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Republic Day Turkey

Republic Day Turkey, or Cumhuriyet Bayramı as it’s known in Turkish, commemorates the offical start of a new Turkey. On this day in October 1923 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk officially proclaimed the establishment of the Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (Republic of Turkey). The Turkish Grand National Assembly, the parliament, had been in operation since it was established on 23 April…

Serefiye Cistern – The Legacy of Theodosius II
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Serefiye Cistern – The Legacy of Theodosius II

Serifiye Cistern (Şerefiye Sarnıcı in Turkish) was built on the orders of Emperor Theodosius II who ruled Constantinople from 428 to 443 AD. It was constructed as a water depot to distribute supply to the inhabitants of Istanbul, then known as Constantinople. Fresh water was drawn from Belgrade Forest and its surrounds and reached the…

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey
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National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey

On the 23rd of April every year, the streets of Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and other large cities, towns and villages across Turkey will be full of local school children. Decked out in brightly clean school uniforms, with the neatest hair and straightest socks, they march proudly alongside fire trucks, police marching bands and other municipal…

Flowers and the Judas tree in Ottoman culture
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Flowers and the Judas tree in Ottoman culture

When Mehmet the Conqueror swept into Constantinople in 1453, trees and flowers were already much adored by the city’s residents. To celebrate his victory, Mehmet posed for a miniature painting, not brandishing a sword as you might expect, but smelling a flower. By the time Süleyman the Magnificent came to power, the city was awash with…

Ottoman Empire Romania II – Byzantine Turks

In my first post “Ottoman Empire Romania I” I wrote about the way the Turkish language had entered into the Romanian tongue. However words aren’t the only traces of the Turks left in the country today. In most cities and towns there are beautiful architectural and cultural signs of the influence of the Ottoman and…

Nazim Hikmet Ran

Nazim Hikmet Ran

Born on the 15th of January 1902, in Salonica, where his father was serving as an Ottoman government official, Nazim Hikmet Ran, commonly known as Nazim Hikmet, was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, director and memoirist. Best known for his intellectual pursuits and considered a romantic communist and revolutionary, he was very active throughout…

Turkish Awakening – A Personal Discovery of Modern Turkey

In her introduction, Alev Scott states that Turkish Awakening is as much about her personal discovery of the land of her mother’s birth as it is an exploration of contemporary Turkish life and politics, and she is true to her word. She skilfully combines personal insights with an objective gaze to focus on a confusing…