By Lesya Senyshyn
My visit to Turkey was spontaneous with a sense of relaxation and for extending the summer that was over in my country—Ukraine.
I don’t know the nature of the happiness that the sun and the sea can bring, but it overwhelms me and doubles if I find a mass of pine forest and a huge mountain nearby. Such place became the village Beldibi on the Mediterranean coast – the place of my first and hopefully not the last visit to this country.
Turkey is a very popular country for Ukrainians to visit. Every third person will tell you that he or she was there, and if not, he/she is going to. This country is no less attractive for others, especially for the Russians who believe the rest in Turkey is cheaper and better than in Anapa and Sochi or the occupied Crimea.
The village of Beldibi is popular tourist spot, a typical Turkish small town-resort, which stretches a short strip along the Mediterranean coast, on the slopes of the Taurus Mountains.
Development of the resort began in the second half of the 80s of the last century. Lovers of silence and natural scenery will love this place. Every guide on the way from Antalya Airport to your arrival point will emphasize the beautiful and historical places which are nearby.
They will tell you the ancient legend of Turtle Island and the wild beach, how oranges and mandarins grow together and how to tell them apart. They will mention the mosque and make a beautiful emphasis on respect for the Muslim religion.
By the way, the Turks can be proud of the simple things and are happy to tell you a secret that the cherry tree is their native tree, which grows in the north of the country, and the Dutch tulips are very Turkish and came to Europe in the distant 15th century. Turkey is famous not only for its canyons and gorgeous nature, it is also a leader in the production of nuts, apricots and olives, and olive oil to all the countries of the world.
Of all the offers from tour operators and friends who have visited Turkey before to see the cave complex Beldibi, Canyon Heyniuk, Pamukkale, Olive Museum, Tahtali Mountain, and others, I chose the mountain.
Tahtali (Olympus) is 2365 meters high and it is the most prominent peak of the Turkish Mediterranean. My native Ukrainian highest point – Mount Hoverla, the height is slightly lower – 2061 meters. This comparison inspired my desire to see the Turkish land from above.
Turks are very proud of the fact that the cableway called “From the sea to the sky” leading to the top of the mountain is the longest in Europe and the second longest in the world. Flying between the clouds on the cable car you feel an extraordinary emotional lift watching the top of the mountain, which is mainly covered with alpine meadows, and below the flora is replaced by pine and mountain cedar forests. Closer to the coast, broadleaf forests grow. The mountains are inhabited by lynx, wolves, wild goats, foxes, and many others. From an altitude of about 1900 meters vegetation disappears and lone trees miraculously hold on to the bare rocks.
When identifying a country and leaving a memory of it, you mark things that speak of its identity and uniqueness. Turkish tea and coffee, baklava and Turkish delight, lavash, and kebab, olives, fruits and vegetables, as well as textiles and shoes, carpets and rugs, and of course a souvenir from the evil eye or so-called in Turkish Nazar Boncuk, buying any of the above, we bring a piece of Turkey into our home. I’m no exception, and in memory of the trip brought sweets, a towel, a leather backpack, and two gray stones with white thin stripes raised on a wild beach.
Next time I will visit Istanbul to enjoy its architecture, to see with my own eyes the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace built by the wish of Roksolana Hurem Sultan, a Ukrainian by birth and wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. And drink coffee in a vintage cafe with a Turkish cat on my lap. And most importantly, I will remember the first moment when I set foot in Turkey.