B2 High-Intermediate US 2799 Folder Collection
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HI, I'M RICK STEVES,
BACK WITH MORE OF THE BEST OF EUROPE.
THIS TIME WE'RE RELAXED AND GETTING ALL CLEANED UP
FOR A TURKISH EXPERIENCE IN ISTANBUL.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
ISTANBUL IS ONE OF THE GREAT CITIES ON EARTH, PERIOD.
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, THIS POINT WHERE EAST MEETS WEST
HAS BEEN A CROSSROADS OF CIVILIZATION.
FEW PLACES ON EARTH HAVE WITNESSED MORE HISTORY
THAN THIS SPRAWLING METROPOLIS ON THE BOSPHORUS.
WE'LL CRUISE THE GOLDEN HORN, SHOP THE GRAND BAZAAR
AND CHECK OUT A POOR MAN'S WALL STREET,
SAMPLE SOME TURKISH DELIGHTS...
OH, THAT'S GOOD, YEAH.
SMOKE A NARGHILE,
EAT FISH FRESH OFF THE BOAT,
EXPLORE THE HAREM IN THE TOPKAPI PALACE,
MARVEL AT BYZANTINE DOMES,
AND LOSE OURSELVES IN A SEA OF PEOPLE
IN THIS VAST AND COMPLEX CITY.
TURKEY BRIDGES EUROPE AND ASIA.
ISTANBUL, ITS LARGEST CITY AND COMMERCIAL CENTER,
STRADDLES THE STRATEGIC BOSPHORUS STRAIT.
PART OF THE CITY IS IN EUROPE AND PART IN ASIA.
THE GOLDEN HORN INLET DIVIDES THE NEW TOWN,
WITH ITS HIGH-ENERGY BUSINESS ZONES,
FROM THE OLD TOWN,
WHERE YOU'LL FIND THE MAJOR SITES.
AS A CITY WHICH IS OVER 90% MUSLIM,
ISTANBUL OFFERS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY
TO BETTER UNDERSTAND ISLAM.
VISITORS ARE WELCOME TO VISIT HISTORIC MOSQUES
AND, AT THE SAME TIME, EXPERIENCE A RELIGION
THAT STILL PACKS THE HOUSE.
THE BLUE MOSQUE WAS THE 17th-CENTURY TRIUMPH
OF SULTAN AHMET I.
ARCHITECTURALLY, WITH ITS SIX MINARETS,
IT RIVALED THE GREAT MOSQUE IN MECCA,
THE HOLIEST IN ALL ISLAM.
ITS GRAND COURTYARD WELCOMES THE CROWD
THAT GATHERS FOR WORSHIP.
AS WITH ALL MOSQUES, YOU PARK YOUR SHOES AT THE DOOR,
AND WOMEN COVER THEIR HEADS.
IF THEY DON'T HAVE A SCARF, THERE ARE LOANERS AT THE DOOR.
COUNTLESS BEAUTIFUL TILES FILL THE INTERIOR
WITH EXQUISITE FLORAL AND GEOMETRIC MOTIFS.
IT'S NICKNAMED THE BLUE MOSQUE BECAUSE OF ITS BLUE TILES.
BLUE IS A POPULAR COLOR IN TURKEY.
IT IMPRESSED EARLY FRENCH VISITORS ENOUGH
FOR THEM TO CALL IT "THE COLOR OF THE TURKS,"
OR TURQUOISE.
WHILE CHURCHES PORTRAY PEOPLE LIKE THIS,
MUSLIMS BELIEVE THE PORTRAYAL OF PEOPLE
IN PLACES OF WORSHIP DRAWS ATTENTION AWAY FROM
WORSHIPING ALLAH AS THE ONE GOD.
IN MOSQUES, RATHER THAN SAINTS
AND PROPHETS, YOU'LL SEE GEOMETRICAL DESIGNS
AND CALLIGRAPHY.
THIS EXPLAINS WHY, HISTORICALLY,
THE MUSLIM WORLD EXCELLED AT NON-FIGURATIVE ART
WHILE ARTISTS FROM CHRISTIAN EUROPE FOCUSED ON
PAINTING AND SCULPTURE OF THE HUMAN FORM.
ARTFUL ARABIC CALLIGRAPHY GENERALLY SHOWS
EXCERPTS FROM THE KORAN AND QUOTES FROM MOHAMMED.
AS A CHURCH WOULD HAVE JESUS AND GOD FRONT-AND-CENTER,
IN A MOSQUE, ELABORATE SIGNATURE MEDALLIONS
HIGH ABOVE THE PRAYER NICHE SAY "MOHAMMED" AND "ALLAH."
LARGE CEREMONIAL CANDLES FLANK THE MIHRAB.
THAT'S THE NICHE WHICH POINTS SOUTHEAST TO MECCA
IN SAUDI ARABIA, WHERE ALL MUSLIMS FACE
WHEN THEY WORSHIP.
SERVICES ARE SEGREGATED
BY GENDER -- THE MAIN HALL IS RESERVED
FOR MEN, WHILE THE WOMEN'S SECTION
IS IN THE BACK.
WHILE, TO SOME, IT'S DEMEANING TO MAKE WOMEN STAY IN BACK,
MUSLIMS SEE IT AS A PRACTICAL MATTER.
WOMEN WOULD RATHER HAVE THE OPTION OF PERFORMING
THE PHYSICAL ACT OF PRAYING IN PRIVATE.
Muezzin: ♪ ALLAH HU AKBAR ♪
♪ ALLAH HU AKBAR ♪
LIKE CHURCHES HAVE BELL TOWERS, MOSQUES HAVE MINARETS.
ACCORDING TO MUSLIM TRADITION, THE IMAM OR PRAYER LEADER
WOULD CLIMB TO THE TOP OF A MINARET
TO CALL THE FAITHFUL TO PRAYER.
♪ HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAN... ♪
THESE DAYS, THE PRAYER LEADER
STILL PERFORMS A CALL TO PRAYER LIVE,
BUT IT'S AMPLIFIED BY LOUDSPEAKERS
AT THE TOP OF THE MINARETS.
[ MUEZZIN CALLING ]
♪ ALLAH HU AKBAR ♪
THE CALL IS ALWAYS THE SAME --
"ALLAH AKBAR," "GOD IS GREAT.
"WITNESS THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, MOHAMMED IS HIS PROPHET.
"COME JOIN THE PRAYER.
COME JOIN THE SALVATION."
WHEN THIS HAPPENS, PRACTICING MUSLIMS
DROP INTO A MOSQUE, FACE MECCA, AND PRAY TO GOD.
[ MUEZZIN CALLING ]
THEN, AFTER A SHORT SERVICE PRAISING GOD,
WORKADAY LIFE RESUMES.
MODERN TURKISH CULTURE IS COMPLEX.
TO SORT IT OUT PROPERLY, I'M JOINED BY
MY TURKISH FRIEND LALE SURMEN ARAN,
WHO CO-AUTHORS MY ISTANBUL GUIDEBOOK.
SO WHAT DOES THE CALL TO PRAYER MEAN TO YOU?
SEE, IT'S A PERSONAL THING.
MOST OF THE PEOPLE YOU SEE HERE ARE PROBABLY MUSLIMS,
BUT TURKEY'S A SECULAR COUNTRY.
IT'S IN OUR CONSTITUTION.
BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND, WE SAY THAT YOU NEVER KNOW
WHO HAS GOT THE MONEY OR THE FAITH.
THE REAL VIRTUE IS NOT TO SHOW IT OFF.
Steves: TURKS LOVE TO MEET
AND MINGLE AT ORTAKOY, JUST UNDER THE MASSIVE BRIDGE
THAT CONNECTED EUROPE WITH ASIA IN 1973.
THE TEMPO OF LIFE IN TURKEY, LIKE OTHER MEDITERRANEAN LANDS,
IS SLOW ENOUGH TO ENJOY THE MOMENT AND GOOD FRIENDS.
PEOPLE LOVE THEIR TEA,
THE SOUND OF DICE ON THE BACKGAMMON BOARD,
AND SUCKING ON THE HOOKAH, OR NARGHILE,
GENERALLY A TOBACCO-FREE
DRIED-FRUIT SMOKE.
THIS CITY, SO LAYERED WITH RICH HISTORY,
WAS OFFICIALLY NAMED ISTANBUL ONLY IN 1923
WITH THE FOUNDATION OF THE MODERN TURKISH REPUBLIC.
BEFORE THAT, IT WAS CALLED CONSTANTINOPLE.
OVER THE CENTURIES, THIS CITY HAS BEEN
THE CAPITAL OF TWO GRAND EMPIRES.
THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE STARTED IN THE 4th CENTURY
AND LASTED UNTIL THE 15th CENTURY.
THAT'S WHEN THE OTTOMANS TOOK OVER
AND RULED UNTIL THE END OF WORLD WAR I.
TODAY, EVEN THOUGH TURKEY IS GOVERNED FROM ANKARA,
ISTANBUL REMAINS THE FINANCIAL, CULTURAL,
AND HISTORIC CENTER OF THIS COUNTRY.
AS ANCIENT ROME WAS FALLING, EMPEROR CONSTANTINE
MOVED THE CAPITAL FROM THE WEST
HERE TO THE LESS CHAOTIC EAST IN AROUND 324 A.D.
IT WAS NAMED CONSTANTINOPLE IN HIS HONOR.
THEN, IN 476, ROME AND THE WESTERN EMPIRE
FELL TO INVADING BARBARIANS.
THAT LEFT CONSTANTINOPLE THE LEADING CITY
OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION.
TRACES OF THE ROMAN CAPITAL CAN STILL BE FOUND.
THIS SQUARE WAS A RACE TRACK, LIKE THE CIRCUS MAXIMUS IN ROME.
BUILT IN THE 4th CENTURY TO SEAT OVER 60,000 FANS,
THE HIPPODROME WAS CONSTANTINOPLE'S
PRIMARY VENUE FOR CHARIOT RACES.
ITS CENTERPIECE, THIS 3,500-YEAR-OLD
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN OBELISK, WAS ORIGINALLY CARVED
TO HONOR A PHARAOH.
IT WAS MOVED HERE TO ORNAMENT THE RACE TRACK
IN THE 4th CENTURY.
WHAT YOU SEE TODAY IS ONLY THE UPPER THIRD
OF THE ORIGINAL MASSIVE STONE TOWER.
WHILE YOU WON'T FIND ANY CHARIOT RACES THESE DAYS,
ISTANBUL REMAINS A CITY OF EXPERIENCES.
ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE IS ENJOYING A TURKISH BATH.
TODAY, BATHS WELCOME TOURISTS
AND GIVE A PEEK INTO A RICH TRADITION.
YOU LEAVE ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN THE CHANGING ROOM.
SLIP UNGRACEFULLY INTO WOODEN SLIPPERS
AND SHUFFLE INTO THE STEAMY CALDARIUM.
TURKS BROUGHT THE STEAM BATH WITH THEM FROM CENTRAL ASIA,
BLENDED IT WITH THE ROMAN BATH CULTURE
THEY FOUND HERE, AND CREATED THE TURKISH BATH.
FIRST, YOU RELAX AT THE BASIN --
HEAT UP, SOFTEN UP UNDER A CASCADE OF HOT WATER.
SAVOR THE EXPERIENCE,
ACHIEVING MAXIMUM SWEATING AND RELAXATION.
THEN YOUR ATTENDANT WORKS YOU OVER,
SCRUBBING VIGOROUSLY WITH ROUGH
BRILLO PAD-TYPE MITTS,
THEN SUDSING AND WASHING.
REFRESHED AND CLEANER THAN YOU CAN REMEMBER EVER BEING,
YOU VENTURE BACK INTO THE CITY,
READY FOR MORE HISTORY AND ART.
THE BEST LOOK AT ANCIENT CONSTANTINOPLE
IS A CHURCH-TURNED-MOSQUE THAT'S BEEN CONSIDERED
AMONG THE GREATEST HOUSES OF WORSHIP
IN BOTH THE CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM WORLDS --
HAGIA SOPHIA, THE GREAT CHURCH
OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
BUILT BY THE BYZANTINE EMPEROR JUSTINIAN
IN THE EARLY 6th CENTURY
ON THE GRANDEST SCALE POSSIBLE, IT WAS LATER CONVERTED
INTO A MOSQUE BY THE CONQUERING OTTOMANS.
TODAY, IT'S A MUSEUM.
HAGIA SOPHIA, WHICH MARKS THE HIGH POINT
OF BYZANTINE ARCHITECTURE,
IS THE PINNACLE OF THAT SOCIETY'S
6th-CENTURY GLORY DAYS.
THIS CHURCH WAS COMPLETED IN 537,
JUST ABOUT WHEN EUROPE WAS ENTERING ITS DARK AGES.
FOR FOUR CENTURIES AFTER THAT, CHRISTIANS IN EUROPE
LOOKED TO CONSTANTINOPLE AS THE LEADING CITY
IN CHRISTENDOM, AND THIS WAS ITS LEADING CHURCH.
THIS CLEVER DOME-UPON-DOME CONSTRUCTION
WAS THE BIGGEST DOME ANYWHERE
UNTIL THE CATHEDRAL OF FLORENCE WAS FINISHED
DURING THE RENAISSANCE, 900 YEARS LATER.
THE VAST INTERIOR GIVES THE IMPRESSION
OF A GOLDEN WEIGHTLESS SHELL,
GRACEFULLY DISGUISING THE MASSIVE OVERHEAD LOAD
SUPPORTED BY MASTERFUL BYZANTINE ENGINEERING.
40 ARCHED WINDOWS SHED A SOFT LIGHT
ON THE INTERIOR, SHOWING OFF THE CHURCH'S
ORIGINAL MARBLE AND GLITTERING MOSAICS.
BUT THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE COLLAPSED IN THE 15th CENTURY,
AND HAGIA SOPHIA WAS TURNED INTO A MOSQUE.
CHRISTIAN MOSAICS WERE PLASTERED OVER,
AND NEW RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS REPLACED THE OLD.
THIS CHURCH WAS BUILT TO FACE JERUSALEM.
MOSQUES FACE MECCA.
WHEN HAGIA SOPHIA BECAME A MOSQUE,
THEY COULDN'T MOVE THE CHURCH, BUT THEY COULD MOVE
THE FOCAL POINT OF THE PRAYING.
NOTICE HOW THE PRAYER NICHE IS JUST A LITTLE BIT OFF-CENTER.
THAT'S BECAUSE IT FACES MECCA.
THE GALATA BRIDGE SPANS THE EASY-TO-DEFEND INLET
CALLED THE GOLDEN HORN IN THE VERY HEART OF ISTANBUL.
A STROLL ACROSS THE BRIDGE OFFERS PANORAMIC VIEWS
OF ISTANBUL'S OLD TOWN,
A CHANCE TO SEE HOW THE FISHERMEN ARE DOING...
AND PLENTY OF OPTIONS FOR A DRINK OR MEAL
WITH A VIEW.
FOR FAST FOOD, ISTANBUL-STYLE, WE'RE GRABBING A FISHWICH,
FRESH FROM THE GUYS WHO CAUGHT IT,
AT ONE OF THE VENERABLE
AND VERY TIPSY FISH-AND-BREAD BOATS.
OH, MAN.
[ SPEAKING TURKISH ]
[ SPEAKING TURKISH ]
THIS IS ISTANBUL FAST FOOD, HUH?
NOW THIS IS WHAT KIND OF FISH?
FRESH MACKEREL.
FROM NEAR THE GALATA BRIDGE,
IT'S EASY TO HOP A TOUR BOAT FOR A RELAXING SAIL
UP THE BOSPHORUS AND A CHANCE TO SEE
THE CITY FROM THE WATER, WITH EUROPE ON ONE SIDE
AND ASIA ON THE OTHER.
YOU'LL PASS MASSIVE CRUISE SHIPS
WHICH POUR THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS INTO THE CITY
FOR A FRANTIC DAY OF SIGHTSEEING AND SHOPPING.
THE BOAT PASSES HOMES OF WEALTHY LOCALS
WHO CAN AFFORD SOME OF THE PRICIEST REAL ESTATE
IN TURKEY -- BOSPHORUS WATERFRONT.
THE DRAMATIC BOSPHORUS BRIDGE
WAS THE FIRST BRIDGE EVER TO SPAN TWO CONTINENTS.
AND THE RUMELI FORTRESS WAS BUILT BY THE OTTOMANS
THE YEAR BEFORE THEY CONQUERED THE CITY OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
TOUR BOATS SHARE THE BOSPHORUS
WITH PLENTY OF COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC.
THE NARROW AND STRATEGIC STRAIT IS A BOTTLE NECK
BUSY WITH FREIGHTERS,
INCLUDING LOTS OF UKRAINIAN AND RUSSIAN SHIPS,
SINCE THIS IS THE ONLY ROUTE FROM PORTS ON THE BLACK SEA
OUT TO THE MEDITERRANEAN.
FOR MORE CROWDS AND URBAN ENERGY,
YOU CAN JOIN THE MILLION COMMUTERS
WHO FERRY OVER AND BACK EVERY DAY
FROM THE ASIAN SIDE OF ISTANBUL.
FERRIES SHUTTLE IN AND OUT
FROM ALL DIRECTIONS AS SEAS OF LOCALS
MAKE THEIR DAILY HALF-HOUR INTERCONTINENTAL COMMUTE.
BUT FOR ME, THE ULTIMATE JOY OF TEEMING
AND VIBRANT ISTANBUL IS BACK IN THE OLD TOWN,
SIMPLY EXPLORING ITS BUSY STREETS.
THE VENERABLE SPICE MARKET, WHILE A TOURISTY SCENE TODAY,
STILL SELLS ITS EXOTIC RANGE OF PRODUCTS,
AND THE AIR IS HEAVY
WITH AROMATIC SPICES.
YOU'LL FIND EVERYTHING A SULTAN COULD WANT --
SAFFRON AND CINNAMON,
DRIED VEGETABLES AND FRUITS, PISTACHIOS AND HAZELNUTS,
AND A CORNUCOPIA OF SWEETS, INCLUDING, OF COURSE,
TURKISH DELIGHT.
OKAY, SO THIS IS TURKISH DELIGHT.
Aran: IT COMES IN A VARIETY OF FLAVORS,
BUT THE MOST FAVORITE OF THE TURKS
IS THE PISTACHIO FLAVORED.
MMM.
OH, THAT'S GOOD, YEAH.
ISTANBUL'S BEEN A BUSY TRADING CENTER FROM THE START,
SO IT NEEDED TO BE WELL-PROTECTED.
THIS IMPOSING WALL HELPED FORTIFY
THE ANCIENT BYZANTINE CAPITAL.
THE WALL SEALED OFF THE CITY,
PROTECTING IT ON THE ONE SIDE WHERE THE WATER DIDN'T.
DATING FROM THE 5th CENTURY,
THESE RAMPARTS STOOD STRONG AGAINST BOTH
CATHOLIC EUROPE FROM THE WEST
AND THE MUSLIM FORCES FROM THE EAST
UNTIL 1453.
FINALLY, THE OTTOMAN TURKS, WHO FOR CENTURIES
HAD BEEN ON THE RISE AND CHIPPING AWAY
AT THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE, BROKE THROUGH THE WALLS.
THEY ESTABLISHED THE CITY AS THE CAPITAL OF
THEIR GROWING EMPIRE AND TRANSFORMED
CHRISTIAN CONSTANTINOPLE INTO A MUSLIM CITY.
OUR STORYBOOK IMAGE OF THE OTTOMANS --
SULTANS, HAREMS, EUNUCHS -- IS BEST IMAGINED HERE
IN THE TOPKAPI PALACE.
BUILT IN THE LATE 15th CENTURY, THIS WAS THE POWER CENTER
OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE FOR ALMOST 400 YEARS.
ITS BUILDINGS FORM A SERIES OF COURTYARDS,
THE OUTER BEING USED FOR PUBLIC FUNCTIONS.
THE FURTHER IN YOU GO, THE MORE PRIVATE THE ROOMS.
AMONG THE MOST PRIVATE WAS THE HAREM.
THE WORD HAREM MEANS "FORBIDDEN" IN ARABIC.
IT'S THE HUGE SUITE WHERE THE SULTAN LIVED
WITH HIS WIVES, FEMALE SLAVES, AND CHILDREN.
Aran: THIS IS THE LARGEST ROOM IN THE HAREM.
IT WAS THE ENTERTAINMENT ROOM, AND USED FOR ACTIVITIES
LIKE THE WEDDING OF THE SULTAN'S DAUGHTERS.
THIS WAS THE DIVAN THAT THE SULTAN USED AS A THRONE.
THE DIVANS BY THE WINDOW WERE USED BY
THE QUEEN MOTHER AND THE WIVES OF THE SULTAN,
AND THE MUSICIANS USED THE BALCONY UP ABOVE.
BUT WHEN I SAY "A PARTY,"
DO NOT IMAGINE A PUBLIC EVENT.
IT WAS RATHER FOR THE FAMILY OF THE SULTAN.
SO JUST A SMALL FAMILY AFFAIR.
THE SULTAN, HIS MOM, HIS WIVES,
AND HIS GIRLFRIENDS.
HIS FAVORITES.
THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE HAREM
WAS TO PROVIDE FUTURE HEIRS TO THE THRONE,
TO THE OTTOMAN THRONE.
BUT MOST OF THE TOURISTS THINK THAT IT WAS A PARTY PLACE,
A FANTASY PLACE -- IT WAS NOT.
IT WAS AN INSTITUTION THAT HAD ITS OWN RULES,
IT WAS VERY WELL-REGULATED,
AND THESE RULES WERE VERY STRICT.
THE SULTAN WAS NOT ABOVE THESE RULES.
SO THE SULTAN DIDN'T JUST COME IN AND PICK A GIRL.
DEFINITELY NOT.
IT WAS THE QUEEN MOTHER, MOTHER OF THE SULTAN,
MOSTLY, THAT DECIDED WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN IN THE HAREM,
AND IT WAS, AGAIN, THE QUEEN MOTHER
THAT DECIDED WHOM THE SULTAN SOCIALIZED WITH.
Steves: AND, OF COURSE, THE SULTAN ENJOYED
A STATE-OF-THE-ART BATHROOM,
COMPLETE WITH HOT AND COLD RUNNING WATER.
BATHED IN LIGHT FROM THESE EXQUISITE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS,
THIS IS WHERE THE SULTAN RELAXED,
ENTERTAINED, AND SAVORED THE SUMPTUOUS LUXURY
HIS POWER PROVIDED.
SOME OF THE SULTAN'S OPULENCE
IS STILL ON DISPLAY IN THE PALACE MUSEUM.
THE EXQUISITE TOPKAPI DAGGER WOWS TOURISTS
WITH ITS DAZZLING DIAMONDS AND GOLF-BALL-SIZED EMERALDS.
CLEARLY, THE OTTOMANS, IN THEIR HEYDAY,
WERE A WEALTHY POWER.
THE PALACE IS ALSO A HOLY SPOT FOR MUSLIMS,
CONTAINING RELICS OF MOHAMMED AND OTHER PROPHETS,
SOME OF WHOM ARE REVERED IN BOTH THE BIBLE AND THE KORAN.
THIS CONTAINS WHAT'S CONSIDERED TO BE
THE ARM OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.
AND HERE'S JOHN'S SKULL INSIDE THIS JEWELED CASE.
FOR MUSLIMS, THE MOST PRECIOUS RELICS
ARE THOSE OF MOHAMMED -- HIS BOW AND SWORD,
EXQUISITE CASES CONTAINING HIS TOOTH, SOME HAIR,
AND HIS HOLY SEAL.
[ CHANTING ]
AND, IN THE ADJACENT ROOM,
A HAFIZ -- THAT'S SOMEONE WHO'S MEMORIZED
ALL 6,000 VERSES OF THE KORAN -- IS PART OF A TEAM
THAT SINGS VERSES FROM THE MUSLIM HOLY BOOK
24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.
[ SINGING ]
FOR GENERATIONS,
EUROPE DREADED THE OTTOMAN THREAT.
THEY WERE ON THE MARCH, EVEN KNOCKING ON
VIENNA'S FORTIFIED DOOR.
BUT, THROUGH THE 19th CENTURY, A COMBINATION OF
CORRUPTION, INCOMPETENT SULTANS,
AND AN ANTIQUATED MEDIEVAL ORGANIZATION
ALL CONTRIBUTED TO THE EVENTUAL FALL
OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE.
THE TOPKAPI PALACE REPRESENTS THE PINNACLE OF OTTOMAN POWER.
FOR THE PINNACLE OF OTTOMAN SHOPPING,
VISITORS SEEK OUT THE GRAND BAZAAR.
IN MANY WAYS, ISTANBUL'S GRAND BAZAAR
REMAINS MUCH AS IT WAS CENTURIES AGO,
ENCHANTING AND PERPLEXING VISITORS
WITH ITS MAZE-LIKE NETWORK OF MORE THAN 4,000 COLORFUL SHOPS,
FRAGRANT EATERIES, AND INSISTENT SHOPKEEPERS.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN.
[ LAUGHS ] WHAT DO YOU HAVE?
IS IT POSSIBLE TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING YOU DON'T NEED?
SHOW ME SOMETHING I DON'T NEED, THAT WOULD BE VERY NICE.
HAVE SOME FUN WITH THESE GUYS.
YOU HAVE MORE THAN YOU NEED.
I'M A LUCKY MAN TODAY.
YES, THAT YOU ARE.
A SPECIAL PRICE?
DESPITE THE TOURISTS AND THE NICKNACKS,
THE HEART OF THE GRAND BAZAAR STILL BEATS,
GIVING THE OBSERVANT VISITOR AN UNFORGETTABLE MEMORY.
[ SPEAKING TURKISH ]
IN ITS DAY, THIS LABYRINTHIAN WARREN OF SHOPS
UNDER FINE ARCHES WAS THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
FOR THE ENTIRE OTTOMAN EMPIRE,
LOCKED DOWN AND GUARDED BY MORE THAN 100 SOLDIERS EVERY NIGHT.
TODAY, THE MAIN DRAG IS TOURISTY,
BUT THE COMPLEX IS SO BIG, IT'S STILL EASY
TO ESCAPE THE TOURIST ZONES AND DISCOVER
SOME AUTHENTIC NOOKS AND CRANNIES.
SURPRISES AWAIT IN THE LOW-RENT FRINGES OF THE MARKET.
[ CROWD SHOUTING ]
A COMMOTION OF SHOUTING
MARKS THE BAZAAR'S POOR MAN'S WALL STREET.
THESE CURRENCY BROKERS ARE FRANTICALLY SWAPPING
FORTUNES OF EUROS, DOLLARS, AND TURKISH LIRA
FOR THEIR CLIENTS.
[ SHOUTING ]
OTHERS PUT THEIR FORTUNE IN GOLD.
THE MANY JEWELRY SHOPS ARE A REMINDER
THAT TURKS LOVE GOLD,
NOT BECAUSE THEY'RE VAIN OR GREEDY,
BUT BECAUSE IT'S CONSIDERED A PRACTICAL
AND TANGIBLE PLACE TO STORE THEIR WEALTH.
AROUND THE CORNER, SURROUNDING A HUMBLE COURTYARD,
SOOTY SMITHS LABOR BEFORE FURNACES.
THEY'RE MELTING GOLD OFF CUTS
AND SWEEPINGS FROM NEARBY JEWELERS' WORKSHOPS
BACK INTO A PURE AND MORE USABLE FORM.
GOLD, GOLD.
TO GET A FULL AND BALANCED APPRECIATION
FOR TODAY'S ISTANBUL, YOU MUST LEAVE THE OLD TOWN
AND EXPLORE THE LIVELY, MORE COSMOPOLITAN NEIGHBORHOODS.
FOR THE VISITOR,
ISTANBUL'S SINGLE TRAM LINE IS A GODSEND,
LACING TOGETHER THE MOST INTERESTING
SIGHTSEEING AREAS.
WHILE OFTEN PACKED,
IT ZIPS DIRECTLY THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF TOWN FAST,
UNAFFECTED BY THE FREQUENT TRAFFIC JAMS.
WE'RE RIDING IT FROM THE OLD TOWN
OVER THE GALATA BRIDGE INTO THE NEW TOWN,
WHERE WE'LL PICK UP A SUBTERRANEAN FUNICULAR,
THEN CLIMB UP TO THE PLACE
WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE HEADING --
TAKSIM SQUARE, ISTANBUL'S CONTEMPORARY HEART.
TAKSIM SQUARE, A MAJOR TRANSPORTATION HUB,
GIVES US A GOOD TASTE OF MODERN ISTANBUL.
THE TRAFFIC CIRCLES A STATUE THAT CELEBRATES
THE FATHER OF MODERN TURKEY --
MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK.
IF TURKEY IS WESTERN-LOOKING TODAY,
YOU CAN THANK THIS MAN.
IN THE 19th CENTURY, THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
WAS IN A STATE OF DECLINE.
BACKING GERMANY IN WORLD WAR I AND, THEREFORE, LOSING,
THE DECREPIT OLD EMPIRE WAS SWEPT AWAY,
AND FROM ITS REMNANTS AROSE THE MODERN REPUBLIC OF TURKEY,
FOUNDED IN 1923 BY ATATURK.
THE MONUMENT SHOWS THE TWO SIDES OF ATATURK --
THE MILITARY HERO OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
AND CIVILIAN ATATURK, THE FIRST PRESIDENT
OF MODERN TURKEY, SURROUNDED BY FIGURES
REPRESENTING THE PROCLAMATION OF THE REPUBLIC.
NEARBY, A COLORFUL TROLLEY TRAVELS THE LENGTH
OF THE CITY'S MAIN SHOPPING BOULEVARD,
ISTIKLAL CADDESI.
IT'S TEEMING WITH PEOPLE,
LINED WITH SHOPPING TEMPTATIONS
AND SHOWY STREET FOOD,
AND SPORTS SOME FINE OLD ARCHITECTURE,
A REMINDER THAT THIS STREET WAS HOME
TO THE CITY'S WESTERN-LOOKING ELITE IN THE 19th CENTURY.
EVEN TODAY, ISTANBUL'S CHURCHES
AND INTERNATIONAL CONSULATES ARE IN THIS DISTRICT.
AND THE STREET OFFERS AN ENTICING PARADE
OF TASTE TREATS.
THESE DESSERTS COME WITH PLENTY OF HONEY.
DONER MEANS "REVOLVING,"
AND YOU'LL KNOW WHY WHEN TEMPTED BY A DONER KEBAB.
AND, FOR A FAST MEAL WITH NO LANGUAGE BARRIER,
UBIQUITOUS CAFETERIA-STYLE
RESTAURANTS PRESENT A CAN-CAN OF FRESH
AND TRADITIONAL TURKISH FOOD PREPARED IN
HOME-COOKED STYLE.
AND MY FAVORITE WAY TO EXPERIENCE URBAN ISTANBUL
IS SIMPLY TO HIKE THE ENTIRE LENGTH
OF THIS MAIN PEDESTRIAN BOULEVARD,
IMMERSED IN A FASCINATING SEA OF PEOPLE.
STAND STILL FOR A MOMENT AND WATCH THE PEOPLE.
THIS IS TODAY'S TURKEY.
MODERN TURKEY IS A MELTING POT
OF 20-OR-SO DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS --
TURK, KURD, ARMENIAN, JEW,
GREEK, GEORGIAN, AND GYPSY, AND STYLES
FROM THE VERY TRADITIONAL TO THE VERY LATEST.
THE CITY IS A HUGE DRAW FOR VISITORS,
STILL A CROSSROADS OF HUMANITY.
AND, ACCORDING TO THE TURKISH PROVERB,
EVERY GUEST IS A GIFT FROM GOD.
LIKE ITS BRIDGE, ISTANBUL BRINGS
EAST AND WEST TOGETHER WITH A COMPLEX WEAVE
OF MODERN AFFLUENCE, WESTERN SECULARISM,
AND TRADITIONAL MUSLIM FAITH.
IT'S A DYNAMIC AND STIMULATING CITY
WELL WORTH EXPERIENCING.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M RICK STEVES.
UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP ON TRAVELING.
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Istanbul

2799 Folder Collection
Jane published on July 12, 2015
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