The sultans of the Ottoman Dynasty ruled over a vast empire from 1299 to 1922, and at its height the empire spread from Hungary to Somalia and Algeria to Iraq. While touring through Turkey, I’ve seen their influence spread to every corner of the country. Mosques, museums, and historical sites stretch across the country showing how significant the Ottoman Dynasty was. The culture and power was most evident to me when we visited Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
For 400 years the sultans of the Ottoman Dynasty lived in Topkapi Palace. The palace was used for royal and state occasions, and today brings hundreds of tourists flocking to its doorsteps to see the historical relics displayed at the palace. Various artifacts depicted the lavish sultan lifestyle. Extravagant clothes, jewels, and weapons filled numerous rooms of the palace. Among the artifacts was also the Prophet Muhammad’s cloak and sword, considered one of the most holy relics of the Muslim world. As we walked around the various buildings we began to realize how massive the palace grounds actually was. The palace grounds range from around 600,000 to 700,000 sq. ft, and in the past it basically functioned as its own city. With schools, an independent water supply, and residential buildings people almost never had to leave the palace grounds. After leaving the palace grounds we exited the area, and were on our way to dinner.
Being our last dinner in Turkey, we had to experience the much talked about belly dancing in Turkey. We saw the very thing when we dined at the Istanbulin Restaurant. The restaurant dinner entertainment included belly dancers, folk dancers, and singers. I’m sure the plunging top of the Turkish belly dancers, and their sweet voices won over some men in the audience. However, when the dancers asked for a volunteer no one dared to go up. After some persuading, an energetic person went up, my brother. While it was hilarious to see my brother fall into pretty much every trick the dancer pushed him into, it was surprising that out of everyone in the room he was the one to go up. The next act was a singer that really got everyone energized. He sang some famous songs from the places where some of the guests were from. Songs from Greece and Italy were sung, and what was really great was when he sang, “Rasa Sayange.” Obviously we all joined in to sing, though it was brief. The dinner was great, and we were all excited to get back to the hotel. It was of course a bittersweet moment, for we knew that tomorrow we would be heading on an airplane and leaving Istanbul behind.
Indonesia Media Tours would just like to thank everyone who was a part of the trip. Without all of you this tour would not have been possible, and not even half as fun as it was. Despite all the obstacles we encountered, such as the delayed flight, it was wonderful to see everyone make the best of the situation and just have a great time. Even with the delayed flight we didn’t end up skipping any attractions and instead were treated to an extra day in New York. To travel the world is a dream for many people, but through this tour we have experienced something more than the joys of traveling. Enjoying new places and cultures with friends is what makes Indonesia Media Tours so fun for me every year. GÃ¶rÃ¼ÅŸÃ¼cez or for those who don’t know Turkish, see you next time. This time in Spain.