Friday, December 24, 2010

Forgotten Christians...

Well, first Merry Christmas to all my Christian friends..Hope you will have a great holiday season..So on Christmas day I want to take you to a lovely church that is located in the southeastern Turkey. It is one of the two active churches in the city of Diyarbakır..It is the Chaldean Catholic Church of Mar Petyun..

I always find God in the most simple places. I have visited many grand temples around the world, old and new, which said to be built in order to glorify the God. However, I never felt God in any one of them but the ego of the one who paid for it..

Couple years ago I have visited this small Chaldean Church. At that time there were only 10 families in the city that were attending this church. They were having the mass once a month because they did not have their own priest but a priest from the Syrian Orthodox Church was helping them to organize one. It was a wonderful, warm and cozy place just like a home. Its naive paintings and plastic flowers were telling me that this place was built and sustained with love not ego, and I felt God.

This Chaldean Church is serving its belivers since the 17th century.I just hope that it will stay open many more years....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love of Rumi

This past Friday, Dec17th was the anniversary of Rumi's death, or his wedding night as he likes to see his departure from this world as a reunion with his beloved...

Starting from my late 20s, I started to learn a great deal about my religion (Islam) as well as others. I was searching for something...and as Rumi said '' the seeker will eventually find what she has been looking for whether he goes fast or slow '' it was a long walk for me and at the end I became a rather spiritual person but not a religious one.

Among so many great teachers and prophets two of them really resonated with me. Rumi with his love and Buddha with his wisdom. They are the ones who lay the stones of my path..

The year 2007 was the 800th birthday of Rumi, and for the occasion there was a special train journey from İstanbul to Konya where his tomb is. I was one of the lucky passangers of this special train. We slept one night at the train and there were lots of discussions and poetry readings thruout the night. Very special..

Below are some photos from that journey..Starting with the tomb of Rumi..
Whirling dervhishes. It is a real treat to see a good show. They are meditating while dancing, you are meditating while watching..

 Their hats symbolizes their tomb stones..
As it is not possible to take photos inside the tomb I took the photo from here. It is very elaborate and peaceful.

One of the highlights of the trip was a speech given by Mrs Esin Çelebi; his 23rd generation granddaughter..
In the meantime Rumi's spiritual mentor and friend Shams said to be buried in a nearby place which is also used as a mosque right now.. Very simple place compare to Rumi's. The 3,5 years Rumi and Shams spent together in Konya is the most crucial time in Rumi's life as Shams friendship and teachings created the Rumi that we have known today.. As Shams death is a great mystery, actually nobody really  documented about his burial place. So this place is most probably not his real resting place..

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rainy Days

 Since rain and cold weather hit İstanbul, not much going on here.Weather is gray and life goes on mostly at home with lots of books and movies and couple quick trips to shopping malls for necessities..I was waiting these kind of days to start writing my novel, but it looks like my muses doesnt like rainy days either..In the meantime, hubby started to write a book out of nowhere and so far he is doing great..

Also we are in the process of packing again to go to our beach house. We are planning to welcome the new year there..
Sorry for this rather uninteresting post but even the light is too bad that it does not inspire me to take photos. I promise to dig into my archives to bring you more sunny and bright photos and stories soon..

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Safranbolu - Saffron City

Finally the much expected winter hit İstanbul. We started to see snow flakes with lots of rain.. Our last week's short trip to Black Sea region and the wonderful weather are now looking like a distant memory..

So here are some photos from Safranbolu. A typical Ottoman city that has survived to the present day.. According to the information given there are more than 1000 registered historical artifacts in the city. Some of them dated from the early 14th century..

 It is possible to rent a golf cart and a guide for an easy tour of the city. It is so much fun, even Hera liked it a lot..

 From the 13th century on, it was an important caravan station on the main East - West trade route. It was also a trading place and a centre for growing the much priced saffron..Today saffron is still available in the city and you could buy and taste products such as: saffron tea, saffron cologna, Turkish delight with saffron...
 It is definitely a great place to see the well preserved Ottoman era houses and architecture, but it is also a living city...Life goes on smoothly despite the heavy tourist attacks..

 Once neglected houses are now a gold mine. If you cant afford a real one, why not buy a small one..
 Local artisans and the shops are serving the needs of the locals as well as th tourists. A blacksmith who is producing the traditional locks..

After lots of walking why not stop at a local restaurant and taste some specialities..My choice was the traditional Turkish soup: tarhana.. It is actually a dough prepared in summer with lots of vegetables, and yogurt and then dried for use in winter soups..A big favorite of mine since childhood...

I wish you a great weekend and bowls of hot soup if you happen to be on this side of the world.. We are freezing....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Staying in an Ottoman House: Gulevi..

Its been almost a week that we have returned from our little getaway and I realized that I still did not post about the good part of our trip..

We have spent a full day and night in Safranbolu (saffron city) It is located at the Black Sea region and definitely one of the most protected Ottoman towns of the country. Before taking you to a tour on the city first let me take you to our hotel: Gulevi ( Rose House) It will definitely give you an idea about the rest of the city..

It is a two house complex (soon three) restored and decorated by a lovely couple. They have left the big city life in İstanbul 10 years ago and settled here for a more fullfilling life. He is the architect, she is the decorator of this wonderful place..

We have stayed at the old Beten's House which used to belong to a judge during the Ottoman days..As it was rather off season we were the only guests and guess who enjoyed it most??? It was a big experience for her. Although she had stayed at doggy hotels before, it was the first time that she was at a human hotel. I have to say that she behaved extremly well..

All the small details were there to enjoy...

Our room was on the Harem part of the house..It was a very soothing experience to think and dream about all the people lived and spent their lives under the roof of this house before going to sleep.. Sorry for the messy room. I KNOW I should have to take the photo before..

For our luck the weather was excellent so we enjoyed the garden and the sunshine...

If you want to learn more about this wonderful place please visit :

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Black Sea - Amasra

I was quite aware that we were chasing an image but not ready for the huge dissappointment..Couple weeks ago I published a post named ''Dreaming'' and the small town of Amasra on the Black Sea coast was our first stop on our mini getaway..
When you look from outside, it has everything. A unique and dreamy location, wonderful beaches, rich history, a great big castle which was built during the Roman period.

But I was expecting more. I was expecting to see many old and protected buildings, not ugly apartments built in the last 20 years. They have even built them inside the castle..

The only good part was the fish and salat lunch we had at the small port.The weather was excellent and we enjoyed being in the open air, but later the high bill we have to pay for a simple lunch even tarnished that good memory..
Although we were planning to stay there for a night, we drove into the amazing nature of Black Sea and headed to the historical town of Safranbolu...Well, it was a big surprise,too but this time a good one. More photos soon..

Have a great weekend full of good surprises...


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