Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turkey - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Canakkale, Troy, Buyukada (part 1)

So here are the trips I went on in Turkey:

IST06 SUFI DERVISH CEREMONY [FDP: FERRELL] (1845-2130 Saturday, 18 July)  In contrast to the main body of Islamic belief, dervish groups extol the virtues of music and dance, including a whirling ceremony which represents a union with God. The music is vital to this tradition and serves as a vehicle of enlightenment and revelation. The ceremony’s pesrev and saz semai compositions and the instrumental ensemble of ney, tambur, kanun, küdüm, and rebab formed the foundation of the glorious Ottoman classical music that, like the Sema, was suppressed in the early years of the republic. In these Sema ceremonies, the so-called “Whirling Dervishes” use their mystical music and dance to reflect the transcendent value of the heart’s purity, the image of the perfect being, and the belief that the Sema is one way of reaching total peace with oneself and with the universe at large. These ceremonies are not mere “performances” but spiritual rituals dating back to the 13th century. Participants should be respectful of this ritual and should dress conservatively. In keeping with tradition, men and women may be asked to observe the ceremony in separate groups.  We will use this practicum to explore how spirituality, ritual, movement, music and, in particular, mystical experience relate to stress and its management, as well as to deepen our understanding of mindfulness and its varied expressions from a cross-cultural perspective. In addition, this practicum will enable participants to gain insight into a significant aspect of Turkish culture and to witness the way music and dance have been used historically to attain spiritual fulfillment.

IST10 GALLIPOLI/CANAKKALE/TROY (0830 Sunday, 19 July – 1800 Monday, 20 July) The slender Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsula is endowed with fine scenery and beaches but burdened with a grim military history. The World War I battlefields and Allied cemeteries scattered along the peninsula are both moving and numbing with the sheer number of graves, memorials and obelisks. The Gallipoli campaign lasted for nine months in 1915-1916 and resulted in huge numbers of casualties on both the Turkish and Allied sides. Thanks to Homer, Troy is probably the most celebrated archaeological site in Turkey. However, it is not the most spectacular. Until the late 1800s, it was generally thought that Troy (Truva) existed in legend only. In 1886, an amateur archaeologist and German businessman, Heinrich Schliemann, obtained permission from the Ottoman government to start digging on a hill where earlier excavators had already found the remains of a classical temple. Schliemann's work actually caused a certain amount of damage to the site, but the excavations did uncover nine layers of remains, representing distinct and consecutive city developments spanning four millennia. The oldest, Troy I, dates back to about 3600 BCE. (Please note: Be sure to bring your swimsuit and a beach towel.)

ITINERARY: Day 1: Depart Istanbul in the morning and drive along Marmara Sea coast over Tekirdag and Kesan to Gallipoli. In the afternoon visit Gelibolu town and 1915 World War I Gallipoli battlefields and memorials. Later enjoy swimming in the Aegean Sea. Continue to Eceaabat by ferry to Asia. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale. (Driving time today is about five hours.) (Box L, D; area hotel) Day 2: After breakfast visit the Archaeological Museum and view relics that were discovered during excavations. Continue to Troy where excavations have revealed nine ancient cities. View the remains and other ruins from the various periods as well as a huge replica of the wooden Trojan horse. Return to Canakkale and board a ferry to continue the journey back to Istanbul.

IST21 PRINCE’S ISLES (0830-1330 Tuesday, 21 July) Walk to the Kabatas Pier for a ferry ride to Buyukada, the largest and the most famous among five other Prince's Islands. En route, view the scenery of the Asian side and the islands at Marmara Sea. Upon arrival at Buyukada take a faiton (horse-driven coach) ride around the island, view the elaborately-decorated wooden houses and villas. Enjoy a short break for tea before continuing your ride along the water and back to the pier. Walk through the downtown area and enjoy some free time before taking the ferry back to Istanbul.

I didn’t go on this trip, but I did go to the Grand Bazaar 2 days so here is the description:

KAPALI CARSI The Kapali Carsi, or “Covered Bazaar,” is one of the most remarkable and picturesque markets in the world. It is a small city in itself, containing some 4,000 shops and ateliers selling everything from oriental rugs to costume jewelry. In addition to shops, the several kilometers of streets are lined with mosques, banks, police stations, restaurants and workshops.

So the first day in Turkey, I went to the Grand Bazaar with Lauryn, Mel, Alexis, Molly, and Deborah.  When we got there and walked in we realized that we would not be able to walk around with that many people.  So Lauryn and I walked around together because we both had to get back for the Sufi Dervish ceremony later that night.  This place is crazy.  They just stand outside their shops and yell crazy things at you to get you to buy stuff.  I don’t remember everything we heard (there was so much) but here are a few common quotes. “I can help you spend your money.”  “Are you from America?  All American girls are so pretty like you.”  When Lauryn said she was from South Africa – “I sold (someone important there – I forget) 3 fur coats!”  “Miss you dropped something.  (When I looked down)  My heart!”  There were so many crazy comments like that, I wish I could remember them all, but the most common was “You’re from America? OBAMA!!!!!”  This president has done wonders for our international relations.  The people everywhere love him.  I have gotten this soo many times in all the countries it is ridiculous.  They ask where I am from.  I say America.  They say Obama!  This is a very typical conversation.  It was kind of overwhelming.  There were so many isles and shops and you had no idea where you were.  When I think about it, I picture this huge place and us just walking in circles in this tiny little corner.  We went back on the last day, and I saw places I hadn’t seen before, and I know I still missed a bunch more.  It took a while to get used to haggling.  Honestly, I would much rather just know the price of something and have that be that, but it doesn’t work that way here.  I kind of got used to it by the end, but I would still have to work to remember not to take out my money and give them the original price.  We were walking past this group of SASers and went into a store they were in.  One girl said to the guy that she wasn’t going to buy something she had asked him about and he got so mad he kicked us all out of the shop even though we weren’t with them.  He had some nice stuff too, but so did all the other places so it was ok.  We stopped a little later and got some kabobs (spelling?) which are these pita things with thin sliced meat inside that they carve off of this huge chunk on a spear thing. 

Ok, lunch time.  More about Turkey, then Bulgaria, then Egypt later.

From the MV Explorer on the ocean between Egypt and Morocco, Sharon


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