With its shining blue rivers and lakes, densely-colored cities and the surrounding sea, Turkey is a country spoiled by blueness. I am Lisha from Malaysia, who travelled from Istanbul which bridges Europe and Asia, to the neighboring hidden island country Northern Cyprus and witnessed the tempting scenery along my journey.
Strong Religious Atmosphere
The mysterious Turkey embodies not only beautiful views, but also a rich religious atmosphere. Among the 450 mosques in Istanbul, the most famous one is Hagia Sophia with a long history of nearly 1,500 years. Sultan Muhammad II changed the original Orthodox Christian cathedral in Byzantine style into a mosque in 1453. In the following centuries, the four minarets were built, murals and mosaics were plastered and replaced with Islamic texts. Finally in 1935, after years of restoration, the cathedral was re-opened as a museum.
With such a complex religious background, Hagia Sophia is the only church in the world where Christianity and Islam coexist peacefully. Standing on the grass outside the living miracle, it is hard to imagine that the ancient building remains perfect for more than 500 years. Even though the outer part of the church is old faded pink, the interior decoration of the church is as magnificent as the murals while the vague Christian murals covered by the solemn Islamic scriptures can still be noticed. There is also a famous cat called Gli living inside the church, who is regarded as the messenger of God by local residents. Even the former US President Barack Obama has come to visit it!
One Thousand and One Nights
Istanbul has been the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire in history. The Grand Bazaar should be the best option to immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere of the ancient city. As one of the largest and oldest market, it is attracting 250,000 to 400,000 visitors every day with its various beautiful commodities, rich Turkish culture and the entrepreneurial spirit of Turks.
Since the 17th century, most Mediterranean merchants have gathered here and offered colorful oil lamps, aromatic spices, noble carpets and ingenious ceramics. With more than 60 roads and 4,000 shops inside the Grand Bazaar, exploring the market is just like exploring a maze. The most attractive shops for me are the light stores selling multi-coloured Turkish lamps. The exotic glass lamps illuminated with colorful hues are hanging all around. Seeing this dreamy and surreal landscape has already indulged me in the fantasy world of One Thousand and One Nights!
Chilai餐廳另一賣點，是可讓您在飽餐過後，在其私人碼頭登上Den Den 遊輪出海，進一步在美麗的博斯普魯斯海峽欣賞沿岸的世紀建築及宏偉的博斯普魯斯大橋，感受伊斯坦堡的魅力。博斯普魯斯海峽北連黑海，南通馬爾馬拉海，讓土耳其3%的土地被劃分在歐洲，97%屬於亞洲。搭上游船，穿梭在博斯普魯斯海峽，讓人一秒從歐洲橫跨到亞洲，彷彿世界有一半已在眼前真實呈現。
Feel the Charming Straits
Arriving at Istanbul’s world-famous strait Bosphorus, it’s best to find a great restaurant along the strait and enjoy the unique blueness. The four-storey Chilai is perfect for me since it not only offers multi-national cuisine, but also has large floor-to-ceiling glass windows. At night it will turn to a night club, which is currently the hottest restaurant in Istanbul. Serving customers with lamb shanks and special cocktails, it is so chill to enjoy the delicacies while viewing the endless sea. Moreover, the puffs recommended by the restaurant staff are also very delicious. What I fancy especially is the fluffy and crispy surface with the thick Turkish chocolate sauce.
Another selling point of Chilai is that customers can board on Den Den Yachting from private dock after a full meal to further admire the century-old buildings along the Bosphorus and appreciate the magnificent Bosphorus Bridge. Bosphorus connects the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea. Shuttling along Bosphorus allows me to cross from Europe to Asia in a second as Turkey, by land mass, is positioned 3% in Europe and 97% in Asia.
北塞浦路斯 Northern Cyprus
Ancient Greek City State
Many tourists will fly to other cities in Turkey after visiting Istanbul. However, if you are expecting a more memorable exotic experience, Cyprus can be your pick. With bright sunshine and long coastline on the Eurasian border, this place entails a splendid culture of Greece and Turkey. It is an attraction for many European and American tourists in the Mediterranean with a high degree of privacy.
Northern Cyprus is a beautiful place with diverse landscapes. Located on the outskirts of Famagusta, there is an ancient Greek city-state of Salamis of more than 3,000 years old. Before it was destroyed by an earthquake, Salamis was once the capital of Cyprus with over 100,000 inhabitants during its heyday. Even though much of the ancient structures now lay in ruins, fortunately, the semi-circular amphitheatre built in the Augustus era has been meticulously restored to the original appearance.
Distinctive Harbour City
Located in the northern end of the island, Kyrenia is a unique harbour city blending European and Ottoman styles. It has the most important port in Northern Cyprus. With its beautiful scenery, the former prosperous commercial port is now turned into a cosy tourist destination for leisure. Walking along the road towards the pier, you can get a panoramic view of the yachts in the blue Mediterranean Sea and seagulls flying in the setting sun.
At the port stands the Kyrenia Castle. In addition to the architectural structure of the former majestic castle, it is also home to the fascinating Kyrenia Castle museum. One can also see a Greek merchant ship carrying olive oils and wines which was wrecked 2,300 years ago and discovered by archaeologists in 1965. Besides, an official sketch in 1,600 A.D. and a variety of wine vessels are also showcased in the museum. This busy port used to be an important stop for Eurasian sea traffic and brought unprecedented prosperity to Cyprus.
北塞浦路斯貴為頂級度假天堂，擁有許多華麗舒適的度假村，而Merit Royal Hotel絕對是當中的非凡級酒店。它位於北塞浦路斯最美麗的海灣Zephyrus上，被東地中海清澈的海水包圍，即使在最炎熱的日子中，也可感受到緩緩吹來的海風為您消暑。酒店共設有125間套房，以僅有的一間皇家套房最顯赫。房內除了有2間臥室，還備有私人陽台及桑拿浴室，且不論入住那款房型，酒店均提供全包服務，讓您隨時享用指定餐廳的美食，帶來全方位的豪華和舒適體驗。
Traditional Turkish Bath
Among the gorgeous and comfortable resorts in Northern Cyprus, Merit Royal Hotel is definitely extraordinary. Located on Zephyrus, the most beautiful bay in Northern Cyprus, it is surrounded by the clear water of the Eastern Mediterranean with the gentle sea breeze. Merit Royal Hotel has a total of 125 suites, the most prominent of which is the royal suite with private balcony and sauna in addition to the two bedrooms. The hotel also offers allinclusive service regardless of the room type to provide a full range of luxury and comfort and guests can enjoy the cuisine of the designated restaurants anytime.
It is a pity that you didn’t try the Turkish bath in Turkey. Fortunately, you can take the elevator from your room floor to the wellness and spa centre for a traditional Turkish bath. Although the Turkish bath is a kind of steam bath, it focuses more on the water bath process than on the steam, similar to ancient Roman bathing practices. Lying on the warm marble board, the high temperature in the room will make your body sweat to remove the toxins. And then, you can feel more relaxed during the considerate personal treatment that offers an unforgettable washing service.
要了解一個地方，首選的肯定是當地美食文化，作為世界三大菜系之一的土耳其菜，絕對能滿足吃貨們的好奇心。酒店內的The Blue Sea Fish Restaurant以北塞浦路斯盛產的海鮮為主，不過最讓我著迷的，反而是那堆數之不盡的前菜，豐富程度甚至遠遠超越主菜。前菜包括蔬菜、各種豆類、牛、羊肉、起司、魚類，有涼的、溫的、熱的，沙拉類也算是前菜的一種。翻開餐廳的菜單，幾乎一半以上都是前菜的篇幅，其中鹹味優格更是當地的特色，吃過較油膩的烤魚後，來杯鹹味優格，健康有道。
As one of the world’s three major cuisines, Turkish food can definitely satisfy the curiosity of the foodies. The Blue Sea Fish Restaurant in the hotel provides abundant seafood from Northern Cyprus. What fascinated me the most is the endless appetizers before the main course, ranging from vegetables, various kinds of beans, beef, lamb, cheese, fish to the salad. After eating the roasted fish, the refreshing Ayran, the unique Turkish salty yogurt should be a healthy epilogue.
難得來到北塞浦路斯，當然不能錯過其夜生活的熱鬧璀璨！於8月舉行的Russian week， 由下午至午夜均有不同的活動舉行，務求讓您全程投入音樂之中。每到中午，海灘上會接連播數以十首的動感舞曲，亦會不定期舉行比堅尼競賽，配合如詩似畫的日落美景，已足夠玩足整天；黃昏過後，歌手們如列寧格勒、聖女天團與Timati等則輪流進行演出，舉行狂熱的電音派對；踏入午夜，各路DJ及舞者接力，繼續炒熱現場氣氛，讓您盡情享受音樂與酒精的洗禮！
The exciting nightlife of Northern Cyprus is doubtlessly recommended! Especially the Russian week in August, which will hold different events from the afternoon to midnight and ensure that you can get into the music all the time. At noon, there will be dozens of dynamic dance songs on the beach or even bikini competitions from time to time. After dusk, singers such as Nu Virgos and Timati may take turns to perform at an enthusiastic electronic party. At midnight, DJs and dancers will continue to bring the party to life and you can fully enjoy music and alcohol!
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