Ankara!

In the CIEE program we take two “study trips” during the term. The first was to Ankara and our next one is to Çanakkale (pronounced: Cha nawk ah lee) in another week. Ankara is the capital and the second largest city in Turkey.  We took an overnight train on Thursday and arrived at 8am Friday morning just in time for an entire day of sightseeing.

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The sleeper compartments were very comfortable and reasonably priced. 37.75TL each way which is $20.63. Amtrak easily costs 4 to 5 times that. The train provides sheets and a pillow and the compartments have heaters, electric outlets, and locking doors. Four people sleep in one room.  Does this look Harry Potterish to anyone else?? One of the guys in our program got his backpack stolen while he was in the dining car. His ipod, dictionary and a few other things were stolen. He was actually most upset about losing his dictionary.

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A view from the train in the morning.

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I liked this building because it had so many signs on it. I am so used to Canby having very short buildings, that it is still quite strange when I am directed to a different floor to pay for items in stores.

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We stayed at a nice hotel in Ankara. They had triple rooms with three beds! Much better than Cappadocia where 3 beds were squished into a 2 bed room.

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A statue on the campus of METU (Middle Eastern Technical University). Some of the students showed us around the campus. Apparently it is known for being an activist center.

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Devrim means revolution. This is the futbol stadium at METU. According to the student giving us the tour, a few years ago chemistry students thought it would be fun to use chemicals to etch this into the seats. Haha I love Chemistry!

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After METU, we visited Ataturk’s Mausoleum. Ataturk is the founder of the Turkish Republic and is considered to be the ultimate Turkish hero. It is actually against the law to disrespect his memory.

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This statue represents the female Turkish population.  Not sure what they all stand for.

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And these represent the male Turkish population. All men are required to serve 15 months in the military either right after high school (if not attending college), or after college for a shorter amount of time.

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This is the walkway to the mausoleum square and museum. The stones are set far enough apart to make you trip a little. This is supposed to keep your head bowed while you approach Ataturk’s tomb.

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The lions

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The second tallest flagpole in Europe. (Turkey/Istanbul seems to have the second biggest of a lot of things)

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Pretty passage way pictures.

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This is the tomb of Ataturk’s right hand man.

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They have guards similar to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC. They even get wiped down every so often because they aren’t allowed to move and it’s fairly warm outside.

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Ataturk’s tomb. Dignitaries from all over the world come to visit here when they are in Turkey. The wreath on my right is from someone who visited that morning.

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It looks a whole lot like the Lincoln Memorial

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A cool Turkey map planted with flowers. Note that the purple is all the water surrounding Turkey. The crescent and star are on Turkey’s flag and a very recognizable everywhere.

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The changing of the guard. It was very formal and their marching style made me remember marching band in high school because it would hurt really bad to play an instrument with the way they were marching. They slammed each foot into the ground after lifting their entire leg up. Ouch.P1060369

Lahmacun. Kind of like pide (Turkish pizza), but cheaper and thinner. This one has ground meat, tomatoes and spices on it. Delicious!

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Hilal (one of our mentors) and Kim

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There was a side street in Ankara that had only bookshops! Heaven! I found my Turkish Harry Potter book here SmileP1060457

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A cool café we heard about. It really reminded me of the Portland atmosphere Smile

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This is the Temple of Augustus. It has a long history of being used by different religious groups. It is connected to the corner of a famous mosque in Ankara so it has a bit more protection than some of the other ruins in Turkey.

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Ancient inscriptions, linking the temple to a specific religious group. Not sure which one. whoops

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Pretty fountains Smile

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Prayer beads and the inside of the famous mosque. Men and women pray separately in mosques, so we toured both sections.

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Does anyone else think this looks like the Space Needle?? The castle in the background was one of our next stops.

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Busts (Hanane that’s for you) at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

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Carvings and statues at the museum. Most of the stuff there was from the Hittites and Phrygians, but this statue shows the Assyrian influence as well.

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Think this is a cuneiform tablet.  How cool is that? Western Civ is so real here Smile

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This sun disk used to be the symbol of Ankara until a few years ago. Cool design and even cooler that it is so old. I really have a hard time remembering that there is soooo much history spanning many centuries here. (The U.S. is a baby compared to this large amount of history)

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Yes, that original, and yes you can touch it. So weird.

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My favorite ceiling from the trip! So cool!

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A rather awful picture of myself at the castle I showed in the previous picture. It was really high up and we were walking on the outer walls with no supports. A little more than I was comfortable with.

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The view from the castle.

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The part I couldn’t bring myself to walk on. A little lot too high.

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We ate lunch as a big group at little restaurant nearby. We had my favorite, mantı.

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In the afternoon we headed to Beypazarı, a small town about an hour outside of Ankara. It is known for carrots (juice etc) and traditional Turkish crafts.

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This was one of the few times where I didn’t eat any baklava. Apparently (according to Wikipedia) Beypazarı is known for 80 layer baklava. YUM!

We went to a traditional crafts museum where people dress up and tell about ancient crafts and rituals. This reminded me of all the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark museums that I have been to.

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We tried water marbling (Ebru) which was awesome! You flick paint of different concentrations (this makes it spread out differently) on top of water that has a special plant dissolved in it.  Then when you finish making your design, you place a piece of paper on top and slide it off the top. The paint clings to the paper with the design that you made.

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(not mine, but you get the idea)

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A really fuzzy version of what mine looked like when it was finished.

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We also had our evil-eye removed.  The idea that everyone has some evil eye in them is a very common idea in Turkey. People with blue eyes get it easier as well. You can get your evil eye removed by having a gypsy woman melt lead and pour the molten metal into a bowl of water above your head.  You are covered with a white sheet during this process. She then “reads” the resulting shape and flicks your with water. You also eat a grain of rice, and a pinch of sugar and salt.  This is to help you lead a balanced life. For extra protection, people carry evil eye beads (nazar boncuğu).

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I found this super cute penguin puzzle at the museum in Beypazarı as well. Penguins are the mascots of my sorority (Phi Sigma Rho-the engineering sorority) so my future little (little sister) is definitely going to inherit this Smile


I epically fail at posting blog entries, but at least I get some of them up Smile Leave me some comments! I love hearing from you.

Sultanahmet District

Istanbul is an amazing place! If you can’t tell from the pictures, come visit for yourself. I could spend years here and not be able to see everything.  On Saturday all the exchange students (there are about 200) were bussed to Sultanahmet in downtown Istanbul. (There really isn’t a downtown Istanbul, but this is the touristy area)  We were herded into a restaurant for lunch which was delicious as usual and then split into mentor groups to tour the historic sites.  We went to 4 places during the day (I included a map of where we went for reference). First our group went to Topkapı Palace ( A ) where the sultans lived before building a European style Palace.  Next we headed to Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya in Turkish—B). Hagia Sophia was built in 393 and was first a Greek cathedral, then a Roman Catholic Church and the a Mosque from 1453-1931 when it was converted to a museum for the public. After Hagia Sophia we went to the Blue Mosque ( C ), so called because of the amazing tile work on the inside. This mosque is a still a mosque, but can be toured by the public. We also stopped by the Basilica Cistern, though I decided to come back another time to see it. Afterwards we made our way to the Grand Bazaar. This was my favorite because it reminded me so much of shopping in Mexico. Check out my pictures below and ask any questions that you might have.

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