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Come the second week of January, everyone in the Northern hemisphere feels a little depressed. The excitement of Christmas and the New Year is over, and all there is to look forward to for ages is week after week of cold, dark, dreary winter – at least those in the Southern half of the world are in summer, but not here!
Get Away From It All
So you and your family might like to cheer yourselves up a little with a holiday, preferably to somewhere a bit warmer – like Turkey, perhaps? If you decide to do this, your last minute holidays to Turkey will be an extraordinary one as the country will bring you the mystery of the middle east and the comfort of Europe, all wrapped up in one package.
Istanbul for Both
The city of Istanbul provides a fascinating insight into the cultural development of a country balanced between two continents, even being divided into European and Asian halves itself. The beautiful architecture of the middle-eastern side displays the traditional intricate detail and sometimes there are some stunning touches, such as in the Aya Sofia, a 1,500-year-old cathedral which became a mosque and now is a museum, where the main dome is lined with golden tiles. Other must-see buildings include the Galata Bridge, the world’s oldest palace at Topkapi (complete with harem!), the 260 stained glass windows of the Blue Mosque and the Selimiye Barracks, where Florence Nightingale tended her charges during the Crimean War.
For those who prefer to be doing rather than just seeing, the Grand Bazaar is a great place to go bargain-hunting, and then there are walks around the sixth century underground water storage system’s tanks and tunnels, complete with a statue of Medusa. Then, after these energetic activities, you can relax in a steamy traditional Turkish bath, wrapped in a traditional cotton robe, or take a ferry ride along the Bosphorus, the river that divides the western “European” half of the city from the eastern “Asian” half.
By way of contrast, the European half holds the highest building in Turkey (currently), the steel & glass ‘Sapphire’ at 261m (856ft) including its antenna (238m (781ft) without), and a selection of neo-classical and Art Nouveau buildings from the turn of the twentieth century, very different from the ancient Asian architecture.
So, bring a little cheer into your life with a last-minute break in Turkey!