Español = copiar texto de 2003
This part of the world was inhabited 6000 years ago by indigenous Hurrian and later, Hattian tribes. Around 4 000 years ago, small groups of Indo-European immigrants from the east, became the the aristocracy of Hittite, Mittani and Urartu kingdoms. They were followed a millennium later by a flood of Medes, Persians, Sythians, Samarthians and Sagarthians who blended with the indigenous tribes to form the genetic basis of the people of Anatolia who were later dominated by Greek, Roman, Byzantine and eventually Turkish overlords.
There was nothing Turkish about Turkey until minor turkic tribes from north of the Aral Sea, the Muslim Seljuk, expanded vigorously to take control of Khorassan, Persia, Iraq and Turkey in the 11th century. The Mongols ( of Altaic culture related to Turkic cultures), destroyed the Seljuk empire in the 13th century but out of its ashes arose the Ottoman Empire that was to last until the 20th century.
The Ottomans had such a profound influence on the countries I visited in 2003 that I felt it necessary to draft " Notes on the Ottoman Empire" to put dates on the most important events of their 600 year hegemony. Naturally, I added a few other relevant dates to sketch the history of Turkey and its neighbours.
I stayed on the Beyoglu side of the Golden Horn not far from the Galata Tower. Here is a view of Istanbul from my hotel window.
Here is the beautiful Blue Mosque built by Sultan Ahmet in1616.
This black and white photo of the main dome of the Blue Mosque does not do justice to the blue ceramic tiles that gave the mosque its common name.
That's me in the mosque's courtyard.
This elegant pavilion is a public fountain built by Sultan Ahmet III just outside
the outer walls of the Topkapi Palace that was the residence of Ottoman Sultans from
the mid 15th century to the mid 19th century when they moved to the more modern Dolmabace
Here is a view of Dolmabace Palace from a ferry on the Bosphorus.
Back in Beyoglu I took this shot of this quaint streetcar on Istiklal street.
Even more quaint was the sight of these fat tailed sheep being delivered to local butchers on the hoof.
Mixing business and pleasure by taking my 4 weeks of vacations a few days at a time worked wonders for me. It was also good for my employer for it allowed me to gain a much better understanding of the people we were dealing with.
After Istanbul I made a quick stop in Sofia before returning to Paris. It had been a rewarding trip in all possible ways.