Ten reasons to like Turkey

Robert Pimm
Robert Pimm

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.

P.S. If you are short of things to read in your coronavirus social distancing phase, my two most recent books are: Seven Hotel Stories and Blood Summit.



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4 Responses

  1. Turkey and mainly Istanbul are spectacular and wonderful,but the politics and the attitude towards women are bad. But I lived for four years in ANkara, which is not a beautiful city and rather boring.

  2. Hi, my name is Judy and I live in the mountains near Sydney in Australia. A year or so ago my daughter sent a few months backpacking through Turkey with a Turkish friend. She absolutely loved it, particularly the open hospitality of the local people. Wherever they went they were offered food and lodging, even though they were strangers, even from people who had little. Thank you for sharing your experiences of this ancient culture.

    1. Thanks Judy – I was delighted to hear that you enjoyed the piece. I passed through the Blue Mountains in 1993. You might like the companion piece, “10 Reasons to Like Lesotho”. Do stay in touch and thanks again for your comment.

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