Balkan Tours 2019

Balkan tours 2019 – Having read books or watched movies about Balkan countries; and thus thinking you know much about them. It is completely different from actually having visited and experienced them. Balkan tours 2019 opens a door for an exciting, relaxing and adventurous journey through some of the most interesting places on the Balkans.

Even if you have already been to that mystique part of the world. Believe us, you still have many things to discover and understand.

Balkan tours 2019; you will be able to visit Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Romania. Countries, each one of which veiled in mysticism characteristic for the Balkan peninsula only. This is not a fixed tour. It is a tour tailor-made by you, designed by you only.

At first sight, the Balkans look like any other place on the world. But getting to know it better, travelling around, will take you deeper and deeper in its breathing, full of life organism. An organism composed of many cells like culture, history, food, entertainment, people…

Let`s get on the most adventurous form of transportation – the magic carpet or the flying carpet and start off. I am sure you have used it many times to instantenuously go to a preferred destination. Balkan countries are one such destination.

If we divide the Balkans according to their uniqueness and yet their sameness, a probable division would take Bulgaria to the group of breath-taking landscapes, Romania – the country of mysterious castles and the legends that go with them; Croatia – beautiful coastlines; Montenegro – again the coastlines which go with quality beaches and seasides that surround lovely old towns; Bosnia and Hercegovina with its nature and amazing waterfalls; Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be leaders for those who like the history of communism and socialism.

Though still a relatively-unknown region and destination; the Balkans slowly start gaining popularity. The ones of you who decide to visit that place on Earth, will definitely witness an abundance of unique architecture, history (remember it`s a region of communist past), amazing nature, relaxing and beautiful beaches… Come, come whoever you are, and enjoy this mysterious place – the Balkans.

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Own marketing

We did our own marketing

When we first acquired the company we said `we won`t expand in the tour operation business; we will do our own marketing and fly customers who purchase tickets.` To keep up with this, the company had to turn 180 degrees. For instance, when you fly for a tour operator and you make the customer dissatisfied, you do not suffer because the problem goes directly to the tour operator; but that is not the case in our model. If there is a problem, you have to deal with it directly.

For this reason, the first thing we did when we took over the company was to hire an English flight crew trainer to train our cabin supervisors on weekends on `how to act towards the customer`. In the tour operator business, everything was free. With meals, for instance, you could select two from chicken, fish and red meat. Since I did not know much about the aviation business, I said let us calculate the cost of the tray we are serving. When calculating the cost of the tray, even its weight is important. We started with this detail. We analyzed the main course.

I will never forget, there is 90g of red meat, chicken or fish in a main course. I asked the business leaders of that period, `What happens if we bring the 90 grams down to 80 grams?` They protested, saying, `our guests are of a certain quality.` Firstly, they are not your guests. Secondly, Mr. Blogs does not care if he is flying with Pegasus or some other company. `Then let`s do the math,` I said. At the end, the cost of 10 grams turned out to be around 400,000 Euros. I said `What now?`, they said `Let`s lower it.` This was a very important lesson for me. You shouldn`t ask someone, `Should we do this?` You need to say, `Should we do this? If we do, this will be the consequence`.

Pay to send a CV

Not one of our friends who had insisted on the 90 grams are around today, because now Pegasus even charges for water. One day I read somewhere that an airline charged for job applications. Now we charge for job applications, too. Why? Let`s assume you are looking for a `high school graduate, 25-35 year-old employee with English skills` for a particular position. Nowadays it`s very easy to send a CV online. You are 45 years old, your mother once went to England and you are applying for this job. I need three or four people to evaluate all these applications. What happens when you charge for job applications? Then you pay 15 TL to apply for a job with no guarantee that you are going to take it.

So you check the criteria and do the evaluation yourself instead of leaving it to me. Where previously, we would receive 75,000-76,000 applicants per year, that number is now between 50 and 90.1 brought this idea to our Human Resources management. The HR manager at the time said, `We can`t do this`, first telling me, `Such is the present socioeconomic situation in Turkey` etc., then saying, `What if people hear about it?` But that`s what I want. Today we make 200 billion from that in a year.

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Five wanderers Paris

We are in Paris, the most bohemian and entertaining capital of the world. The following pages offer shopping advice from Aysu, art info from Eril, the low-down on the music scene from Mehmet, an alternative Paris guide from Hazal, and all the best museums and exhibitions from Ozlem. Not to mention insider information from Deniz, a Paris local

He just couldn`t stop pestering us, could you, rain? We arrived in Berlin. We walked around for 10 minutes, and there you were, pouring down on us; we were soaked down to our socks. Now a month has passed and this time as the Globetrotters` Club, we are in Paris.

All the underground lines are shut because of a collision between two trains; we forked out 43 Euros on a taxi but at least we have to listen to Zaz` latest single La Fee on our way. We spoke too soon when we said, `Look, the weather is fantastic, there`s the sun, we`re near Gare du Nord`. It poured down once more. But it doesn`t matter. Hazal Yilmaz, Ozlem Sarag, Eril Serbetgi, Aysu Akagunduz and Mehmet Tez are in Paris to march to their own tunes, to mill around the streets of Le Marais, Bastille, Montmartre and Belleville.

Hazal`s alternative Paris

I asked around about `what people do in Bastille`. You listen to rock at La Scene Bastille (2 bis rue des Taillandiers) on Thursdays. On Tuesdays, you go to play jazz at La Mecanique Ondulatoire (8 Passage Thiere) or discover new young French artists and celebrity candidates at Galerie Alain Gutharc (7 rue St-Claude); you should go for Standard Design Hotel (29 rue Taillandiers) if you need a hotel; for coffee you go to 138 (138 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine). Tien Hiang (92 rue de Chemin Vert) is recommended for vegetarian Chinese food lovers and Chai 33 (33 Passage St-Emilion) for wine lovers.

Chez Jeanette (47 rue du Fbg-St Denis) in the Turkish neighborhood is the latest after-work hangout for Bobos (bohemian bourgeoisie). There are many English speakers here. The later you go, the busier it is.

Chevalier and Django Reinhardt, it is at 105 rue du Faubourg du Temple that you should do it.

You cannot leave Paris without having a crepe.

  1. La Petite Tour (6 rue Gregoire de Tours),
  2. Josselin (67, rue du Montparnasse),
  3. Creperie Bretonne (67, rue de Charonne).

If wine is a product of grape juice immersed in alcohol, then these are some of the best that you can find on the cheap: St-Martin Rouge, Lanquedoc; Belleruche Rouge, Cotes du Rhone; Baron de Lestac, Bordeaux.

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Hierapolis Pamukkale

Located 20 km. away from the town of Denizli, Pamnkkale is most interesting places in the world.

Over the millennia, the calcium-oxide rich waters flowing down the southern slope of Qal Dagi, located north of the ruins, have built up deposits of white travertine on the plateau. These deposits explain both the site`s ancient name, Hierapolis-Holy City-and its modern name, Pamukkale-Cotton Castle.

Ancient Hierapolis appears to have been founded by King Eumenes II of Pergamon. Its name is derived from Hiera, the wife of King Telephos, the legendary founder of Pergamon. The city came under Roman control in 133 BC. In 17 BC, during the reign of Tiberius, it suffered a heavy earthquake that substantially destroyed the city, requiring it to be rebuilt. Preliminary excavations at Hierapolis were undertaken by a German team towards the end of the last century whereby since 1957, excavation and restoration work has taken place under the direction of an Italian group of archaeologists.

Domitian Arch

The ancient city was strung out on either side of a long colonnaded avenue called the Plateia. Measuring 13 m. wide, this avenue ran from the gateway in the south to the Arch of Domitian in the north. It was paved with huge blocks of limestone. The first structure one encounters upon reaching the plateau are the city baths, which have been very well preserved. The baths are Roman, and were built in the 2nd century AD.

In the eastern part of the baths is a palaestra measuring 36.13 by 52.25 m.. Immediately to the north and south of the palaestra are two large rooms that were reserved for the emperor and for ceremonial use. A large hall, once used by athletes as a gymnasion, stretches the length of the western side of the palaestra.

This hall led into the frigidarium from which one proceeded to the barrel-vaulted rooms of the calidarium. A small room adjacent to the large hall now serves as a museum in which artefacts discovered in the Hierapolis excavations are on display. Since Hierapolis was principally a luxurious resort town, it was richly adorned with magnificent sculptures showing the influence of the Aphrodisias school and is well worth a visit. The theater of Hierapolis commands a magnificent view of the plain below.

The original theater was located above the northern gate, but when the city was rebuilt during the reign of the Flavian emperors (60 AD) the theater was relocated, though the seats from the old structure were used when it was relocated. During the reign of Septimius Severus (193-211 AD) the theater`s skene was modified and richly decorated with reliefs. In 532 it was discovered that the skene had been weakened by age and the almost daily seismic activity that takes place here, and it was reinforced with pillars.

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When was Istanbul settled

Istanbul daily tours – The earliest-known settlement in the area now known as Istanbul, was probably founded around 1000 BC. It`s name was Semistra. It was followed by a small fishing village, called Lygos. Lygos was settled on the European side. Then, around 700 BC colonists from Megara in Greece, founded the city of Chalcedon on the European shore of the Bosphorus.

Istanbul Daily Tours – Byzantium, comes after a Megarean colonist

The next name of the settlement – Byzantium, comes after a Megarean colonist, Byzas established his new colony. There is a legend that says that Byzas was the son of Poseidon and a nymph, daughter of Zeus and Io. Before he was leaving Greece, he asked the oracle at Delphi where he should establish his new colony. The answer he got was enigmatic – `Opposite the blind`.

While he was sailing up the Bosphorus, he remembered the words of the oracle as he noticed the colony on the Asian shore at Chalcedon. Then on the European shore he saw the small fishing village of Lygos. It was built on a magnificent and easily fortified natural harbour of the Golden Horn. Thinking, as legend has it, that the settlers of Chalcedon must have been blind to disregard such a good and strategic position, Byzas and his fellows settled their new town there and named it after its founder Byzas, Byzantium.

The article above has been taken from To read more, please click on the following link Istanbul daily tours.

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Central Market Hall Sofia Walking Tour

Sofia Walking Tour

These market places were called “charshiya”. The land on which Sofia Market Hall is located today was the charshiya of the monastery of St. John of Rila. For this reason, the terrain where today the Central Market Hall, also known as Tsentarlni Sofiyski Hali, is situated had been a trading venue for centuries to the monastery of St. John of Rila.

Visiting unique architecture, a symbol of old Sofia in Sofia Walking Tour

Beginning of the 20th century, to put it more in order, the Sofia Market Hall was built. It was built to sell dairy products, fish etc.

Still it is one of the main tourist places that we will visit in Sofia walking tour. You can enjoy an old shopping complex which was originally built with four entrances. But now only three are being used by the public.

While entering the mall from the main entrance one can see the relief of the coat of arms of Sofia above. It designed by the artist Haralampi Tachev. Over that famous small clock tower with three dials can been seen.

The Market Hall was closed for restoration in 1988. Due to the political changes and also changes in the country`s system, it carried on and off for some time. Eventually, an Israeli company invested $ 7 million. Being next to the Central Synagogue the Market got their attention. Now the company have 75 % of the Market Hall. And also on the ground floor of the Market Hall we can see a fountain shaped like the Star of David. Since the Easter in the year 2000, It was open again.

The article above has been taken from To read more, please click on the following link Sofia Walking Tour.

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Byzantine calendar

After the adoption of Christianity, the Byzantine calendar “since the creation of the world” was implemented. As is known, that calendar sets the Beginning – the creation of the world, and the Ending – the Second Coming, which are the terminus post quem and the terminus ante quern of human history.

The implementation of the Byzantine Christian calendar of the Constantinople era before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar after 1700 was obligatory not only for ideological reasons, but also because of the religious cycle, without which the newly created Bulgarian church would not have been able to perform its cult- and customs- related practice. In Bulgaria, as generally in the East, the system of counting the years I “since Christmas” or “since the Incarnation of Our God Jesus Christ” is a very rare phenomenon. There is only one inscription, which indicates for sure this kind of calendar. It belongs to Omurtag and states:

“And the name of the ruler is Omurtag, Kan Syubigi. The year since the appearance of the true God is 820 and since the Creation of the world, 6328”

Since the inscription is in Greek, it was most probably made in the style of the usual imitation of the Byzantine practice. The separation of the Byzantine-Slavonic Orthodox community from the Western European Latin language group is also evident in the use of the calendar. The different “calendar language” used in the East and the West is another factor of their distancing and self-isolation.

Volga Bulgaria

The calendar is an important factor of the cultural memory of the nation which uses it. Volga Bulgaria is an excellent example of this well-known claim. The orientation according to the stars, the situation of the planets, the Sun and the Moon, belong also to the set of knowledge of the Bulgarians in the region of Middle Volga. This is proved by the detailed system of names of planets, separate stars and constellations, which is later kept by the so-called Kazan Tatars. The stars determine meteorological time during the year and control agricultural activities. The Turkish explorer of the 17th century, Hadzhi Caliph, using sources which have not been preserved, describes a Volga Bulgarian who makes astronomical observations far north of Bolgar.

It is believed that the most widely used calendar in the region of Middle Volga was the 12-year sun cyclical calendar, in which the months have names of animals. This calendar was in use until the time of the Kazan Khanate. Many late manuscripts give evidence of the fact that the ancient Bulgarian calendar continued to be used in Kazan during the Late Medieval Period. That shows the important role of Volga Bulgarians in the formation of the culture of the Khanate.

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Ottoman bricks

The bricks from the Ottoman era

The bricks from the Ottoman era are seen on the walls of the gallery set up by Evren Ertur. The general view of the gallery is seen. Evren Ertur collected the bricks of the old demolished olive oil factory owned by his grandfather and constructed the same by keeping the original design. In this building very quiet and humble, the technological story of the olive oil is told since the old centuries when the oil had been obtained by pressing the olives… While contemplating the original pieces, each of them with an antiquity value, you witness the story of the olive oil since the old centuries…

During the visit of the gallery, you witness which processes the story started in the stone trough has gone through from the days when the oil had been obtained by pressing the olives, which instruments had been used. Bags made of goat hair, millstone turned manually or by the animal, bags made of skin to keep the oil, screws… Then the steam power and then the current continue system… You see all of them… Here is a living source for the students, youths and those who want to improve their knowledge, a classroom for practice rather than a gallery…

Evren Ertur`s family is involved in the olive cultivation since 5 generations and the Success Firman of Muderris Hilmi Efendi, the grandfather of Evren Ertur who had been the “soap maker of the sultan ” and the bronze soap moulds are exhibited too in the gallery. Ertur states that he could`t consent to see that all these instruments used in the oil production would be lost and he felt obliged to issue a cultural legacy to the next generations; we are sure that the museum-gallery where the instruments collected since 7 years by Ertur are exhibited and assisted by the Akqay Tourism Information Director Sakir Karadede will enlarge in the coming years. Contact:

Various instruments exhibited in the gallery. Like in the original, two out of the holes on the fagade of the building symbolise the olive leaf and the one in the middle symbolizes the olive grain.

“Until I die…”

This tree is a real passion for Evren Ertur dealing with the olive cultivation and olive tree since 39 years. He says that he swore not to quit the olive tree and the oil which is a passion for him until he dies; Ertur tells also romantic and historical stories about the olive:

This article is published for EnmarBg. For more interesting information about visit places Bulgaria, please visit destinations Bulgaria.

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Agehi (985/1577)

He was born in Vardar of Yenice. His real name is Mansur. Being from the cadi class he was a scholar, a historian and a poet. He died in Istanbul in 985/1577. According to Tahir Bey of Bursa Agehi left a complete divan. Agehi took part in Suleyman the Lawgiver`s last campaign Zigetvar in 974/1566 and wrote a historical record of this event as well.

He wrote a commemarotive poem of more than fifteen couplets with conventional mariner`s language and offered it to the Sultan through Piyale Pasha. According to records he was given the Sheref Thelogical School in Istanbul. Since he was in Gelibolu as a teacher in close contact with Piyale Pasha who was a master seaman of those times, it is only natural that he wrote about the sea and knew the conventional terminology of the seaman pretty well.

In our literature we have had the tradition of writing with terminologies of various subjects and occupations. Some of these occupations and subjects are astronomy, music, books, medicine and logic. We do have poems written by Agehi written during this period with mariner phraseology which were an influence in literary circles.

Although there were poets like Yetimi who wrote poems in the field before Agehi did his was the well known and studied of the two works. His poems seem to be the ones considered to be more worthwile to study and teach by people like Deruni, Taflicah Yahya Bey, Aski (Işki), Gubari, Za`fi and Molla Mehmed.

Writting with mariner terminology and using words of this phraseology in stating metaphase and allegories in prose and poetry both was quite common among writers and poets of Suleyman the Lawgiver period. We could attribute this fact to the greatness, the popularity and to the grandness of the Ottoman navy during these times. The fact that sailors of the empire reached all the way to India in Suleyman`s reign made the prospects of the occupation look more prestigions, glorious and rewarding than were before.

Glorifying of the same subject was common among literary people during the following centuries as well. We have poems by Zari (died 1098/1686), Refeti (died 1118/1706) and Bursali Feyzi (died 1185/1771-1772) written in mariner language.

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A Nostalcig Street in Beyoglu

In the time of Ottoman Empire, the relations between Turks and Frenchs were deeply ancient.

So that the first ambassadorship was French at the right time Kanuni Sultan Suleyman in 16. century. The French Street which was opened at 1 July in 2005, is a culture and trade street for contributing both common culture and history, j The street takes place behind the Galatasaray High School which contains both Cezayir Sokagi and Cezayir Cikmazi (Algeria Blind Alley and Algeria Street).

In The French Street there are art galeries, plastic art and handmade art galeries, art courses, restaurants and cafes, shops where French Perfumes, French Musicians cd`s are sold. There are halls for films, slight shows, concerts and conventions. There are also beauty institutes, day nursery for children, tourism agency and shops which sells French clothes, accesories.

German, Austrian and Swiss Cuisines

The distinguished examples ot the European cuisine are served especially in the restaurants of 5 star hotels. The kitchens of these hotels are directed by the most reputable and prestigious chefs of Europe. Special “taste nights”, introducing the dishes of European cuisine are frequently organised in 5 star hotels. On the other hand, there are many restaurants, other than those of 5 star hotels, in Istanbul.

French Cuisine

You long for a good “Chateaubriand” or a French style cream of onion soup.

You do not have to dream it in Istanbul. You can give yourself an “a la Frangaise” feast of taste at one of the French restaurants in Istanbul that can compete with the ones in Paris in terms of taste as well as ambience.

You may also choose to enjoy the warm atmosphere of French style bistros.

“Healthy nutrition” is the “rising trend” in Turkey, as it is all over the world. The number of people preferring “healthy alternative nutrition methods” instead of the “risky tastes” Including “much cholesterol and calorie” are Increasing, especially among youngsters.

Thus, the vegetarian restaurants in Istanbul become widespread and their menus are varied with interesting inventions.

The Far East and Asian Cuisines

The Chinese restaurants have become the common colours of Istanbul. You can taste the specialties of the Chinese cuisine in an authentic atmosphere in these restaurants, whose staff is mostly Chinese.

The first Chinese restaurant in Istanbul was founded in Taksim some 25 years ago by Ahmet Wang from East Turkistan, however it is not possible to know the number of the Chinese restaurants in Istanbul today.

The Chinese and the Far Eastern restaurant managers are happy in Istanbul, so are the people.

There is no cuisine as rich as traditional Turkish-Ottoman cuisine in the world.

Because this cuisine is a harmonious synthesis of the local cuisines tastes that forms the Turkish-Ottoman social and cultural mosaic.

The number of people in Istanbul devoted themselves to survive the traditional cuisine culture is not little, Turkish-Ottoman cuisine still keeps its position at the top.

Kebab (kebap) and “ocakbasi” are inevitable parts of Istanbul life. There is no need to go to those cities for tasting the delicious kebabs of Adana. Urfa and Antep. Today, the great masters of kebab art show their skills in Istanbul and present magical tastes.

Kebabs decorated with aubergine, tomato and plenty of pepper strike the world with admiration.

The kebabs with hot and mild Adana, Urfa and Gaziantep style sizzling on the “ocakbaSi”s draw people like magnets.

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Street Markets of Istanbul

Street markets (pazar) still create a good alternative for economical shopping. People who generally do their shopping at various stores get astonished when they somehow come across with the prices in street markets located at different neigbourhoods on specific days of the week. The street markets at Ulus on Thursdays, YeSilkoy on Wednesdays,

Kadikoy on Tuesdays are the most popular ones. You can buy the garments of the latest fashion at a reasonable price range. Besides you can meet your needs ranging from clothes to kitchenery, bags and decorative furniture in the street markets at Fatih on Wednesdays, BeSiktaS on Saturdays and Fmdikzade on Fridays. Street markets promise a few hours full of joy and nostalgia for remembering the acquint smell of that enthusiastic and colourful crowd, as well as an economical shopping.

Which Pazar, where, when?

Cuma Pazan Fidikzade Friday

Cuma Pazari Usktudar Friday

Cumartesi Pazari Bakirkoy Saturday

Cumartesi Pazari Besiktas Saturday

Bostanci Pazari Bostanci Wednesday

Carsamba Pazari Fatih Wednesday

Yesilkoy Pazari Yesilkoy Wednesday

Carsamba Pazari Ihlamur Wednesday

Pazar Pazari Kucukcekmece Sunday

Pazartesi Pazan Bahcelievler Monday

Persembe Pazari Etiler Thursday

Persembe Pazari Merter Thursday

Persembe Pazari Erenkoy Thursday

Persembe Pazari Ulus Thursday

Persembe Pazari Suadiye Thursday

Sail Pazan Kadikoy/Sogutlucesme Tuesday

 Istanbul that accustomed to “the universal culture”

The come and goes of the most famous artists of the world are no longer “sensational events” for the people of Istanbul; because Istanbul has a determining role in I “the universal culture circulation.”

Not so long, some 20-25 years ago, Istanbul used to be all over the place when a foreign artist came. This famous guest used to be the focus of the public opinion. All the columns and cameras used to be directed to that person. Even the most serious columnists could not help mentioning “the sensational visit.”

It has changed now. The visits of the most popular, the most distinguished, the most famous singers, stars and groups are simply not much “sensational” for Istanbul. Because, Istanbul has taken its place among “the main cultural capitals” of the world such as Paris, Rome, New York, Vienna and London, Istanbul, with its cultural/historical/natural riches that the whole humanity admires, is “an open air museum.” Its giant surface area and population, whether they want or not, is taking Istanbul next to the main megapouses of the world. With all these “plus” and “minus” qualities,

Istanbul is certainly a “world city” and “city of culture” today…

The population of Istanbul is a very interesting mosaic. People from all social groups are represented in this city. The immigration rush from all parts of Turkey has brought Istanbul to be “the synthesis of this country.” It is hard to say that “the education and culture level” is at the same level with western cities, in the demography. But the “intelligentsia” of is strong enough to be dominant in the cultural life of the city. Or, “the intellectuals of Istanbul” are not only in “artliterature areas”, they are represented in many areas. For instance, most of “the businessmen at the top” are the active elements of this “intelligentsia.” Istanbul is organizing most of the festivals that has universal prestige owing to their efforts.

Besides, Istanbul has gained many of the cultural complexes that evoke admiration by the “culture and art foundations” they established. Briefly; The very strong “intelectual consensus” of Istanbul in terms of quality has accomplished the mission to take this city among “the universal culture capitals” with a great success, Istanbul has taken its place among “the world cities that could assimilated universal culture” despite of its mixed demographic structure by the efforts of its intellectuals.

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The incomplete mesnevi of four thousand couplets titled

“Cihad-i Sultan Suleyman ber Iklim-i Rumili” whose poet is unknown according to the records and catalogues actually belongs to Levhi Efendi. It is about the Hungarian, Belgrade and Rhodes conquests.

Mahü mentioned in one of his works that he wrote a mesnevi called “Şehname-yi Humayun” of seven thousand couplets. Ahdi confirmed the existence of Mahfi`s “Şeh-name” in his works, too. Mahremi`s “Suleymanname” consists of ten thousand couplets. It is about the period between Suleyman`s ascent to the throne and his campaign to Baghdad.

Beyazid II

The same poet wrote a second mesnevi about the campaigns and conquests of Beyazid II. “Fetihname-i Sefer-i Zigetvar” was written by a poet called Merahi. This mesnevi by Merahi which includes eulogies for Suleyman the Lawgiver and Sokullu Mehmed Pasha is the story of the last battle campaign of Suleyman the Lawgiver, Zigatvar (974/1566). Another very long mesnevi of four thousand five hundred couplets on Suleyman the Lawgiver was written by Sena`i. A copy of it, inlaid with gold, was made in 947/1540.

Feth-i Kal`a-i Nova” (The conquest of the Castle Nova) is one of the mesnevis of the second group of historical ones which tell us about various-significant personalities around the Lawgiver Sultan, fighting and endeavoring for him and for the empire.

Nova Castle

“Feth-i Kal`a-i Nova” is about the conquest of Nova Castle under the high command of Barbarossa Hayr-eddin Pasha in 946/1539. The same poet, Muradi, wrote another mesnevi about the battles of Barbarossa (died 953/ 1546) and his brother Oruc Reis called “Fetihname-i Hayr-eddin Pasha.” Written in 930/1524, this mesnevi is made up of ten thousand couplets.

“Fetihname-i Kal`a-i Cerbe” written and completed in 967/1560 by Nidai is about the victory won by the navy of the Ottoman Empire on the North African coast against the Christian fleets.

As far as we know, the poet of the mesnevi written on the adventures of Suleyman`s great sea commander Si-nan Pasha was Galatali Hayreddin Celebi (died 980/1573) whose penname was Nigari. This poem tells us about the victory Sinan Pasha (died 961/1554) won over the Spanish Armada during the conquest of Trablus Garb. Also, “Luc-cetu`l-Ahyar”by Yetimi (died 960/1552) is about the battles of Barbarossa and his brother Oruc Reis.

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Vienna coffee house tradition

An ancient, still popular Vienna coffee house tradition known far beyond Austria`s borders dictates that the honoured guest of the establishment should always, and automatically, be served a small glass of water on the small silver tray beside his or her melange, kleiner Brauner or grofier Schwarzer.

This glass of water should not just be free of charge, of course. It should also be replaced with a fresh one the moment it has been imbibed by the guest, certainly in those coffee houses which keep to the old coffee house traditions, even if the guest has since ordered another coffee. And in really, really good coffee houses, this water will, should need be, continue to be served all afternoon, as the guest reads one newspaper after another or chats away to other customers.

And this is why the struggle over the price of water in Viennese guesthouses has become not so much a question of profitability and commerce as a true cultural battle. In Vienna, that small glass of water is a symbol of hospitality. An outmoded, almost anticapitalistic, egalitarian expression of the idea that, even if you are not blessed with a bulging wallet and can only afford the smallest of small black coffees today, you remain as welcome at a Viennese coffee house as a better-off guest.

Real coffee house

The coffee house, after all, is supposed to be a place to bring all in the community together, young and old, rich and poor. This water symbolises the idea that a real coffee house is more than just a gastronomic business oriented to nought but profit; rather, it is a communal meeting place, a place to be together. And it is a nonchalant nicety, because such a glass of water, which comes out of the tap and so has to be paid for by the coffee house owner through his rates whether served to customers or not, might just as well be served to a thirsty guest as used to wash the dishes.

Which is why it is really, really getting up the noses of the people of Vienna that simply because they have poured it into a small glass and put it on the guest`s table, some restaurateurs are now demanding money for a product they will quite happily waste by leaving their dishwashers on, and gallons of which they pour on their floors. In Vienna, that just isn`t on. The Viennese don`t like it. The only ones who buy it are tourists who are used to nothing else. In Vienna, however, it is not normal -and hopefully never will be.

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