Saturday, December 30, 2006
This was a Nike store in Sivas. Having lived in Central Asia for so many years I was amazed to see genuine Nike products at genuine Nike prices. This is not a great picture but the swoosh is visible at the bottom right. Having grown up with a dad selling athletic shoes and apparell, this was really interesting to me.
This is a closer view of the madrasa in Erzurum. Sorry it is a bit out of order; scroll down a bit and it should explain more. The stonework is fascinating. We knew we were out of Istanbul when a bunch of kids started staring at us here. They were very giddy to say the few English words they knew to real live Americans.
This is the view from the clock tower in the fortress in Erzurum. The mountains are visible in the background. There is a ski resort up there which we visited. The haze is from the coal burning heat stoves that keep the apartments warm. It causes a ton of pollution throughout Turkey, although natural gas is slowly becoming more available.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
This is the madrasa in Erzurum that is at least 700 years old. I think it was built by the Seljuk Turks. We had a great day in Erzurum and the weather was not too cold. We found this very cool tea house and hung out for a couple of hours. All the tea houses have wireless connection to the internet so we were able to send some e-mail from Brad's laptop.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
People walking around on the fortress wall. This has to be the most dangerous tourist attraction I have ever visited. All the walls are at least 30-40 feet off the ground and no railings anywhere.
This a view from the Ankara Kalesi (fortress) overlooking most of the city. This view shows the many hovels (almost a shantytown) spread out over the hills. You may notice the taller apartment buildings in the middle right of the picture. Apparently the developers offer to give apartments to the occupants of the homes and, therefore, do not have to buy the land. I expect this whole area will be filled with apartment buildings in a few years.
One of the many entrances to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It is easy to get lost inside; Negotiating is a must; they say to start at 50% of whatever the price is and never pay more than 75%.
The Blue Mosque towers over the riot police prepared for what may come as the Pope visited Istanbul the same day we were there. Fortunately, no incidents occurred.
The Hagia Sophia built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century in Istanbul (of course it was not called Istanbul back then). It was a church, a mosque, and is now a museum.
The next three pictures are of the monastery about an hour outside of Trabzon. They began building it 1700 years ago and it was used as a monastery until the 1920's. This picture was taken on the trail- about a 30 minute hike up the mountain from the parking area.
Overlooking a section of Trabzon with the Black Sea in the background. It was a beautiful day, especially given that we had heard that it is usually cloudy and rainy.