Friday, 18 December 2015

Maiden's Tower

The Maiden's Tower is a monumental tower, roughly 25 meters tall, on a small islet just 200 meters from the coast of Üsküdar, at the southern entrance of Bosphorus. 
The oldest record about the islet on which the Maiden's Tower is erected today dates back to 411 BC. The first recorded function of this islet is also after the victory of the ancient Greek commander Alcibiades at Cyzicus (near Kapıdağ Peninsula today) in 410 BC as a customs station. The islet served as a customs station for centuries. The first wooden tower on it was ordered to be built by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenius in 1110. During the Byzantine period, this islet was connected to the land at the Asian side with a defense wall. Towards the European side, there was an iron chain stretching along the Bosphorus, with one end on the islet of the Maiden's Tower, and the other end connected to another tower that used to exist where the Topkapı Palace is now.
After the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453, sultan Mehmet the Conqueror ordered this tower to be rebuilt with the intention of using it to protect the port.
The earthquake in 1509 was referred to by the Ottomans as "the minor doomsday", and the badly damaged tower was rebuilt with wood again.
When it was almost demolished by a fire in 1721, it was decided to use stones to rebuild this time.
With its new stone structure, the Maiden's Tower started to serve as a lighthouse mainly.
It received its final major restoration during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II between 1832 and 1833. The dome over the tower and the flagpole atop were added during this restoration. It is possible to say that it had received its final appearance then.
During the plague epidemic in 1836 and 1837, it was converted into a quarantine station. The Maiden's Tower has also served as a prison for a few Ottoman bureaucrats and generals, and even a dungeon sometimes, for executions.
In 1920, the tower was equipped with an automatic light system, to support its main task as a lighthouse.
When the risk of sliding into the sea was discovered, huge rocks were placed underwater around the islet in 1943.
The latest restoration work was carried out in 1998 before it played a role in the James Bond movie "the World is not Enough".
Right after the earthquake in 1999, steel support elements were added to its walls as a precaution.
Today, the Maiden's Tower serves as an attractive tourist magnet, with its mesmerizing view right above the Bosphorus. A private company runs a restaurant and a cafe in it. Private boats and shuttle boats from Üsküdar take hundreds of visitors to this beauty in İstanbul everyday.

Friday, 4 December 2015


Hundred kilometers away from Antalya, nestled in the Taurus Mountains, lies the ancient city of Sagalassos. It is a bit off the beaten track but is definitely worth the drive from Antalya. This ancient site will impress you with its vitality.

As it is situated on steep skirts of the Taurus Mountains and has been shadowed by other great sites such as Troy, Ephesus etc, it was fortunate enough to have remained well preserved, almost untouched. During a visit, one expects to see an ancient local just around the corner any second.

Excavations are on going since 1990, led by Marc Waelkens from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. Stand in front of the impressive Nymphaeum, its waters still running and you won't regret the 100kms. Recently there are even some small hotels near the site of Sagalassos.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Friday, 28 August 2015

Assos Alarga driving directions

Our dear guests Pamela and David Smith have created a video for the road directions to Assos Alarga
thank you so much! Again a small hotel in Assos has big guests... Hope this will be useful to all our guests.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Music at AssosAlarga

Book now and play later... Thank you, to all our guests who have ever touched our hearts with their music.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Ottoman Bridge in Assos

There is a fourteenth century Ottoman Bridge in Assos/Behramkale, remaining with all its splendor up to today. Parallel to it there's a new bridge. They are on the old way arriving from Ayvacik to Assos. This is a curvy romantic narrow road, passing through small villages, the last one Pasakoy offering great views of Assos.

At the end of this ride, one will reach the old bridge, before you cross the bridge there's a left turn, this is not a very inviting turn but once you take it, you will find your self parallel to the river running below. This is a sunset walk in Assos. This is when shepherds bring out their herds, this when you see turtles take a sunbath on rocks and look who else is enjoying the last rays of sun...

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Gara Guzu geldi! Gara Guzu arrived!

Sonunda, Türkiye'de üretilen tek ale, Muğla'dan Assos'a ulaştı ve bizi onurlandırdı.
Gara Guzu'lar, şimdilik "amber (kehribar) ale" ve "blonde (sarı) ale" seçenekleriyle tadılabiliyor.
Üreten saygıdeğer aileye ve çalışma arkadaşlarına yürekten tebrikler ve teşekkürlerimizi sunarız.

Keyifadamı'ndan da bir Gara Guzu yorumu okumak isterseniz, buraya buyrunuz.

At last, the only ale produced in Turkey have reached Assos from Muğla and honored us.
For now, Gara Guzu (Black Lamb) can be enjoyed in their amber and blonde ale style options.
We send our gratitude and congratulations to the venerable family and their colleagues who produce this bottled relish.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Patara Caretta Caretta

Patara awaits to be strolled, on the Lycian part of Turkey, rests a beach of 18 kilometers where Caretta Carettas ("loggerhead" turtles) lay their eggs.

Every year, in spring, thousands of female Caretta Carettas arrive at this "delivery beach" to secure their genes beneath the sand. About two months later, hatchings leave their incubation spot under the sand. They dig out their ways to the surface, preferably at night, when darkness keeps them safe from predators, and crawl towards the horizon, using the guidance of the moonlight and starlight reflected by the water to reach the waves.

Their genders are determined by the temperature. Eggs kept at a constant incubating temperature of 32°C become females; at 28°C they become males!

The Caretta Carettas have been on this planet assumbly for over 100 million years! Young Homo Sapiens versus old Caretta Caretta. The oldest finding from the ancient city of Patara (until 2015) is a figurine from 3000 BC. Homo Sapiens record their own history for some thousands of years, while Caretta Carettas lay eggs for millions of years; they are indeed historical.

Homo Sapiens take showers or go swimming if possible; male Caretta Carettas never get out of the water and females do only to lay eggs.

Patara had once used to be home to Homo Sapiens; Caretta Carettas never stopped using its beach to breed and to kick-off their world tour there.

Caretta Carettas don't have democracy and a parliament; some Homo Sapiens say they want democracy and parliaments (among billions of other good things).

Homo Sapiens kill millions of their own kind and heavily contribute in the extinction of any other species from flies to elephants; Caretta Carettas are among them and don't fight back. They look neither for democracy nor parliaments. They simply keep surviving all cruelty by the Homo Sapiens.
Caretta Carettas eat whenever they are hungry; they don't order in, take away or cook.
Caretta Carettas are extincting; Homo Sapiens are overpopulating.

You can be one of the many volunteers at Patara and witness the female Caretta Carettas laying their eggs in the spring... This is a tremendous survival story and it's repeating its miracle every year on a beach just a few steps away from the oldest parliament building in the world.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Temple of Athena in Assos, Behramkale - Acropolis

Temples are built on the highest points of ancient cities; the name Acropolis comes from Greek, Acro means for “the highest”, and “polis” means city. In a time with no GPS systems, no radar and no binoculars, they were built on the highest point, on top of a hill for safety and defense reasons.

While looking out on the endless Aegean Sea, Lesbos and Mount Ida views from the Acropolis of Assos, one should recall that a temple is built not only for worship  , it is also a status symbol and reflects the society’s culture it once belonged to.

The temple of Athena in Assos was built 238 meters above sea level, between 540-530BC. Short after, due to an earthquake, it was renovated and had major repairs between 520-470BC. It is the only known archaic Doric temple in Asia Minor. It is surrounded by 34 Doric styled columns. It has Doric columns and triglyphs , but also has sculpted friezes. Holding Ionic and Doric features at the same time the temple of Athena in Assos thus resides a unique place in the history of ancient Greek Architecture, it is eclectic and innovative in a time where architectural orders are conservatively followed.

In the construction and later in the repair, a gray volcanic andesite rock, formed by the cooling of lava and softer volcanic rock, formed by the ashes, were used. This type of andesite is quarried right from Assos. Also today all construction within the ancient village of Assos is made from these rocks, including AssosAlarga.

Each ancient Greek temple is dedicated to a specific god or goddess and the temple in Assos is dedicated to Athena. Athena is one of the multitude of children of Zeus, believed to be the warrior goddess, protecting the land against enemies from outside. So it is common in the ancient world to build temples in her name. Turkey alone is home to ten of Athena’s temples. The goddess Athena symbolizes wisdom, humility and intelligence; she is the helper of some well known mythological heroes, like Hercules and ubiquitous in most of the Greek mythology.

She took part in two major competitions. In the contest for beauty she lost out against Aphrodite, thus triggering the Trojan War. But she won as “patron god of Athens” against Poseidon by creating the olive tree as a gift to Cecrops, the first king of Athens.
Unlike churches, Greek temples were not common meeting places for the public; they were dedicated to their gods and goddesses.    They had an inner chamber called the Cella where usually the cult where only temple clerks were allowed to go in. The land surrounding the temples was used for religious ceremonies. Murderers, drunks and people with birth defects weren’t allowed to enter the temple.

During the Hellenistic period, the pavement of the temple was covered with black and white mosaics.

During the Byzantine period the acropolis was surrounded by thick walls, serving primarily as a fortress. The other remains, such as cisterns, storerooms and houses you see in the acropolis aside from the temple, are remains of the Byzantine area.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Turkish Writers

Yasar Kemal, our favorite Turkish writer passed away yesterday. We always recommended his books for our guests. Reading Yasar Kemal, is a true journey into Turkey, meeting faces from Anatolia. Memed mein Falke, Memed My Hawk is a masterpiece and is more guiding then any guidebook for travels in Anatolia. 
Along with Yasar Kemal, we also recommended reading Necati Cumali and Nazim Hikmet. Recently I read on a board at a bookstore in New York; bestsellers are not supposedly the good reads.

Hangi kitaplari okumaliyiz diye soran yabanci misafirlerimize, hep Ince Memed'i yazdik, hep Yasar Kemal'in ismini verdik. Gercek rehberler, bizim icin; Yasar Kemal' dir, Necati Cumali'dir, Nazim Hikmet'tir  Onlarin isimlerini yazdik kucuk kagit parcalarina, kimi yabanci misafirlerimiz onlarla okudu Turkiye'yi. Yazamadik ne yazik ki baska dillere cevrilememis yazar ve sairlerimizin isimlerini. New York'ta buyuk bir kitapcida, bir panoda: 'En cok satanlar, en iyi kitaplar olmayabilir'. diyordu. Bir Ferhan Sensoy da cevrilebilseydi.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Assos Behramkale Turkey

Could the traveler have come to Assos during the excavations of the American expedition, he would have heard, afar off, the chorus of the workmen, as they sang together, sailor fashion, while rolling aside the shaft of some column; he would have been guided to the site of the ancient temple or theatre by the creaking of the dusty barrow wheels, and by the blows of the heavy hammer breaking some stone too large to be lifted entire. Now the silence of that hillside will be broken only by the roll of the waves upon the beach beneath the cliff, and by the tinkling bells of the goats, as they twist their necks to browse upon the tough shoots of the oak bushes which have again overgrown the ruins of the Greek Bath, the Agora, and the Street of Tombs.

wrote Joseph Thacher Clarke on the Report on Investigations in Assos 1882-1883