||A fast highway
connects Istanbul with Izmit, the capital of the Kocaeli province. An
important city in Roman times when it was known as Nicomedeia,it is now a
prosperous industrial center. The Saatci Efendi Konak, a restored typical
18th century Ottoman mansion,now serves as the Ethnological Museum.
Pismaniye, the local sweet, consists of thousands of thin layers of
Hereke, west of lzmit, is a major carpet making center. Renowned
throughout the world for their beauty and quality, these carpets fetch the
highest prices in Istanbul's bazaars. On the Black Sea coast, north of
lzmit, particularly at Kerpe, Kefken and Kovanagzi,sandy beaches and
comfortable guest houses attract vacationers.
East of lzmit, Sakarya is the provincial capital of the province of
Adapazari, an important agricultural and industrial region. The Sakarya (Sangarius)
River waters this fertile land which abounds with fruit trees and fields
of vegetables. In the city of Adapazari itself, the Ataturk and
Ethnograpnicai Museum display a number of tne personal effects of the
founder of the Turkish Republic as well as regional artifacts. The
Beskopru Bridge, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in 553,stretches
for 429 meters across the river. Eight arches connect the two shores.
|A few kilometers
away at Lake Sapanca, quiet restaurants and hotels line the lakeshore.
Istanbulites escape to this retreat in the Saman Mountain basin througnout
the year. The Arifiye Forest on the highlands of Lake Sapanca has nice
camping and picnic areas and an excellent panoramic view of the lake below.
The Akgol Lake lies just inland from the Black Sea Karasu holiday center.
Both places offer scenic surroundings and comfortable accommodation. At
Tarakli you can wander though a town that preserves many of its old
Formerly known as Nicaea, Iznik lies at the eastern tip of Lake Iznik,
south of Izmit. Originally an important Roman and Byzantine town, it fell
to the Seljuks in 1078 and subsequently to the Ottomans in 1331. Still a
small town, it does not seem to have exceeded its original Roman walls.
The four gates which allowed access to the city still stand. In the town
center the ruins of the St. Sophia Cathedral, the seat of the first
Ecumenical Council of 325, evoke images of convening bishops and clergy.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, lznik was the center of the production of
the exquisite ceramic wares which have made such an important decorative
contribution to mosques and palaces throughout Turkey. A museum displays
the finds from the nearby excavations.Among the important Islamic
buildings in town, be sure to visit the turquoise tiled Yesil Mosque and
the Nilufer Hatun Imareti.After exploring the sights, the lakeside fish
restaurants provide delicious food and a relaxing atmosphere.
Yenisehir, on the road to Bursa, is filled with many interesting and
lovely old Turkish houses. The 18th century Semaki Konak,now restored as a
museum, welcomes visitors.
City Gate, Iznik
|The province of
Bilecik lies south of lznik in the verdant and fertile Sakarya River
valley. In the old quarter of the city stands the mausoleum of Seyh
Edebali, an important influence in the founding of the Ottoman Empire.
Every September a commemorative ceremony and culture festival is held here
in his honor. Near his tomb is the Orhan Gazi Mosque.
Set amid the numerous willows which give Sogut its name, a detour to this
town is well worth the eftort. The migrating Kayi Turks first settled
here, and the tomb of their leader Ertugrul Gazi stands in the town. In
September a commemorative ceremony is held in his honor. Other tourist
attractions include the life-size busts of famous figures from Turkish
history and the Ethnographical Museum which traces,through its displays,
the history of Turkey.