Think you might want to visit Turkey? Or are you going to be on a cruise with a stop in Istanbul? Then you might want to peruse the services of my friends Serhan and his wife Fatoş, both of whom are professional, licensed private tour guides in Turkey. You might also want to take a look at these travel videos available from Amazon.com.
I also have links to some resources to help you learn Turkish.
I was born in Turkey, a country which is home to countless cultural and natural treasures. The country, whose official name, by the way, is The Republic of Turkey, lies on two peninsulas. The larger one is Anatolia and it is part of the Asian continent. The smaller one, called Thrace, is part of Europe. Istanbul, the capital of the former Ottoman Empire is located where these two continents meet. On the first day of our trip together to Turkey, Cara and I entertained ourselves by repeatedly taking the ferry between Üsküdar (in Asia) and Beşiktaş (in Europe). Some people are easily amused, I guess.
As beautiful and culturally rich Istanbul is, I cannot get over my affinity for my hometown, Ankara, the capital city of modern Turkey. Ankara is home to the Mausoleum of Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Other interesting sites include the Archeological Museum which contains artifacts belonging to civilizations that existed in Anatolia thousands of years ago.
When you are in Ankara, visit Bookish, my friend Hülya's bookstore, if you need books in English or a Turkish-English dictionary.
The Mediterranean Coast
As far as I am concerned, there is only one place I can call "heaven on earth", and that is the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey, especially the area to the west of Antalya, all the way to Bodrum. This area contains ruins from Lycian and Roman empires, pristine bays, all sorts of vacation activities from whitewater rafting to parasailing.