Cigdem, Istanbul, Turkey
The ancient and culturally-diverse country of Turkey has always been an ideal destination for adventure-seeking travelers with a thirst for history. Filling the divide between Asia and Europe, Turkey has managed to create and cultivate its own rich identity despite going through changes and influenced brought about by the different civilizations that once ruled the continents. We speak with Cigdem about what travelers can expect when visiting her beautiful and mystical home country of Turkey.
Cigdem in Antalya, southwest Turkey popularly known as the Turquoise Coast
Best time to visit?
I would suggest to visit Turkey any time between June and September because it will be nice and hot and you could enjoy everything there is to do in Turkey. Winter season can be very cold there so you should keep that in mind, but of course if someone enjoys winter, it's better to visit between October and March.
Must try local dishes?
Ground meat balls or patties that are served stewed, in sandwiches, plain with yogurt or over salads
Traditional Turkish meat dumplings that are boiled or fried and served with yogurt or butter
A popular lamb dish that is slow roasted whole, and it often served with rice or potatoes, and yogurt
Boat-shaped flatbread served with a variety of toppings, often minced meat or spinach and cheese also known as "Turkish Pizza"
You must also try Turkish breakfast (scrambled eggs cooked in sautéed vegetables and served hot with bread), a range of mezes and of course turkish coffee is a must!
Your city's most popular tourist spot?
Turkey is home to many civilizations, particularly Istanbul -Taksim square/Beyoglu, Besiktas, and Karakoy are the suburbs and are a must to visit because they have deep cultural structure. You will begin to understand it when you start to walk the streets of Istanbul. You can have a very unique experience if you visit north and west coasts in terms of summer holiday. You may enjoy breathtaking natural places and beaches that can be found on that side of Turkey.
Any favorite local place or spot you would recommend to a visitor in your city?
If you would like to go to the eastern side of Turkey, I would describe the cities, places, cultures ,food and everything else as "authentic" and they can all be included on your trip.The majority of the population of these cities are Kurdish. That would be a good opportunity to gain a bit of knowledge about Kurds and their diversity. Diyarbakir province, Mardin stone houses (Arab style architecture), Hatay (multicultural city and the best food), Gaziantep (where you will find the best baklava).
Important local phrases
Merhaba (Hi) Hoscakal (Goodbye) Gunaydin (Good morning) Tunaydin (Good afternoon) Iyi aksamlar (Good evening) Tesekkurler (Thank you) Ne kadar (How much?) Cok Pahali (Too expensive) Indirim yapabilir misiniz (Can you give me a discount?) Nerededir (Where is...)
Safety Precautions/Reminders/tips for travelers:
There are many group or individual tour options that are available online. You will meet the warmest people who will greet you with a very warm welcome.