Perched where East meets West, Turkey was once a stopover on the Silk Road, connecting the cultures of Europe and the Balkans to exotic Eastern locales. That explains why its history has as many layers as a piece of baklava.
The invaders are a greatest hits list of big names: the Greeks, the Byzantine Empire, the Fourth Crusade, and the Ottoman Empire (and its Janissaries). Then WWI and the birth of a new nation: The Republic of Turkey, with westward-gazing Atatürk at the helm.
Now, this stunningly beautiful country is a dreamy holiday destination. There are beaches on the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean Seas to immerse you in soothing waters.
Enjoy colorful Turkish cuisine with strong tea and coffee to fuel your adventures. Listen to slinky, rhythmic folk music, have a soak at a hammam (Turkish bath), and meet friendly locals with a charming predilection for chit-chat.
For centuries, travelers have been enchanted by the Istanbul skyline and the romantic Bosphorous Strait. But don’t sleep on sights outside that fabled city, like the hot air balloons and otherworldly terrain of Cappadocia, the ancient ruins of the Library of Pergamum, and Gaziantep with the sweet scent of baklava bakeries floating in the air.
In this episode, we romp through the Byzantine Empire, get gossipy about the Turkish language, and celebrate sweet words of devotion. Then we recommend five books that took us to Turkey on the page, including an Ottoman-era murder mystery starring a food-loving detective, a historical novel that weaves art and multiple narrators, an auto-bio graphic novel set in 1980s Istanbul, a classic novel of romantic suspense, and a thriller/coming-of-age story set in modern Istanbul. (show notes / transcript)
Top image courtesy of Osman Köycü/Unsplash.
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