Sivas and the mysterious grave in the road

One of the last thing you expect to see in the middle of a regular urban paved street is a grave complete with a large tombstone. But that’s exactly what you’ll see when driving through Sivas, in central Turkey. Yeni Mahalle Hamzaoğlu is one of the several streets that traverse the relatively new Şarkışla district but, at one point, motorists need to make sure that they don’t drive straight into a grave located right in the road. It’s been there for several years now, but only recently gained national attention,…

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St. Stephen Bulgarian Church: the unique cast iron Church of Istanbul

We are in Istanbul, Turkey, a city that has no shortage of houses of worship, and the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen set along the shore of the Golden Horn blends in with its holy brethren at first glance. Upon closer inspection, however, this cross-shaped basilica is like few others in the world. St. Stephen Church has the detailed ornaments of a regular Orthodox stone church, but it’s actually made of prefabricated cast iron elements. Sometimes referred to as “The Iron Church”, it is considered the largest prefabricated cast iron…

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How to seduce a turkey: a bizarre sex experiments of the 1960s

Two men lurking over the pen. Meanwhile a large, male turkey walked in a circle, readying his mating dance, waiting for the right moment. The moment arrived and, clueless and giddy, the animal excitedly fluffed his feathers and approached his object of desire: the severed head of a taxidermied, female turkey, mounted on a stick. It was the early 1960s, and Dr. Martin Schein and Dr. Edward Hale were working hard at Pennsylvania State University to find out what makes domestic turkeys literally…interested in sex. They began with a taxidermically…

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Lepanto: the battle that saved Europe

Considered by many to have been the most important naval engagement in human history, the Battle of Lepanto was fought on this day, October 7, 1571. In short, It saved the Christian West from defeat by the Ottoman Turks. In the battle, which lasted about five hours, more than 30,000 Muslim Turks and 8,000 Christians lost their life. Not until the First World War would the world again witness such carnage in a single day, and the battle was also remarkable as the last and greatest engagement with oar-propelled vessels.…

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Mad Honey: the hallucinogenic honey that can sell for over $60 a pound on the black market

When bees feed on the pollen of rhododendron flowers, the resulting honey can become a hallucinogenic punch. It’s called “mad honey”, and it has a slightly bitter taste and a reddish color. More notably, a few types of rhododendrons, among them Rhododendron luteum and Rhododendron ponticum, contain grayanotoxin, which can cause serious physiological reactions in humans and animals. Depending on how much a person consumes, reactions can range from hallucinations and a slower heartbeat to temporary paralysis, but also unconsciousness, dizziness, hypotension and atrial-ventricular block. However, rhododendrons flourish at high…

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Turkey’s Burj Al Babas: the abandoned city of the Luxury Castles

The atmosphere seems that of a surreal tale, a Disney fairytale in the Horror version, but the Burj Al Babas project is so far from cinematic fiction, and it develops near Mudurnu, in northwestern Turkey, roughly midway between Istanbul and Ankara. Of course, it’s more eerie than a Disney movie: all of these Gothic-style buildings lie empty, forming a surreal, abandoned ghost town. Started in 2014 by the Sarot Property Group, the huge village with castle-style villas of Disneyland has remained at an advanced stage of completion, with no funds…

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Göbekli Tepe: the most mysterious Archaeological site in the world.

We are in Turkey, where this strange hunter-gatherer architecture believed to be the oldest religious complex known. In 1994, German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt and his team unearthed a handful of findings that continue to revolutionize the way archeologists think about Stone Age man, in fact this important archaeological discovery will probably lead to reconsidering everything that until now had been supposed on the evolution of primitive man. Today’s theories state that only after the advent of agriculture, and subsequent sedentarization, did our Neolithic ancestors come to perform religious practices. The…

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Kaymak, a turkish speciality between butter and cream cheese.

Here we are: We are in Turkey, where i tried a cream made of 60 percent milk fat, really excellent. But if it arrives to the table in a fantastic roll filled with local honey, it’s really legendary. Probably this is one of the reason that some form of the condiment known in Turkey as kaymak has spread throughout the Balkans, the Middle East, and even India. The traditional way of making the dish is to slowly simmer milk (preferably from the water buffalo) over low heat for about two…

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Tombili: a meow-velous tribute to a beloved street cat, famous on the web.

In a city inabithed by lot of cats, it takes an incredible “meow” to truly stand out. This is the story of Tombili, a chubby white-bellied tabby cat with a peculiar penchant for slouching against steps rather than sitting atop them. Her friendly personality made her a beloved resident of Istanbul’s Ziverbey neighborhood. She was, according to the locals, a fantastic cat. Tombili’s fame spread after an image of her relaxing in her preferred pose went viral online and became also a meme. In the photo, she leans against a…

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Did you know, that in Istanbul drinking Coffee in public was punishable by death penalty?

…It’s true! Throughout Europe and the Middle East years ago tried to ban the black drink. In 1633, the ottoman sultan Murad IV absolutely forbade an activity he believed was the cause of social decay and disunity of Istanbul, his capital. The risk and the bad habits of this activity were so terrible that he declared transgressors should be immediately punished with the death, and according to some documents, Murad IV controlled the streets of Istanbul undercover, using a 100-pound broadsword to decapitate all people that he found in this…

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