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"We do not consider our principles as dogmas contained in books said to come from heaven.  We derive our inspiration, not from heaven, or the unseen world, but directly from life."

-- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (father of modern Turkey)

You wanna talk about life -- the region currently known as Turkey has done a whole heck of a lot of living!  Due to its strategic location lodged between two continents, Turkey's culture has quite a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition.  A powerful regional presence in the Eurasian landmass with strong historic, cultural and economic influence in the area between Europe in the west and Central Asia in the east, Russia in the north and the Middle East in the south, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.

For nine days, my wife and I toured three extraordinarily diverse places in Turkey: Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus. This week we will be highlighting our travels in one of the richest places culturally that I've ever experienced: Istanbul. Historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, this city of over fifteen million is the only metropolis in the entire world that is situated on two continents. In its long and illustrious history, Istanbul served as the capital city of the Roman Empire, the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.  If one cannot derive inspiration from this place, good luck finding it anywhere else!

Don't let this languishing economy get you down -- go explore Turkey!  By the way, the food is absolutely to die for!

-- Ken Carlson --