point of the program is the Kemeralti market, which most of all looks like a gigantic cave with numerous corridors. It has everything from fresh fish to decorations, so get ready to spend a certain amount on souvenirs. Right on the market there is a good cafe where you can drink delicious coffee and tea.

The final exact of our Izmir program was a visit to Konak Square, where the famous clock tower is located. Built back in the times of the Ottoman Empire, it is still considered the main symbol of Izmir.

Day two: Ephesus, Shirince village, Kusadasi

After leaving the hotel in the morning, we went by private transfer to Ephesus. The program of this day began with the House of the Virgin, a cult place of pilgrimage for Christians around the world. According to legend, it was here that the Virgin Mary moved after the death of her son, and here she went to another world. In this place, you really feel a special atmosphere of prayer and reverence, which even numerous tourists cannot break. Here you can make a wish by writing it on a piece of paper and attaching it to a specially installed grate. 1/1

Ephesus itself is also amazing – the splendor of buildings, well preserved over the centuries. The architecture of the city mixed the traditions of the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Seljuk Turks. There are a lot of tourists here even in March, and what is happening here in the season is even scary to imagine.

Personally, I was especially impressed by the well-preserved ancient Roman latrine, in which rich patricians deigned to sit, relieve themselves and discuss pressing issues. There is also a library in Ephesus: some craftsman dug an underground passage from it to a brothel. And when the wives asked their husbands where they were going, they answered with a clear conscience: “Where to? To the library!”. 1/1

Don't forget to bring cat food: tailed in ancient ruins are found in abundance. One has only to rustle a bag, and in a matter of seconds a crowd of well-fed, but always hungry cats surrounds you.

After Ephesus, we went to the village of Shirince, considered the most “drunk” place in Turkey. Winemakers live here, and in each house you will be treated to wine of their own production. Some tourists do not even buy anything – they just walk from building to building and taste from the heart. But we were not lucky: we came here in Ramadan, so most of the winemakers did not offer their products.

We spent the night in Kusadasi — a nice resort town with a very picturesque bay. Unfortunately, we almost didn’t manage to walk there, but we decided to definitely come back here – already for a beach holiday. We stayed at the Doubletree hotel from the Hilton chain. It consists of one five-storey building, it is very cozy and beautiful here. Almost all of its windows offer a magnificent view of the pier.

Day Three: Didyma, Doanbey village, Miletus, temple of Apollo

The next morning we left for Didyma, visiting the abandoned Greek village of Doanbey on the way. Getting to it turned out to be not so easy, but we do not have to persevere! The Greeks left this place a long time ago, but now rich Istanbulites are buying houses here, so the village is quite habitable. Violating the general style of houses is prohibited, and for good reason: such beauty must be preserved, not redone. 1/1

Then we arrived at the Miletus Museum, which contains archaeological sites from Didyma, Priene and, of course, Miletus. There are many well-preserved pottery, jewelry and statues. What I love about Turkey is the diversity of cultures: here you have Greek influence, Roman and Ottoman. In the museum, this interconnection of civilizations is displayed clearly and effectively. 1/1

But the main pearl of Didyma is the temple of Apollo. Of course, time has worked on it, but even in its current form, the building impresses with its size and grandeur of design. Nearby is the well-preserved ancient stadium where the games in honor of Apollo were held, it is also worth a visit. 1/1

In the evening we reached Bodrum, where we stayed at The Marmara Bodrum. This is the best Turkish hotel I have ever stayed in! Each room offers a crazy view, the area is green, very comfortable. And there are also a lot of cats in the hotel who earn extra money as stress managers: they come to your room, lie on their knees and purr. All in all, we will definitely come back here. 1/1

Day four: Bodrum, Gumusluk

The main attraction of Bodrum is the fortress built by the Hospitallers. You need to plan at least three hours for visiting it: you will study the structure itself for an hour, and walk around the territory and look at the expositions in the towers for the same hour. Peacocks live on the territory, and we even persuaded one to show his magnificent tail!

I was most impressed by the Phoenician ship exhibited at the Museum of Underwater Archeology. Strictly speaking, this is a full-size model of the ship, but only a specialist can distinguish it from a real ship. 1/1

Separately, I want to talk about the Foodrum restaurant: it seems to me that after dinner I consisted of 80% not of water, but of olive oil. Here it is even added to ice cream: at first it seems strange, but the taste is incredible! I even managed to get acquainted with the chef of the institution, Pelin, a real goddess of cooking. 1/1

We had dinner in Gumusluk, a village near Bodrum. Local restaurants are something! Be sure to try the fish here: in my opinion, it is the best of all on the Aegean coast!

The next morning we flew safely from Bodrum with our beloved Turkish Airlines. Now for me, Turkey is not only an excellent all-inclusive, but also an ideal excursion destination. I will definitely be back, and more than once!

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