Roar from the country called Turkey. “iye” means ‘the land of the..” So the welcome sign means “land of the Turks”. We were very excited to get to Turkey as Turkey is often called the gateway between Europe and Asia.
That is because Turkey is split into 2 parts separated by a river called the Bosphorus River. One side is in Europe and the other side is in Asia.
We cycled from Bulgaria down to a city called Istanbul. Can you find it on the map?
Istanbul is the largest of the Turkish cities..but it is not the capital city. The capital city is called Ankara. Can you find that on the map?
When we arrived in Turkey, it was very cold and wet. We even had a bit of sleet and snow. We were very cold. Our owner had to wear socks over his gloves on his hands to keep his hands warm. When we got to Istanbul it was still very cold. The next day it was hot and sunny so we our T-shirts and shorts on.
What would you pack in your suitcase if you were going to a cold country?
What would you pack in your suitcase if you were going to a hot country?
The first thing we noticed in Turkey, was that the cars and vans in the towns are a bit crazy. They seemed to go everywhere. We had to be careful when we were cycling and when we wanted to cross the road. We remembered the Green Cross Code.
Here is a website with lots of games to help you learn how to cross the road safely:
Green Cross Code
Can you write down some rules for crossing the road? Perhaps you could make a poster for us?
We saw lots of flags when we cycled into Istanbul.. This is the Turkish flag.
It has a crescent moon on it and also a star. Can you find some other countries that have a moon on their flag?
Most people in Turkey follow a religion called Islam. A man or woman who follows Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslim people believe in a god called Allah and their special book is called the Qu’ran.
They have a special prophet called Mohammed (Peace be upon him). Every time they say his name, they say a short prayer after and this is sometimes shortened to ‘peace be upon him’.
We will write another blog about Islam.
If you want to learn more then click this link to find out more:
Muslim people go to pray in a special building called a Mosque. We saw lots of mosques in Istanbul. They were very beautiful.
This one is called the Sultan Ahmed Mosque or ‘The Blue Mosque’ because the blue tiles give it a lovely blue colour.
Inside, you have to take your shoes off as it is a place of worship and it is important that you are clean when you pray. So dirty shoes are taken off.
A person called the Muezzin calls the people to prayer from the tall minaret. Can you see the tall minaret towers in the pictures?
Inside the Blue Mosque there were people praying.
It was very peaceful and beautiful inside.
It has mosaics and pictures of Jesus, Christian rulers, and kings
After a while, the city of Byzantine changed it’s name to Constantinople and then to the name Istanbul. The people of Istanbul also changed from believing in Christianity to Islam and the building was turned from a church into a mosque. It is called ‘Aya Sofya’ mosque. You can see lots of Islamic features
It was a truly magnificent building
When we were in Istanbul we had a fish sandwich. It was cooked on the boat and passed onto the land for us to eat.
Can you see the fish cooking?
Lots of people were on the ‘Galata Bridge’ fishing.
In Turkey we also had lots of Baklava. It is a sweet pudding made from layers of pastry and topped with nuts and syrupy sugar. Yum.
We paid for them using Turkish Lira. That is what the money is called in Turkey.
Turkey was part of an empire called the ‘Ottoman Empire’. The person in charge was called a Sultan. He was like a king.
This is one of the first Sultans: Osman I. He ruled in 1281AD
This is one of the last Sultans: Mehmed V. He ruled in 1909.
In Istanbul, we also visited the Sultan’s summer palace called Beylerbeyi. It was a very grand building.
It had a swimming pool and a fountain in the main room.
Men and women had to be kept separate at all times. The women slept in a different part of the Palace to the Sultan.
In Turkey, they speak Turkish. Here are some examples.
Good-bye: Alla ismarladik
Thank you: Tesekkur ederim
You can learn to count in Turkish at this website:
We were sad to leave Turkey. We were also sad because we wanted to cycle through Turkey and then through a country called Syria. Unfortunately, there are a lot of protests and it is a bit dangerous. So we had to take an aeroplane and fly over Syria. We flew from Istanbul airport. Can you find it on the map?
We had great fun packing our bikes up into boxes. Find out where we flew to in our next blog