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This essay will be devoted to my visit to my native county “Turkey”. I was born and raised in the United States. New York City. I grew up here in the United States, Brooklyn area. I have a mixed culture since I grew up here. My parents wanted me to have the originally Turkish culture. My parents wanted us to visit Turkey to keep with our native culture. Since I was born in the United States, I have never visited Turkey. In this essay, I will explain my first visit experience. Prior to my visit, my knowledge about Turkey was limited. I only hear about it from my parents, family members who live there, and the Turkish media.

My family take trips in the summer to Istanbul where the rest of the family live. But my father and mother has been planning to take us on a trip to Turkey. When my father told the family, that we will visit Turkey, I was not very intrigue about the idea. My father promised that the trip will be full of fun and excitement. The flight was very long; the trip was almost 24 hours including the transit on Frankfort airport which lasted for six hours. We took off from JFK airport; we landed on Frankfort airport after a long flight. I was very tired and exhausted. The longest flight I had experienced in my entire life. I took rest in the airport.

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After that I took a walk in the airport. After six hours transit, the flight continued to Turkey, Istanbul airport. Finally, we arrived at Istanbul airport. Our tour started in the city of Istanbul, we visited many places there. Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is divided in two parts, the old city of Istanbul and the new city of Istanbul. The new city is modern. There are big roads and buildings. I was more attracted to the old city of Istanbul. Which I and the rest of my family were more attracted to see. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and 5th largest city proper in the world with a population of 12. million, also making it the second largest metropolitan area in Europe by population, and the largest metropolitan city proper. Istanbul is also a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents.

Istanbul is a designated alpha world city. In its long history, the city has served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). The city was chosen as joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. Historic areas of Istanbul were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985 I spent five days walking around the city with my family. I took many pictures and souvenirs from there. It was great to walk in the streets of Istanbul.

While I was in Istanbul City, we went to The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It was built of wood after the Conquest of Istanbul around an old Byzantine building which became the part of Old Bedesten (Old Bazaar) today, and got bigger and larger throughout the centuries with the addition of new sections and inns. The Bazaar initially consisted of two warehouses only, known as Inner Bedesten and Sandal Bedesten. Later on open streets were covered with doomed roofs, and separate buildings connected to each other.

Today it covers an area of approximately 31thousand square meters with its over 3000 shops (some even say 4000), 17 inns (Han), 61 streets, over 20thousand employees, 4 fountains, 10 wells, 2 mosques, several cafes and restaurants, change offices, a police station, and 22 gates. It resembles a giant labyrinth and can be a little complicated for the first time visitor, but after a couple of visits there you can familiarize with it because streets are arranged almost on a grid plan, and shops tend to group themselves according to the type of goods they sell. I bought some silver jewelry. I also, got some gifts for my friends.

My mother was happy to go there, because she was able to buy many of the spices which she cannot find in Brooklyn. I noticed the cultural differences between the United States and Turkish. For example, when I was at the Bazaar, to get a good deal, in the United States, I never bargained before, but when I was in Istanbul, I had to bargain every time I made a purchase. I was able to get a silver necklace for one third of its listed price. During my visit to Istanbul City, I had the pleasure to meet the rest of my family. After visiting the family in Istanbul City, we went to Tanzimat Museum and Suleymaniye mosque.

During my stay in the other cities I had to wear a veil to cover my face but I did not have to do that in Istanbul city because people are more modern there. Our last destination was The Cemberlitas Hammam is located next to the Cemberlitas Column, near the Grand Bazaar. The Hammam was originally built as a double bath for both men and women in separate sections, but the women’s section was destroyed in the 19th century under the reign of Sultan Abdul-Aziz in order to widen the road. Lately, the women’s section is re-built but nowadays they use the same entrance with the men before going to their own section.

The dressing room areas are roofed with large domes and are called as cold section (sogukluk). The baths have 38 washing basins (kurna) in the hot areas (sicaklik). In the middle of this hot area, a large and heated marble platform (gobektasi) is located and private bathing cubicles (halvet) are around the room. My family and I we had a great time going to these places. My trip to Istanbul was full of enjoyment and fun. I was very excited to go there. I learned a lot about my heritage. And I will love to go there again. My father made the right decision taking us there.

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