Turkey sees a rise in hotels for holy guests

Turkey sees a rise in hotels for holy guests

Turkey’s  move towards a more Islamic identity hasn’t only meant a growing popularity for headscarves amongst women in the country that has been secular since 1924  ­­- it has also led to a growth in so-called Halal tourist resorts. A New Yorker article from 2016 neatly summarises the socio-political context:  “Throughout his tenure as Prime Minister and now as President, Erdoğan has distanced himself from (modern Turkey’s founder), Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He views himself as the father of a new Turkish identity, one aligned more closely with its Ottoman past, its Islamic heritage. He has taken the country in a more religious direction, similar to a place it was in before the 1997 coup.”

One of the outcomes of such a move is the burgeoning crop of Islamic friendly hotels serving halal food and enforcing a no-alcohol policy in all or some areas of their premises, alongside on-site prayer facilities. Such hotels and resorts have separate pool, spa and leisure facilities for women, whilst some properties have private women-only beach swimming and/or sun tanning areas, whilst others have mixed beach areas for families with modest swimming dress code.

Halal hotels were once the preserve of rich Muslims, but over the last couple of years, these hotels are cropping up along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, in resorts such as Antalya. Resorts previously catering to beer swilling Russian and west European tourists are now keen to respond to the growing number of websites offering Islamic friendly holidays for Muslim travellers, joining the various other speciality holidays on offer such as kosher, vegan and even specialist Christian holidays.

Join Justine on her trip across Turkey or purchase the DVD or digital file at our shop.

Turkey

main image: Panoramic view of the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey. The courtyard has a square shape, but the mercator projection necessary to squeeze all the field of view into the frame bends the horizontal lines. Panorama created with Hugin.

By Benh LIEU SONG – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12654068

Venice gives fast food the chop

Venice gives fast food the chop

Venetian authorities have banned the sale of  kebabs from its central tourist district  in an effort to preserve the cultural identity of the historic city which they say is being diminished by fast food outlets.

Venice’s tourist chief, Paola Mar, says the sale of mini pizza slices will also be banned from fast food outlets though also added, “The city does not object to kebabs or fast food in principle and does not have a problem with people eating outside.”

Mar went on to say, “The problem is that with a tourist city like ours, there is a risk of it losing its identity,”  Only foodstuffs such as artisanal ice creams  will be excluded from the ban.

Venice, like much of Italy, is proud of its locally sourced cuisines and is the latest city to shut out fast foods from its popular tourist districts. Similar measures have been enacted in Florence and Verona, where it has been met with opposition from locals who appreciate the variety that other cultures bring to the Italian offering.

Venice receives millions of tourists each year and has  long grappled with environmental protection measures for its canal city, including limiting tourist numbers and the introduction of charges to enter public spaces, such as St Marks Square.

To find out more about Venice check out Globe Trekker’s Venice City Guide and Metropolis Venice on our website and store.

A message to our fans

A message to our fans

We urge you to visit our store or on Vimeo where we are curating this valuable and unique collection of shows for our loyal fans around the world.

Only a small selection of our shows are now available on Youtube and Amazon.

We are unhappy with the way these all powerful behemoths of the digital age treat content providers like us, small businesses, producing quality programming, who wish to reach as broad as an audience as possible.

Moving forward all our new shows will only be available on our shop or via Vimeo, our preferred online platforms, until further notice.

Our 25th Anniversary Special – Globe Trekker Season One!

Our 25th Anniversary Special - Globe Trekker Season One!

To celebrate Globe Trekker turning 25, we have a very special special offer – own the HISTORIC FIRST SEASON and watch it instantly for only $19.95!!!! 

Our classic adventures include trips to:

Indonesia – The Eastern Islands
La Ruta Maya
Morocco
Jamaica
Alaska
Pacific Islands
Southeast Australia
Vietnam
North East Brazil
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Japan – Tokyo to Taiwan
North India – Varanasi to the Himalayas
Africa – Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia
fabulous logo supplied by: Wedding vector created by Ibrandify – Freepik.com

Happy 25th Anniversary Globe Trekker!

Happy 25th Anniversary Globe Trekker!

It’s been a quarter of a century of travel, adventures, thrills and spills!

To celebrate we will be looking back at some of the highs and lows from the earliest Season 1 episodes: when Ian Cross and the crew visited Indonesia or Ian Wright hitched through Morocco, there are so many adventures and tales we can’t wait to share with you.

And of course, you can always share your favourite Globe Trekker moments here on Facebook.

Here’s to the next 25!

Ian Wright with almost everything but his head in the sand in Japan

Ian Wright with almost everything but his head in the sand in Japan

Martin Luther King Day, a lasting legacy

Martin Luther King Day, a lasting legacy

“I Have a Dream” was the infamous line given during American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr’s public speech delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism in the United States and for civil and economic rights. The speech was delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King was a vital part of the civil rights activist. As one of the leaders of the movement to end racial segregation in the United States, he was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was assassinated in 1968.

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was instigated for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions led the campaign for the federal holiday which was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single “Happy Birthday” and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although not observed in all states until the year 2000. In 1990, the Wyoming legislature designated Martin Luther King Jr/Wyoming Equality Day as a legal holiday.

We visited the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial  located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. , covering four acres and including a granite statue of King by sculptor Lei Yixin:

 

main image: c/o By ProhibitOnions – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16146667

The Magnificence of Mayan Structures

The Magnificence of Mayan Structures

Rising out of jungle across the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico are the ruins of dozens of Mayan cities. Most of these ruins are at least 1,200 years old, dating back to the glory days of the Maya around 700 AD.

Discovered though largely ignored by Spanish conquistadors during their Aztec conquest in the 16th century, it was 300 years later, in the 19th century, when European explorers ‘discovered’,  and subsequently took the time to investigate and learn the ways to unlock the wonders of this fascinating pre Hispanic civilization.

Mayan structure

A great Mayan structure

Today the sites of Chichenitza, Tulum, Palenque and Uxmal are internationally famous but scores of other sites remain little known and visited.

One  such site, Coba, about two hours drive south of Cancun, and one hour west of Tulum, is home to the largest Mayan pyramid in Mexico, which visitors can still climb.

Coba was an important Mayan city, evidenced by the many raised stone roads linking its buildings which stretch out across a 120 square kilometre site. Here you can see two Mayan ball courts where the Mayans played their ingenious ball game, pelota. Then  bicycle or walk along enchanting paths encased by the jungle canopy to visit the imposing Nohoch Mul, at 138 feet the highest Mayan structure in the Yucatan.

Sak Ch’een, lord of Motul de San José c.8th century,[27] dressed as a ball player with a large yoke, painted deerskin hip guards, and elaborate headdress. He is dropping onto his knee to strike the ball, which is probably exaggerated to huge proportions. Photograph by Madman2001

Sak Ch’een, lord of Motul de San José c.8th century,[27] dressed as a ball player with a large yoke, painted deerskin hip guards, and elaborate headdress. He is dropping onto his knee to strike the ball, which is probably exaggerated to huge proportions. Photograph by Madman2001

For how long tourists will be allowed to clamber up the steps of this awesome structure remains to be seen as the Mexican authorities step up their efforts to preserve the wonders of this magnificent pre Hispanic civilization.

Learn more Mayan culture in our epsiode, La Ruta Maya

Look up, it’s the super super moon!

Look up, it's the super super moon!

Internet legend suggests it was astrologer Richard Nolle who first came up with the term supermoon, which he defined as “… a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”.

Five years ago – when the closest and largest full moon fell on March 19, 2011 – many began using the term supermoon, which we’d never heard before. In the following years, we heard this term again to describe the year’s closest full moon on May 6, 2012, and again on June 23, 2013, and again on August 10, 2014, and yet again on September 28, 2015.

Whilst supermoon is an astrological term, the scientific name for the occurence is perigee-syzygy, but since supermoon is catchier the media use it to describe our celestial neighbour when it gets up close.

Astronomers call it a perigee full moon describing the moon’s closest point to Earth for any given month.

Today’s event is the biggest and best in a series of three super moons, the first of which was on 16 October and the third is due on 14 December.

The moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.

In addition to today’s moon making the moon appear bigger and brighter in the sky, there will also be a “low hanging moon” effect; an optical illusion caused by the moon being close to the horizon making it easy to measure against familiar landmarks or objects such as trees or houses.

The full moon story:

To observers, the moon will appear approximately 7% larger than normal, around 15% brighter – although to the human eye this is barely discernable.

As the Moon traces its orbit around the Earth, we see different proportions illuminated by the Sun. Once in each orbit, our satellite is totally illuminated – a full moon.

And as the Moon orbits the Earth every 27 days or so, it travels in an elliptical or oval shape.

This means that its distance from our planet is not constant but varies across a full orbit.

But within this uneven orbit there are further variations caused by the Earth’s movements around the Sun.

These mean that the perigee – the closest approach – and full moon are not always in sync.

But occasions when the perigee and full moon coincide have become known popularly as supermoons.

To observers, the differences between a supermoon and a normal full moon are quite subtle.

Generally, supermoons can be up to 14% larger and 30% brighter, but only when compared with the furthest point the Moon gets to within its orbit.

 

main image by: Monday super moon shot by Rob Pettengill as part of his Austin Super Moonset

 

Getting down at Electric MassKara

Getting down at Electric MassKara

Our crew have been out and about on location shooting in the Philippines for a brand new episode in our Tough Boats series.

As luck would have they were in town to hit the vivacious street party known as Electric Masskara 2016 – in the city of Bacold, where Zoe got stuck into the action…here is the lowdown on this fabulous event:

Zoe at Electric MassKara 2016,  Bacolod, Philippines.

Zoe at Electric MassKara 2016, Bacolod, Philippines.

Bacolod, officially known as City of Bacolod is a city in the Philippines Bacolod is the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental in the Philippines.

The name Bacolod was derived from the Hiligaynon word, Buklod meaning stonehill, as the city was initally set up on a stonehill. Due to Moro (Muslim) raids it was then transferred to the shoreline. Today, the original town called Daan-Banwa meaning Old Town.

Bacolod is known as the Land of Sweet People, for its culinary heritage, including its inasal (a kind of roast chicken on skewers) and sweet dessert treats. But most of all, Bacalod is known for the spectacular MassKara Festival, a popular celebration that traces its beginnings to the early 1980s, is a festival held every October by locals.

Electric MassKara 2016,  Bacolod, Philippines.

Electric MassKara 2016, Bacolod, Philippines.

The name of the festival, MassKara is derived from the words ‘mass’ for many, and ‘kara’, a local word that translated to ‘face’. In addition, the locals use the name as a pun for the local word that translates to ‘masked’.

MassKara Festival began at a point of crisis following a sharp drop in the global price of sugar, one of Bacolod’s key crops. This negative turn of events, coupled with the loss of close to 1000 people following an accident at sea, prompted the city’s administration to hold a ‘smiling festival’ despite all the negativity at the time. The reasoning was, by getting the locals together it would be possible to sail through the tough times.

Highlights of the festival include a dance-off contest where participants show off their skills, a beauty pageant, street dancing, float parade competitions, food frenzies as well as live music – but don’t take our word for it, the photos say it all!

Electric MassKara 2016,  Bacolod, Philippines.

Electric MassKara 2016, Bacolod, Philippines.

Ming Mystery Money Discovery

Ming Mystery Money Discovery

Brace yourselves, this year a ‘mystery money discovery is heading for London’.

Australian auction specialists have recently uncovered a rare Ming dynasty banknote—distinct with three official red seals—within the cavity of a Chinese sculpture set that was set to showcase at The Beaumont Hotel in Mayfair this November where the ancient artefacts will be made available to view, by appointment only.

Part of a Ming Chinese sculpture set

Part of a Ming Chinese sculpture set

Mossgreen specialist, Ray Tregaskis describes the discovery as a ‘thrilling moment’ for Australia’s archaeological community. The Ming dynasty, from which the banknote originates, was the ruling dynasty in China for approximately three hundred years during the C14th-C17th. The dynasty’s founding Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang (Hongwu), was instrumental in reforming China’s civil service and implementing land reforms (having been born a peasant himself) for the country’s rural population.

Also noteworthy is that the Ming dynasty was the first Chinese dynasty to replace coins with paper money—a trend which was later adopted on a global scale. Typically, Ming banknotes were inscribed with the title ‘Great Ming Circulating Treasure Certificate’ and a warning that counterfeiters (who prevailed regardless) would be forcibly punished with decapitation.

However, the historic importance of the banknote extends beyond its own four corners. Tregaski reminds us how it has been used to verify the date of the statue in which it was found. The wooden head of the Luohan (a Chinese word referencing those who have completed the four stages of Enlightenment), now boasts a value in excess of £22,000.

To learn more about China’s rich history, check out our Ultimate China guide, where Globe Trekker favourites: Megan McCormick, Justine Shapiro and Zay Harding divulge the fascinating centuries of Imperial reign.

Ultimate China