Central Turkey

Central Turkey


Hi, I’m Rick Steves,
back with more travels. This time, we’re venturing
east of Europe and, with the help
of a lot of hot air, we’re experiencing
the breathtaking best of Central Turkey. Thanks for joining us. A great way to pump up your
European vacation thrills is to travel east to Turkey. For 20 years, I’ve been taking
tour groups here because I think it’s important
for Americans to get to know a moderate and secular Islamic
society, and because it’s fun. In this episode, we’ll marvel
at the dramatic landscape from high above… and from deep below. We’ll drop in on
a circumcision party and explore
troglodyte ghost towns. Shop for sheep
at the market and chat with an imam. We’ll check in with today’s
urban scene in the capital city and finish by paying
our respects to the father of
modern Turkey, Ataturk. In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, the size of Texas, links Europe with
the Middle East and Asia. We’ll explore the region
of Cappadocia and side trip
to Guzelyurt before traveling
to the capital, Ankara. Turkey has 75 million people. While the vast majority
are practicing Muslims, its citizens have a constitution that requires the separation
of mosque and state. In this episode, we’ll
experience both the modern and the traditional
here in Central Turkey. We start in Cappadocia. While a fascinating
parade of cultures has shaped the history
of this ancient land, it’s the striking geology that
first grabs your attention. Cappadocia is famous for
its exotic-looking terrain, especially these
rock formations called fairy chimneys. Centuries of volcanic
eruptions left huge boulders atop layers of hardened
volcanic ash. As the softer
rock eroded, the harder rocks were left
precariously balanced atop the pinnacles that have become the icons
of Cappadocia. A wonderful way to appreciate
this bizarre landscape is from above. That’s why, for me, the most exciting balloon ride
anywhere in or near Europe is here in Cappadocia. You get up before sunrise and gather on a
desolate field that’s become
a hive of activity. Nearly every morning,
the scene’s the same, as noisy burners
are fired up and balloons filled. Climbing into the basket,
you meet your captain. – Good morning, everybody!
– Morning. – Hi, Mustafa.
– My name is Mustafa. Your pilot was sick,
so I will fly you today. This will be my first day
in aviation. – I’m really excited.
– [Laughter] With the sound of
a fire-breathing dragon, you skim the grass
and slowly lift off. While scary for some,
the feeling I get is one of graceful stability,
with majestic views. Soon, scores of
tourist-filled balloons share the sky in
silent wonder. The terrain below
is a forest of pinnacles, honeycombed with
ancient dwellings, which we’ll visit later. Pilots skillfully
maximize the drama of this
unforgettable landscape. Back on the ground, the
terrain invites exploration. People have carved
communities into these formations
for thousands of years. While many of these evocative
caves are abandoned, many cave settlements have
grown into thriving towns, whose main industry
is clearly tourism. For extra guidance,
we’re joined by my friend and fellow tour guide,
Lale Surmen Aran. For years, Lale’s led our bus
tour groups around Turkey, and for this itinerary,
she’s joining us. ARAN: While mainly Muslim today,
Anatolia was Christian for five centuries before
Islam even arrived. Early Christians had
to take shelter. They had to had to hide from
the ancient Roman persecutions. They had to hide from
the 7th century Arab invasions. And the landscape around here
provided the perfect hideout. STEVES: It really does. And to actually see
what Lale’s talking about, we’re descending
into Kaymakli, a completely underground city
dug out of the rock. Much of Kaymakli was originally dug
in Hittite times, over 1,000 years
before Christ. Later, this underground world
provided an almost ready-made refuge. Through the centuries, when invading armies
passed through the area, entire communities lived down
here for months at a stretch. In ancient times,
Christians were persecuted and actually did go,
literally, underground. This is a remarkable example
of their determination to live free
and true to their faith. Imagine, 300 AD, hiding out
down here with your family. In fact, hiding out down here
with your entire community. And people up there
hunting you down. Tourists are
free to explore the networks of streets
and plazas. You’ll find kitchens… cramped living spaces… massive, roll-away-the-stone
doors… and ingenious
ventilation shafts to bring fresh
air to the many underground levels. They could have made
these tunnels bigger, but that was part of the plan. It certainly made
any invader vulnerable. And to conserve oxygen, candlelight was kept
to a minimum. It must have been
a long, dark wait. But for us, it’s back to
fresh air and sunshine. We’re on our way again. As time went on,
sprawling communities still digging
caves for homes inhabited entire valleys
like Zelve. Around the 10th century, Zelve was one of scores
of similar cave communities here in Cappadocia. Cleverly,
they wrung a livelihood out of this parched land. Caves served
as ancient condominiums, with holes dug out
as cooking pits. In addition to
living spaces, they were also equipped
with natural pantries, cubbyholes carved out for
storage of food and wine. Big, animal-powered stone
wheels ground grain. People ingeniously used
whatever nature offered them. Pigeon droppings
were collected, providing valuable fertilizer
to assure a good harvest in the valley below. Imagine this place
centuries ago. It was a thriving community,
thousands of people, families everywhere, old people, little kids running up
and down these stairs, borrowing salt
from the neighbors. And people lived here
till the 1950s. Nearby, in the
town of Urgup, it’s market day, another chance
to appreciate the culture. [Speaking Turkish] Wherever you travel, exploring
a vibrant scene like this gives a fine insight into
how the people live, what they grow… ARAN: Take it, Rick.
It’s natural honey. STEVES: And just eat
this whole thing? …what they eat… Who needs baklava, huh?
This is nice. It tastes like honey. …and how they interact. STEVES: Nice,
beautiful spices, huh? ARAN: Yes, local spices. They sell them both
powdered and rough. And you can grind it at home
whenever you need it. On the fringe of
the marketplace, you can even
buy livestock. -How old is this little goat?
-One and a half months old. [Bleats] [Speaks Turkish] ARAN: He can give you
a good deal for the goat. STEVES: Yeah, how much? -The twin and the mother.
-I just want the one baby. I think this little guy
likes me. [Bleats] And where there’s wool,
there’s yarn. The tradition of
carpet weaving is integral
to the local culture. And across Turkey, families
still make yarn from raw wool and then weave carpets
in the traditional and painstaking way. While they’re ultimately sold
in larger stores, many carpets continue
to be made like this, in people’s homes, to supplement
the family income. Throughout Turkey,
big carpet shops hungrily welcome both tour
groups and individuals. Salesmen are on you
like white on rice. There’s a lot to learn, but these guys are salesmen
first, teachers second. Listen, learn,
but don’t be a pushover. MAN: This is
a personal decision. Places like this really
know how to sell carpets. Before we go in,
here’s a shopper’s tip. Prices often build in
a 20% commission for the guide or the person
who brought you. And remember,
even in a fancy place like this, bargaining’s expected. Now relax and enjoy the show. MAN: Whenever you want,
you can stand up, you can touch them,
you can walk on them, you can feel them,
you can buy them. [Laughs] It’s fun to find out
as much as you can about where
the carpet was made, whether there’s any special
meaning to the designs, and the traditional
techniques. MAN: Could you just imagine all those little designs, all those little details
made by hand. And this carpet takes 24 months. I mean, two years of time
by two person. You pay top dollar
in a place like this, but there’s a good selection,
you’re assured of high quality, and they make payment
and shipping almost too easy. MAN: And, also,
we will provide you a beautiful Turkish
Samsonite bag. To venture beyond the touristic
side of Cappadocia, we’re driving south into the ancient
and varied countryside. Rest stops and rustic villages
can lead to pleasant surprises you’d never find in
the bigger tourist stops. Traditional life survives
most vividly in the small,
rural towns. And with a spirit of adventure,
the curious traveler is likely to stumble onto
lots of cultural action. This elaborate
family festival is celebrating
an important event in this child’s life,
his circumcision. For Turkish boys, a
circumcision is a cultural and time-honored
rite of passage. All the family
and friends gather as the proud boy dresses up
like a sultan prince. As the festival unfolds,
the party kicks into gear. When the time comes, the boy receives blessings
from his elders. And then loved ones gather
to cheer him on. Inside his home,
his proud parents lovingly support their child
as he meets the doctor. Meanwhile, the music
and dancing in the backyard continues for hours. Traditionally, Turks love
a good circumcision party. Some call it “a wedding
without the in-laws.” We’re heading
further south to the remote
and un-touristy town of Guzelyurt. The ancient
town seems one with the rock out of which
it was carved. 16 centuries ago, monks built
monasteries into the cliffside. Erosion has driven most
of the residents here to more stable dwellings, but some remain,
and exploring the town, you appreciate the tenacity
of its people. Though seemingly
abandoned, there’s still life
in the old town. Residents somehow
eke out a living from its crumbling
terraces and neglected gardens. People do their
humble chores, as if stubbornly refusing to give up on their town. This is the kind of discovery I love to feature
in my guidebooks. It’s a perfect back door.
Almost no tourism, lots of history,
and plenty of character. Today, like Turkey in general,
Guzelyurt is Muslim. But for centuries,
Christians worshiped here, and the city has
an interesting connection with Turkey’s neighbor
to the west, Greece. Until the early 20th century, Greece and Turkey were both
part of the Ottoman Empire. There were Muslim communities
in Greece and Greek Orthodox communities
here in Turkey. Like many Turkish towns,
Guzelyurt was once a Greek town. Then, in the 1920s, they had
a huge population swap. Most Christians here
were moved to Greece, and Muslims there
were sent to Turkey. That’s why Guzelyurt’s historic
church is now a mosque. Today, its single minaret
indicates that this is a valley where the people
call God Allah. Above that 1,600-year-old
church are Seljuk arches, Ottoman facades,
and on the horizon gleams the tin dome
of the main modern mosque. The market square is
the heart of Guzelyurt. It’s busy with people
enjoying petite glasses of sweet chai
and the happy clatter of backgammon dice. Ah, six sixes!
Ha! That’s good!
Look at that! Boom! Boom! An easy way
to have fun with locals is over a game
of backgammon, a daily treat for me
anywhere in Turkey. If you don’t know
how to play, it’s no problem. If you pause, someone will
likely move for you. Okay.
Oh, nice, huh? [Laughs] Nice game.
Thank you. Very good.
[Laughs] My partner, my good luck. And my friendly opponent,
Kadir, is taking us
to meet his family. Greetings are
warm but formal. As is the norm
in Muslim households, leave your shoes
at the door. The eldest gets
the most respect. A splash of cologne leaves us
refreshed and clean. Tea making is given great
importance and done with pride. And good luck if you want it
without sugar. As things loosen up, I share
pictures of my children. But now she’s quite big. She’s like you,
about like that, yeah. The daughters
add to the fun, and we enjoy a little
Turkish fashion show. And the grandfather
entertains with tales of 30 years
of shepherding. For me, intimate encounters
like these are as rewarding as visiting
the great museums. Before we leave Guzelyurt,
we’ve got an appointment with the imam back
at the old church. Originally the Church
of St. Gregory, this was first
built in 385 AD. While Christians worshiped
here 1,600 years ago, today it functions
as a mosque. The imam has agreed
to a short interview. Imam means “teacher.” He’d be the equivalent
of a Christian pastor. Thank you for allowing us
to be in your mosque. The government pays your wage. How do you contribute
to your community? [Speaking Turkish] ARAN: He says that
my primary duty is to lead the prayer
in the mosque, which means that they’re
the caretaker of the mosque, and give information
to the people whenever they want to have some
religious education information. So be available to them
to answer questions. We don’t have
regular work hours. We have to be alert 24/7. Meet the needs of the community
when there is a wedding, when there is a funeral,
when there is a circumcision, when they’re in trouble. Imam is among
the very first people they would seek
for help, advice. Five times every day,
I hear the call to prayer. It says, “God is great.
There is one God. He is Allah.
Muhammad is his prophet.” Does that mean Muhammad
is the only prophet or the last prophet, and where does that leave Jesus? [Speaking Turkish] It is our faith to believe
in all prophets. Mm-hmm. [Speaking Turkish] There is no difference to us between Muhammad,
Moses, Abraham, or Jesus. [Speaking Turkish] The only difference
is we recognize Muhammad as the last prophet. Okay. If you could share
one message to the United States of America,
what would that be? [Speaking Turkish] He requests that people
do not believe the distorted view of Islam, but try to understand
and learn what really it is. [Speaking Turkish] He requests people not to say
Islam equals the terrorism, because it is not. [Calling Adhan] When the Imam calls
the people to pray, he’s saying, “God is great.
There is one God and Muhammad is
his prophet.” This global
wave of praise races as fast as the sun five
times a day across Islam, from Malaysia to Morocco
and beyond. Throughout Islam, fundamentalism
is on the rise. Many Turks see this as a
threat to their democracy. Modern-minded Turks,
while still Muslims, want their government
to preserve the separation of mosque
and state. In fact, a constitutional
obligation of Turkey’s military is to overthrown
its own government if ever it becomes
a theocracy. It’s a complicated issue,
and there is a rising tide of fundamentalism
here among Turks. But the people I’ve met
seem determined to maintain the secular ideals
of Ataturk. A good place to sample today’s
Turkish character is in Ankara. A small provincial town
just a century ago, today, Ankara, with over
four million people, is the vibrant capitol
of a modern nation. The city is a thriving example
of Turkey’s new affluence. Energized by
busy boulevards, prestigious universities,
and striking malls, Ankara is
contemporary Turkey. If Turkey is more modern and
comfortable with the West than other Islamic
countries, it’s because of
its greatest statesman — Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This is the mausoleum
and memorial museum honoring the father
of modern Turkey. Inside the museum tells the
story of this amazing man, whose career started
as a military hero. It’s hard to overstate
the importance of Ataturk. It’s been said that
the Turkish nation should thank God
for Ataturk… and thank Ataturk
for everything else. Mustafa Kemal was a heroic
leader in the First World War. After the war, he drove out
the Allied occupation forces, overthrew the Ottoman sultan, and saved Turkey from
European colonization. Then, in 1923, he established
today’s Turkish Republic. A grateful nation
renamed him Ataturk or “father of the Turks.” As the first president
of the republic, he built the foundation
of modern democracy here on the ruins
of a corrupt empire. A long hall celebrates the impressive
accomplishments of Ataturk. He separated mosque
and state, emancipated women, replaced the Arabic script
with Europe’s alphabet, introduced
western-style industry, and legislated equality
for all citizens. The memorial site is grandiose,
with avenues of lions and formal guards
giving visitors a sense of patriotism
and nationalism. The mausoleum itself crowns
the site like a grand temple, giving those who visit a feeling of reverence
and respect. Pilgrims from
all corners of Turkey stand before
the tomb of Ataturk and remember the father
of their nation. Traveling here,
we get to know that nation, and I find it’s the faces
that best tell the story. It’s a land of diversity
and contrast, a complex mix of people
and history, where old and new thrive
side by side. The holy and
the secular… farmers and students… villagers and hipsters… the young and old… those who whirl
when they pray and those who
don’t pray at all… those who wear scarves
and those who don’t… families, widows, couples, and kids. Traveling here,
like traveling anywhere, the key ingredient of the
experience is the people. As we’ve seen here in Turkey,
when you travel thoughtfully, get out of your comfort zone,
and meet real people, you gain empathy and come home
with my favorite souvenir, a broader perspective. Thanks for joining us.
I’m Rick Steves. Until next time,
keep on traveling.Gule gule.[Laughs] [Grunting] And people up there looking
for you, trying to get you. Ha!
[Chuckles] And if you have one message to tell the people of
the United States of America… [Cell phone rings] [Chuckles] Hey, look at this. [Sheep bleating] [Imitating goats]

100 thoughts on “Central Turkey

  1. Beautiful places. I've been to Cappadocia and explored its caves on a side-trip from Konya, when I was on a semester in that city. I regret not taking advantage to also see Guzelyurt and a few other places. A Turkish carpet shop is definitely an experience. I was once in Istanbul, walking between Gulhane and down towards Binbirdirek, when a pushy carpet seller ignored by constant reiterations that I wasn't interested. So I went to the shop, drank a few cups of cay (saved money that way) and learned some interesting facts about carpet-making. Then finally after chillin a little while, to the shop-owner's surprise I thanked him for the free cay and the lesson, then walked out to be on my way again.

  2. Rick Steve excellent documentary we want Rick to do more documentary on (1) Rick Steve Asia, Australia New Zealand,
    (2) Rick Steve USA, South America, Mexico, & Canada.
    (3) Rick Steve Africa.
    Keep it up Rick Steve 👌👌👌👍👍👍

  3. MR STEVES YOU KEEP MENTIONING THE RELIGION OF THE COUNTRY THE SECULAR CHRISTIAN’S N SO ON,TURKEY IS 99% MUSLIM BE IT SECULAR OR NOT I THINK BETTER IF YOU STICK TO THE BEAUTY OF THIS COUNTRY WHEN PROMOTING CHEERS.

  4. 17:22 the old Church yes that was an Armenian Church 385 AD, Turks never even existed in the Anatolia region until they invaded came along with the Mongols and settled in Anatolia killed and took over Christian lands. Why don't you mention that Rick Steves.

  5. Müthiş bir video olmuş , ülkemizi çok güzel, şirin ve kültürlü göstermiş ki zaten öyle. Teşekkürler Rick Steves !

    Kendinizi belli edin la nerdesiniz ? :))

  6. though it may be just the big cities that are doing the craporama and not necessary more rural areas like these.

  7. When my son born, I went with him for his circumcision. Let me tell you, that was the most singularly painful thing I could imagine anyone could ever experience. He screamed and nothing came out and his whole face and body turned blue. I was beyond mortified! I can’t imagine making a poor guy wait until the age of 13 for that. Fortunately my son has no memory of it but whew, it was awful.

  8. is October a good time to visit? i am going for my birthday. hows the temperature would be like? cold?
    beautiful and helpful video.

  9. como en espagna cuundo hace calor no se trabaja y despues si se para de trabajar a las 8 9 de la noche en verano y a la magnana se empieza a las 8 de la magnana o 7 y se come a medio dia a las 2 de la tarde y en inbierno se empieza a las 8 de la magnana y los nignos el comtrario empiezan la escuela a las 8 pero ya cojeron bus 10 kilometros y se un lebantado a las 6 ymedia como es el sistema y las bancas no trabajan por la tarde no hablo de madriz

  10. 터키 및 지구상의 모든 투르크인종은 바퀴벌레보다 먼저 말살되어야 한다
    한국은 터키를 형제로 생각하지 않는다
    터키가 하루 빨리 망하기를 간절히 바란다!!!

  11. 나는 자랑스런 한국인으로써 한평생 터키가 망할때까지 지구상의 모든 투르크인종을 박멸하는데에 일조할 것이다..

    벌레보다 못한 투르크인이 절대로 자랑스런 한국을 수치스럽게 하도록 내버려두지 않을 것이다!!!..

  12. This vlog convinced me to visit Turkey this January 2019. I can't wait to experience the authentic Turkish culture, food and hospitality.

  13. I have never even heard of this town Guzelyurt and it looks like such an amazing place full of so much history. There are so many unexplored places in Turkey and such a huge tourist potential.

  14. Hello Rick, nice documentaries. I just have a humble question – have you heard of CO2, climatechange, and such topics? I suggest you google or youtube these topics and find out whether there is a connection to travelling or not.

  15. A fact about Ankara: Turkey's capital was moved from Istanbul to Ankara because of its centrally located geography. Part of how it went from a provincial town to a major metropolis.

  16. The music is a distraction to such spectacular views. Takes away from the naturalness. So we turned the audio off. Missed not hearing your voice.

  17. Turkey is one of the greatest country in all the time. They have a historical moments. They are braves , empathy and leaders.

  18. Try to visit some places in us u will be harassed and called names by locals.
    Please leave u hate when u visit other countries.
    You should be more secure among Religious people.

  19. Turkish constitution doesnt give a duty to its army to overthrow the government. What you say is pure lie! Stop supporting the coup-plotters in AMERICA!

  20. i love europe so much. throught your travel videos, i learned a lot about Europe in all aspects. thanks a lot.

  21. Indeed you pay top dollar for Turkish carpets but they are heirloom items they last decades hell centuries..
    You leave them to your childs, grandchilds etc if you think that way they are not "that" expensive they dont lose color the knots wont come lose and rip it etc etc..

  22. This is spectacular. I love that you are teaching others to stop being ethnocentric. It's harming this globe, all the immigration and trying to segregate over education, skills, culture, heritage, gender and many other excuses. We're all brothers and sisters and share this planet. We can learn from each other, share food, drink, life, scenes. And we should. I loved Andrew Bourdain for doing this and now you should rise in his place. It's important to tie and link all humans. You have an amazing job. I never wanted to travel outside of US until I went to Riga, Latvia to see my son and where he attended college there. Now I have the travel bug, went to New Zealand, Venise, Germany, Netherlands. I would love to do even more traveling after seeing this and many other of your videos. I'm addicted. Now I recreate the foods I've eaten and want to learn language, and doing watercolor and pictures to take me out of the US. lol Thank you for all you do Rick!!

  23. I made dozens of trip there from Adana. Love this valley to underground city to the art district everything. Marvelous land to visit Turkey!

  24. Rick…how did I miss you all these years?? You a very great and the most intelligent man. You are truly a very diligent. Thank you for all the videos…the more I see… the more I appreciate you. Thank you…may you remain healthy.

  25. 444 views 😊 posted 4 years ago.. 😍 👌 I intend to have a wonderful visit to Turkey 😍😍

  26. My family and I watch an TV your episodes around the world for years. I’m so glad to enjoyed an this chanel🤗👵🏼

  27. I just discovered your Outstanding Videos & immediately Subscribed. Then I looked to see how many Viewa & Subscribers you have!

  28. I would like to visit turkey together with you! Loved your videos!
    I want to know if big ships can get you to Istambul too! Thanks

  29. Well done, Rick. There are so much misunderstandings, propaganda and bad journalisms that leads to fear, hatred and isolation. It is great that someone like you travel and talk to people so that we can understand each other better. May God bless you and the world!

  30. At 1:30 where you show Turkey with yellow color on the map, you made a big mistake and put with the same color and a part of island of Cyprus , the north east side. Cyprus is an independent country , with the north side occupied by turkish army since the invasion in 1974 . Negotiations are going on trough many years under U.N. to find a solution . Can you please correct this mistake ?

  31. 22:25 Latin script is not Europe's alphabet.Latin script came from Etruscan alphabet. Etruscans were Proto-Turks, Atatürk returned the Turkish alphabet to its roots

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