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FROM ISTANBUL’S GRAND BAZAAR TO CAPPADOCIA


Needing to kill some time on our last day in Istanbul, it was time to visit Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. Under the impression that it was just a large grouping of some colourful stalls, selling everything from handicrafts and rugs to exotic spices, nothing prepared us for the overall scale of the structure that housed its wares, let alone the labyrinth inside it. 

The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. Attracting between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily, the construction of the future Grand Bazaar's core started during the winter of 1455-56, shortly after the Ottoman’s conquest of Constantinople. It was originally erected for the trade of textiles.

After a while, our Western brains eventually became overwhelmed by the sheer massiveness of the Grand Bazaar and the plethora of products for sale inside it. Attempting to take note of specific landmarks amidst the maze of corridors branching out in all directions, we soon lost our bearings. Finding the Grand Bazaar was easy. However, we spent far more time trying to get ourselves out of it.

Leaving the Levni Hotel at approximately 1:50 pm, we were transferred to Ataturk Airport for our one and a half hour’s flight to Kayseri. There, we were met and transferred by van to our hotel in Ürgüp (Cappadocia), the MDC Hotel. 

The MDC HOTEL grounds cover 15,000 m2 and is ideally located between an old river valley and the ancient town of Ürgüp. Originally historic Greek Ottoman mansions - 33 individual homes carved into the stone over 200 years ago - each one has been tastefully restored, combining the structure of the existing caves with classic Ottoman style and modern design, to create the luxurious MDC Hotel as it stands today. With 3-metre high ceilings, each room may have previously been a kitchen, sleeping quarters or stables. Many traditional and original features have been preserved and featured in the rooms, like wine presses, tandoor ovens, carved alcoves, storage areas and cellars. Traditional colours and fabrics decorate the beds, windows, tables and walls, enhancing the soft, natural colour of the rock and the overall experience. The vanities, walls and floors in the bathrooms are tiled with marble and onyx from Turkey and the Middle East. Giving guests the liberty of picking fruit from their 4,000 m2 orchard, walking up the Valley to neighbouring Göreme National Park, or strolling over cobblestone streets to Ürgüp city centre (or taking the hotel shuttle, if you prefer), the MDC Hotel is one of the most interesting hotels we’ve stayed at during our travels. 

As for  Cappadocia itself,  the name  comes from Katpatuka, an ancient Persian word meaning “land of horses.”  A historical region in Turkey's Central Anatolia ,  the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurusto in the vicinity of the Black Sea in the times of Herodotus. A region of exceptional natural wonders  characterised by its unique rock formations, we would soon discover over the next two days the iconic sites that have captured the imagination of travellers from the four corners of the world.


 

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 22nd September, 2014 | Trackbacks
Categories: Turkey
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