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Dolls by Cappadocian Women, Cappadocia, Turkey

One of my favourite arts & crafts finds in Turkey were these handmade dolls which are some of the main products of the Cappadocian women in the area, in addition to weaving, pottery, etc. They sew and make these gorgeous dolls with their own local fabrics, in the look and style of the typical Cappadocian woman—there are dolls with clay pots, yarn, etc.

Needless to say, I grabbed a handful to bring home with me! They’re pretty affordable, considering that they are handmade, but also quite fragile especially if you get the ones with clay pots (which I did). Outside Sarhatli, this stall sold plenty of dolls, as well as a whole slew of stalls across the street (I so badly wanted to buy at least one doll from each stall but we ran out of time and I was only able to buy from this one).

HOW CUTE are those dolls (not to mention the leaning tower of dolls)!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under travel travels eurasia turkey 2011 turkey turkiye cappadocia crafts arts and crafts arts handmade dolls handicrafts turkish

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Underground City of Sarhatli, Cappadocia, Turkey

In an area near the volcanic formations in Cappadocia, there are clusters of underground cities and settlements. One such city is Sarhatli.

These cities can typically go as deep as 13 storeys deep (!), but the safe depth for tourists was up to 3 storeys. It was pretty cool how ingenious the nomads were, burrowing air shafts and everything in the soft rock.

Here is my brother, playing around and going in and out of the carved doorways

The rooms are quite sparse and rough, but it was still so fascinating

We got to go down around 3 levels (not for the claustrophobic!), and the lower we got, the thinner the air was and the narrower the passages were. The steps were pretty slippery because the rock was soft and crumbly.

This is an example of their common room. Back then i think they probably used candles, with the smoke going out through the air shafts

One of the steep passages, now with a metal ladder so tourists can go through

One of the air shafts

Some of the passages were so low and narrow that you really had to walk sideways or duck your head! (That’s my mom down there btw)

Outside, the entrance to the city is blocked with boulders and the natural landscape

You can get souvenirs carved from the Cappadocian soft rock!

The famous Turkish “evil eye”—to watch over and protect you!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

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Agzikarahan Caravansery, Cappadocia, Turkey

The place that I was most excited to visit during our trip to Turkey was the region of Cappadocia. Based on books I’d read and photos I’d seen online, it was this strangely awesome, almost alien-like region full of gorgeous landscapes and unique formations.

When the day finally came that we would be driving east to Cappadocia, I was beyond psyched. After an ice cream stop in Mado, our first excursion was to the Agzikarahan Caravansery.

Back in the old days, this was used as a rest stop of sorts for caravans (as the name implies), where merchants and their horses and wares could stop for the night. Today it is in ruins, but still fascinating and filled with character.

Look at those stairs! We actually climbed up to get to the roof of this structure, and man were they narrow and crumbling!

Inside, the stables and halls for horses

A pattern of rocks on the wall where stairs used to be

Courtyard lined with arches

Inside, the ground and rocks are covered with bat and pigeon droppings

Looks like scenery right out of the Prince of Persia or something, doesn’t it?



Up the stairs we go!

And there’s me and my brother, the two tiny heads sticking out over the structure. A challenging climb, it was.

View from the top—that’s my sister down there, who didn’t want to risk the lives of her precious camera equipment with the teetery climb

The caravansery was really a cool, adventure-film-setting sort of place. I definitely can see haute couture shoots or action films here!

The caravansery is located in “Agzikara”, Cappadocia :)

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under agzikara agzikarahan caravan caravansery cappadocia turkey turkey 2011 turkiye travel travels eurasia prince of persia adventure action

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Mado Ice Cream, Turkey

One of the must-try’s when in Turkey is to try the Turkish ice cream brand, Mado!

Turkish ice cream is known for its peculiar “stickiness”. It’s creamy, rich, and is “sticky” because of crushed orchid roots that are mixed in with the milk and other ingredients.

On our way from Konya to Cappadocia, we stopped by this gas station that had a small Mado shoppe, so it was the perfect time to try it (despite the freezing weather)

I don’t quite remember the flavors we got, but I’m pretty sure one of them features the orchid flavor, and another some sort of rose, and another some kind of nut (chestnuts I think).

I think this is the rose and maybe pistachio?

See how sticky it is? It’s not the usual melty ice cream

Just to demonstrate how it holds its shape

Not particularly unique in terms of flavor, but still really delicious and a must to try when in Turkey!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under mado ice cream turkey 2011 turkey turkiye eurasia cappadocia dessert turkish cuisine chestnuts orchid orchid root rose pistachio

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Mevlana Museum, Konya, Turkey

Before turning in for the day, we stopped by the Mevlana Museum in Konya, Turkey

Photos were not allowed inside, unfortunately, but it was a pretty boring stop.

Outside, the museum is of a typical mosque architecture

As usual with mosques and other places of Muslim worship, there is a set of water taps where people can cleanse themselves before going in

The most interesting items on display were these ancient books that featured a style of art called “miniature art” which isn’t what you’d imagine—not the Where’s Waldo type of miniature art, but detailed little oriental illustrations which were carefully inked and painted in. Really really gorgeous.

Parting view:

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under turkey 2011 turkey turkiye eurasia mediterranean mevlana museum konya travel travels muslim mosque worship holy pilgrim pilgrimage

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Snowcapped Mountains, Turkey

On our way from the Ottoman house to Konya, we took the scenic mountain route. Turkey’s landscape is truly fascinating, and this time was no different. Where a few minutes before we were surrounded by lush greenery and blue skies, and a few hours before that arid rocky landscapes—we ascended the mount only to be greeted with fog and yes—SNOW!

It was definitely not a scene we imagined we would encounter in the springtime/summertime, but it was a pleasant surprise indeed. For the Americans and Aussies aboard, it was no surprise, but for our South African tourmates, the snow is a rare sighting, and for us Fillies (can I call us Filipinos that? Fillies?), not a season we even have back in the tropics. Our tour director graciously allowed us a quick photo stop with this Christmas-tree-filled backdrop—so European, yet we were in Asia. Fascinating!

A few minutes down the mount from this point, it was back to snowless rocks and trees. Ah, the wondrous faces of Turkey.

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm + Sony P200

Filed under turkey turkiye eurasia europe snow travel travels travel blog travel blog philippines filipino mediterranean snowy forests christmas trees landscape snowcapped traveler traveling mountain ottoman turkish scenery nature turkey 2011

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Young Turks

After our authentic Ottoman lunch, we came across these three gregariously boisterous kids who were just super game to pose for the cameras once they saw me take a snapshot of them (well, at first I was really taking a photo of their dog). eu

Once I’d started, my sister and several other tourmates brought their cameras out as well, and it really may have well been a fashion shoot for Ralph Lauren kids, don’t you think? They smiled and played around and climbed up the roof to give us a good slew of poses. In Filipino, these kids are sobugoy!

It was such a fun way to end our little excursion. Seeing the smiles and playfulness of these kids really made our day. So cute!!!

Photos: Canon 450D + 24-70mmL + 10-22mm + Sony P200

Filed under turkey turkiye eurasia europe mediterranean turks young kids fashion ralph lauren knits sweaters turkish country countryside ottoman nomad nomads tribes valleys travel travels traveling traveler world cultures culture youth editorial canon

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An Authentic Ottoman Lunch, Turkey

One of the highlights of our Turkey trip was having lunch in an authentic Ottoman hundred-year-old house. The food was not particularly good—most of it was strange; stews and crops I’d never had before, all cooked in the traditional ways of the nomadic tribes. The house and village itself, though, was out of a movie set.

It was a day with clear blue skies, stark greens and high contrast textures. The house was made of timbers and simple, but charming all the same. The bare floors were lined end to end with Turkish carpets—typical in a Turkish home. Carpets are actually better off in a “high traffic” area of the house. The tread of feet actually help to tighten the knots and strengthen the weave. Nomadic tribes basically lived on carpets. They roll them up, move, lay them down, and so on. It really is a sort of metaphor for Turkish way of life.

There were so many of us, so the main dining area was quickly taken up. Since we entered last, we got our own little private suite (one of the bedrooms turned eating area)—a much better arrangement for us!

Outside, National-Geographic-worthy faces and scenery. We were in a valley of sorts, with views of snowcapped mountains and forests all around. It was a really pretty scene.

Definitely one for the books! Nothing like a real immersion into a totally foreign culture to make one underscore the hope for a future where we can all just get along. Apart from the meal shared, we probably had nothing in common with the people we met, but a little hospitality and openness of mind can really build bridges across the culto-religious divide.

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under turkey turkiye europe eurasia travel travels traveling traveler globe religion culture turkish carpets ottoman nomads nomad turkish culture food national geographic immersion turkey 2011