Turkey Travel

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At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey offers a rich history and exotic culture at a fraction of the price of most European destinations.

Boasting lavish hotels and resorts, favorable monetary exchange rates, world-class shopping, endless sightseeing and sports, as well as one of the world’s most celebrated cuisines, Turkey offers virtually limitless non budget-busting opportunities to create life-long memories.
A particularly cost-efficient way to explore Turkey is on one of a gracious number of tours available, many specifically tailored to suit specialized itineraries.

Companies offer 14-day land excursions through Turkey for as little as $1145 – 50% less than most comparable European trips.

For about the same expenditure, seafarers can cruise some of Turkey’s 5,000 miles of magnificent coastlines for eight days via gulette, an indigenous spacious vessel, which accommodates 8 to 12. Again, any number of itineraries are available to cater to a variety of interests.
For the less adventurous, 15 cruise lines currently offer cruise itineraries calling at the Turkish ports. From cosmopolitan Istanbul to historic Kusadasi, cruise passengers are encouraged to take advantage of Turkey’s bargains in a one-day port call.
And with so much to experience, a large percentage of first-time cruise visitors return for longer land stays where they find unique garments, jewelry and rugs, among Turkey’s great treasures. At the most famous shopping area, The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, century-old treasures such as top quality silk, cotton and wool garments; leather accessories; jewelry; faience (brilliantly colored tiles); copper, brass, marble, meerschaum and alabaster works by master artisans; and heirloom-quality kilim, Turkish carpets, which can be found for as little as $200.

American Tourism to Turkey on The Rise

Spectacular New Resorts Include World's First Revolving Hotel

Turkish Grand Prix — Formula 1 Race Track Debuts in Istanbul

Kusadasi — Major Turkish Cruise Destination — Opens New Terminal

Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey Exhibit at Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC

Shopping is an art form in Turkey, one that is an unhurried social experience.
The Turkish shopkeeper plays the role of host, offering guests a comfortable seat, serving coffee, tea or soft drinks and chatting with them about their lives and times. This is typical Turkish hospitality, which does not obligate the purchase of anything, no matter how long one lingers or how many beverages are consumed.
However, when it comes to actually purchasing, here too there is a ritual. Bargaining is considered de riguer with a set of rules that should be followed. A shopper is expected to inspect a shop’s wares carefully, not asking for prices unless there is a genuine interest in buying an item or two. Once quoted a price by the merchant/host, the potential buyer considers it and then suggests a lower one. A back-and-forth exchange of prices ensues until an agreement is reached. If one cannot be made, there is no obligation to buy. However, if the merchant meets the potential buyer’s price, a purchase is expected.

The practice affords terrific bargains for shoppers, which can also be tax-free. Turkey’s Value Added Tax (VAT) ranges from 15 to 25 percent for purchases over $80 and is refundable by obtaining the appropriate forms from the shops where the purchases are made and having them stamped at the airport by Customs before departure.

Spectacular new properties, including the world’s first revolving hotel, will grace two of Turkey’s most popular destinations, the celebrated resort towns of Bodrum and Antalya.

Open in June, the 173-room Kempinski Barbaros Bay Resort & Spa Bodrum is the ultimate secluded hideaway.

Set a midst lush sub-tropical gardens, overlooking its own crystal blue bay framed by a private sandy beach, the Kempinski Bodrum boasts uninterrupted views of glistening waters from the terraces that grace each of its rooms and suites.

The resort, with its breathtaking seaside infinity pool, is ideally situated for all manner of water sports. Plentiful amenities include the Six Senses Spa, seven internationally themed restaurants and bars, four indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center and even a hamam (the famed traditional Turkish bath).

Only 15 minutes from Antalya International Airport, the 238-room Marmara Antalya is a revolutionary (in every sense of the word!) addition to the celebrated Turkish Riviera, site of some of the best beaches on the Mediterranean.

One of its two dramatic buildings perched on the majestic Falez cliffs continually rotate, so that each of its 24 spacious lofts are treated to a constantly changing panorama of mountains, sea and the resort’s expansive grounds.

Food enphasizes healthy, tasty cuisine reflecting global influences served at five restaurants and bars. State-of-the-art facilities include tennis club; basketball, volleyball and badminton courts; and fitness center. Water-based activities feature everything from windsurfing and kayaking to waterskiing and JetSkiing.

For more information about the Kempinski Barbaros Bay Resort & Spa Bodrum and for reservations, visit http://www.kempinski.com/ or call 90 252 311 0210 70.
For more information about the Marmara Antalya and for reservations, visit http://www.themarmarahotels.com or call 90 242 323 97 28.

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Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey Exhibit at Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC — October 29 through January 2006.

The first international exhibition devoted to sumptuous and graphically stunning imperial Turkish robes (kaftans) from the 16th and 17th century will debut at the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC October 29 through January 2006. “Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey” will present 68 garments.

The core of the exhibition is a group of opulent imperial robes from Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace Museum, which boasts the largest collection of Islamic textiles in the world. Additional robes are on loan from the Mevlana Museum, Konya, Turkey, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and several national collections.

At its height in the late 16th and early 17th century, the Ottoman Empire (1281-1924) extended from present-day Iraq in the east to the Balkans in the west and to North Africa in the south.

Ottoman society was rigidly hierarchical and luxurious ceremonial robes played a central role in court life. The finest and most precious robes were reserved for the sultan and his family, but “robes of honor” (hilyat) were also bestowed upon foreign dignitaries, local courtiers and state officials, thereby conferring royal favor, political rank, and social status. The number and quality of robes received represented a man’s status in the eyes of the sultan.

Three weaves were dominant: velvet (kadife), brocade (kemha) and cloths of gold and silver thread (seraser) — the most expensive and luxurious. In the mid-6th century, Ottoman taste increasingly favored large, bold designs, such as medallions, stylized tiger stripes, and a triple-spot design known as “çintamani” (literally By repeatedly combining similar motifs in different scales and patterns, the Ottomans were among the first to use recurrent motifs to create a dramatic and distinct visual language — a quintessential “Ottoman brand”— that became identifiable with the empire’s centralized political strength and economic power— its style and status.

The first major center for the Ottoman silk industry was Bursa in Northwestern Turkey, which, in the 16th century, became one of the richest cities in the world.

Because of the court’s increasing demands for silk fabrics, Istanbul also became an important center for manufacture. Ottoman silks, both in raw and finished states, were coveted luxury items exported to Europe, the Balkans, Poland, and especially to Russia, the empire’s largest market. Most were fashioned into ecclesiastical garments, such as chasubles and copes.

The Ottomans, in turn, imported fur and ermine to line and adorn their outer garments. They also greatly admired Italian silks, especially velvets, which they imported in great quantity. Many Italian silks were made expressly for the Turkish market, where they were fashioned primarily into royal robes.

The Freer Gallery of Art (12th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W.) is located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines.

For more information, please call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 357-1729, or visit the special exhibition-related section of the gallery's Web site at www.asia.si.edu.

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Newly released statistics show American arrivals in Turkey have increased by 47.41 percent to date, up more than 100,000 visitors, over January to September 2004.
Combining the familiarity of Europe with the intrigue of Asia, Turkey’s rich culture and extraordinary value will offer a unique destination option for nearly 400,000 Americans this year – a number, which for the first time, approaches pre 9/11 figures. It translates to a projected 40 percent increase overall for 2005.
The growth in the number of Americans traveling to Turkey can be credited, in large part, to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s aggressive advertising and public relations tactics.
Resulting stories include: Conde Nast Traveler’s 12-page “Treasures of the Turkish Coast”, and Travel+ Leisure’s 12-page “At the Crossroads” as well as numerous articles in major newspapers like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald. Moreover Istanbul was cited the fourth best city in Europe in the November 2005 Conde Nast Traveler, in its annual World’s Best Readers’ Poll, while the world’s only city that straddles two continents was named seventh best global travel destination and third among the Top 10 European Cities by Travel + Leisure in the August issue.
P.S. The price of a visa for Americans has been lowered from $100 to $20.
For more information on travel to Turkey, visit their websites at: www.turizm.gov.tr

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Formula 1 Race Track debuts in Istanbul on August 21, 2005.

Turkey’s new purpose-built Formula 1 race track is slated to become one of racing’s most challenging and interesting courses with 14 curves (6 right and 8 left) and counter clockwise construction, one of only three for 2005. The track’s uneven surface punctuated by dangerous slopes with a theoretical maximum speed of 320.58 km will prove an unprecedented site for Formula 1’s energetic fans perched above in the venue’s state of the art 130,000 seats.

The Istanbul Otodrom Track, a nearly 97 million dollar project in construction since September 2003, will offer an excitement unlike any other in the world — the virgin ride. Herman Tilke, the famed German architect who designed the track, who is also responsible for the circuits at Sepang, Bahrain and Shanghai, aimed to create one that truly added to the sport of Formula 1 racing, with a wide variety of corners, 15 m at the sharpest turn, and sixteen down curves, 8.145% as the highest slope.

For more information or to order tickets, visit www.msoistanbul.com or call (+90) 212 522 4155.

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Turkey’s second largest cruise port, the celebrated resort town of Kusadasi on the Aegean coast, is now welcoming passengers with a sleek new terminal building.

This project is part of a multi-million dollar improvement and enlargement of Kusadasi Port’s facilities to enhance the experience of the more than 300,000 cruise ship and ferry passengers who disembark there annually.

Opened on April 1, the graceful modern glass and sandstone structure is distinguished by soaring interior spaces and an extensive selection of duty-free shopping opportunities. It will soon be complemented by two more structures, which will house a retail and entertainment complex for passengers and land-bound tourists alike.

Kusadasi is the cruise gateway to the classical city of Ephesus, one of the world’s most important archeological sites in the world just 15 minutes away. It is also within close proximity to the Holy Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, according to legend, lived out her last days there in the care of St. John the Apostle.
Consequently, since it opened in 1968, the Port of Kusadasi has been an important stop on eastern Mediterranean cruise itineraries. As such, it has the capacity to serve nine cruise ships simultaneously.

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194 or in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800 or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066. Visit http://www.tourismturkey.org

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