Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On my visit to Turkey before it too stumbles into a civil war ....

which seems to be written in the cards unless Erdogan disappears for good.

I visited a few spots in Turkey and parts of Europe near Turkey early this month.  The Ankara bombing took 

place just a day after we left Izmir after visiting Istanbul and Ephesus. 

In Izmir province we visited the world famous the house believed  to have been the abode of the Virgin Mary after she travelled with John the Apostle to Anatolia.  A little chapel is built on the site where people believe she lived after Christ's death ... but then there are stories of Mary having visited Jordan and Syria.  Not to belittle the religious fervour felt by my fellow Christians on seeing the  supposed dwelling, but I tend to take everything to do with religions, all religions, with a sackful of salt.  All the same, the place is up on a steep hill and in beautiful surroundings.


  Story has it that Paul being one of the most zealous promoters of Christianity decided to travel to Anatolia to preach to the thousands of Jews residing in those parts hoping for conversions.  His strategy was to use Mary's motherhood and femininity as a pull because people in those areas were accustomed to goddesses more than gods.

Suffice to say that Paul managed to convert a great many people.  A large part of present day Turkey used to be Greece before the Ottomans conquered city after city, town after town of this historic part of the world.
Here's more  on the subject.


The Greek and Roman influence in present day Turkey is seen and felt especially in Ephesus (ruins of the Celsus Library,   Temple of Hadrian,Ephesus, ) and of course at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

There's just too much to do, see and absorb in Turkey.  The few areas we visited had so much history, it was totally overwhelming. 

I was amazed too with the Turkish women.  Strikingly beautiful and not a single one in a niqab.  Many of the conservative ladies wear colorful hijabs but mitigate the head coverings with tonnes of makeup on their faces. The longest eyelash extensions I have ever seen were on Turkish and Kurdish women in fashionable Istanbul. Good for them!!   

I was told by a young lady that if I happen to see a niqab or burkha, I would be looking at Saudis and not Turkish women. The Istanbul bazaars seem to have become  a magnet for Saudi shoppers.  I saw even matronly Turkish women well into their 70s and 80s wearing fashionable tight fitting garments and sporting highlights in their hair.  Fantastic!!

We visited the Blue Mosque and also the Topkapi Palace among many other "must see" edifices.

At the Blue Mosque we removed our shoes and carried them in a plastic bag (provided at the doorway) and covered our heads with a scarf.  If one does not have a scarf, the mosque provides.  A family mem of mine insisted on wearing a sleeveless top and a skimpy scarf which got a hijab wearing monitor of the mosque approach her to get her to cover her shoulders but she pretended not to understand the monitor and ignored the request. Hah!  This kind of required covering for head and shoulders is also the done thing at some churches in Italy (more on that in a later post).

All in all, Turkey is a beautiful place.  I only wish the Ephesus part of Turkey was still in Greece's hands as nothing there says "Islam" or "Muslim".  I also felt  pain to see that the Hagia Sophia, although now recognized as a historic site and a museum, is in an Islamic land and one never knows what is in store for the 2nd best Christian cathedral in the world.  

All pics above are from my camera.

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