Discover the Istanbul Women Created
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Discover the Istanbul Women Created

Famous as Turkey’s cultural capital, Istanbul has long been acknowledged as a great city. It’s packed with exquisite mosques, sumptuous palaces and a rich heritage extensively covered in hundreds of guidebooks, travel websites and blogs, yet few of them mention the fact women played a role in making it great. Like Pierre Loti Cafe, which…

Halet Çambel – Turkey’s first female Olympic competitor, archaeologist and patriot

With the Games of the XXXII Olympiad originally scheduled for 2020 taking place in Tokyo this year despite much controversy, I decided to write a post about Halet Çambel, the first female Turkish athlete ever to compete in the Olympic Games. This remarkable woman represented Turkey in fencing, helped decipher Hittite hieroglyphics and founded Turkey’s…

Interview with Australian Jane Gundogan author of Salep and Ginger

Interview with Australian Jane Gundogan author of Salep and Ginger

I’m excited to share my interview with Jane Gundogan. Jane Gundogan is an author and in her own words, “also a part-time comedian (in her own mind), half-assed blogger and a totally committed vinophile”. Most importantly, she’s the person behind Salep and Ginger, a novel set in Turkey (see my review here) and the only…

Sebnem Ferah

Fifteen years ago I was living in Kayseri with my now husband, in the Anatolian heart of Turkey, teaching English at what was then the sixth best government university in the country. Every year, students organized a Spring Festival, to celebrate the end of winter and the completion of the academic calendar. We went to…

Modern Turkish Weddings: At the Registry Office

Visitors to Turkey often stumble across colourful wedding celebrations in small towns and villages. They are great fun to attend. But what about the legally required civil ceremony part of Turkish weddings, do you know what goes on there? Find out in this extract from my memoir Istanbul Dreams: Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom.”…

Turkan Soray

Türkan Şoray, Turkey’s own Sophia Loren, was born on the 28th of June 1945 in Eyüp, Istanbul, to parents, Halit, a railway-officer and mother Meliha, a housewife. Along with her younger sister Nazan, Türkan had a normal upbringing until she went to a film set with her friend and neighbour Emel Yildiz (now a champion…

Henna Night

I’ve lived in Turkey for a long time and been lucky enough to participate in lots of traditional activities. One of my favourite things to do is to join in on a kına gecesi, or henna night. This is the night Turkish women get together before the wedding to celebrate and commemorate the upcoming nuptials….