Posts tagged Turkish Airlines Belgrade

The Bank Hotel Istanbul: A Remarkable Combination of deep-rooted History with Eclectic Architecture

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual trips, welcome to a new post on the Mr.M blog. People who have been following the Mr.M blog for years know that traveling is my passion and an integral part of my job, and it is always necessary to have reliable partners. During my last visit to the imperial city on two continents, I accepted the invitation of an interesting hotel that represents an extraordinary combination of deep-rooted history with eclectic architecture – The Bank Hotel Istanbul.

The story of this hotel began in the famous street in Istanbul – Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street), where The Bank Hotel Istanbul is located. This is no ordinary street because it hides a rich and unusual history. Once known as Voyvoda Street, it has always played a central role in Galata’s life. The importance of this axis, which was formed as a road together with the inner city walls of Galata, can be recognized as the building of the Parliament of Genoa Palazzo del Comune and the square Piazza Market.

The Genoese community (Magnifica Comunita di Peira) continued in semi-private status until 1682. In the mentioned years, European merchants developed and improved because there were various shops and banks in that area, and local Ottoman administrations were also located there. This street has retained its importance as it did in the Ottoman era. Hence, it can be understood that the street was named after the apartments and residence of the Duke, the local administrator responsible for public order in Galata. In the street below Voyvoda is Mahkeme Street, where Galata Court was located. The name Voyvoda Street was given by Evliya Çelebi, who at that time was a famous explorer in the 17th century, and the street became the center of finance and trade of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.

The unusual meeting of Yılmaz Ulusoy Holding and the hotel building As mentioned earlier, the Bank Hotel building was built in 1867 by Antoine Tedeschi in the Neo-Renaissance style and still emphasizes the importance of the historical value of the city. It is a perfect reflection of the eclectic architectural style of the 19th century. In 2010, their property was bought by Mr. Yılmaz Ulusoy and they started a new adventure in their story that continues since the 1860s. Moreover, the hotel building was created as a combination of two buildings; The Sümerbank building and the Cemaathan building, the former community center of Neve Shalom.

The Bank Hotel Istanbul is located on Banks Street, formerly known as Voyvoda Street and is the center of jewelers and bankers. The trademark of Yılmaz Ulusoy Holding “The Bank Hotel Istanbul” is his first step in the restoration of the building, which has historical and cultural values, with the aim of keeping it alive from the past to the present. After the hotel building was bought by Mr. Yılmaz Ulusoy, the restoration works were carried out by the architect Han Tumertekin.

The building still today reflects the identity of the region where it is located, since its creation in the 19th century. The Bank Hotel Istanbul building, which has been restored on the principle of restoring it by preserving its original condition and protecting its artistic value, continues to host its guests with its meeting rooms, historical calculators, cash registers and life experiences. Who is Mr. Yılmaz Ulusoy? Yılmaz Ulusoy, whose business life for more than half a century has been crowned with the story of a productive, this hard-working and highly positioned businessman is still in the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yılmaz Ulusoy Holding A.S., which operates in many sectors, especially in the branches of tourism, shipping, energy and construction.

During my stay I had the opportunity to stay in a Deluxe King room with a usable area of 29 square meters. These rooms feature colorful ceilings, a green Carrara marble bathroom with a rain shower, specially designed furniture and lighting, a wide sofa and a motorized curtain system. Most rooms have large windows and 5 meter high ceilings. What is important to know about all room categories in this hotel:

  • All rooms are designed by Sinan Kafadar in warm and organic colors, special interior decoration
  • Workable ceilings and parquet floors
  • The radiators are protected in their original condition
  • Blackout curtains and LCD TV
  • Blankets and pillows made of goose feathers
  • All rooms have a work desk
  • Loccitane bathroom products
  • Bathrobes and slippers
  • Mini bar
  • Free internet
  • There is a free coffee machine as well as tea making facilities.

The story of Serica restaurant is inspired by the Silk Road, which brings us traditional recipes of ancient civilizations that sprung from the Mountain of the Gods thousands of years ago and stretched to Istanbul. Although the legacy of the food culture of the Gokturks civilization, which is a nomadic and conquering society to which Turkic communities feel a sense of belonging, is very extensive, other nomadic civilizations that left a mystical gastronomic path to the Silk Road also have different storage and cooking techniques. Serica’s menu was created by the famous chef Tolga Atalaj, bringing together the flavors that the Silk Road gave to the world of gastronomy. The historian of gastronomy, Ozge Samanci, is also a major contributor to the research. Every detail of the recipes that make up the menu contains emotions, tastes, smells and colors that reflect this historic giant road.

In addition to the exceptional Serica Restaurant, this hotel also has the Bank Roof Bar, located in Karakoy, one of the most beloved areas of Istanbul’s history, offering its guests an unforgettable experience with signature cocktails and unique flavors with a magnificent view of the historic peninsula.

Of course, there is also the Lobby Bar & Restaurant in the warm and sophisticated aura of The Bank Istanbul Hotel, located in the center of the bohemian Karakoy, offering its guests the tastes of world cuisine and buffet breakfast options, as well as various cocktails and drinks.

The Spa at The Bank Hotel Istanbul offers modern and traditional care with a classic Turkish hammam in white marble, a fitness center, sauna, steam room and three massage and facial rooms (including a couples room). The spa is available to hotel guests and visitors by appointment.

The Bank Hotel Istanbul represents the pearl of the Marriott International hotel design brand with a rich history and an example of eclectic architecture. This hotel is located in the immediate vicinity of Galata Tower, Galata Bridge and the famous Taksim Square.

Taksim Square located in the Beyoglu area (Beyoglu) in the European part of Istanbul is a major tourist and recreational area known for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network.

Do you perhaps know where the word Taksim comes from? The word Taksim means “division” or “distribution” in Arabic. Taksim Square was originally where the main waters from the north of Istanbul collected and branched off to other parts of the city (hence the name.) This use was established for the area by Sultan Mahmud I. The square takes its name from an Ottoman-era stone reservoir that located on one side of the square.

Today, Taksim is a cultural center with numerous places for entertainment and relaxation, that part of Istanbul never sleeps!

Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue) historically known as Pera Grand Avenue in Beyoglu (Pera) historical district, is a 1.4 kilometer long avenue, a famous pedestrian street and one of the most famous streets in Istanbul. It got its modern name after the proclamation of the Republic on October 29, 1923, Istiklal (Independence) in commemoration of Turkey’s triumph in the War of Independence. The street starts at the northern end of Galata at Tunel Square and goes to Taksim Square. This street features buildings from the late Ottoman era, mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries in a variety of styles, including Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouveau, and the first Turkish national architecture.

There are also several Art Deco buildings from the early years of the Turkish Republic, as well as a number of more recent examples of modern architecture. This street used to be mostly residential blocks, but today most of it is now occupied by boutiques, music stores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, libraries, cafes, pubs, night clubs with live music, hotels, historic patisserie, chocolate bars, restaurants and a growing number international chains of well-known stores. There is even a branch of Madame Tussauds Istanbul on this street.

The Galata Tower (Turkish: Galata Kulesi), officially the Galata Tower Museum, is an old Genoese tower in the Galata section of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey. Built as an observation tower at the highest point of the (lost) walls of Galata, the tower is now an exhibition space and museum and a symbol of Beyoglu and Istanbul.

During the Byzantine period, Emperor Justinian ordered a tower to be erected in what was to become Galata. This tower was destroyed during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In 1267, a Genoese colony was founded in the Galata part of Constantinople. It was surrounded by walls, and the Galata Tower was first built on their highest point as the Romanesque Christ Tower in 1348 during the expansion of the colony. At that time, the Galata Tower, at 67 meters, was the tallest building in the city. After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Genoese colony was abolished and the walls demolished. The tower was allowed to survive and was turned into a prison.

There is a legend that in 1638 Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi allegedly tied his wings and made the first intercontinental flight from the roof of the Galata Tower, landing in Dogancılar Meidanı in Uskudar on the Asian side of the city, a story of dubious authenticity told by the Ottoman travel writer Evliya Çelebi. From 1717, the Ottomans used the tower for fire protection (on the old Istanbul side of the city, the Beyazit Tower had the same function). In 2020, the Galata Tower was restored and then reopened as a museum. The tower is mainly popular for the 360-degree view of Istanbul from the observation deck.

The Galata Bridge is a bridge that spans the Golden Horn in Istanbul. Especially since the end of the 19th century, the bridge appears in Turkish literature, theater, poetry and novels. The current Galata Bridge is only the latest in a series of bridges that have connected Eminonu in the Fatih district and Karakoy in Beyoglu since the early 19th century. The current bridge, the fifth in the same place, was built in 1994. The bridge was named after Galata on the northern coast of the Golden Horn.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special travelogue about The Bank Istanbul Hotel and I believe you will take the opportunity to stay at this hotel during your next visit to the imperial city on two continents. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the world’s Turkish airline – Turkish Airlines and The Bank Istanbul Hotel, which allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Turkish culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey my impressions about this unusual experience from Turkey.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I would like to give special thanks to the staff of The Bank Hotel Istanbul for their warm welcome and hosting me in their hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, a unique experience that I will remember!

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines and The Bank Hotel Istanbul once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience it in a very different way. I feel the beauty of this unusual Turkish culture.

How did you like my story about the unusual The Bank Istanbul Hotel and the presentation of the imperial city on two continents? Have you had the chance to visit Istanbul yet?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Istanbul,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines and The Bank Istanbul Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Turkish Airlines: Take Advantage of the Stopover in Istanbul!

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual trips, welcome to a new post on the Mr.M blog. I would like to thank you for the many messages and emails you have sent me regarding the adventure in China. I am pleased to know that you liked your adventure in China and that you enjoyed my travelogues during May. Today’s story will be dedicated to the new service of the leading Turkish airline, Turkish Airlines, with which you will have the opportunity to enjoy the charms of Istanbul.

If by any chance you missed reading travelogues from China or you want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing
  3. Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore The Gate of Heavenly Peace together
  4. Letters from China: The Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Sacrificial Altar in the Heart of Beijing
  5. Letters from China: The Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China

As I promised you in the first travelogue from China, today I will explain in more detail the new Turkish Airlines program called – Stopover in Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines is the Turkish national airline, which from 2022 operates regular flight services to 340 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, which makes it the largest major carrier in the world by the number of passenger destinations. Interestingly, Turkish Airlines serves more destinations with direct flights from one airport – Istanbul, than any other airline in the world and flies to 126 countries, more than any other airline.

Today I will introduce the Istanbul Stopover program, which offers all Turkish Airlines passengers the opportunity to explore Istanbul. Passengers connecting via Istanbul Airport can enrich their trip by discovering the history and cultural life of the city with the Istanbul Stopover program and enjoy free accommodation in partner hotels.

What exactly does the Stopover in Istanbul program enable? Turkish Airlines provides 1 free night in a 4-star hotel for economy class passengers and 2 free nights in a 5-star hotel for business class passengers on a bed and breakfast basis. Free accommodation in the Istanbul Stopover program is available for flights from different cities, so you can check the LIST and find Stopover departure & destination points.

NOTE: If you are traveling to distant destinations, you can contact Turkish Airlines and find out about the possibility of using this program depending on the final destination.

Conditions that must be met in order to be able to use the Stopover in Istanbul program:

  • Travelers who wish to take advantage of this benefit of free accommodation in Istanbul should choose a connection with a minimum 20-hour waiting time.
  • Free accommodation is only valid for passengers who purchase a return ticket and can only be used in one direction during the trip, on the way out or on the way back.
  • Free accommodation is only valid for Turkish Airlines flights with tickets.
  • The entire procedure of booking and issuing the hotel voucher must be completed 72 hours before the trip.
  • The costs of the transfer between the airport and the hotel and the Turkish visa (if required) are covered by the passenger.
  • Travelers using the free accommodation service cannot use the TourIstanbul service at the same time.
  • The departure and return country of the round trip must be the same for a stopover to apply.
  • The boarding pass and hotel voucher must be shown when checking in at the hotel.
  • Travelers who do not have a hotel voucher with them cannot use the free accommodation service.
  • Passengers with reissued tickets due to flight cancellation or any other irregularity cannot use this service.
  • Free accommodation is subject to hotel availability and Turkish Airlines has the right to change conditions at any time.

Turkish Airlines has two programs for passengers TourIstanbul and Stopover in Istanbul. What is the difference between these programs?

The Touristanbul program is for all Turkish Airlines passengers who have an international flight with a stopover in Istanbul and the connection time is between 6 and 24 hours. In that case, you can take advantage of Turkish Airlines’ free Touristanbul service to discover Istanbul. You can choose one of the eight tours offered by Touristanbul according to the time frame that best suits your flight’s arrival and departure schedule. During the tours, you can visit the most prominent historical sights of Istanbul and enjoy authentic Turkish cuisine. In the city that never sleeps, Touristanbul offers an unforgettable experience. After landing at Istanbul airport, a vehicle will pick you up and return you to the airport at the end of the tour. Although the tour time is carefully arranged and planned, if the guest is unable to take the flight in cases that are our responsibility, we will ensure that the passenger arrives at the destination smoothly on the next flight.

The Stopover in Istanbul program provides a free overnight stay in partner hotels on a bed and breakfast basis. Turkish Airlines provides 1 free night in a 4-star hotel for economy class passengers and 2 free nights in a 5-star hotel for business class passengers on a bed and breakfast basis.

THE DIFFERENCE: Touristanbul is a program of a short visit to Istanbul with a provided meal and a tour of Istanbul, while Stopover in Istanbul is a program that exclusively provides bed and breakfast in partner hotels without the tour of Istanbul, you are free to discover Istanbul on your own.

How to apply for the Stopover in Istanbul program through the Turkish Airlines office? At least 72 hours before the first flight, all Turkish Airlines passengers who meet the above conditions of this program can make a reservation by emailing their first and last name, reservation code (PNR) and ticket number, desired dates of accommodation, desired room type , phone number and e-mail address. For all departures, you can check the LIST and find Stopover departure & destination points and contact information.

When Turkish Airlines receives your request, you will receive a hotel voucher that must be presented at hotel check-in.

If you want to apply for this program through the Turkish Airlines website, you can do so at this LINK.

Partner hotels participating in this program are:

Stopover in Istanbul partner hotels for Turkish Airlines passengers with economy class tickets (1 free night with breakfast):

Stopover in Istanbul partner hotels for Turkish Airlines passengers with business class tickets (2 free nights with breakfast):

Since you have successfully qualified for the Stopover in Istanbul Turkish Airlines program, I would like to share with you some suggestions of what you should visit during your visit to the city on two continents that never sleeps – Istanbul.

Misir Bazaar – Spice Bazaar – Egyptian Bazaar

One market, many names, a place where all your senses will delight. This market is one of the biggest bazaars in the city. Located in the Eminonu district of Fatih district, it is the most famous covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi). Why was this bazaar named “Egyptian bazaar”? It got this name because it was built with revenues from the Ottoman Eyalet of Egypt in 1660. The word mışır has a double meaning in Turkish: “Egypt” and “corn”. That is why the name is sometimes wrongly translated as “Corn Bazaar”.

The bazaar was (and still is) the center of the spice trade in Istanbul, but in recent years shops of other kinds have gradually replaced the spice sellers. The building itself is part of the New Mosque complex. The income obtained from the rented shops in the bazaar building was used for the maintenance of the mosque. The structure was designed by the court architect Koca Kasım Aga, but construction work began under the supervision of another court architect, Mustafa Aga, in the last months of 1660, after the Great Fire of Istanbul in 1660.

After the fire, a major restoration and reconstruction began in the city, which included the continuation of work on the construction of the New Mosque in 1660, the work was temporarily stopped between 1603 and 1660, the construction of the mosque was finally completed in the period between 1660 and 1665. and the beginning of the construction of the mosque. the construction of the Spice Bazaar in the same year, as well as all the buildings in the Kulliie New Mosque, including the Spice Bazaar, was ordered by Sultania Turhan Khatija, Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) of Sultan Mehmed IV.

SULTANAHMET – HAYA SOFIA – BLUE MOSQUE

Sultanahmet Square, once known as the Hippodrome of Constantinople, is today a square in Istanbul, in the immediate vicinity of which are the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Previously, it was a circus that was the sports and social center of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos (ippos) – horse and dromos – road. For this reason, it is sometimes called Atmeidanı (“Horse Square”) in Turkish. Horse and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world, and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

The Blue Mosque of Istanbul, also known by its official formal name, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a historic Ottoman-era imperial mosque located in the center of the old part of the city. A functional mosque, it also attracts a large number of tourists. It was built between 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmed I.

Its Kulije contains Ahmed’s grave, a madrasa and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the interior walls of the mosque, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets and eight side domes. It is located next to Hagia Sophia, the main mosque in Istanbul until the construction of the Blue Mosque and another popular tourist spot. In 1985, the Blue Mosque was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List under the name “Historic Areas of Istanbul”.

Hagia Sophia (literal translation ‘Holy Wisdom’), officially the Great Mosque Hagia Sophia is a mosque and the main cultural and historical site in the old part of the city. The cathedral was originally built as a Greek Orthodox church that lasted from 360 AD until the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. It served as a mosque until 1935, when it became a museum. Two years ago, in 2020 to be exact, Hagia Sophia became a mosque again.

The current building was built by the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as a Christian cathedral in Constantinople for the state church of the Roman Empire between 532 and 537, and was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralus. The official name of the church was the Church of the Holy Wisdom. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is considered to have “changed the history of architecture”.

The current Justinian building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, since the previous one was destroyed in the riots in Nicaea. As the episcopal seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years, until the Cathedral of Seville was completed in 1520. Beginning with later Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia became the paradigmatic form of the Orthodox Church and its architectural style modeled on Ottoman mosques a thousand years later. It has been described as “occupying a unique position in the Christian world” and as an architectural and cultural icon of Byzantine and Orthodox civilization.

Eminönü

Eminonu, historically known as Perama is a predominantly commercial coastal area in Istanbul within the Fatih district near the mouth of the Golden Horn with the southern entrance to the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. It is connected to Karaköy (the historic Galata Tower) via the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn. From 1928 to 2009 it was part of the Sultanahmet district when Sultanahmet was absorbed into Fatih. The bustling main square of Eminonu is overlooked by the New Mosque (Ieni Cami in Turkish) and the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Carsısı in Turkish). Eminonu is an important transport hub.

Several ferries have terminals along the Eminonu coast, and the T1 tram has a stop here. In the southeast, Eminonu flows into Sirkeci, while in the northwest it joins the commercial areas of Tahtakala and Kuchukpazar. Inland from Eminonu is another shopping district, Mahmutpaşa. In Turkish, Eminonu means “in front of justice” (“emin” meaning “justice” and “onu” meaning “in front”). The name probably came from the Ottoman courts and customs houses on the docks; “Emin” was the title of an Ottoman customs official.

Taksim Square – Istikal Street

Taksim Square located in the Beyoglu area (Beyoglu) in the European part of Istanbul is a major tourist and recreational area known for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network.

Do you perhaps know where the word Taksim comes from? The word Taksim means “division” or “distribution” in Arabic. Taksim Square was originally where the main waters from the north of Istanbul collected and branched off to other parts of the city (hence the name.) This use was established for the area by Sultan Mahmud I. The square takes its name from an Ottoman-era stone reservoir that located on one side of the square.

Today, Taksim is a cultural center with numerous places for entertainment and relaxation, that part of Istanbul never sleeps!

Istiklal Street (Independence Avenue) historically known as Pera Grand Avenue in Beyoglu (Pera) historical district, is a 1.4 kilometer long avenue, a famous pedestrian street and one of the most famous streets in Istanbul. It got its modern name after the proclamation of the Republic on October 29, 1923, Istiklal (Independence) in commemoration of Turkey’s triumph in the War of Independence. The street starts at the northern end of Galata at Tunel Square and goes to Taksim Square. This street features buildings from the late Ottoman era, mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries in a variety of styles, including Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouveau, and the first Turkish national architecture.

There are also several Art Deco buildings from the early years of the Turkish Republic, as well as a number of more recent examples of modern architecture. This street used to be mostly residential blocks, but today most of it is now occupied by boutiques, music stores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, libraries, cafes, pubs, night clubs with live music, hotels, historic patisserie, chocolate bars, restaurants and a growing number international chains of well-known stores. There is even a branch of Madame Tussauds Istanbul on this street.

If you want to feel modern Istanbul and enjoy the charms of shopping, my sincere recommendation is to visit the famous Nisantasi district. Nişantaşı is an upscale, mostly secular residential neighborhood in the Şişli neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul. From Osmanbey and Pangalti in the west to the bustling Halaskargazi Caddesi, it is a popular shopping district, full of boutiques, department stores, cafes, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. Many of the streets are still lined with fine apartment blocks from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Directly to the south is the large and green park Mačka, and to the east is the city district of Besiktas.

After a successful shopping therapy, you can go down to Macka Park and enjoy the view of the beautiful Bosphorus! Yes, it is that famous landscape that we can see in many famous Turkish TV shows! Istanbul is full of wonders and believe me, every time I go there I always discover and learn something new, so I always get excited and fall in love with this imperial city on two continents!

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special Istanbul travelogue and I believe you will take advantage of the Turkish Airlines Stopover in Istanbul program where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this imperial city on two continents. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the world’s Turkish airline – Turkish Airlines, which allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Turkish culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey my impressions about this unusual experience from Turkey.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Turkish culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about the Istanbul Stopover program, the presentation of the imperial city on two continents? Have you had the chance to visit Istanbul yet?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Istanbul,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from China: Hutongs, the Best Way to Experience the Beauty of Local Life in Beijing!

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing
  3. Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore The Gate of Heavenly Peace together
  4. Letters from China: The Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Sacrificial Altar in the Heart of Beijing
  5. Letters from China: The Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China

Today we will explore together one of the oldest Hutongs in the capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing. Hutongs represent a type of extremely narrow alleys that are a symbol of northern Chinese cities, especially in Beijing.

In Beijing, hutongs are alleyways formed by rows of xiheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Siheyuan represents a historical housing type commonly found throughout China, most famously in Beijing and rural Shanxi. Throughout Chinese history, the xiheyuan composition was the basic pattern used for residences, palaces, temples, monasteries, family businesses, and government offices. In ancient times, a spacious xiheyuan would be occupied by one, usually large and extended family, signifying wealth and prosperity. Today, the remaining xiheyuans are often still used as split-level apartment complexes, although many lack modern amenities.

Many neighborhoods were formed by merging one siheyuan with another to form a hutong, and then merging one hutong with another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such settlements. Since the mid-20th century, many Beijing hutongs have been demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, however, many hutongs have been declared protected, in an attempt to preserve this aspect of China’s cultural history. Hutongs were first established in the Yuan Dynasty and then expanded in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

During the dynastic period in China, the emperors planned the city of Beijing and arranged residential areas according to the social classes of the Zhou dynasty. The term “hutong” first appeared during the Yuan Dynasty and is a term of Mongolian origin, meaning “water well”. In the Ming Dynasty at the beginning of the 15th century, the center of Beijing was the Forbidden City, surrounded in concentric circles by the Inner and Outer City. Citizens of higher social status were allowed to live closer to the center of the circles. Aristocrats lived east and west of the imperial palace. The grand xiheyuan of these high officials and wealthy merchants often had beautifully carved and painted roof beams and columns and carefully landscaped gardens.

The hutongs they formed were tidy, bordered by spacious houses and fenced gardens. Beyond the palace, to the north and south, were the common people, merchants, artisans and workers. Their xiheyuans were far smaller in size and simpler in design and decoration, and their hutongs were narrower. Almost all Siheyuans had their main buildings and gates facing south for better lighting, so most hutongs run from east to west. Between the main hutongs, many small lanes led north and south for convenient passage.

Historically, the hutong as a term was also once used as the lowest level of administrative geographical divisions in a city in ancient China, as in the paifang system: the highest division in a city in ancient China was the canine, which is the equivalent of the current day ward. Each canine was surrounded by walls or fences, and the gates of these enclosures were closed and guarded nightly, somewhat like a modern gated community.

Each canine is further divided into several panels or pai, equivalent to the current community (or neighborhood). Each pai in turn contained an area that included several hutongs, and during the Ming Dynasty, Beijing was divided into a total of 36 canines. However, as the ancient Chinese system of urban administrative division gave way to population and household divisions instead of geographic divisions, hutongs were no longer used as the lowest level of administrative geographic division and were replaced by other approaches to division.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Qing court was disintegrating as China’s dynastic era came to an end. He also influenced the traditional arrangement of hutongs. Many new hutongs, built randomly and without any plan, began to appear on the outskirts of the old city, while the old ones lost their former neat appearance. The social stratification of the inhabitants also began to disappear, reflecting the collapse of the feudal system. Many such hutong-like areas have been demolished.

During the period of the Republic of China from 1911 to 1948, society was unstable, plagued by civil wars and repeated foreign invasions. Beijing deteriorated, and conditions in the hutongs worsened. Formerly owned and lived in by individual families, xiheyuans were and are shared by many households, with additions added as needed, built from whatever materials were available. The 978 hutongs listed in Qing Dynasty records had grown to 1,330 by 1949. Today in 2008, in some hutons, such as those in Da Shi Lan, conditions are still poor.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, many of Beijing’s old hutongs were destroyed, replaced by wide boulevards and high-rise buildings. Many residents were forced to leave the streets where their families had lived in previous generations and move into high-rise buildings. In Sicheng County, for example, nearly 200 hutongs were demolished out of the 820 it boasted in 1949. However, many of Beijing’s ancient hutongs still exist, and some of them have been designated protected areas. Older neighborhoods survive today, offering a glimpse of life in the capital as it was for generations.

Many hutongs, several hundred years old, near the bell tower and drum tower and Shichahai Lake are preserved among the reconstructed modern two-story and three-story versions. This area is full of tourists, many of whom tour the neighborhood on bicycles. Today, as in the past, hutongs are home to celebrities, business owners and officials. After the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Zhao Ziyang spent his fifteen years under house arrest in a hutong. Zhao’s hutong was previously occupied by one of Empress Dowager Cixi’s hairdressers.

Hutongs represent an important cultural element of the city of Beijing. Thanks to Beijing’s long history and its status as the capital of six dynasties, almost every hutong has its own anecdotes, and some are even connected to historical events. In contrast to the court life and elite culture represented by the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven, hutongs reflect the culture of Beijing’s citizens. Hutongs are residential neighborhoods that still form the heart of Old Beijing.

The pictures you can see in today’s post were taken in one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing – Yandai Xiejie (Yandai Xiejie in Chinese), Yandaikie Street (Yandaixie Street). Located in Xicheng District, it is close to Shichahai which are famous attractions in Beijing. It is 232 meters long with its eastern end at Di’anmen Street and its western end at the Silver Ingot Bridge. Stepping into the street for about 50 meters, one would come to the southern end of Dashibei Hutong, which goes to Drum Tower West Avenue (Gulou Xidajie). Crossing the Silver Ingot Bridge leads to Houhai Bar Street.

According to one of the many books, which was published during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, Yandai Biwai was originally called Drum Tower Xiejie and was changed to the name we know today at the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is recorded that during the Qing Dynasty, there were many pipe shops in this street, including one called Shuangshengtai. The owner of the shop placed a 1.5 meter high wooden smoking pipe as a sign. As time passed, the street was known throughout the city for its huge smoking pipe, hence its name. Some people also say that the street looks like a smoking pipe.

After the revolution ended in 1911, the Qing royal family was deposed, the army (Manchus fed by the Qing government) lost their income and many of them had to sell their possessions, such as antiques, to make a living. Gradually, many ancient markets were formed in Beijing, among which was the great Yandaikie Street. But after 1949, the antiques trade in this street gradually declined. Yandaikie Street lost its commercial position in the 1950s and many buildings were converted into residential buildings, including the Taoist Temple – Guangfu Guan.

At the beginning of the 21st century, more precisely in 2007, the street was renovated in order to regain its historical characteristics. Guangfu Guan became a tourist spot and many reproductions of classical architecture were built on the street. The buildings house shops for Indian clothing, Miao costumes and accessories, Tibetan costumes, Lijiang handicrafts, Shanxi ceramics, Chairman Mao badges and quotes, etc. If you want to experience Chinese commercial culture, the best way would be to buy some souvenirs and haggle with the merchants.

Every hutong has a name. Some have only had one name since their inception, while others have had several throughout their history. Many hutongs are named after their location, local landmark or business, such as: City gates, such as Inner Xizhimen Hutong, indicating that this hutong is located in the “Xizhimen Nei” or “Xizhimen Within” district, which located on the city side of the Xizhimen Gate, a gate on the city wall.

Markets and businesses, such as Yangshi Hutong (Yangshi literally means sheep market) or Yizi Hutong (the local term for soap is iizi) Temples, such as Guanyinsi Hutong (Guaniyinsi is the Kuan-yin Temple) Local features, such as Liushu Hutong (Liushu means willow), which was originally named “Liushujing Hutong”, literally “Willow Tree Well Hutong”, after a local well.

Some hutongs are named after people, such as Mengduan Hutong (named after Meng Duan, the Ming Dynasty mayor of Beijing whose residence was in this hutong). Others were given an auspicious name, with words with generic positive attributes, such as Xiqing Hutong (Xiking means happy) Hutongs that share a name, or longer hutongs divided into sections, are often identified by direction. for example, there are three Hongmen Hutongs (“Red Gate Hutong”), namely West Hongmen Hutong, East Hongmen Hutong and South Hongmen Hutong (all three Hutongs have been erased since 2011 and no longer exist).

While most Beijing hutongs are flat, Jiudaowan Hutong turns nineteen times. Located near Beikinkiao Station, its name jiǔ dào wān literally means “Nine Turns”. At its narrowest point, the Kianshi Hutong near Qianmen (Front Gate) is only 40 centimeters wide.

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this sixth and at the same time the last special travelogue in the series of travelogues about wonderful China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the Hutongs which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from China: The Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Sacrificial Altar in the Heart of Beijing

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing
  3. Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore The Gate of Heavenly Peace together

Today we will explore together the complex of imperial religious buildings that form the heart of the capital of China and where numerous historical events took place that changed the history of this unusual Far East country.

The Temple of Heaven is a complex of imperial religious buildings located in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of praying to Heaven for a good harvest. The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and is described as a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design that simply and graphically illustrates the cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s greatest civilizations. The symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven has had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East to this day.

Let’s take a look together through the interesting history of this imperial religious complex. The temple complex was built between 1406 and 1420 during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, who was also responsible for building the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was expanded and renamed the Temple of Heaven during the reign of Emperor Jiajing in the 16th century.

JiaJing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Earth, and the Temple of the Moon. The Temple of Heaven was rebuilt in the 18th century during the Qianlong Emperor. The state budget was insufficient at the time, so this was the last extensive restoration of the temple complex during the reign of the emperors.

The temple was captured by the Anglo-French alliance during the Second Opium War. Later, in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Nation Alliance seized the temple complex and turned it into a temporary headquarters for forces in Beijing for a period of one year. With the fall of the Qing, the temple complex fell into disrepair. Neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years.

Later, in 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to declare himself Emperor of China. In 1918, the temple was turned into a park and opened to the public for the first time.

This imperial religious complex is imposing and large as the temple area alone covers 2.73 square kilometers of parkland and consists of three main buildings, all of which were built according to strict requirements:

The Hall of Prayer for a Good Harvest is a magnificent circular building with three gables, 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters high, built on three levels of a marble stone base, where the emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, without nails. The original building burned down in a fire caused by lightning in 1889. The current building was rebuilt a few years after the incident.

The Hall of Prayer for a Good Harvest

The Imperial Vault of Heaven is a circular building with one gable, built on one level from a marble stone foundation. It is located south of the House of Prayer for Good Harvests and resembles it, but is smaller. It is surrounded by a smooth circular Echo Wall, which can transmit sounds over long distances. The Imperial Vault is connected to the Hall of Prayer by the Vermilion Steps Bridge, an elevated walkway 360 meters long that slowly ascends from the vault to the Hall of Prayer. The dome for this building also has no cross beams to support the dome.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven

The Circular Mound Altar is a preaching altar, located south of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. It is an empty circular platform on three levels of marble stone, each decorated with elaborately carved dragons. The numbers of the various elements of the altar, including its balusters and steps, are either nine, a sacred number in Chinese culture, or symbols of eternity. The center of the altar is a round slab called the Heart of Heaven or Supreme Yang, where the emperor prayed for favorable weather. Thanks to the design of the altar, the sound of the prayer will reflect off the guardrail, creating a significant resonance, which was supposed to help the prayer communicate with Heaven. The altar was built by Emperor Jiajing in 1530, and rebuilt in 1740.

It is also still customary for the Chinese to pray at this circular altar, where they pray and by turning around their axis, they believe that they are in direct contact with the cosmos and that their prayers will be answered.

The Circular Mound Altar

How was the prayer ceremony performed in imperial China? In ancient China, the Chinese emperor was considered the Son of Heaven, who governed earthly affairs on behalf of and represented the heavenly authority. It was extremely important to be seen as showing respect for the source of his authority in the form of sacrifices to heaven. The temple was built for these ceremonies, mostly with prayers for good harvests.

Twice a year, the emperor and all his retinue would travel from the Forbidden City through Beijing to encamp inside the compound, wearing special robes and abstaining from meat during the ceremonial process. No ordinary Chinese were allowed to see this procession or the following ceremony.

In the temple complex, the Emperor personally prayed to Heaven for good harvests. The culmination of the rite at the time of the winter solstice was performed by the emperor on the earthly mountain. The ceremony had to be perfectly completed, as it was widely believed that the slightest mistake would portend a bad omen for the entire nation in the coming year.

This temple has a special symbolism and I will try my best to explain it to you, since the guide was talking too fast, for the first time I have to keep an audio diary myself to fully understand the meaning of this place. According to ancient Chinese belief, earth was represented by a square and Heaven by a circle, several features of the temple complex symbolize the connection of Heaven and Earth, the circle and the square. The entire temple complex is surrounded by two cordon walls; the outer wall has a taller, semicircular northern end, representing Heaven, and a shorter, rectangular southern end, representing Earth.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Circular Mound Altar are round, each standing on a square courtyard, again representing heaven and earth. The number nine represents the Emperor and is evident in the design of the circular mound altar: one round marble slab is surrounded by a ring of nine slabs, then a ring of 18 slabs, and so on with a total of nine surrounding rings, the outermost with 9×9 slabs.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months and twelve traditional Chinese hours. Combined, the twelve middle and twelve outer pillars represent the traditional solar terms.

All buildings within the Temple have special dark blue roof tiles, which represent Heaven. The seven-star stone group, east of the Good Harvest Prayer Hall, represents the seven peaks of Mount Taishan, a place of heaven worship in classical China. There are four main supporting, dragon pillars each representing a season. The structure, held by these dragons, imitates the style of an ancient Chinese royal palace. The twelve inner pillars symbolize the lunar months, and the twelve outer pillars are thought to refer to the 12 two-hour periods of the day.

Attributes such as the appearance of the landscape and the originality of the historical building have been preserved either as originally built or reconstructed in the Qing Dynasty. Management and maintenance are carried out strictly in accordance with the records in historical literature and archaeological evidence, in order to preserve the historical condition, while the exhibitions held here regularly are also organized to reflect the authenticity of this imperial religious complex.

The general layout and architectural features of the estate clearly demonstrate traditional Chinese philosophical ideas, cosmogony, sacrificial rituals, and scientific and artistic achievements, as well as truly reflect the political and cultural concepts and historical characteristics of the time.

The surrounding park surrounding this religious imperial complex is quite extensive, with the entire complex covering 267 hectares (660 hectares in total). Some of them consist of playgrounds, exercise and game areas. These facilities are used by adults as well as parents and grandparents who bring their children to play. Some of the open spaces and side buildings are often used, especially in the morning, for choir performances, ethnic dances and other festive events.

In the following travelogues, you will get to know some of the famous sights such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog and will not leave you indifferent. .

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this fourth special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the The Temple of Heaven, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore the Gate of Heavenly Peace together

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing

Today we will explore together the landmark that forms the heart of the Chinese capital and where numerous historical events took place that changed the history of this unusual Far East country in the heart of East Asia.

Tiananmen Square or Tian’anmen Square is a city square in the center of the city, named after the eponymous Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”), which is located in the north of this square and separates the square from the Forbidden City. The square houses the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on the square on October 1, 1949, where the anniversary of this event is traditionally celebrated to this day. Tiananmen Square is the largest square in the world because with its area of over 200,000 square meters, it is bigger than Red Square in Moscow.

Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”) is a gate in the wall of the Imperial City, built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty. In the 17th century, fighting between Li Zicheng’s rebel forces and the Manchu-led forces of the Qing Dynasty caused extensive damage or even destroyed the gate. Tiananmen Square was designed and built in 1651, and was enlarged four times in the mid-20th century. The gate historically known as the “Great Ming Gate”, the southern gate of the Imperial City is located near the center of the square. During the Qing Dynasty, it was renamed the “Great Gate of the Qing”, and during the Republican era, it was renamed the “Gate of China”. Unlike other gates in Beijing, such as Tiananmen and Zhengyang Gate, this was a purely ceremonial gate, with three arches but no ramparts, similar in style to ceremonial gates found in Ming tombs.

This gate had a special status as the “Gate of the Nation”, which is evident from its successive names. It usually remained closed, except when the emperor was passing by. Traffic was diverted to the side gates at the west and east ends of the square. Because of this traffic diversion, a busy market, called “Chess Grid Streets” was developed in the large walled square south of this gate.

Iconic image of Tiananmen Square from the May Fourth Movement 1919 In 1860, during the Second Opium War, when British and French troops occupied Beijing, they set up camp near the gate and briefly considered burning down the gate and the Forbidden City. In the end, they decided to spare the Forbidden City and set fire to the Old Summer Palace instead. The Xianfeng Emperor eventually agreed to let Western powers barrack – and later establish diplomatic missions – in the area, so there was an embassy quarter immediately east of the square. When forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance besieged Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, they badly damaged office complexes and burned down several ministries. After the Boxer Rebellion ended, the area became a staging area for the Eight Nations Alliance to assemble their military forces.

In 1954, the gate of China was demolished, which made it possible to expand the square. In November 1958, a major expansion of Tiananmen Square began, which was completed after only 11 months, in August 1959. This followed Mao Zedong’s vision to make the square the largest and most spectacular in the world, with the intention of accommodating over 500,000 people. In that process, a large number of residential buildings and other buildings were demolished. A monument to national heroes was erected on its southern edge.

At the same time, as part of the Ten Great Buildings built between 1958 and 1959 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, the Great Hall of the People and the Revolutionary History Museum (now the National Museum of China) were erected on the west and east sides of the square.

During the first decade of the People’s Republic of China, every National Day (October 1) was marked by a large military parade in Tiananmen Square, in conscious imitation of the annual Soviet celebrations of the Bolshevik Revolution. After the disaster of the Great Leap Forward, the CCP decided to cut costs and have only smaller annual National Day celebrations in addition to a big celebration with a military parade every 10 years.

However, the chaos of the Cultural Revolution almost prevented such an event from being held on National Day in 1969, which it did (parades were held in 1966 and 1970). Ten years later, in 1979, the CCP again decided against the grand celebration, which came at a time when Deng Xiaoping was still consolidating power and China had suffered a setback in a border war with Vietnam earlier in the year.

By 1984, when the situation had significantly improved and stabilized, the PRC held a military parade for the first time since 1959. After the Tiananmen Square massacre, any such activities were prevented in October 1989, but military parades were held in 1999 and 2009 to mark the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On May 8, 2015, a military parade was held to celebrate 70 years since the end of World War II.

Who is Mao Zedong? Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which he led as the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from the establishment of the PRC in 1949 until his death in 1976. Ideologically a Marxist-Leninist, his theories, military strategies and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

On October 1, 1949, Mr. Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China from the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen), and later that week he declared, “The Chinese people have risen up.” Mao went to Moscow for long talks in the winter of 1949-50. Mao initiated talks that focused on China’s political and economic revolution, foreign policy, railroads, naval bases, and Soviet economic and technical assistance.

In the 1970s, more precisely in 1971, large portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong were placed on the square, painted by the artist Ge Xiaoguang, who is also responsible for creating the famous Mao portrait that is located at the Gate of Heavenly Peace. In 1980, with the degradation of political ideology after Mao’s death, the portraits were taken down and have since been published only on Labor Day (May 1) and National Day. Later, in 1988, the CCP leadership decided to display only portraits of Sun and Mao on national holidays. A year after Mao’s death, a mausoleum was built near the site of the former Chinese Gate along the main axis of the north-south square. In connection with this project, the square was further enlarged to become completely rectangular and able to accommodate 600,000 people. The urban context of the square was changed in the 1990s by the construction of the Great National Theater in its vicinity and the expansion of the National Museum.

Tiananmen Square, used as a place for mass gatherings since its inception, its flatness contrasts with the 38-meter-tall “Monument to the People’s Heroes” and the “Mao Zedong Mausoleum.” The square is located in between. two ancient, massive gates: Tiananmen in the north and Zhengyangmen (better known as Qianmen) in the south. Along the western side of the square is the Great House of the People. On the east side is the National Museum of China (dedicated to Chinese history before 1919). Installed in 1989, the Statue of Liberty, a Western icon, holds its torch above the square. Chang’an Avenue, used for parades, is located between Tian’anmen and the square. Trees line the eastern and western edges of the square, but the square itself is open, without trees or benches. The square is illuminated by large lampposts equipped with video cameras. Uniformed and plainclothes policemen can always be found on the square.

When you pass through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, you enter the imperial palace complex, which is called the Forbidden City by one name. It is surrounded by a number of lavish imperial gardens and temples, including Zhongshan Park, the Imperial Ancestral Sacrifice Temple, Beihai Park and Jingshan Park. This complex is officially managed by the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City was built between 1406 and 1420 and was the former Chinese Imperial Palace and the winter residence of the Emperor of China from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, between 1420 and 1924. The city served as the home of Chinese emperors and their households and was the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for more than 500 years. Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the supervision of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artworks and artifacts was built on the basis of the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Forbidden City was declared a world heritage site in 1987.

The complex consists of 980 buildings, which include 9,999 rooms and cover an area of 720,000 square meters. The palace exemplifies the opulence of Chinese imperial residences and traditional Chinese court architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural development in East Asia and the region. The Forbidden City is included in the UNESCO list as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Since 2012, the Forbidden City has seen an average of 14 million visitors a year, and according to some official figures, more than 19 million visitors in 2019 before the pandemic.

During 2018, an interesting research was done and the market value of the Forbidden City was determined, where it was estimated at 70 billion US dollars, which makes it both the most valuable palace in the world and the most valuable real estate in the world. The Forbidden City in Beijing is one of the largest and best-preserved wooden buildings in the world. It was listed as the first group of national key cultural relics in 1961.

The Forbidden City is in the shape of a rectangle, with approximate dimensions of 961 meters from north to south and 753 meters from east to west. It consists of 980 preserved buildings with 8,886 rooms. The layout of the Forbidden City activated and protected the Imperial Code of Ethics as a physical installation. The courtyard is built on a massive, luxurious scale, but has the appearance of an ordinary quadrangular courtyard. A common myth states that there are 9999 rooms including the anteroom, based on oral tradition and not supported by research evidence. The Forbidden City was designed to be the center of the ancient walled city of Beijing. It is enclosed in a larger, walled area called the Imperial City. The Imperial City, in turn, is surrounded by the Inner City; south of it lies the Outer City.

In the following travelogues, you will get to know some of the famous sights such as the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog and will not leave you indifferent. .

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this third special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the Tiananmen Square, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, the first luxury hotel in China that adorns the soul of the capital

My dear travelers and fans of unique trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s post, I would like to thank The Peninsula Beijing hotel and the world’s leading Turkish Airlines airline for the warm invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

In the previous post, we started our adventure in China, if you want to know more information, take a few minutes to read the first travelogue from Beijing at the following link.

Peninsula Hotels is the world’s leading luxury hotel brand, owned and operated by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), which was founded in 1866. The HSH Group has a proud heritage as Asia’s oldest hotel company still in operation. Back in 1928, the first flagship hotel, The Peninsula, opened in Hong Kong in 1928. Today, the Peninsula Hotel portfolio consists of 10 hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Paris, Bangkok and Manila. New Peninsula hotels are currently under development in London and Istanbul.

The hotel in which I had the opportunity to stay in the heart of Beijing – The Peninsula Beijing was opened in 1989 and can proudly stand out as one of the first luxury hotels in the Chinese capital. Following a complete renovation inspired by China’s imperial architecture, exquisite art and cultural traditions, The Peninsula Beijing sets spectacular new standards as Beijing’s premier all-suite hotel.

Guests staying for business or pleasure have the opportunity to enjoy luxurious suites, award-winning cuisine in three international restaurants and rejuvenating spa journeys enhanced by unparalleled personal service and state-of-the-art technology. The Peninsula Beijing is recognized as the premier address in the capital for business and leisure travelers. Perfectly located in the center of the city’s Wangfujing shopping district and within walking distance of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the hotel is easily connected to the Second Grand Ring Road, offering unrivaled proximity to major commercial, tourist and diplomatic areas.

Among The Peninsula’s many achievements since opening, The Peninsula Arcade was the first luxury shopping destination in China when it opened in 1990. Many of the world’s most famous connoisseurs of the art of luxury, including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès, have opened their flagship store in China in this very hotel. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy the launch of seasonal collections, special limited series and exclusive promotions of eminent luxury brands throughout the year. On-call concierge services, such as contactless shopping and in-room delivery, add extra convenience to the shopping experience.

For nearly a century, The Peninsula Hotel’s unparalleled elegance and service has enabled guests around the world to create extraordinary memories. In line with “The Peninsula Promise” – a commitment to providing the ultimate guest experience – I am pleased to present a series of new special offers that further enhance guest luxury, setting new standards in the hospitality industry.

These initiatives – including a new expanded and flexible check-in and check-out schedule, guaranteed connecting rooms and special rates at the time of booking, a collection of eco-friendly, customized guest amenities; contactless 24-hour concierge services and more – ensure that every aspect of your stay at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel, from travel planning to in-room enjoyment, is supremely comfortable, safe and seamless.

Peninsula Hotels recently launched PenChat, a 24-hour private e-concierge service, allowing you to experience the ultimate in personalized attention. Without the hassle of downloading a new app, PenChat lets you send requests and questions to your hotel’s concierge team from the instant messaging apps you already use on your mobile devices (including WhatsApp or WeChat). No matter what time of day or night you contact PenChat, you will receive real-time responses in English and in the local language of your hotel according to your needs.

The service ensures that every aspect of your stay is managed – from dining and transportation reservations to recommendations for local activities to the delivery of special in-room items such as extra pillows – quickly and securely. Custom destination-inspired amenities soothe and inspire sustainability. The newly launched collection of body care products makes it possible to fulfill this promise. Specially created by local fragrance curators to capture the essence of each Peninsula locale, these products – including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and soap – offer a pleasant olfactory journey to your hotel’s destination. The products are made from natural ingredients and come in recyclable aluminum packaging, accessories such as shower caps, toothbrushes and razors have also been redesigned with sustainable plastic-free materials such as corn starch, wheat, wood and recycled metal.

The Peninsula Hotels, whose hotels around the world are a true reflection of luxurious elegance that has lasted for almost a century, will introduce a new special collection of new wellness resources for its guests, inviting them to experience the “Life Lived Best” program that reminds us to live our lives to the best what we can.

The brand-wide initiative will provide guests at all Peninsula hotels with an unprecedented experience
the opportunity to achieve their fitness, mindfulness and nutrition goals, and to access these opportunities whenever they want through a dedicated Wellness Portal and 24-hour Wellness Concierge service.

This new program offers Peninsula Hotel guests a whole new holistic wellness experience that can improve their overall physical, mental and nutritional health. Many offerings, including activities, classes and menu options will be available at each property in The Peninsula group of hotels, many of which retain the distinctive traditions of the destination cities and are created in collaboration with local residents. In this way, guests who enjoy The Peninsula’s wellness experiences can be confident that they are supporting not only their own health, but also the health of the local community.

With physical fitness, improve your general state of health with the help of the physical vitality of the body. The Peninsula team ensures that your stay can be as active as you need it to be. In a rich offering of guided strength and flexibility routines in the privacy of your room, energizing classes in the fitness center and exciting adventures amidst the scenery and streetscapes of Beijing. On the other hand, peace of mind with relaxing rituals and guided meditation Breathe’s robust line of meditation and relaxation selections aims to help you achieve optimal peace of mind during your stay. In collaboration with the revolutionary Breathe meditation app, they are combined with aromatherapy care rituals, balancing Peninsula Spa treatments and traditional mindfulness practices, allowing you to de-stress and connect with the culture of your travel destination.

With Naturally Peninsula, an exceptional collection of delicious, local and plant-based menus, The Peninsula supports your dietary goals while staying at one of their hotels. In addition to serving you the healthiest ingredients, the program also promotes sustainability and minimizes environmental impact in the communities where The Peninsula hotels are located and around the world.

As you could see from my Instagram posts and stories, my stay at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel was in high style. Relax in spacious “Beijing” suites that combine Chinese art with international sophistication and spirit. Interestingly, the hotel’s previous 525 rooms have been merged to create 230 stunning new suites starting at a spacious 60 square meters, making it the only all-suite hotel in the capital.

Each suite offers a residential ambiance enhanced by a separate bedroom, living room, marble bathroom, walk-in closet and private valet, making calls and deliveries easy ruble with maximum protection of guests’ privacy. Combining two original apartments to create a modern residence of 165 square meters, the Beijing apartments have a large living room and dining room, as well as a spacious wardrobe located next to the master bedroom. A private cinema room with upholstered leather sofas and armchairs offers the possibility to relax with the latest movie releases or watch the good old classics on the 80 inch screen.

The study can easily be converted into a second bedroom for families traveling together. Impeccably incorporating modern Peninsula technology and design, the new suites at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel are the most personalized in the world. The guest experience is enhanced by fully customized in-room amenities, including night and table tablets that can be preset in multiple different foreign languages to control all room functions and access room service menus with a simple touch.

All tips and suggestions on Beijing’s best restaurants, shopping and nightlife, latest openings and special cultural events are at your fingertips on your tablet which can be found in every room of this apartment. Inspired by the interior of a luxury yacht, the new apartments are styled in graceful shades of cream color. Reflecting Beijing’s status as the center of China’s vibrant art scene, the walls are adorned with specially commissioned works by renowned Chinese artists.

The furniture is specially made to order and designed by Henry Leung, handcrafted from sustainable mahogany by Italian luxury furniture manufacturer Cassina adding a cultivated sense of grace and refinement. The huge bathroom styled in black and white marble offers a pampering bath, shower and luxury bath products. An abstract Chinese calligraphic mosaic above the bathtub depicts the movement of a goldfish, inspired by the hotel’s address: Goldfish Lane, Beijing.

Relax and unwind in the ultimate style with a restorative bathing ritual in the comfort of the Beijing suite. Guests can choose and book their own custom bath ritual decorated with Subtle Energies aromatic bath products. Each customized bathing experience is carefully designed to ensure you feel physically and emotionally refreshed after a long journey or a day full of sightseeing in Beijing.

To rest and recharge your batteries for the many activities in Beijing, I highly recommend trying a sleeping patch which is ideal for wearing just before bed or if you might just want to relax during the day. These skin-adhesive patches offer a new way to deliver Subtle Energies’ powerful aromatic actives, which are slowly released over a period of time. Blissful Sleep inhalation patch with 100% pure essential oils provides relaxation from stress, reduction of anxiety levels and subtle energy.

At The Peninsula Beijing Hotel you can enjoy a rich selection of international cuisines. I had the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of French and Chinese cuisine in restaurants Jing and Huang Ting restaurants with a Michelin star. Jing is the only Michelin-starred French restaurant in Beijing, appreciated by guests and foodies alike, Jing Restaurant at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel is one of the best recommendations as the perfect dining destination in Beijing. Michelin stars are awarded only to the best chefs around the world.

Securing one Michelin star for the third year in a row is an impressive achievement for Jing, helmed by chef William Mahi. Ying serves contemporary French gastronomy with subtle Asian influences paired with fine world wines and rare vintages of Champagne in an elegant space reminiscent of a secret garden. Integrated into the design of the new restaurant is Jing Bar, a sophisticated venue for drinking classic cocktails, as well as a large collection of craft gins and whiskeys from around the world.

Chef William delights guests by creating truly revolutionary culinary experiences, pairing creative modern presentations of seasonal ingredients with a thoughtful exploration of Chinese food cultures. Now available, Jing’s à la carte menu showcases Chef William’s inspiring gastronomic vision with unparalleled artistry. The food is served in a sophisticated setting that evokes a secret garden decorated with Chinese designs, allowing guests to enjoy a truly unforgettable experience of Michelin-starred French cuisine.

Inspired by his French origins and culinary education, head chef William always strives to preserve the original taste of each ingredient. Each of the dishes on the menu is carefully designed using sophisticated cooking techniques to create endless surprises for guests. Beautiful presentations invite guests to enjoy innovative French gastronomy with glamor and exceptional finesse.

On the other hand, the Cantonese restaurant Huang Ting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beijing (literally translated as “Court of the Phoenix”) as a Michelin-starred restaurant introduces new decorations, recreating the courtyards of traditional Beijing noble houses. The decor consists of gray brick walls, slate floors and antique pine, ivory and blue silk, as well as an impressive collection of antiques, most of which date back to the Qing Dynasty, to celebrate the traditional elegance of this type of residence.

The restaurant’s walls are constructed from reclaimed bricks from hutong courtyard houses, dating back several hundred years, sourced from demolition crews across Beijing. The wooden huang hua li chairs and tables are replicas of traditional Ming furniture designs. The pine floorboards and beams, sourced from a grand mansion in Suzhou, near Shanghai, and the heavy wooden front door with its iron handle and stitched design are over 200 years old. The restaurant has the capacity to host 140 people and is divided into two parts: the tea room at the entrance and the restaurant itself – and it also has four private dining rooms.

It was a great honor and pleasure for me to be a dear guest of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel and to experience only the best that this hotel can offer its guests. I may have been thousands of kilometers away from my home, but at The Peninsula Beijing, with a warm welcome and traditional Chinese hospitality, I felt like I was in my second home, where other values and traditions are nurtured, with the opportunity to learn something new and bring some new knowledge. and memories from distant China.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this second special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the oldest hotel in the Chinese capital. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel the world airline company Turkish Airlines in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from China.

I would like to give a special thanks to the staff of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel for their warm welcome and hosting me at their hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, a unique experience that I will remember!

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank The Peninsula Beijing Hotel once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

People say that yellow is color of optimism and happiness and attracts positive energy, so I decided to take my FPM Milano Bank Zip Spinner 55 glacier grey cabin suitcase with grey leather details on my trip to Beijing which brought me good luck this year. Not only is it practical, lightweight, but it’s also a photogenic suitcase that many people asked me about at the airport where I bought it.

FPM Milano luggage offers travelers practicality and style, all in one trolley and backpack. Designed by Mark Sadler, these lightweight aluminum-clad and reinforced suitcases are inspired by vintage trunks, purpose-built to give you the durability you need on your travels. The combination of Avante-Garde materials and Italian design motifs give these FPM suitcases a robust and secure look.

This incredible FPM Milano Bank Zip Spinner 55 is made of 100% Makrolon© polycarbonate. The 4 wheels guarantee great stability and smoothness. The suitcase has a TSA lock incorporated (ideal for travelers to the USA) combined with a zipper closure with water resistant treatment. The elastic belt comes with the suitcase and closes with the iconic butterfly lock. The two handles are in Italian fine leather and are embellished with the FPM logo. The internal organization comes with a soft elastic belt with a buckle with FPM logo engraved on one side, and a zip pocket in the other side.ideal for 1-2 day trip.

This cheerful yellow butterfly elastic belt has changed the look of this trolley and it is an interesting accessories. You can choose your favorite color red of yellow and I believe you will be satisfied like me.

If you want to stay up to date and find out which models of suitcases and travel accessories the FPM Milano brand has in its offer, visit their official online store and follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

How did you like my story about the oldest hotel in China and the presentation of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of China? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway land!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from China: Explore the Pearl of the Far East with Turkish Airlines

My dear travelers and fans of unique trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. This May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of this series of travelogues, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

People who have been following the Mr.M blog for years know that traveling is my passion and an integral part of my job, and it is always necessary to have reliable partners. For this Far Eastern adventure, the leading Turkish and world airline, Turkish Airlines, proved to be the best choice due to the good flight schedule, as well as the short transfer time via Istanbul. You must be wondering why this is important? All travelers who fly from Belgrade or the Balkan region after a hard day’s work have the perfect connection time in Istanbul, where they can travel to Far Eastern destinations during the evening hours and thus reach their destination in the shortest possible time. In addition to saving time, travelers save on accommodation costs because they do not need to stay in a hotel.

Turkish Airlines is the Turkish national airline, which from 2022 operates regular flight services to 340 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, which makes it the largest major carrier in the world by the number of passenger destinations. Interestingly, Turkish Airlines serves more destinations with direct flights from one airport – Istanbul, than any other airline in the world and flies to 126 countries, more than any other airline.

Turkish Airlines provides comfort and delicious treats to all its passengers, whether they travel in economy or business class, which I had the opportunity to see for myself during my trip to China. My trip to China was divided into two parts, the first part of the journey from Belgrade to Istanbul I traveled in economy class, while the second part of the journey from Istanbul to Beijing was spent in business class.

The first flight on the route Belgrade – Istanbul was short, the duration of the flight is about an hour and a half, while the second flight on the route Istanbul – Beijing is significantly longer and lasts less than ten hours. Traveling in business class with Turkish Airlines you will feel an iconic Turkish hospitality in the clouds! In business class, Turkish Airlines makes your journey the most pleasant experience, with award-winning culinary masters, the latest in-flight entertainment system and comfortable seats. By choosing business class for your trip, you too can feel special in the sky and travel in comfort while enjoying the miles you have earned through the Miles&Smiles program.

Business class seats are specially designed for maximum comfort. Additional options that can increase your joy of travel are a reading lamp, a power supply for electronic devices and the ability to distance yourself from the noise and create your own little paradise in the sky. In business class, Turkish Airlines helps you sleep comfortably with fully flat seats and complimentary pillows and blankets. In addition, you get an amenity kit that contains a wide variety of items that you might find useful during your trip, such as an eye mask, ear plugs, lip balm and socks.

With its own power supply, the rotating desk reading lamp allows you to enjoy uninterrupted work or pleasure. Turkish Airlines in-flight entertainment system, you can enjoy the latest movies, music playlists and specially made documentaries about the destination country. Before passengers are introduced to the delicious dishes prepared by award-winning chefs on Turkish Airlines flights, passengers are given “welcome drinks”. In addition, all meals, which are served on modern porcelain dishes, are prepared and cooked according to the wishes of the passengers. Menus vary depending on the nature of the summer and are constantly being further refreshed and developed. In addition to enjoying the taste of exquisite food, you can browse the comprehensive menu of hot drinks and make your own selection or enjoy the journey with the taste of Turkish coffee and delights.

During the several-hour flight to China, I used the time to stretch my legs a bit and walk around the plane, so I saw for myself the comfort of economy class on longer flights. Turkish Airlines economy class privileges are available at affordable prices, where you can fit any trip into your budget. Economy class seats on longer international flights are comfortable, so there’s no need to think about comfort and you get everything you need to make your flight go as smoothly as possible from friendly cabin crew.

In one of the following posts, we will get to know the Istanbul Stopover program, which offers all Turkish Airlines passengers the opportunity to explore Istanbul. Passengers connecting via Istanbul Airport can enrich their trip by discovering the history and cultural life of the city with the Istanbul Stopover program and enjoy free accommodation in partner hotels.

I was honestly surprised by the fact that the flight to China was filled with international tourists, considering that the country has recently reopened to international tourism. That is why the team of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China invited me as the first international online media after the pandemic to visit their country and feel the charm and beauty of the capital of China – Beijing.

I have to admit that the flight of almost ten hours “flew by” and that I landed in the capital of China with an entertainment system, delicious food and engrossed in working on the computer to prepare new stories for you on the blog.

China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a country located in the heart of East Asia. It is the second most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion. China spans five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, which is connected to Russia. With an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, it is the third largest country in the world in terms of total land area. The country consists of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities and two special areas – administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The national capital is Beijing, and the most populated city and largest financial center is Shanghai.

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, which with over 21 million inhabitants is the most populous national capital in the world and the second largest city in China after Shanghai. It is located in northern China and under the municipal direct administration of the State Council with 16 urban, suburban and rural districts. Beijing is mostly surrounded by Hebei province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin to the southeast. An interesting fact is that together these three divisions make up the megalopolis of Jingjinji and the capital region of China.

Beijing is widely recognized as a global city and one of the world’s leading centers for culture, diplomacy, politics, finance, business and economics, education, research, language, tourism, media, sports, science and technology, and transportation. As a large metropolis, Beijing is China’s second largest city in terms of population after Shanghai. It is home to most of China’s largest state-owned companies and hosts the largest number of companies. Beijing is also a major hub for the nation’s highway and high-speed rail networks. Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic (the busiest in Asia) as of 2010, and as of 2016 the city’s subway network is the busiest and longest in the world.

Wangfujing – the heart of Beijing, the main commercial street in the Chinese capital where you can see the most famous international brands

Wangfujing (translation from Chinese “Prince’s Palace Well”) is the most famous shopping street in Beijing, China, located in Dongcheng District, most of the main street is a pedestrian zone. There have been commercial activities in the area since the mid-Ming Dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty, ten aristocratic estates and princess residences were built here, soon after a well full of fresh water was discovered, giving the street the name “Wang Fu” (princely residence) and “Jing” (well). Wangfujing is currently home to about 280 stores. In this famous shopping street, you can enjoy shopping at malls like Beijing Department Store, Beijing apm, Beijing Mall and The Malls at Oriental Plaza, VF CENTRAL.

Not far from this main shopping street was my hotel The Peninsula Beijing, the first luxury 5* hotel in China when it opened as The Palace Hotel in 1989. I will write more about this amazing hotel in one of the next travelogues from China.

The Peninsula Beijing luxury 5* Hotel in the heart of Beijing

Combining modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back over three thousand years. As the last of China’s four great ancient capitals, Beijing was the country’s political center for most of the last eight centuries and the world’s largest city by population for much of the second millennium AD. With mountains surrounding the inner city on three sides, in addition to the old inner and outer city walls, Beijing was strategically placed and developed to be the residence of the emperor and was therefore the perfect location for the imperial capital.

The Forbidden City

The city is known for its lavish palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates. Beijing is one of the world’s most important tourist destinations. In 2018, Beijing was the second-highest tourist-earning city in the world after Shanghai. Beijing is home to many national monuments and museums and has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites — the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian and parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal, all of which are extremely popular with world tourists. Siheyuans, a traditional urban style of housing, and hutongs, the narrow alleyways between the siheyuans, are major tourist attractions and are common in urban Beijing.

Beijing is famous for its siheyuans, a type of residence where a common courtyard is shared by surrounding buildings. Among the grander examples are Prince Gong’s Mansion and Soong Ching-ling’s residence. These courtyards are usually connected by alleys called hutongs. Hutongs are generally flat and run from east to west, so the doors face north and south for good Feng Shui. They differ in width. some are even so narrow that only a few pedestrians can pass through them.

Three styles of architecture predominate in urban Beijing. First, there is the traditional architecture of Imperial China, perhaps best exemplified by the massive Tian’anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace), which remains a trademark of the People’s Republic of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of the Imperial Ancestors, and the Temple of Heaven. The second style, sometimes called the “Sino-Soviet” style, with structures that tend to be boxy and sometimes poorly built, was built between the 1950s and 1970s. Finally, there are many more modern architectural forms, most noticeable in the Beijing Central District area in eastern Beijing, such as the new headquarters of China Central Television, alongside buildings elsewhere in the city such as the Beijing National Stadium and the National Performing Arts Center.

Tiananmen Square or Tian’anmen Square (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”)

In the following travelogues, you will get to know some of the famous sights such as the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog!

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this first special travelogue in a series of travelogues about China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

The Temple of Heaven

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

The Summer Palace

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the capital Beijing, which adorns the heart of this unusual country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Turkey in my Eyes: Let The Distance Keep us Together

My dear travellers, how are today? I hope you’re doing just fine because it’s time to continue our adventure in Eastern Turkey! At the very beginning, I would like to thank everyone on the wonderful messages you sent me through social networks and via e-mail. Your support and your comments really mean a lot to me, because they help me to write the right content for my blog which will fulfill all your needs and wishes.

Today we are continuing our adventure and in our previous story we came to Kars… Dogu Express helped us get to Kars, and from Kars we had to unfortunately to continue our journey on foot… Of course, it’s a joke!

Who has not been able to read my previous post from Turkey or someone just wants to remind a little, you can read the post on this link. According to the plan and program which Turkish Airlines had made for us the next important sights were the ruins of Ani.

Ani city was formerly a symbol of luxury and wealth, famous for its large number of imposing buildings and luxurious architecture, a city inhabited by famous merchants, rich people – crème de la crème kind of people… What happened? As in every story, there is always a word BUT, so in this case I can only say that it is the place where only ruins are left, which are also the only witnesses of the golden era of one of the largest and richest cities in the world.

Today, instead of splendid city, there are still ruins in the area of ​​the former city of Ani, and for this reason it received the nickname “the City of Ghosts.” The ruins are located at the border of Turkey and Armenia. I sincerely hope that with the help of archaeologists, little luck, careful and dedicated work Ani city will slightly regain its old glory and shine, it really deserves and just awaits the perfect moment to shine again!

Ani was also known as the city of the 1001 churches, and it is assumed that during the golden age in the city lived over 100,000 inhabitants. The nickname “the city of 1001 churches” may have been more than overly, but historians and archaeologists have so far found little less than 100 religious objects, so this evidence suggests that the Armenian monarchists were very religious and were dedicated to the construction of the sanctuaries (holy objects).

Today, at this site you can find the Cathedral of Ani, more precisely its ruins. Built from red brick, a religious building located on a special hill and today attracts the attention of visitors. The Cathedral’s dome was largely destroyed during a major earthquake in the 14th century, which was not unfortunately an end because after that, the other part of the cathedral was destroyed, but there remained a ruin that could still show the real beauty of this incredible temple.

According to some books, the Cathedral of Ani was built in the period when the city of Ani was at the golden age of its rise, during the 11th Century. There is also the church of St. George, which is still in the ravine on the border between Turkey and Armenia today. St. George’s Church is considered one of the best preserved objects in the area of ​​the former city of Ani. Everyone thinks buildings, are just empty, have no soul, but they are witness of various great same things that have changed the course of history.

After a good hiking, believe me that I was a bit ill and that this walk through Ani was pleasant, maybe the temperature was below zero, but the mood and beauty of the landscape made me feel cold at all, but the feeling of unusual happiness and pride because I had the opportunity to visit such an unusual place as the city of Ani.

Slowly, our small blogging group was gathering and it was time to move on… We were a bit hungry, which is normal after a couple of hours of walking and exploring sites like Ruins of Ani. Before entering the bus, I turned around again, for the last time to greet the city of Ani, because I truly enjoyed the story of a golden city: “Bye Ani, maybe we’ll see another way, See you!”

Bloggers continued their journey, with a great excitement we showed pictures to each other, everyone in his own way showed the old glory of Ani and our friends from Turkish Airlines took us to Lake Cildir, where was organized lunch.

The scene was like a fairy tale, many bloggers went with fishermen to see how they are fishing in a frozen lake, but my fear of water, and that the ice will break under my feet, so I was a bit brave and went to some parts of the lake that I considered it will be safe for me. This time luck was not enough to provoke my courage! 🙂

The time for lunch was just flied so fast, so we had to hurry up to the mountains, so little Marko step suddenly on the snowboard on this journey… It’s good that I still stayed in a good shape… and also in one piece! 😀

Sarikamis! The Mountain Heaven for real lovers of winter sports, if I remember well the price of a ski pass for a lift for an entire day is about 5 euros, if in any case you also rent ski and snowboard equipment, I think that together with the ski pass the pass is less than 20 euros, which is extremely cheap compared to some European ski resorts.

We were stayed in Sarikamis Kayi Hotel, I would like to share with you one interesting fact about this lovely hotel. Hotel has got a cute epithet from its guests as the “Snow Palace of Sarikamis Mountain” because of perfect location. We had time to rest a bit, so the next day we began with our activities much later than usual.

After breakfast, just as I have planned to the room to pack my things, our friends from Turkish Airlines told us that if by any chance in the group there are winter sports lovers, they have a real treat for us and that we have 5,6 hours free to enjoy a little on the snow.

I was lucky enough to forget the keys of the room and the phone so my colleagues searched for me in the hotel because I was faster than wind when it comes to winter magic! When I finished dressing for snow, a guy who was renting equipment asked me: “Do you want skis or snowboard? “. I thought, life goes on and on this mountain are not sharp paths, I could ski on Divcibare mountain, but my father is always scared when he sees me on the snowboard…

I just pointed with my finger on the snowboard and after a few minutes little Marko found himself on the ski lift after a long time! First of all, I thought I was crazy, but I’m going to do this! So in that moment I just thought about the landscape, it’s a beautiful and sunny day that’s not going to go anything wrong today!

It was great, I must admit that I spent less time on the snow than I know it when I go to Divcibare mountain, maybe I was tired because of the trip, who knows… After a few hours, the bloggers get together again and we were ready to go for Erzurum, also the last city that was planned to visit during our adventure in Eastern Turkey.

Erzurum is one of the largest cities in this part of Turkey, the largest university center and city that is considered the “cradle of” good kebab. I tried their kebab, I can not tell you how much I have eaten… I’m embarrassed when I remember those beautiful buns, my heart is playing, the pressure is growing! 😀

I’m just saying that all myths are true! Kebab is really fantastic! There are numerous ski resorts around the city and also winter Olympic Games are organized there, so what you are waiting for?

These fantastic 7 days have passed sooo fast, it’s time for us to go back… We caught the evening flight to Istanbul and on the plane we shared our impressions from this trip with a smile on our face. We asked Turkish Airlines team few times about some new adventures, their response were positive so who knows maybe we will see again soon!

Tired, but satisfied I was on my flight to Belgrade, I managed to get a little nap, but also to read the Turkish Airlines magazine where I saw the photo of the Cathedral of Ani and below which was written “Visit Kars!”. I smiled and thought: “Marko, you were there, you will go there again!”. Stewardess brought me breakfast and you know how that classical story goes on the plane.

My dear travellers once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! This post is last one from our Turkish adventure with Turkish Airlines. At the end of the post, I would like to thank my friends from Turkish Airlines for this incredible adventure and the friendly staff from Crown Plaza Harbiye and Sarikamis Kayi Otel hotels that made our stay pleasant and we felt like we were at home.

How do you like this post about Eastern Turkey? Have you ever visited Turkey? Did you have chance to enjoy in the magic of the Turkish culture and of course their cuisine? I would like to share with me your experience! If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Turkish Airlines. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the camera Alpha 7r Mark II.
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Turkey in my Eyes: Dogu Ekspresi, Adventure of a Lifetime

Good morning, my dear travellers! How are you doing this morning?! I sincerely hope that you have slept well and that you are ready to start this weekend with me and I will take you to new exciting adventure in Eastern Turkey. Before I start, I would like to thank you for the wonderful messages you wrote to me in the past few days and I can not describe my happiness right now! In the previous post, I’ve described my short, but lovely adventure in London, but now it’s time to start a story from beginning!

At the end of March this year I received an interesting email from the Turkish Airlines representative office in Serbia where I received a invitation to feel the charm of Eastern Turkey. When I saw that I would be able to visit Cappadocia, which is otherwise the dream of every blogger to have some photos with legendary balloons, I did not wait for a second, but I replied briefly and clearly: YES!

Because of the excitement I did not know what to do next, in my mind I was already in Cappadocia imagined those beautiful, large, colorful balloons and my new adventure has already started. After a couple of hours, I decided to read the itinerary program for this trip, and then I realized that will be one hard, but very interesting adventure. My blogger’s eye was attracted by the word Dogu Ekspresi, I immediately realized that it was some train, so I dropped into a little research where I read that I was going on a journey by train that was otherwise so popular that people are waiting for months to get their tickets for a train that received a grand epithet of Turkish Orient Express.

Otherwise, before I started blogging and during my work on the blog, I often traveled with this airline and every time I was overwhelmed with the service and what the most important flights were always on time and for my hungry soul catering service was always excellent. I remember when I went to Helsinki last year, the stewardess was so nice that she saw that I’m dying hungry, so I got two portions of beef and I was the happiest person on this planet called Earth.

By the time for a flight (thank God and never check out all those details on tickets) I did not even know which class I fly. As always, I arrived 3 hours earlier on the flight. It was so crowded, so I waited my turn. The lady at the check-in counter says: “Sir, you are at the wrong counter now my colleague will help you!” I’m in shock, as I thought I’m on the wrong place, but I have Turkish Airlines tickets…

After her colleague ended up with a passenger, she asked me to go to her counter in order to check in on the flight. I take my suitcase and I get a little out of the way just to read the little boards to know where I am going to, when I read “business class” I was already in heaven. I got my ticket, there really says business class 4F seat, PERFECT! As an international blogger, I traveled several times with the first and the business class, but I never got something like a domestic blogger and I was proud of myself that someone on our Balkan market supported the work on my blog in such a sophisticated way.

The flight to Istanbul this time lasted in my head much shorter, as you see I had enough time to make nice photos and by the way I had fun with the new romance movie of my favorite Turkish actors, who watched the Turkish TV-show “Rented Love” (Turkish: Kiralik Ask) will understand what I’m talking about!

I landed in my beloved Istanbul, I think that Ataturk airport was wondering why I have not been there for so long, but here I’m in my beloved Istanbul – a city on two continents. After I finished all activities such as passport control and luggage, the hardest part came, which I loved less when I travel: searching for my name on one million boards, but well this time I found my hosts in a record-breaking short time! By the way, I met my colleagues bloggers and members of the media from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Of course, little Marko is immediately started to talk and after five minutes I find the ideal chit-chat company.

The first day in Istanbul literally AMAZING, we were on lunch at Nusret. If there are people who are like me and did not know who Nusret is… He is a famous Turkish cook who has become a living legend and has restaurants all over the world. It is recognizable for its movements during cooking, I am sure that you have seen somewhere in the media a guy with sunglasses and in a very unusual way, spice, sew meat and make a show. Let’s not explain further and I’m not blaming myself anymore, here you can check out on this link. 😉

Food brings people together, so I managed to get to know my colleagues and a team from Turkish Airlines who made this dream come true. According to the plan, we had to go back to the hotel after lunch, but we changed a little so we included Taksim square in our program! Little Marko warmed up an initiative to go to Galata Tower and some bloggers were first in Istanbul and also they wanted to see some sights. What about me? I just supported them! 😀

People from the Turkish Airlines team have mentioned to us several times that we will our program starts tomorrow at at 4 am and they tried to explain this to us many times but, the next scene… Four bloggers and one member of the team of the THY team are going to Taksim, there’s really no time for sleeping anyway…

Thank God, so we came back to the hotel a little after midnight, I did not sleep, I watched the Turkish series that I usually follow up, so it came as a great way to fill the time while waiting to leave the hotel. It was 4 am in the morning, all the bloggers had gathered and so sleepy were ready for Cappadocia. This was my second time in life that I used local flights in Turkey and I was just thinking about balloons which are waiting for me in Cappadocia.

Cappadocia is a very unusual place, full of valleys and everything looks like a fairy tale. Whole Cappadocia is shaped by nature, and it only shows how nature can itself create the outstanding works of art without any impact of the human hand. Really amazing! My admiration was interrupted by the words of our guide who told us that due to the strong wind there will be no balloons in the valleys of Cappadocia…

You know those scenes in the Mexican series when the major actor finds out some shocking news, so they put the sound effect of broken glass… That’s how it was in my head at that moment! There was no balloons, that I was not ashamed of my 27 years I would start to cry like a little child… The plan was changed for us, so we went for breakfast, then on ATV Tour, and our day was more than fulfilled. Maybe I did not see the famous balloons in Cappadocia, but I met a new furry friend – Mert.

In Cappadocia we visited two important and very interesting museums: Goreme, open air museum and Gurey, the first underground museum of ceramics and pottery!

Gurey, an unusual newly opened museum of ceramics and pottery, is located in the cave below the Gurey ceramics showroom. This museum has exhibited a private collection of ceramic art that has been collecting for years, and the ancient ceramic hall contains pieces from the prehistoric age.

The open-air museum of Goreme resembles a huge monastery complex consisting of many smaller monasteries located next to each other. Usually tourists when they arrive in Cappadocia, this is the first “station” in Cappadocia. I had the opportunity to enjoy the incredible landscape, and my colleagues made great pictures on the stones. I did not have the courage to climb, but I helped them to make some amazing memories from this wonderful place. 🙂

The second day of this trip was approaching the end, we left Cappadocia and headed for Kayseri because it was our station for boarding the Dogu Ekspresi train. I thought to myself: “Marko, this will be another looong night!” But I managed somehow to sleep a little, it was quite interesting!

The program of our trip was detailed and the timetable was precisely stated, when I first read the program in Belgrade, I realized that we would be traveling by train for 18 hours in one direction and I was afraid that I would succeed, but only I remembered India and said to myself that I can do it. The reality was a bit different, we spent almost twenty hours in the train, we made incredible pictures, some new friendships were made on this train.

What should you need to know about this train? Dogu Ekspresi, known as the “Eastern Express”, is a nightly passenger train operated by the Turkish state railway. The length of the route is 1310 km long, from the railway station in Ankara to the railway station in Kars. The interesting fact is that this is the first night train running east of Ankara. If you want to feel the real adventure, you can buy tickets for this train on this link. I just want to warn you that you must to book the tickets for this train couple months in advance if you want to feel the beauty of this amazing landscape, because this train is very popular attraction in Turkey.

After a long train ride, we reached our goal: Kars! It was time for dinner, so our hosts take this hungry group to restaurant. I have to admit the one thing I love most in Turkish culture: food! In Turkey you will never be hungry and their portions are so big (at least for me) that they really need to be proud of and will use this opportunity to give them the title of the best hosts ever.

My dear travellers once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! This post is just a start of our Turkish adventure with Turkish Airlines and next week we will continue our journey and you will find out something about Kars and Ani Ruins.

At the end of the post, I would like to thank my friends from Turkish Airlines for this incredible adventure and the friendly staff from Crown Plaza Harbiye and Radisson Blu Kayseri hotels that made our stay pleasant and we felt like we were at home.

How do you like this post about Eastern Tukey? Have you ever visited Turkey? Did you have chance to enjoy in the magic of the Turkish culture and of course their sweet Turkish delights like halva or my favourite baklava? I would like to share with me your experience! If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

 

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Turkish Airlines and Dogu Ekspresi, with the unselfish support of other partners of this project, such as Hotel Crown Plaza Harbiye and Hotel Radisson Blu Kayseri. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Alpha 7r Mark II.
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