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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Ankara, Turkey

Sep 25, 2011 - Mustafa Kemel Ataturk – His death

Mustafa Kemel died in 1938 from the effects of alcohol abuse. His body was preserved for 10 years until his monument/mausoleum could be built. The preservations fluids were then drained which allowed him to be buried according to Moslem tradition. His body was then wrapped in a cloth shroud and interred without a coffin into the ground, underneath his monument within the newly built mausoleum. The building complex and adjoining museums (some of which display his personal effects: his desk, hair brush, and his favorite suits) are physically...

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Sep 25, 2011 - Mustafa Kemel Ataturk – Part Three

As the first chief executive of the new Turkish republic, Ataturk led the country to change the alphabet to use Romanized letters that enabled the population to more easily learn to read and write in its own native language. Literacy rates increased from less than 10% during the Ottomans to well over 60% by Ataturk’s death in 1938 (a 15 year time span). Currently, the literacy rate exceeds 98.5%, higher than the United States. There were other reforms in terms of health and other public welfare services as well as a program of land...

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Sep 25, 2011 - Mustafa Kemel Ataturk – Part Two

Ataturk began his career as a young military officer who obtained military/diplomatic experience liaison experience in France and Germany prior to WWI. It is believed that it was this exposure to modern western culture that formed the basis of Ataturk’s reform programs of the 1920s and 1930s. Prior to and during WWI, Turkey did not exist as a nation-state. It was still part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman dynasty had been failing for over a century at that time (Turkey was called the “sick man of Europe”). Nevertheless, during WWI (the...

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Sep 25, 2011 - Mustafa Kemel Ataturk – Part One

A prior entry describes Ataturk as the George Washington of modern Turkey. This is an understatement. Ataturk’s image, whether pictures, framed portraits, posters, or statues is pervasive throughout Turkey. Mert, our guide, explained this by starting out with the following story: As you know, Turkey has been a close and faithful military ally of the United States for well over 50 years. This mutual assistance has recently been expressed by Turkey’s participation in both in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a result, Turkey has been attacked by Al...

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Sep 25, 2011 - Overnight train to Ankara – Visit with Earth Mother

This entry was written after we returned from the trip. The event occurred on September 14-15: I really wish I could write something romantic – exotic about an overnight train ride from Istanbul to Ankara. Perhaps I will fictionalize some short story at another time, but in reality I experienced a fitful sleep followed by a bout of travelers’ sickness. (Don’t worry, I won’t go into details but leave this part of the story to your imagination.) After a mal-adventure with Asian-style toilet plumbing, I found myself back with the tour group...

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Sep 15, 2011 - Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

As you can see from the pictures, the Museum of Anatolyan Civilization houses a diverse collection, and this only covers half the time span represented here! The Bison is Neolithic( about 7000 BC. The vase is a Hatti container(200 BC). When people drank from it they felt they were communing with the gods. Cows and stags are an important part of Hittite culture(1750 BC). The calendar is a representation of the solar system, and comes with bells to scare away evil spirits. Ladies, please note the size and shape of all the goddesses on...

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Apr 15, 2011 - Istanbul-Ankara-Cappodocia

Burhan uses a system to speed up hotel check in on tour, and to keep track of us all. We are all given a number, and before the bus leaves we count off to make sure that no one is missing. Our luggage also carries that same number, so hotel porters just have to match it to the room. Every hotel must have a record of our passport details, and we have written these out on a list and that will save producing passports every night, like we did when we checked in here. The system, for the most part, worked brilliantly and sped up the check in...

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Apr 13, 2011 - Goreme to Ankara

Wake up time this morning was with the call to prayer – 4.45am. At 5.30am the three of us (Claire, Brian and Eke) stood outside, waiting for the bus to take us to the hot air balloon office and there it was, right on time! We got in the bus, but the driver looked a bit puzzled. After some discussion, made more difficult by the language barrier, we discovered that it was a bus from a different balloon co. looking for a couple from room 6 and none of us were from room 6!. We got out quickly and luckily our bus just arrived then! We drove to...

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Nov 4, 2010 - Goreme-Ankara

Slow start today. Packed up bags and left at reception then James, Missy and I decided to head up to the open air museum. We are sure it was slightly further than the 1 kilometre mentioned everywhere and we were delighted that when we arrived to see at least 10 coaches in the car park. Further up the hill we paid our 15 TL each, declined the offer of an audio guide and proceeded to battle our way around the various chapels and churches.WE decided there was a distinct lack of open air because of the vast number of geriatrics cluttering up...

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Oct 6, 2010 - Ankara (Visa-Probleme)

1 idealer Stopover am Weg nach Kappadokien, die Distanzen hier sind riesig, und vergehen nur etwas schneller mit einer Teilstrecke des neuen modernen Hochgeschwindigkeitszugsprojekts der Tuerkei. So fuhren wir 1h 30min lang mit bis zu 250km/h durch endlose Steppe, gespickt mit Salzseen, Kuerbis- und Kartoffelfeldern. In Ankara selbst hatten wir weniger Glueck. nichts wurde mit dem Plan, die Tuerkei gen Sueden nach Syrien zu verlassen, dann den Nahen Osten weiter (Libanon, Jordanien) zu bereisen, und mit dem Zug wieder nach Nordosten rauf in...

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Sep 14, 2010 - Ankara

Dear Friends and Family A while since the last entry as we have been on the move. By train on the wonderful London underground to Heathrow, then Lufthansa to Ankara via Munich. Lufthansa food worst airline food ever. Amusing to fly into Munich over the ordered landscape to an airport that was immaculately clean and well organised compared with the scruffy shamozzle that is Heathrow. We left Hugh and Tash's at about 10.30am and arrived in our Ankara hotel at about 11.00pm - not too bad. Huge jubilant crowd noise in the streets because...

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Jun 25, 2010 - Up and Away

That pesky 4.15 alarm – the weather just superb, no wind and clear. Off we go again in the bus, more tea and bisciuts and then we are loaded up again and taken to our take off point. We watch them fill the balloon, climb into our basket and then, ever so gently, take off. What a stunning sight. For the next hour we dip and weave our way through the chimneys, over the valleys and table top mountains. Some forty balloons up at once – on two of them: Martha Stewart and her camera crew. Just such a wonderful morning – my only really bad time is...

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