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Turkey at Crossroads

At The Crossroads  十字路口上

Turkey’s unique position, geographically and historically, has turned it into one of the most fascinating, enlightening and relevant countries to visit


Thanks to Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the region’s significant geostrategic importance has resulted in a country of fascinating history and heritage, life and culture. On the back of a history of a 10,000 year-old civilization, and a tumultuous political and religious past, modern Turkey is a democratic and secular constitutional republic, well integrated with the West but fiercely loyal to its Asian roots, and very much relevant today as it was in ancient times.



Cultural Capital  文化之都

At 550 years old, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest covered markets in the world. “Remember, the Carsikapi Gate”, our guide Can (pronounced Jaan) reiterated before our group split up to explore the market. We were supposed to meet at that specific gate after two hours of shopping. Some members of the group were lost for an hour the day earlier when we visited the much smaller Spice Bazaar and he just wanted to make sure it did not happen again. However, the maze-like Grand Bazaar is made up of more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops selling mostly identical goods such as jewellery, lanterns, pottery, incense, carpets, leather products and Turkish delights, it is almost impossible not to get lost in it. If you are not unconsciously walking around in circles, you will be caught up in the dynamic array of sights, sounds and smells that make up a microcosm of Turkish culture. Thankfully, friendly shop owners, who are more than happy to share with you their way of life and who always seem to have a cup of apple tea at hand, make navigating the Grand Bazaar delightful more than daunting.

有550年歷史的伊斯坦布大市場是世界上最古老的有蓋市場,我們的導遊Can(唸成展)在團員們分散去探索這個市場之前一再提醒:“別忘記Carsikapi Gate-卡西卡比門”。我們必須在兩小時之後到某一個門集合,昨天還有團員在拜訪一個比較小的香料市場時迷路一個小時,因此導遊要確保這樣的事不再發生。不過,這個迷宮似的大市場裡有58條有蓋的街道和超過四千家商店,賣的都是大同小異的貨物如珠寶首飾,燈具,陶器,香枝,地毯,皮革製品和土耳其美食,要在裡面不迷路幾乎是不可能的事。如果你不是糊里糊塗地在裡面兜圈子,你就會被充滿活力的聲,光,味包圍,處在微型的土耳其文化中。好在店主們都很友善,都很樂意跟遊客分享他們的生活方式,而且似乎都習慣捧著一杯蘋果茶在手上,使人在這個大市場中導航時覺得輕鬆愉快而不是擔心會迷路。

Previously known as Constantinople, capital of Eastern Roman Empire, then capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul has always been a hotbed of cultural diversity. In its heyday, this grand dame of a city that straddles the continents of Europe and Asia, drew traders from all across the globe. Today, as Turkey’s cultural capital, Istanbul proudly flaunts the country’s rich and colourful history through its streets, markets, churches, mosques and palaces.

伊斯坦布的古名是Constantinople-君士坦丁堡,是東羅馬帝國的首都,之後才是Ottoman Empire-奧斯曼帝國的首都,一直都是多元文化的溫床。在全盛時期,這座橫跨歐亞大陸的大城市吸引了來自全世界的貿易商。今天的伊斯坦布也是土耳其的文化之都,自豪地通過自己的街道,市場,教堂,清真寺和宮殿來炫耀這個國家豐富又多姿多彩的歷史。

Originally constructed as a church in 532-537 AD by orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Aya Sofia was—and still is—considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. When the Ottoman Turks took over the city, Aya Sofia was converted into a mosque under the instructions of Sultan Mehmed II. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed and many of the mosaics were plastered over. Islamic features such as the four minarets were added. Now as a museum, it is a place for all. Though no longer a site of worship, Aya Sofia still evokes a sacred reverence. Turkish families and tourists alike stand in awe of the massive gold mosaic dome, its vastness highlighted by the streams of sunlight piercing through the stained glass windows. In respectful hushed tone, they wander about admiring the mosaics that have been successfully uncovered and restored.

Aya Sofia-阿亞蘇菲亞這棟建築原本是Byzantine-拜佔庭皇帝下令在公元532-537年建造的教堂,至今還是拜佔庭時代的建築表率。在奧斯曼族的土耳其人接管這座城市之後,Aya Sofia-阿亞蘇菲亞也在Mehmed II-莫哈默德二世蘇丹王的指示之下改裝成清真寺。那些鐘,神壇,聖像和祭祀用具都被移走,許多馬賽克石磚也被石灰泥鋪蓋,再添加伊斯蘭教的象徵物如四支尖塔,如今已經成為一座博物院,Aya Sofia-阿亞蘇菲亞仍舊散發出讓人尊重的神聖氣勢。土耳其人的家庭和遊客都會在這座鋪滿黃金馬賽克石磚的大型圓頂前瞠目結舌地看著陽光穿過彩色玻璃窗照耀出它的龐大結構,他們都會用尊敬的態度竊竊私語地談論和讚賞那些成功被修復的馬賽克石磚。

To rival Aya Sofia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built, from 1609 to 1616, just adjacent to the former. The mosque incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighbouring Aya Sofia with traditional Islamic architecture; its interior is adorned with the famous blue Iznik tiles, earning it the moniker, Blue Mosque.

為了跟阿亞蘇菲亞比試,在1609-1616年間在它旁邊建了另一座Ahmed Sultan-阿曼蘇丹寺。這座清真寺結合了拜佔庭時代的建築元素和阿亞蘇菲亞的傳統伊斯蘭建築形式,內部鋪上著名的藍色Iznik-伊茲尼克藍瓷磚,因此也贏得了藍色清真寺的綽號。

Another example of magnificent architecture, the grandiose Topkapi Palace was the primary residence and venue for state occasions and royal entertainment of the Ottoman Sultans before they started favouring the newer palaces along the Bosphorus. The complex palace compound consists of four courtyards, housing dormitories, kitchens, baths and mosques; as well as the impressive Harem, its 400 rooms were where the Sultan’s extended family took residence.

另一個宏偉的建築例子是Topkapi Palace-托卡比宮殿,是奧斯曼蘇丹王在還沒搬到比較喜歡的Bosphorus-博斯普魯斯海峽上的新宮殿以前用來舉辦國家慶典,皇家娛樂和住宿的地方。這個深宮大院一共有四個院落,裡面有員工宿舍,廚房,浴室和清真寺,以及令人印象深刻的后宮,有四百個房間,住了蘇丹王的家庭成員。


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Source > The Travel Times Newsletter 旅遊時光報

Translated by > BlogHost

Word Count > approx. 640 words in English


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