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Still a crossroads...
on 11 September 2013
Turkey that is. Between Western concepts of "East" and "West." Along with Russia, the only country that also straddles both Europe and Asia. I've utilized Lonely Planet guides for years, and they just seem to keep getting better and better. Most importantly, they utilize writers (and the emphasis is on the plural) who truly know the country in general, as well as specializing in certain aspects, for example, food, the monuments, hiking possibilities, etc. The layout is superb, color-coded, with excellent pictures to inspire, but not too many to get in the way of the practical necessary information, including some outstanding maps.
As with other Lonely Planet guides, they divide the country into color-coded regions. In Turkey's case there are six: Istanbul; then two for the archeological rich Aegean, north and south; the entire southern Mediterranean Coast; Cappadocia and Central Anatolia; and finally Eastern Anatolia. I have been to Turkey twice before, in 1971, for seven days, when I crossed the country from west to east, and on into Iran, and in 1989, when I drove out of Syria and then along entire southern Mediterranean coast as well as the Aegean coast to Gallipoli. I've felt that a return to Istanbul is long overdue, and found the guide's coverage most informative, with impressive schematic drawings of Aya Sofya, and Topkapi Palace. Going to the other extreme, as it were, I had "skipped through" eastern Turkey in 1971, and the guide indicates that I did miss much, and most importantly, it is now possible to see it in safety, particularly the northeastern section. The guide outlined two enticing hikes in the Kackar Mountain area that might be "musts" before shucking off this mortal coil.
The only item that seemed to be missing is the following: from the 1989 trip I remember seeing the most impressive Roman mosaics in a small museum in Iskenderun, a small town in the extreme southeastern corner of the country which, at least in '89, was in an area claimed by Syria. There is no mention of these mosaics in this town, or any nearby. Do they still exist? Or were they moved to one of the larger cities? I'd welcome comments, including: "your memory is faulty."
As with all the other Lonely Planet guides, this one rates 5-stars.