Let’s celebrate. We’re going through a ghastly coronavirus crisis. But we should not forget that the world is wonderful. I thought I would write in praise of several countries I’ve lived in.
Here are ten things to like about Turkey, where I lived from 2012-2016.
1. Istanbul is one of the most ancient and spectacular cities on earth. Here’s me by the Golden Horn.
2. Turks are crazy about fresh fish. Here’s a chap delivering some to a restaurant.
3. Turks adore cats. This dog is looking suitably anxious.
4. Service culture in Turkey is second to none. This gentleman is serving tea from a boat by the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
These kebabci are at the end of a busy evening.
5. Turkey is full of ancient sites. The Sumela Monastery near Trabzon was founded in 386, although it has been abandoned several times.
When we visited Sumela in 2015 a Greek Orthodox ceremony was taking place.
6. South Eastern Anatolia is full of extraordinary remains. Mount Nemrut dates from 50 BC.
The city of Harran, close to what is now the Syrian border, dates from 2,000 BC. Alexander the Great passed through in 331 BC. The Great Mosque, in the picture, was already in ruins in the 13thC.
7. Turks have a great sense of humour. These people are celebrating New Year in Istanbul.
8. Women play a prominent role in many parts of Turkish society. This is an all-female group of riot control police in Istanbul.
9. Oil wrestling, the Turkish national sport, dates back to antiquity. This is the annual Kirkpinar tournament held in Edirne.
10. Istanbul is home to matchless ancient monuments. The Aya Sofia, built in 537, was the largest building in the world for 1,000 years.
The nearby Basilica Cistern dates from around the 5th Century.
As you can see, I have struggled to keep the numbers of reasons to like Turkey down to ten. I’ve had to leave out Ephesus, the south-eastern coast, countless spectacular mosques, the Lycian Way, and much else. Key message: there are many reasons to celebrate Turkey.
If you would like more uplifting reading, check out my recent posts “Vintage Season” – a blog for a coronavirus outbreak (links in bold italics are to other posts on this blog); Middlemarch is the book for #Coronavirus: 25 epigrams; and Coronavirus Vienna (featuring numerous pictures).
Or if you want a quick shot of cheer, try my recent post How to be happy.