Friday, 1 April 2016

Pet Friendly Hotel in Assos, Behramkale

There are those who bark and those who go for the ball:) Playing is much more fun when you have a friend.
 There are those who bark and those who go for the ball:) Playing is much more fun when you have a friend. We were in Kadirga Bay today, only 2 minutes driving from our small hotel. Bring your best friends along: AssosAlarga is a pet friendly hotel in Assos,Behramkale. Our best friend is Gece, yes, he is still a bit afraid of swimming in deep water. Luckily, she has friends to show her the way.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Ottoman Bridge in Assos, Behramkale

If you happen to arrive to Assos, Behramkale from Ayvacık, taking the old road, passing by villages such as Söğütlü and Paşaköy, you will be seeing the Ottoman Bridge in Assos, Behramkale on your left; the old bridge is parallel to the new bridge you will be crossing, so it is difficult to skip it.

 The bridge that is standing still today was built during the 14th century, after Assos went under the reign of the Ottomans. Murat Hudavendıgar Mosque in Assos,Behramkale, is another construction, remaining from that period.

We often go for walks along the banks of Tuzla Stream. If you wish to stay in Assos, Behramkale with your dog, Assos Alarga is a pet friendly hotel in Assos, Behramkale and we would gladly show you the way to the Ottoman Bridge, so you can also enjoy a long walk in the nature. Along the banks of Tuzla Stream today, there are sheep and cow shelters, during this walk in Assos, you can also run into, aquatic turtles, storks and even mustangs...

Saturday, 5 March 2016

A visit to Alexandria Troas

This lesser-known ancient settlement  covers an area of 400 hectares, just acrossBozcaada, the Tenedos Island. It was founded in 310 or 309 BC by Antigonus the One Eye (a noble commander of Alexander the Great) and was first called Antigonia Troas. It was 301 BC, when Lysimachus, successor of Alexander the Great, renamed the city Alexandria Troas to honor his legendary predecessor.
When the Romans took over, it was initially declared "free and autonomous". Serving as the main port of northwest Anatolia for more than a century, its population is estimated to have reached around 100000 during the Roman era. Roman emperors Augustus and Hadrian, and prefect (the administrative leader) of the western Anatolia (provincia AsiaHerodes Atticus sponsored its development in various ways. Julius Caesar granted the city the privileges of the highest status of the Roman cities, a colonia!
Alexandria Troas plays a key role in Saint Paul's missionary expeditions. This is where he stayed before he left Asia for Europe for the first time.
When Constantine the Great was founding the Eastern Roman Empire, Alexandria Troas was among the candidate cities as a new capital. During the Byzantine era, the city and its harbor lost its attraction and power. The Ottoman Turks used to call the ruins "Eski Stambul", meaning, "the old Istanbul" or "the old city". Some columns from the ancient site were utilized when the New Mosque in Istanbul was being built between 1660 and 1665.
Today, the site is being excavated by the archaeological team from Ankara University, and entrance and a breathtaking view of sunset are free of charge. The excavations may take a generation's lifetime, the ruins are patiently awaiting daylight to expose their glamorous history.
Alexandria Troas is located right in the middle of the western edge of the Biga Peninsula (Troad), 56 km north of Assos and 35 km south of Troy. Driving on the road amidst the pleasing nature between Assos and Alexandria Troas gives one the opportunity of paying short visits to Babakale, the westernmost end of Asia, and also to the temple of Apollo Smintheus.
When you visit Alexandria Troas, if you understand Turkish and are lucky enough, maybe you even can meet the highly enthusiast and well-versed guard of the site, and learn some highlights about the area from him.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Rabbit's Blood

So... Welcome to Turkey!
If you have heard this greeting phrase too many times, maybe, it already started to sound a bit of a cliché and cold. Would a glass of hot Turkish tea be a warmer gesture?

Yes, we, Turks, drink tea and try to offer it to our friends, neighbors and guests. We love enjoying a few glasses of tea to warm up our conversations, when we are together with other people. A Turkish meal can only be friendly concluded after a few sips of tea. Some people are addicted to it and can only start functioning in the morning after a hot glass of well brewed Turkish tea. Tea is as crucial in our daily lives as air and water. You can say, we can hardly survive without tea.
Was it always like this? Well, tea was not a mystery to the Turks in the late Ottoman times. It made its way into the Ottoman culture from the Chinese, Indian and Persian sources. Coffee, introduced to the palace of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Suleiman the Magnificent) and spread all around Anatolia during the 16th century, became more difficult to obtain from the lands that the Ottoman Empire had lost during the 1st World War. Turks were left heavily wounded and their homeland was invaded all around by the allies. Still, public demand for a hot beverage was alive and strong. When the Turkish War of Independence was over with the decisive victory of the Turkish Nation and the republic was founded on October the 29th, 1923, a beneficial substitute for coffee could be a solution to problems like unemployment related domestic migration. An agricultural survey had already been carried out at the East Black Sea region before the 1st World War ended. What the experts of the agricultural faculty from Istanbul had found was promising. Black Sea coast of Northeast Anatolia was offering suitable ecology and climate for tea and citrus. The young Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) issued a law in 1924 to start and support producing tea, hazelnut, orange, tangerine and lemon in Rize. The first production of black tea was only possible in 1938. It was only in 1963, when the demand for tea in Turkey was completely supplied by domestic production. Since the initiation by the TBMM in 1924, cultivation, reaping, production and sales of this Rize tea have been totally under protection and control of the Turkish State, until December 1984. Only then, private brands were allowed to cultivate, produce and sell tea in the national market. Still, besides a few private labels, majority of the tea production in Turkey is in the hands of the state. Our favorite brand "Çaykur" is the name of the biggest tea company in Turkey, entirely an organ of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. Several different products of Çaykur, with distinctive smells and tastes, can be found on the supermarket shelves, next to some other fine tea by private brands today.
The way we, Turks, prepare and serve tea is slightly different than those of the eastern -the true origin of tea- and the western cultures. First, we love black tea. It was only about 3 decades ago when Green tea and iced tea met the Turkish people. Although they were very welcome, when you pronounce "çay" to a Turkish person, the image that will appear in their mind will neither be a pale green and yellow aromatic drink served in a fine porcelain with a ceremonial attitude, nor a tall chilled glass full of ice cubes and lemon slices diffused inside the lightest shade of orange. Turkish way of brewing, serving and drinking tea may not bear a visual homage to this healthy and soothing drink of centuries, but is sincere for sure.
The most common technique to brew tea in Turkey is with a "çaydanlık", teapot. Some tea enthusiasts enjoy their brews from a porcelain teapot. However, generally, a Turkish çaydanlık consists of 2 metal container parts. The bigger part at the bottom is utilized for boiling water only and has no particular name. Slightly smaller part on top is where we brew the tea with the boiled water, and is called a "demlik", literally an infuser. So, why two separate pieces? Here comes one of the fun characteristics of Turkish tea! Have you ever heard someone at a "kahvehane", "kıraathane", "pastane" or a "lokanta" in Turkey call for an "açık çay"? Açık, does not only mean open in Turkish; when you want to address a beverage's weaker aroma, lighter color or lesser strength you say it is açık. Some of us prefer their tea lighter than normal. How can you customize the strength of tea while serving? By adding hot water of course. So, you need boiling water before you serve your tea according to your guests' preferences.
Another, a little more expensive or elite, if you like, therefore almost extinct style of brewing and serving tea in Turkey is with a "semaver". Semaver, Samovar in Russian, is a bigger and more complicated container device. It has its own source of heat, generally and traditionally coal, in the middle and can contain a bigger amount of hot water around it. When the flames in its burning chamber in the core go off, the chimney on top is replaced with the teapot and the tea is left to brew. Wealthy and crowded Turkish families in the past did not have huge hi-tech TV sets to be trapped in their couches for hours at night before it, but used to have semavers and enjoy tea from it. So, if you are visiting Turkey as a family of more than 2 or are in a group, and have a tendency to enjoy Turkish tea together, and if you come across Turkish tea served in semavers somewhere, maybe you will feel lack of the nostalgic smell of coal as they are mostly electric powered these days, but will definitely experience a Turkish tea event.
You may be responded with a puzzled face when you ask for milk with your tea in a local and small scale enterprise like a "kahvehane (coffee house)" or a "çay bahçesi" (tea garden). Turkish consumers do not add milk in their tea, only some sugar, maybe...
This young but radical tradition of tea drinking in Turkey, mandates it to be served boiling hot in a specific shape of glass. This tulip shaped petite glass is called "ince belli", "slim waisted" literally, and can have a volume between 150ml and 200ml. Holding it firmly with all your fingers and palm closed around can burn your hand. No, tea gardens in Turkey do not engrave a warning like "Caution! Hot content" on their glasses and you can not sue a tea garden in Turkey for burning your own hand on a tea glass. Better use your index finger and thumb like tweezers to gently grip the glass by the rim. In a few minutes, the whole glass will cool enough to be comfortably held by all fingers. What a warm feeling, if you're back indoors on a cold winter day!
Çay goes best with a crunchy simit. Simit is a traditional Turkish delicacy, a circular bread covered with sesame seeds and molasses. If you ever happen to take a boat trip along or across Bosphorus, make sure to buy 2 simits before you get on, 1 for yourself and the other for the seagulls that will accompany the boat, and a glass of tea from the walking tea-men on the deck.
Oh, if you want to make a proud impression during a "tea event" in Turkey, order or ask for your tea saying "I want mine to be TAVŞAN KANI!" with a determined manner. It sounds savage but we call perfectly brewed tea "rabbit's blood". No animals are harmed for tea, it's just a metaphor.
We hope you will be able get a decent taste of Turkish daily life while you are here.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Booking Assos Turkey

If you are looking for a bed and breakfast in Assos, we know one. Assos Alarga ranked number one in Turkey. We thank all our passed guests and look forward to welcoming our future guests. 
We would like to announce a thank you discount for 2016. Book any two nights in 2016 and get 10% discount, if you are coming back it is %15 off.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Art in Assos Behramkale, Tezhip and Hat from the hands of Hulya Kalayci

Have you ever come across with the illuminated manuscripts ("tezhip" in Arabic and the Ottoman Turkish, or "bezeme" in plain Turkish) on some dried plant leaves while traveling along Turkey? Well, in Assos, you can find and enjoy fine examples of this almost extinct art. Hülya Kalaycı of Hülya Sanat Evi - Hülya Art House is a certified and one of the very few calligraphy and manuscript artists in Turkey.

Those "some dried plant leaves" are not any leaves that one can easily obtain anywhere... Leaves of the poisonous plant called "dieffenbachia" are the ideal ones for this art. First, they are treated to a reasonable pressure between book pages for 18 months. Then, when they are dry and smooth and ready to receive their gold make-up, they are carefully handled by the artist.

The Arabic word for this art, "tezhip", literally means "to apply gold on a substance" and derives from another Arabic word, "zeheb", which means gold. Male tezhip artists are called "muzehhip" and the female are "muzehhibe"s. The gold applied on the leaves arrive in the hands of Hülya Kalaycı as very thin layers called "varak" which also means leaf in Farsi.

The main themes and figures depicted with gold and other traditional colors on the dieffenbachia leaves are generally made of Arabic letters, formed in such ways that they will form ornamental shapes, and mostly composing verses of Kuran. Thanks to their flexible visual structure in combination, Arabic letters have been traditionally and frequently used in the Islamic visual arts. This method of ornamental calligraphy is called "hat" in Turkish; and the artists are the "hattat"s.

The beautiful example in the photo in this page is a precious wedding gift to us from dear Hülya and Cevat. Hülya Sanat Evi is only a few steps away from our hotel. Make sure to visit their shop and maybe you can take a fine specimen of traditional Turkish art home.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2016 Public Holidays in Turkey

You should pay attention to these dates while booking your holidays in Turkey in 2016. As these dates have high demand on bookings in Assos, Canakkale and the rest of Turkey, we recommend booking ahead. Some hotels may apply a minimum stay or a higher tariff on accommodation for national holidays and special days. In this section you will find these national holiday dates for Turkey 2016.

National Sovereignty and International Children’s Day 23rd  of  April 2015 Saturday  will be a national holiday in Turkey, as it falls on a weekend it may not effect bookings.

1st of May 2016 Sunday: As it falls on a weekend it may not effect bookings. Labor and Solidarity Day

Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day 19th of May 2016 Thursday this date may effect bookings for most Turks it will mean a long weekend.

Ramadan Feast 2016
4th of July Monday Half a day, 5th of July Tuesday 6th of July Wednesday and 7th of July Thursday 2016 will be public holidays in Turkey. 
In this case it means from the 1st of July 2016 until the 10th of July 2016 lot of people will be on holidays in Turkey 

Victory Day 30th of August 2016 Tuesday
Some will make a long weekend, so it may be busy starting from 26th of August 2016. 

Sacrifice feast
Half a day on the 11th of September Sunday, 12th Monday, 13th Tuesday, 14th Wednesday and the 15th Thursday will be public holidays in Turkey 2016. Meaning people will start traveling on the 9th of September and will most probably be doing holidays until the 18th of September 2016.

Foundation of The Turkish Republic 
28th (half a day) and the 29th of October 2016, half a day Friday & Saturday will be holidays in Turkey. It is the foundation of the Turkish Republic.