May, 23-25, 2001, Grand Hotel Tarabya,
Istanbul, Turkey
(Field Trip on May 26, 2001)


In order to situate Turkey, one must look at the roughly rectangular region between the longitudes of 36° 42 N and the latitudes of 26° 45 E. Greece and Bulgaria border the European side; while Georgia, Armenia, Nakhitchevan autonomous region of Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria border on the Asian.

Between these land borders of Turkey, there rest the seas which surround it on three sides. The Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west, fill in the remaining parts of the frame with their lengthy beautiful coastlines.



Weather in may in Istanbul is generally sunny and hot during day time. But short term rain in a day may be expected in May during workshop. The participants are required to bring sweaters and rain coats in case of unexpected rain during their stay in Turkey.


Turkey is a big country of a varied topography and so it has many climatic zones. While in Eastern Anatolia you ski down the slopes, others ski on water along the Mediterranean coast.

There is a quite difference between the coastal regions and the inland regions which are at higher altitudes. The climate reaches its extremes in central and eastern Anatolia with hot, dry summers when the temperatures may reach 42° C. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing and traveling. Anatolia shows all her beauties during this period. Because of the spherical warm up summer comes to Turkey earlier this year. So it will be so hot in May. Bring your thin clothes for the day. In Istanbul, the wind may be cold in the afternoons, so you had better take some warm sweaters for cool evenings and nights. Also comfortable shoes are advisable for visiting archeological and historical sites, sunglasses and sun hats are recommended in summer.


Turkey is a land which has been the home of many civilizations since the beginning of history. It is difficult to find another land on earth in which one civilization leads to another. Turkey, with its rich past , stands as a challenging resource for both art historians and archeologists; it is a real open-air museum of art and architecture. The artistic history of Turkey is very rich and goes back to the beginning of history.


Turkey has very rich folkloric traditions which have been kept alive for centuries due to the characteristics of Turkish people. Folk music accompanies Anatolian people every single moment of their lives. Every individual creates his own folk music suitable for his own situation. People create their own music, and do not write it down, but pass it from one to the other, and the “aşıklar” (troubadours) who sing and play this music keep it alive. Turkish folk dance is also very alive and variant. Each region has its characteristic dance with particular costumes, steps, rhythms and instruments. Every region’s dance reflects the characteristics of that region’s people.

Coffee-houses (kahve) are very specific to Turkish people. Even the smallest village has at least one “kahve”. In old times men used to smoke hubble-bubble pipes (nargile) while talking about the matters of the day. You can still smoke “nargile”, but only in some of the coffee-houses.

Another feature symbolizing the Turkish way of life is the Turkish Baths (Hamam). They have a very important place in Turkish daily and historical life as a result of the emphasis placed upon cleanliness by Islam. Since Medieval times public bath houses have been built everywhere and they retain an architectural and historical importance.


With its traditional foods of good taste and wide variety, the Turkish kitchen is famous throughout the world, and everyone would find something suitable to his, or her, own taste among the numerous types of dishes prepared. The use of fresh materials in the preparation of all these dishes, is the main characteristic of Turkish cuisine, and the unique methods applied, results in their unique taste. Being in a country surrounded by seas on three sides, Turkey possesses great seafood resources, while it also has a large capacity of fruit and vegetable production. Various other ingredients are added to these, and hundreds of tasty dishes are prepared, from soups to “meze”s, from pastries to desserts. Here are some you should at least taste once, and certainly it will not be the last!

Döner kebap (Lamb grilled on a revolving spit), Tit köfte (Grilled meat balls), Kuzu kapama (Dish made of lamb meat), Dolma (Stuffed vegetables), Mantı (Dish prepared with dough, ground meat and yogurt), Çiğ köfte (Spicy raw meatballs), Baklava (Flaky pastry stuffed with nuts in syrup), Rakı (The indispensable alcoholic drink of pleasant dinners) and after the meals Turkish coffee.


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Turkish Culture, Values, and Folklore
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