Detail of the Sultanahmet Mosque, or Blue Mosque, in Istanbul.
A seed and spice seller sits behind his shop door in Ankara, Turkey.
All state holidays in Turkey are marked by elementary school programs featuring various groups of children singing, reading poems, or performing dances (both modern and traditional). This first-grade class (including my son, who is not technically Turkish) delivered a spirited rendition of several folk songs and anthems in praise of Ataturk.
A wooded coast reflected in the water of a fjord in southern Norway.
A Muslim man performs the namaz prayers on a rooftop in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Many people in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir are religious, especially the older generation. Part of being religious usually means faithfully performing the daily prayers at the sound of the ezan from the mosque minarets. Although performing the namaz at the precise time of the call to prayer is not required, doing it five times a day is. When a Turkish person wants to say someone is religious, he might often just use the expression, “he does the namaz five times.” The elderly gentleman in this picture seems to fall into that category.
A car parked on a sloping cobblestone street in front of a mosque in Ankara’s old district.
A visitor looks through a sunlit window into a cave full of centuries-old Jewish ossuaries, or bone boxes, on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Ossuaries have been used for the internment of skeletal remains by many different cultures throughout history, but they were especially popular among Jews of the Second Temple Period (40 B.C. – 135 A.D.). These date to that time.
The deserted, rock-cut village now called Açıksaray (Open Palace) is a fascinating place to explore, in my opinion one of the more interesting and relaxing in Cappadocia, and made more so by the small number of visitors. When we were there in October, we found probably about eight people besides ourselves in the entire site. The village, just outside the Turkish town of Gülşehir, dates to the 10th or 11th century and covers about a square kilometer, containing chapels, kitchens, mushroom-shaped rock formations, and dwellings, probably for monks. This is the facade of the largest complex.
Saklıkent Gorge is near Kaş in southwestern Turkey. The canyon extends between cliffs like this for close to two miles, covered with running water up to your knees or deeper the entire way. It’s possible to hike through the water, crossing from bank to bank to get a brief respite standing on the rocks. The boy in the picture is my five year old son Moses (Musa to the Turks), who was a real trooper and made it the whole way in and back under his own power.
This picture was taken from within the Dominus Flevit chapel on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, commemorating the site where Jesus is said to have wept over Jerusalem, and gives a pretty good ecumenical overview of the city that is central to the three great monotheistic world religions. The cross silhouette visible in the window latticework in the foreground gives way to Jewish graveyards at the base of the east wall of the temple mount, where Jewish belief expects the Messiah to one day enter the city. Behind these rise the shining domes of the temple mount’s current occupant: the architectural marvel of Islam’s Dome of the Rock.