Syria

Vol 4- Issue 2 SyriaModern Syria is situated in Asia along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The Syrian political body is represented by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president is the head of state and is directly elected every seven years. Syria gained full independence on April 17, 1946 ceding from French Colonialism Rule.

Damascus

Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It has occupied a position of importance in the fields of science, culture, politics, art, commerce and industry from the earliest times.

Early references to the city, such as those in the Ebla tablets, confirm that ‘Dameski’ (i.e., Damascus) during the third millennium B.C. was a city of huge economic influence. Ancient Pharaonic scripts refer to it as ‘Dameska’. It benefited great prominence during the second millennium B.C. as the centre of an Aramic kingdom under the name of Dar-misiq (the irrigated house).

Damascus became the capital of the first Arab state at the time of the Umayyads in 661 A.D. This marked the start of its golden epoch, and for a whole century, it was the centre of the youthful Islamic Empire. The Empire reached its peak of expansion throughout this period and came to stretch from the shores of the Atlantic and the Pyrennese in the west, to the river Indus and China in the east.

Following the decline and fall of the Umayyads, Damascus went through a period of neglect and decline. However, when independence was achieved in 1946, the city began to regain its importance as a significant cultural and political centre of the Arab world.

Lattakia

Lattakia is Syria’s main sea-port on the Mediterranean (186 km southwest of Aleppo). It has kept its importance since ancient times. Lattakia was one of the five cities built by Saluqos Nikator in the 2nd century B.C. He named it after his mother, Laudetia.
Not a lot of ancient remains have survived in Lattakia, but there are four columns and a Roman arch from the time of Septimus Severus (circa 200 A.D.), in addition to a beautiful Ottoman construction called Khan Al-Dukhan, which is now a museum.

Lattakia is the sea-gate to Syria. It is well-provided with accommodation and is well-placed as a base, from which to explore the coastal regions of the country.

Bosra

Bosra was the earliest city in the Syrian Arab Republic to become Muslim and has some of the oldest minarets in the history of Islam. As a stopover on the pilgrimage route to Makkah, Bosra was a prosperous city until the 17th century. By then, the region was becoming insecure and the pilgrims began to take a less dangerous route further west. The Mosque of Umar in the center of the town (called Jami-al Arouss, ‘the bridal mosque’, by the Bosriots) used to be a pagan temple and now stands as the only mosque surviving from the early-Islamic period that has preserved its original facades.

Shopping

Syrian handicrafts symbolize a tradition of skilled workmanship and folk art that dates back many thousands of years. The most common Syrian craft items include hand-woven silk brocades, embroidered table cloth, rugs, carpets, mosaics, brass and copper, leather, gold and silver jewelry made by hand of local designs, inlaid furniture with mother of pearls, all these items can be found in our old souks and bazaars in Damascus, Palmyra, Aleppo and almost all over Syria.

Syrian Food

Many traditional Syrian dishes are effortless preparations based on grains, vegetables and fruits. Often, the same ingredients are used over and over, in unusual ways, in each dish. Yogurt, cheese, cucumber, aubergines, chick peas, nuts, tomatoes, burghul and sesame (seeds, paste and oil) are harmoniously blended into numerous assorted medleys. Pita bread is served for dipping with all meals.

A typical Syrian meal starts with Mezze – this can be an elaborate spread of forty or fifty Hors D’oeuvres or just a salad and a bowl of nuts. But it is always a social occasion, when friends and family meet to enjoy appetizers and conversation before lunch and dinner.

After meals, there is usually a hot drink of Arabic coffee or Shai (tea) along with fruits, Booza (ice cream) and a dessert. Syrian pastries are delicious – usually they are honey soaked pastries with nuts, raisins or cheese.

Sports and Recreation

Mixing with people and eating are the main forms of relaxation, especially in rural areas. Syrians adore talking. Men like going out to coffeehouses to talk, drink tea or Turkish coffee and smoke a “hubble-bubble” or water pipe. On Thursday night, the beginning of the weekend in Syria, young men meet on the streets to talk or drive around in their cars.

Throughout the good weather, some Syrians drive to mountain resorts for the day. Others take pleasure in leisurely walks. Syrians usually go for walks in groups, wearing their finest clothes. On mild evenings, parks in the city are full.

Soccer is the main sport in Syria. The country has national soccer and basketball teams. Men attend the games, which are shown also on television for a few hours a week. Recently, women have been allowed to take part in some sports, and today more women are playing sports and taking part in competitions.

Fact File

Once the center of the Islamic Empire, Syria covers an area that has seen invasions and occupations over the ages, from Romans and Mongols to Crusaders and Turks. However, such battles and scrambles over territory have translated into a catalogue of staggering cities full of stunning monuments, from the entire city of Damascus to the country’s many mosques. The events have also failed to impair the character of the Syrian people who – surprisingly to some – exude friendliness and warmth and are justly proud of their land. It is a home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Alawite Shias and Druze, as well as the Arab Sunnis, who make up a majority of the Muslim population.

(Contributed by Affaf Jamal)

Travel Qatar

To license this image contact: Lonely Planet Images email: lpi@lonelyplanet.com.au phone: 61 3 8379 8181Explore the natural environment, take an exciting desert safari, relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy your favorite sport. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone.

Doha

Just like other cities in the Persian Gulf Region, Doha is an intriguing mixture of old and new. You’ll find fine modern architecture next to the traditional Arabic Soukhs (Bazaars) and more than 260 mosques, with the multiple-domed Grande Mosque being the largest. The traditional Dhow harbor is a favored attraction.

Historically, Doha was founded as Al Bida in 1850. The Al Wajbah fort is in the southwestern part of the city and was built by Al Rayyan in 1882. This fort witnessed the famous battle, in which the people of Qatar, led by Sheikh Qassim, beat the Ottomans in 1893. The Al Kout fort was built in 1917 by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al Thani and lies in the center of the city. In 1949, the city began exporting oil. The House of Government opened in 1969 and is considered to be one of the nation’s most prominent landmarks. In 1971, it became the capital of an independent Qatar.

Education City

Education City is a major educational and cultural development in Qatar, housing some of the world’s finest academic institutions on a 7-million square-meters site. It positions Doha as a key centre for the advancement of the people of Qatar and other Gulf states. Scheduled for completion in 2008, Education City is already flourishing and providing world-class educational facilities from kindergarten through junior and secondary levels, to internationally recognized graduate and post-graduate studies and research programs.

Education City will include world-class facilities for business, community development, science, information technology, Islamic studies, media and communications, sports, as well as a 350-bed teaching hospital.

Media

The launch of Al-Jazeera TV in 1997 raised the profile of Qatari television. The station is outspoken on issues traditionally deemed as sensitive in the Arab world. Al-Jazeera, already popular in the Arab world, became known worldwide after becoming the only channel allowed to operate from Afghanistan. It plans to launch an English-language network, Al Jazeera International. Qatar formally lifted censorship of the media in 1995, and since then the press has been essentially free from government interference.

Sightseeing

National Museum

The National Museum consists of ten buildings, which contain one of the Gulf’s largest collections of ecological, ethnographic, and archaeological material. Five rooms are dedicated to the display of traditional Bedouin lifestyle with examples of costumes, arts and crafts, utensils, and tools. The museum’s main collection explores the country’s physical geography, geology, and architectural finds.

The marine section contains an underground aquarium, which houses a wide variety of fish, coral, and shells. This section also tells the story of Qatar’s traditional boat-building methods, as well as pearl-diving and fishing industry, which were an important part of the country’s economy before the discovery of oil.

Cruises and Water Sports

Sailing is a wonderful pastime and several private companies offer dinghies and windsurfers for rent, as well as sailing lessons for both novice and experienced sailors. A sunset cruise on a traditional dhow in Doha Bay provides a stunning view of Doha at night, while luxury yachts can be rented for half- and full-day fishing trips. There are both jet-skiing and water-skiing rentals, as well as pedal boats, water cycle, and Kayak. And for the extremely adventurous: parasailing, surfing, or wind-surfing.

Golfing

For the enthusiastic golfer, a visit to the Doha Golf Club is an absolute must. This 18-hole, 7,181-yard, par 72 championship course was designed by Peter Harradine and has hosted major international golfing championships.

Desert Safari

A trip to the inland sea in the middle of the desert is a splendid way to spend the day. Experienced tour operators add to the adventure by expertly steering their four-wheel drive vehicles up and down 60-metre sand dunes. As you travel over the sand dunes, take in the view of the desert and listen closely to the sands shift, as you descend down the slopes.

Conclusively, Qatar has aggressive plans of progress and development in trade, tourism, education, and state of the art infrastructure. It is a highly recommended destination for holidays. When you plan your next vacation, check it out for yourself!

Travel Morocco

Vol 3- Issue 4 MoroccoMorocco is one of Africa’s most popular travel destinations. No matter how well-seasoned a traveler you are, you’ll find plenty to see and do. Fine Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches, desert excursions, wondrous imperial cities, Islamic landmarks, Roman antiquities, resort facilities, mountain villages, oases, and towering sand dunes are just some of the wonders you can expect to find in Morocco.

Casablanca

Tourists coming to Casablanca expect to find a romantic town, as depicted in the classic film of the same name. The biggest must-see of Casablanca is the new Hassan II Mosque. Place Mohammed V, also known as Place des Nations Unies, this square in the centre of Casablanca is one of the nicest examples of French colonial architecture.

Casablanca was founded by the Portuguese as Casa Branca. It was never a very important town, until the French came to Morocco in the beginning of the 20th century. They started to develop the axis Rabat (their capital) – Casablanca – at a high speed, which gave Casablanca its position as the economic powerhouse of Morocco.

Agadir

Built next to a site of the tragic earthquake of 1961 that killed 15,000, it exhibits a totally different city culture and architecture from the rest of the country. So it is no wonder that especially for tourists the streets have been made wide and straight, houses are low and hotels have been constructed between the city and the beach. For many visitors, it is a functional, open, and beautiful change from the more typical cities.

The fish market of Agadir has been turned into the surprise tourist attraction. Agadir is truly an important fish city, serving both African and European markets.

Marrakesh

We are bewitched by the spell of the place and its people, folk artists to their very souls, who have only one aim in view – to make a stay in their city as entrancing an experience as possible. With its world-famous square, Jamaâ El Fna, the beacon city of the Almoravids was founded in about 1070.

The first Almohad sovereign, Abdelmoumen, began the construction of the Koutoubia mosque. The Badi Palace has long been regarded as a wonder of the Muslim world.

Other marvels to be found in the Red City are the Dar Si Said museum, containing much quintessential Moroccan art and displaying a glittering array of gold and marble ornaments.

Novelties of Morocco

Camel trekking

You can discover the Waddi and the Desert on the back of a dromedary (the faster one- humped brother of the two humped camel), while spending the evenings camped out under the ‘hotel of 1000 stars.’ The sunrise is a mystical experience. You can rent a helicopter from Marrakesh or spend your days following the ancient trade routes on the back of a camel.

Carpet shopping

Buying a Moroccan carpet can be a pleasurable shopping experience. Offer the seller a little less than what you’re willing to pay as your opening counteroffer to his first price. Once you enter into negotiations, you can walk away at any time, but if you agree on a price, then you’ll have to buy (walking away after accepting a price is against the rules).

Jewellery

The art of making silver jewellery is a very ancient Moroccan tradition. The silver jewellery comes in many shapes and sizes, such as Berber Bedouin bracelets, earrings, anklets, and necklaces. Among the most popular are heavy solid silver bracelets with deeply-etched designs, which originate from the tradition of carpet making, where the extra weight of the bangle would help accelerate the hand holding the shuttle over the loom.

Leather

Leather ware has been a highly prized trade item since the 16th century. Thousands of different types of leather are available, found stretched out on the straw to dry in the sun. Leather is used to make handbags, travel bags, and satchels to mention but a few of the uses. These will be styled by the leather workers with gold-leafed designs and other colors to produce Arabic and geometric designs.

Metal framed lamps are traditionally covered with leather before being hand painted to produce an original lighting effect for your house.

Olive oil from Djemaa El Fna

Morocco has an ideal climate for the olive tree. Surrounding the walled city of Marrakesh, the olive trees give shade to the sun baked ground. Marrakesh and the Djemaa El Fna Place is where you should buy your olives. Olives are ready to be served with every meal, either as an appetizer or with your main course.

The Imlil orange stand

Oranges are one of the natural products in Morocco. Irrigation is always a problem in the arid environment to swell the fruit. As you drive through the production areas in the valleys surrounding Marrakesh, check out the length of the sprinklers.

Wood carving in Essaouria

Wood carving is a product that you will come across throughout Morocco. But on the Atlantic coast, the Moroccan town of Essaouria is the centre of craftsmen, shaping everything from tissue paper holders to elegant tables and desks. Here the craftsmanship is on another level – the beautiful mix of the sweet smelling dark brown oil, which is used to protect the carving, and the fine workmanship will give you a present that you must take back home.

Travel Indonesia

Vol 3- Issue 3 Travel IndonesiaIndonesia, a large group of islands in South East Asia, is a unique country. Islam is the dominant religion with the greatest number of adherents. The high number of Muslims makes Indonesia the most populous Muslim majority nation in the world. Indonesians are known to be very courteous people and often cited as gentle and god fearing. As the world experiences targeted militancy, Indonesia has not been spared. Nevertheless, it remains a favourite and economical tourist destination today for a myriad of reasons.

Places of Interest

Surabaya

A booming city of over three million, Surabaya offers many good hotels, shopping centers, and entertainment places. Its well-stocked zoological garden includes several species of Indonesian fauna such as orangutan, komodo dragon, and a collection of nocturnal animals. Mpu Tantular Museum offers archeological art and cultural items from prehistoric times until the country’s independence.

Trowulan – Pandaan – Tretes

The surroundings of the Trowulan village is believed to be the site of the ancient capital of Majapahit. Archeological excavations in the area have recovered many terracotta ornaments, statues, pottery, and stone carvings, which are displayed at the Trowulan Museum. Up to 10 km from Chandra Wilwatika is Tretes, one of the most beautiful mountain resorts of East Java.

Malang

90 km south of Surabaya is Malang, one of the most attractive towns in Java. A strong sense of civic pride is sensed from the well-maintained and painted becaks, the neat main-square, buildings, and streets. The cool climate is one reason why it is highly desirable among the East Javanese.

Purwodadi Botanical Garden

Founded in 1941 for the study of plants growing under relatively dry conditions, the Purwodadi gardens lie about 30 km northeast of the Malang, just off the Surabaya-Malang main road on the lowest slopes of Mt. Arjuno at an altitude of 300 metres .

Mount Bromo

One of the most exciting experiences is watching the sunrise from the crest of the Bromo volcano, a three-hour drive from Surabaya, followed by a pony ride from the village of Ngadisari over a sea of sand to the foot of a volcano.

Sadengan is a famous wild life reserve and feeding ground smaller in size than that of Baluran. It is in possession of 700 wild buffaloes and a variety of other wild life, all of which can be seen from the viewing tower.

Meru Betiri Reserve

After a rough 30 km ride, which crosses half a dozen rivers through dense jungle and rubber plantation, you finally arrive here on the southeastern tip of the province, where the last of the Javanese tigers had sought refuge. A hundred and fifty years ago, Javanese tiger inhabited most of Java and was even considered a nuisance in some populated areas. But through the 1800s and early 1900s it was hunted mercilessly and its habitat destroyed by plantation builders. The government and the World Wildlife Fund have mounted a determined effort to save the tiger and its environment.

Food

Rice is the basis of almost all Indonesian dishes and is usually served with fish, chicken, or vegetables. Two common dishes, Nasi Goreng and Mie Goring, can be found everywhere and are an easy introduction to the Indonesian diet. Every town has at least one market, providing the traveller with an incredible range of fruits, vegetables, and snacks. Warungs, or food stalls, offer the tastiest and cheapest food.  If you choose to eat from Warungs, check to see if locals are eating there. Indonesians drink hot coffee and tea, but bottled soft drinks are readily available. Most dishes are eaten using hands.

Clothing

On many formal national occasions, men in the early 1990s wore Batik shirts with no ties that were not tucked into their trousers. They wore black felt caps or Peci, once associated with Muslims or Malays. Women wore Sarongs on formal occasions, along with the Kebaya, a long-sleeved blouse. On these occasions, women often tied their hair into a bun.

In addition, they might have carried a Selendang, a long stretch of cloth draped over the shoulder, which on less formal occasions was used to carry babies or objects.

Masjid Istiqlal in Jakarta

Among the many Masajid this one is special. A 45 meter diameter central spherical dome covers the main prayer hall. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter. The mosque also provides facilities for social and cultural activities, including lectures, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, Bazaars, and programs for women, youth, and children.

Sports

Boat racing and kite flying are very popular on most of the islands. Stone jumping is a sport in Nias. Young men, who play this game, sometimes jump over a wall with a sword in their hand. A favourite sport is Sepak Takraw. Two teams try to keep a rattan ball in the air with their feet. Badminton and tennis are popular throughout Indonesia. Indonesians are long-standing winners of the Thomas Cup men’s division and the women’s championship for badminton. Soccer is another popular sport. The Indonesian government encourages ‘sport for all.’

Travel Nigeria

Vol 3-Issue 2 Travel NigeriaNigeria is an interesting unexplored paradise. A country with vibrant diverse cultures, exciting festivals, rich history, equatorial forests, clean un-spoilt beaches, exotic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, towering rocks, rolling hills, ancient caves and hospitable people.

Food

Although fast food is growing in popularity in Nigeria, most of the people prefer eating at home. Below are some of the most popular Nigerian dishes:

Obe Ata (pepper soup): this is a thick sauce made by boiling ground tomatoes, ground pepper, meat or fish, meat or fish broth (depending on whether you are using meat or fish), onions, vegetable oil or palm oil and other spices.

Obe Egusi (plain): made by grinding melon seeds and then cooking them with meat and spices. It usually ends up being yellowish-orange in colour.

Amala: dish made from yams. First, the yams are ground and dried to form a powder. This powder is then put into boiling water, and stirred / beaten, until it has a thick smooth form. The cooked product is dark brown in colour.

Shopping

Markets are the most interesting places to shop. Special purchases include Adire (patterned, indigo-dyed cloth), batiks and pottery from the Southwest, leatherwork and Kaduna cotton from the North, and carvings from the East. Designs vary greatly, many towns having their own distinctive style.

Other purchases include herbs, beadwork, basketry, etc.

Economy

Nigeria is well connected by a wide network of all-season roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation.

Nigeria’s economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and accommodates all comers: individuals, corporate organizations, and government agencies that invest in almost full range of economic activities. Since 1995, the government introduced some bold economic measures, which have had a salutary effect on the economy. This they did by: halting the declining growth in the productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; reducing the debt burden; stabilizing the exchange rate of the Naira; and correcting the balance of payments disequilibria.

Festivals

New Yam Festival

New Yam Festival is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by the Igbos. The individual Ibo communities each have a day for this August occasion. Invitation to the new yam festival is usually open to everyone. What this means is that there is abundant food not just for the harvesters but also for friends and well-wishers.

Arugungu Fishing Festival

This is a leading tourist attraction in the area. The festival originated in August 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu made a historic visit. Since then, it’s become a celebrated yearly event, held between February and March.

Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish is harvested, from giant Nile Perch to the peculiar Balloon Fish. Furthermore, there’s canoe racing, wild duck hunting, bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and, of course, swimming. The festival marks the end of the growing season and the harvest.

Tourist Attractions

Yankari National Park

This can be reached by road from Jos airport through Bauchi state route. There are species of large mammals, such as elephants, hippopotami, lions, and about 153 known species of birds, fish, reptiles, and monkeys. It is also rich in ethno-historical and archaeological attractions.

Kainji Lake National Park

It can be reached through Lokoja, from Lagos through Ibadan, Ilorin, and Jebba. The park is full of diverse wildlife. Available in the park are chalets, restaurants, conference halls, and a waterbus for lake cruising.

Gashaka Gumte National Park

This park is regarded as the most scenic of all the parks in the country. It is full of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, etc. It comprises two sectors, each rich in its own unique flora and fauna species. The park contains some historic sites, one of which is the old German Fort at the Gashaka hill.

Farin Ruwa Water Falls

The Farin Ruwa Falls is one of the most spectacular natural features in Nigeria. The force of its gushing water is so torrential that from afar it could be mistaken for white smoke, which earns it the name.

Silicon Hill

This very important mineral deposit is found near the Nkpologu campus of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). The hill, which is more than 300 metres above sea level and almost half a kilometre long, has silica an important raw material for the manufacture of glass.

The surrounding environment is very captivating with hills, valleys, and plains so beautifully wrapped up that one cannot ignore the breath taking views and awe inspiring blend.

The Mambilla Plateau

This is a plateau of about 1,830 metres above the sea level. It has temperate climate within the tropical region. It has an undulating landscape free of insects. One can find here temperate crops, such as the avogad’s pear, strawberries, and coffee. The popular Mambilla Tourist Centre is located at Gembu in the high land.

Wase Rock

Located in the outskirts of Wase town about 216 kilometres south-east of Jos. Available records indicate that this beautiful massive dome shaped rocky inselberg is one out of only five in the world. It is one of the very few breeding places for white pelican birds in Africa. The remarkable rock, which rises abruptly to 350 metres above the plain of Wase town is a centre of attraction for curious geographers, geologists, mountaineers, and bird watchers.

The wonders of Allah’s (swt) creations are visible aplenty in Nigeria. If one simply wishes to witness serene untouched beauty of nature and the wild life, Nigeria comes highly recommended as a promising destination.

Islam in Nigeria

Contributed by Affaf Jamal

The spread of Islam in Nigeria dates back to the eleventh century. Islam was for quite some time the religion of the court and commerce, and was spread peacefully by Muslim clerics and traders. Later, a Muslim revival took place in western Africa, in which Fulani cattle-driving people, who had adopted Islam, played a central role. The Fulani scholar Uthman dan Fodio launched a Jihad in 1804 that lasted for six years, aiming to revive and purify Islam. It united the Hausa states under Shariah law. In 1812, the Hausa dynasties became part of the Caliphate of Sokoto. The Sokoto Caliphate ended with partition in 1903 when the British incorporated it into the colony of Nigeria and the Sultan’s power was transferred to the High Commissioner. However, many aspects of the caliphate structure, including the Islamic legal system, were retained and brought forward into the colonial period. Presently, Muslims constitute 50% of the population, whereas Christianity and other indigenous beliefs constitute 40% and 10% respectively.

Travel Bangladesh

Vol 3-Issue 1 Travel BangladeshThe erstwhile Bengali Babu (sir) is always delighted to engage in philosophical discourse upon the most esoteric subjects. In spite of pressure from so many directions, the people of Bengal have retained a very nice sense of humor. This has probably been their only salvation. They seem to enjoy life in-spite of the chaos and troubles they face.

Dhaka

Dhaka was founded during the 10th century. It served as the Mogul capital of Bengal from 1608 to 1704 and was a trading center for British, French, and Dutch interests before coming under British rule in 1765. In 1905, it was again named the capital of Bengal, and in 1956, it became the capital of East Pakistan. The Romanized spelling of the Bengali name was changed from Dacca to Dhaka in 1982.

Dhaka is divided into the old city and the new city, and many residential and industrial communities. It is located in one of the world’s leading rice and jute growing regions. Its industries include textiles (jute, muslin, cotton) and food processing, especially rice milling. A variety of other consumer goods are also manufactured here. Boasting a happy blend of old and new architectural trends, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is throbbing with activities in all spheres of life.

Chittagong

Chittagong was described by the Chinese traveler poet Huen Tsang (7th century) as “a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water,” and given the title of “Porto Grande” by the 16th century Portuguese seafarers. Even today it remains true to both descriptions. Chittagong, the second largest city of Bangladesh and a busy international seaport, is an ideal vacation spot. Its green hills and forests, its broad sandy beaches, and its fine cool climate always attract holiday-makers. The city’s many industries, powered by a hydroelectric plant up the river, use the products of the area – jute, cotton, rice, tea, petroleum (from offshore installations), and bamboo.

Khulna

Khulna, one of the country’s industrial cities with its nearly 2 million people, stands on the Rupsa River. Some of the biggest jute mills in the country are located here. Khulna is connected to Dhaka by road, boat and air via Jessore. Accommodation and eating facilities are available.

Popular Products

Pink Pearl: Pink pearls are the best buy in Dhaka. These natural products are unparallel in luster. The rich and exuberant cultural heritage of Bangladesh is depicted vividly in its traditional jewellery.

Pearl jewellery is all hand-made by artisans, belonging to a traditional class of craftsmen, who have practiced this fine art for generations.

Gold & Silver: A wide range of gold and silver ornaments, silver filigree works, etc., are considered by many travelers to be unparalleled.

Ornaments in Bangladesh have been used from pre-historic times and for a variety of reasons. In addition to their aesthetic charm, jewellery has been the traditional form of savings, prized because it can be easily converted into money.

Brass & Copperware: Among the best buys here are brass and copperware trays, wall decorations, vases, etc., all hand-made with fine engravings and filigree work. Products made from hides and skins of animals and reptiles, intricate woodcarvings, cane and bamboo products, conch shell, bangles, embroidered quilts, Jamdani and silk fabrics can also be bought. These are available in the DIT market and a number of exclusive shops on New Elephant Road in Dhaka.

Museums
National Museum

In 1993, this museum was established and was called Dhaka Museum. In 1983, it was shifted to a new building and was renamed National Museum. It has 40 galleries and is a four storied building. It has four departments:

1.      Natural History,

2.      History and Classical Art,

3.      Ethnography and Decorative Art, and

4.      Contemporary Art and World Civilization.

Folk Art Museum

The Folk Art Museum was established in 1975 to fulfill the dream of celebrated painter Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin. There is a rich collection of different materials and forms of aesthetic and utilitarian values. All of this reflects the sentiments, impulses, temperament, moods, idiosyncrasies, and expertise of artists and artisans. It is a national museum depicting the art heritage of Bangladesh, exhibiting objects of exceptional design and skill.

Ethnological Museum

In the national progress, the Ethnological Museum stands as a milestone. There are ample facilities available for ethnological research. It is one of the best-specialized museums in South East Asia.
Archaeological Museums
Every place of archaeological importance houses a small archeological museum, i.e., at Lalbagh Fort, Mahasthangarh, Paharpur, and Mainamati.
Tribal Museum

 The only Tribal Cultural Museum in the Hill Tracts region was established at Rangamati town in 1978, and is run by the Tribal Cultural Institute. It preserves valuable objects and articles of different tribes depicting their socio economic, cultural and historical tradition. These include typical tribal attire; ornaments; arms and ammunitions; coins; statues made of wood, bronze and other metals; ivory products; handicrafts; paintings on tribal life etc.

Food

Bangladeshi cooking is a culinary art form. A taste tantalizing blend of wonderful and fragrant spices that will keep you coming back for more. Many non-Bangladeshis have probably eaten Bangladeshi food without knowing. For example, over 80 percent of the “Indian” restaurants in the U.K. serve Bangladeshi food. If you loved it, it was probably Bangladeshi. Bengali cooking is also known for it’s wide array of sweets made from milk: Rasho-gollah, Kalo-jam, Shandesh, Mishti doi, Shemai, Chamcham … the names go on and on.

Relations with Pakistan

In February 2006, Bangladesh Premier Khaleda Zia visited Pakistan. Four MoUs (memoranda of understanding) were signed and discussion was held to finalise the FTA (free trade agreement) aimed at enhancing bilateral trade. The MoUs pertained to agricultural research, tourism, import, export, setting up of a standardized and quality control authority in Pakistan and a standard testing institution in Bangladesh.

Pakistan wants to benefit from Bangladesh’s experiences in macro-finance, social sector and population welfare whereas it can extend support to Bangladesh in IT and some other sectors.

Fact file

Contributed by Affaf Jamal

Nearly 83 percent of the population of Bangladesh claimed Islam as its religion in the 1980s, giving the country one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in the world. Muslims constitute 88 percent of the population of Bangladesh, most of them are Sunnis, but there is a small Shi’a community. The remainder of the population follow Hinduism (11%), Buddhism and Christianity. There are also small populations of Sikhs, Bahá’ís, animists and Ahmadis.

Religion has always been a strong part of identity. A survey in late 2003 confirmed that religion is the first choice by a citizen for self-identification; atheism is extremely rare. In spite of the general personal commitment to Islam by the Muslims of Bangladesh, observance of Islamic rituals and tenets varies according to social position, locale, and personal considerations.

Islam has made the peace loving people a brave and philanthropic community. Before Islam, the people of this region were chained in the caste system of Hinduism. The longing for a peaceful life with social justice has been the driving force of Bangladesh`s journey towards a true welfare society.

Oman: The Essence of Arabia

Vol 2 -Issue 4 OmanOman’s capital city Muscat is recognized as one of the cleanest cities in the world. Another city in Oman, called Salalah, is popular for its cold and rainy weather during the summer and for its luscious greenery. During that period, people might even forget that they are in a Middle Eastern country and confuse it for Europe. But our fascination does not end there.

Located in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman enjoys a variety of landscapes. Mountains, deserts, and beaches are a few examples of this great diversity. While Oman strives for modernity and development, traditions and culture remain an important part of its identity.  Because of this, Oman is frequently called “The Essence of Arabia.” The country is certainly full of surprises, and together we will discover some of its hidden treasures. So, welcome to Oman!

Restaurants

The restaurants in Oman are many, ranging from European cuisines to Arabian and Asian. Let us then whet our appetite with some examples.

Bin Ateeq 

What is unique about this restaurant is that you can dine in a room of your own with a TV in it.  Its specialty is Omani food, and favorites include Biryani, Kabsa, Thareed and Arsiya.

Mumtaz Mahal

This is an Indian restaurant with magnificent views that look out over the city of Muscat. A variety of Indian food is served and particularly that of the Moghul Empire.

Tuscany

In a friendly atmosphere, this restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine and provides both the traditional and popular Italian food, varying from heavy dishes to the lighter ones.

China Mood

Whoever is in the mood for Chinese food should visit this restaurant. Many of the ingredients also come directly from China to ensure high quality.

Tours and Activities

Oman offers its visitors a variety of tours and activities. Many people enjoy boat rides, dolphin watching, rock climbing, hiking, horse-back riding, diving and snorkeling, sand skiing, and even camping out.

Parks

All the parks in Oman are free to enter. You will notice a number of families enjoying a picnic, as their children play in the playground. The largest park is the Qurum Natural Park, which can be seen from distance with its dazzling ‘waterfall hill’.

Forts and Castles

There are over 500 forts, castles, and towers in Oman, which are regarded as the most remarkable cultural attractions. Historically, they have been used to guard and defend the people. Their architectural styles differ depending on their architects and the periods they were built in. Some of the forts are Al-Jalali fort, Al-Mirani fort, Rustaq fort, Nizwa fort, Jibreen fort, and Bahla fort.

Bahla fort is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Some of the castles are Al-Hazm castle, Mirbat castle, and Al-Khandaq castle. These historical places must surely have many stories to tell.

Museums

Bait al Zubair

Even though this is Oman’s newest museum, it has quickly gained repute. The museum has a vast collection of ancient Omani weaponry, jewellery, costumes, and household equipment. Visitors will also enjoy a traditional Omani village and Souq.

The National Museum

It exhibits collections of ancient Omani art, including Omani silverwork, jewellery, costume, and pottery. It also outlines the Al-Said dynasty with pictures of the five Al-Said Sultans.

The Natural History Museum

Here you will find an interesting display of Oman’s wildlife and marine life. For example, showcased are the country’s indigenous species. There is also a botanical garden, which is especially great to visit during the cooler days.

The Omani Museum

Founded in 1974, it exhibits the history of Oman through pictures, jewellery, costumes, and pottery. Included is also a wealth of archaeological information along with data about Oman’s minerals, agricultural methods, and unique architecture.

The Children’s Museum

Children also like to have their share of fun. In this blue and white domed museum, they are introduced to the world of science in an interactive and exciting way.

The Grand Mosque

The building of this mosque lasted for six years from 1995 to 2001. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and consists of the main prayer hall, the ladies prayer hall, a meeting hall, and a library. The mosque is also surrounded by many trees and has a picturesque garden. Besides the artistic interior designing, one of the major features of the mosque is the hand-made Persian carpet in the main prayer hall. It took four years to complete the carpet with 600 female weavers working on it. In addition, the mosque has an Islamic Studies institute and holds many Islamic events.

Salalah Khareef Festival

Khareef is the Arabic word for autumn. Each summer, the city of Salalah holds a Khareef festival (usually during July and August). This is a must-see attraction, and it has become greatly popular among the Gulf nationals, expatriates, and foreign tourists. Visitors are dazzled with its autumn-like climate during the summer along with its breathtaking natural scenes of soaring mountains, plentiful greenery, and spectacular flowers.

Shopping

Modern shops and traditional shops (or Souqs) are within easy reach. Most of the malls are located in the capital, Muscat. However, many of the visitors are interested in the Souqs, where they will find Omani traditional goods, ranging from clothing to frankincense. A well-known Souq is Souq Matrah, which attracts many tourists. Make sure you learn the skill of bargaining before heading to the Souq. It will certainly save you some money!

Discovering Oman

Many tourists keep coming back to visit Oman and to discover more of its treasures. What inspires them is the country’s safety and tranquility along with its balance between modernity and traditions. Yet, most importantly, many people keep coming back because of the great hospitality and the friendly Omanis.

Travel Egypt

Vol 2 -Issue 3 EgyptMany people associate ancient Egypt with slaves building the great pyramids, although today we believe that the pyramids probably were not built primarily by slave labor. Egypt is described as ‘the gift of the Nile,’ to which travelers are drawn by the pyramids, sphinx, ancient Luxor, and the Nile River. The Pharaohs, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Turks, and the British have all ruled Egypt. Modern Egypt is a blend of these legacies.

Food

To eat ‘real,’ you have to eat ‘street.’ Egypt is a culinary adventure. ‘Eating street,’ as we define it, does not confine itself to stand-up meals from cart vendors – it is more of an everyday cuisine of an everyday person. These everyday Egyptians eat well.

Elegant restaurants offer delicious oriental selections, such as Kofta (ground meatballs), Kebab (grilled meat), Mulukhia (green soup), Tahina (Tahini) salad, Hamam Mahshi (stuffed pigeon), Baba Ghannoug (Tahini and eggplant) and mixed green salad, stuffed grape leaves, Foul and Falafel (cooked and fried beans).

Shopping

Egypt can rightfully be termed as shopper’s paradise with its exquisite carpets, typical Egyptian historical reproductions and artifacts, papyrus wall hangings, dates and dry fruits, spices and prayer beads, colourful fabrics and clothes, as well as fabulous jewellery.
Although the cities have their own Bazars, the most famous among them is the Khan-el-Khalili in Cairo. The place has a long tradition of connoisseurship in collectibles and there is always the possibility of finding a real gem. Bargaining is the best way to get your way through the market.

At the more sophisticated shopping malls, you can shop in the comfort of an air conditioner and pick up wall hangings and the famous Egyptian rugs and carpets.

Cairo

Cairo is a city that often mixes the many cultures of the world with the many ages of the world.

The Great Sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a woman’s head that devoured by-passers unable to answer her riddle. Three times a night in three different languages, the Sphinx plays the role of storyteller, narrating the history of the ancient Egypt.

The most famous site in Egypt is the Giza Plateau, which has the largest pyramids. Many believe it was the ancient burial chamber of the pharaoh and his queen, while others suggest it had astronomical functions.

The National Geographic Society Museum is located in the El Shura Council. The museum has different chambers labeled as Cairo Hall, Africa Hall, Suez Canal Hall, Egyptian Ethnography, and a General Hall about Egypt.

The Wadi Digla is made up of limestone rocks, which indicate that this area was once covered by the ocean. A very good place for camping, scouts trips, and bikers, who need rugged roads to ride along.

Alexandria

Alexandria, the second largest city and the main port of Egypt, was built by a Greek architect Dinocrates (332-331 BC) on the site of an old village, Rhakotis, following the orders of Alexander the Great. It was the site of the Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as the Great Library.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria (also called Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sunrays during the day.

The Great Library, established by Ptolemy I (305-285 BC), was the most important centre of learning in the ancient times. The beautiful new building, with its distinctive granite wall covered by the letters of alphabets from around the world, today is a recognizable landmark of the new Alexandria.

The fort was built in the 1480’s by the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan Qaitbay on the spot of Alexandria’s ancient Lighthouse. It was said that Qaitbay spent more than a hundred thousand Dinars on the work of this citadel.

Luxor

Built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor is one of Egypt’s prime tourist destinations. In a town, where tourism accounts for 85 percent of the economy, it is hardly surprising that you cannot move without being importuned to step inside a shop, rent a caleche, or have your shoes shined. Hassled and overcharged at every turn, some tourists react with fury and come to detest Luxor. Keep your cool and sense of humour – it is possible to find genuine warmth here. Once you get to know a few characters and begin to understand the score, Luxor becomes a funky soap opera with a cast of thousands.

Nile River Cruise

Tips for choosing a Nile River Cruise:

  1. Make sure you know exactly, where the cruise will stop, the time you should plan spending in the cruise, and what you will see in that area.
  2. Find out, what the accommodations on the boat will be like – what are the amenities, the size of your cabin, and what star level of hotel does it compare to?
  3. Will your guide travel with you? Will you have a private guide or be part of a group?
  4. Are there discounts for bringing multiple travelers? Or a supplement for a single traveler? If you are traveling alone, will you have a private cabin?

Masajid in Egypt

While most of the tourist Masjids are to be found in Islamic Cairo, the oldest of them all, the Amr Ibn El-As Mosque, is located in Coptic (Christian, or Old Cairo). Al-Azhar Mosque, one of the most influential Masjids in Islam, is the location of the World’s oldest University. Some Masjids in Egypt, particularly in Cairo, are actually complexes that include a number of other structures, which may or may not be attached to the Masjid.

You can walk into the desert by yourself, climb an unnamed hill, and watch the sun lazily dropping into the horizon reflecting on Allah’s (swt) beauty in creation. There is much to be relished in this historic country that shaped some of the very pivotal years of Islam.

Fact File

Contributed by Affaf Jamal

Egypt for the Muslims, Jews and Christians holds a significant mark in history as a land where Prophets came and rose.

Prophet Yacoob (as) had twelve sons, his favorite being Yusuf (as). Yusuf (as) was sold as a slave in Egypt. When famine came to the land, Yusuf (as), who became the Pharaoh’s minister, invited his family, to come to Egypt. Their family grew and became a large tribe known as the Banu Israel. Ramses II became king four hundred years later. He made the Banu Israel his slaves. It was from this very tribe that another great Prophet arose, Moosa (as) who would defeat the great Pharaoh and add to the treasure of Egyptian history.

Travel Uzbekistan

uzbekistanImagine a city as old as Paris with just as attractive sites. Imagine a place where the locals are gracious, hospitable and kind. It gets even better. It’s a place where a dollar gets you a taxi ride to anywhere in town. Plus shopping is cheap, and food is delicious. Give up? Uzbekistan. It’s located in vast Central Asia, with some of the world’s finest Islamic architecture and exotic bazars, and has the virtue of being a traveller’s dream.

Food:

This is the most popular topic among people so I figured I would attend to it first. The Uzbeks eat on a square shaped wooden or metal piece of furniture called topjon. Bread called non is served and eaten with every meal. Generally, the Uzbeks prefer mutton to other kinds of meat. But Kazi-a special sausage made of horsemeat, fat, and special spices-made according to well-preserved ancient recipes is a delicacy served during special occasions. Fruits and vegetables grow in abundance in Uzabekistan, so naturally they are widely used in cooking all year round.

Once there, try the meat and vegetable soup called Shorpa, or the Uzbek noodle soup called Laghmon. The most traditional Uzbek main dish is the Plov that is suitable for daily meals as well as celebrations. There are variations of this dish, but usually it is made with chunks of mutton, shredded yellow and orange carrot for colour and taste, and rice all of which are cooked in a cast iron pot. The meat is usually eaten with the fingers.

Dumplings are also very popular. Manty are steamed dumplings stuffed with chopped onions and lamb or mutton. Chuchvara is another dumpling stuffed with minced meat, onion and spices served with sour cream or yogurt. You might also like Samsa-pastry stuffed with meat, onion, and a variety of vegetables-fresh from a clay oven. Or how about skewered chunks of mutton barbecued over charcoal known as Shashlyk over a bed of raw sliced onions.

Tea is consumed with every meal. And Chai-khanas (teahouses) full of old men chatting the afternoon away over a pot of tea are everywhere in Uzbekistan. Usually tea is served with samsa, bread, halva, and a variety of fried foods. Samarkand and Tashkent have a variety of places to eat, ranging from small local establishments around bazars, to fancy international joint venture restaurants. Take your pick.

Mosques

If you are in Bukhara seize the opportunity to visit its mosques. Kalyan Mosque with its intricately decorated portals is located in the heart of the city. It is the largest mosque in Central Asia, able to accommodate around 10,000 worshippers. It is towered over by the Kalyan Minaret with its bands of decorative brickwork that was said to have impressed Genghis Khan. Magoki-Attori Mosque constructed in the ninth or tenth century is the most ancient architectural masterpiece in Bukhara It was rebuilt in the twelfth century, but only the southern façade and portals remain to this day. An earthquake in 1860 caused the double dome to fall and the mosque destroyed, but it was rebuilt in the twentieth century. It remains one of the most sacred places in Bukhara because its architecture summons up spiritual longing for the Afterlife. Balyand Mosque is for those of you who prefer a small district mosque. It is located in a quiet residential neighborhood southwest of the old city.

If you are in Tashkent you can visit the Teleshayakh Mosque-an interesting ensemble erected in a place called Khast Imam. The ensemble comprises the Barak-Khana Madrassa of the sixteenth century, the Teleshayakh Mosque, a rich religious library, the 16th century Kaffal-Shashi mausoleum built on the grave of Abubekr Mukhmmad Kaffal-Shashi, and the Imam Al-Bukhari Institute.

The minarets of the Juma Mosque dominate the city of Khiva’s skyline, appearing like lighthouses from afar. The mosque has 218 amazingly ornate carved wooden columns.

Cities for Sight Seeing

Bukhara

The city of Bukhara, once a renowned Islamic center of learning, is now an inhabited museum with 140 impressive architectural monuments dating back to the Middle Ages. Today, 2,300 years later, ensembles like the Poi-Kalon, Kos Madras, Ismail Samani Mausoleum and the Kalian Minaret are still favorite tourist attractions. .

Or you may take a break from sightseeing by hanging out at the Laub-i-Hauz. It has a teahouse where you can get refreshments or a hearty meal. Or if you are a shopper, you may want to visit the three remaining dome-covered bazars called toks.

Samarkand

Poets and historians of the past called it the “Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries. The pearl of the Eastern Moslem World.” Its memorial and research complex has become a holy site because of the theologian Imam Ismail Al-Bukhari who has been revered among Muslims for many years.

On the southeast slope of Afrosiab is the burial vault Shahi Zinda, the famous ancient architectural ensemble of Samarkand. The keepers of Shahi Zinda are sure to tell you of the ancient legend of Kussam ibn-Abbas who once lived there. After finishing a sermon one day he removed his own head, tucked it under his armpits and hid in a narrow opening of a cave where he is still thought to live today, hence giving it its name “A Living King.”

Tashkent

Tashkent has always been an important international transport junction. Unfortunately, the destruction caused by the revolution of 1917 and the massive earthquake of 1966 has left us with only a few architectural monuments.

For museum lovers, Tashkent houses many museums of Uzbek and pre-Uzbek culture such as The State Art Museum that houses a collection of paintings, ceramics and Bukharian royal robes; and The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts with its exhibits of embroidered wall hangings and antique jewelry.

Khiva

Fairy-tale like city Khiva has managed to retain its exotic and oriental image. The old part of the city called Ichon-Qala is where all the architectural monuments are located.

No doubt there is a lot to see and do in Uzbekistan so I do not want to give away all the surprises in store for you there. So, I’ll just leave the rest for you to experience. Happy and safe travelling Insha’Allah.

Turkey: Cradle of Civilization

Vol 1-Issue 2  TurkeyTurkey is a unique republic located on the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The friendly, courteous Turkish people have been hosting visitors in one form or another for centuries. Driving is surprisingly safe, scenery ranges from dull to mind-boggling, beaches are fair, prices are low and shopping is excellent, especially leather ware in Istanbul.

“Go for the history, but stay for the food,” is often said of Turkey

Asitane Restaurant
The stylish eating-place at the garden level offers gourmet specialties dating back to the Ottoman age along with contemporary dishes.

Bosphorus Hotel Restaurant
It is converted into a fine restaurant, which was formerly a boathouse of a historical resident. The restaurant’s site is directly on the Bosphorus river.

Buzz Bar Restaurant
The breakfast, snacks, dessert and meals through the day are served in a shady vineyard garden. A selection of mezes is accompanied by a glass of Raki or “lion’s milk”.

Breads, pastries and pancakes

Among the simple pleasures in Turkish food are the Simit, a ring-shaped bread covered by sesame seeds. Gözleme, a kind of pancake, is often the basis for light dinners. Tea (çay) is the national drink. Turkish coffee, the Kahve is served in a small cup, optionally with a glass of cold water.

Variety of eateries

The Kebab is grilled meat. Then we have the Sis kebap and the Döner kebap (stacks of meat that are kept in a vertical stick, rotating to keep warm and roasting, are surface-cut to tiny flakes that fall into a piece of bread). Several types of cheese are eaten but the soft, slightly salty and whitish Tulum tops all. The Bklava, is a small rectangular pastry made of dozens of layers with either pistachio or walnut, imbibed in sugar syrup.

Historical Places

Blue Mosque

This mosque was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet in the early 1600s. Even today it is the centre of religious demonstrations. As this mosque has numerous blue Iznik tiles in the interiors, which illuminate from the light of the two hundred and sixty windows, it was given the nickname of blue mosque. This is the only mosque in the world, which has six minarets.

Topkapi Palace

Fatih Sultan Mehmet built this palace in the fifteenth century, and it served as an Ottoman residence from the 1500’s to the 1800’s. It is located at the junction of the Bosphorus,

Marmara Sea, and the Golden Horn. There are several gardens, courtyards and beautiful trees. Inside, you will find a display of oriental porcelain, crystal and silver, jewels and clothing worn during the Ottoman reign.

Beylerbeyi Palace

In recent years, it has been used as a guesthouse for visiting foreign dignitaries. The palace has a pool and fountain leading up to a magnificent staircase. Kiosks and pavilions are the decorations on the grounds. One of the highlights is the terraced garden of magnolias at the base of the Bosphorus Bridge.

Dolmabahce Palace

It is located on the European shore of the Bosphorus and was built as a showplace by the Ottomans. One gets to see exquisite crystal items here, even a piano! This three-story building has two hundred and eighty five rooms, four large salons, six galleries and six bathrooms.

Rumeli Fortress

The purpose of the fortress was to block ships from going in and out of Istanbul.

Yerebatan Palace Inside the huge building, there is a few feet of water but wooden walkways have been built for visitors. The interior of the building has special dim lighting to create an eerie atmosphere.

Eyüp Sultan Mosque

Built by Mehmet the Conqueror, this is one of the most sacred places in the Islamic world. This mosque covers the tomb of Halid bin Zeyd Ebu Eyyûb (known as Eyüp Sultan) who was the standard bearer for the Prophet Mohammad (saw).

Yildiz Palace and Park

The Sultan’s carpentry workshop, Marangozhane, is now a museum where you can see some of his woodwork projects. The park is a popular spot for the locals who want to enjoy the gardens and get away from the bustle of the city.

Museums

Kariye Museum

The original church was named Church of St Saviour in Chora, which means the church in the countryside. Built in the 11th century, it was converted to a mosque in 1453. It is used as a museum now, containing the finest display of Byzantine mosaics in the city.

                                           

Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

It contains over forty thousand items and some date back to the 17th century. Included in the collection are textiles, metalwork, calligraphy and woodwork. The feature of this museum is the carpet display that has some exhibits dating back to the 13th century.

Archaeological Museums

The museums were opened in 1891 in Turkey. Osman Hamdi Bey, a 19th century painter and archaeologist fought the government in order to stop the smuggling of antiques out of the country. There are over one million items in this large collection of artifacts from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Furthermore, there is a diversity of things to do ranging from water sports to mountain trekking, archaeology to river rafting. Whether you leave Turkey with magnificent gifts or an appreciation of its history, you are likely to want to go back for more.

Shopping

Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar consists of 4,000 shops on a series of covered streets leading to a central avenue. The oldest sections are the Sandal Bedesten (cloth auction) and Cevahir Bedesten (jewellery market). The streets are named according to the trades, such as gold and silver sellers, carpet sellers, slipper sellers, boot sellers, booksellers, purse makers, etc.

Altamira Antiques
Altamira is a bit of an Aladdin’s cave of a place; furniture, bric-a-brac, ornaments, clocks, it is all here. Fascinating bits and pieces are crammed into the little 2-storey shop.