Pomegranates are widely grown throughout the Mediterranean region.  Throughout the streets of Istanbul, there are huge piles of whole pomegranates at cafés and on street carts waiting to be freshly pressed into pomegranate juice or mixed into a martini.  My colleague, Sarah, and I each purchased a glass of pomegranate juice from a vendor between […]

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul may be better known as the Blue Mosque due to the 20,000 blue tiles on the walls of its interior.  The mosque was completed in 1616 under Sultan Ahmet Ier’s rule in order to “calm God” after a war with Persia. It has one main dome, six minarets, and eight […]

Shawarma is a meat preparation technique in Turkey where lamb, chicken, beef, or a combination of meats are placed on a vertical spit and slowly roasted for a long time. To serve the shawarma, long, thin slices of the meat are carved from the spit. It is then served in salads, in sandwiches, or simply […]

Turkish tea, çay (pronounced chai), is a black tea which is consumed without milk.  It is an important part of the Turkish culture, offered to household and shopping guests as part of Turkish hospitality. The tea is served piping hot in small, tulip-shaped glasses.  I thought it was essential to taste the tea with a […]

After enjoying a panoramic view of the Istanbul peninsula from the top of the Galata Tower, my colleague, Sarah, and I crossed the Galata Bridge, weaving our way through a mass of fishermen, street vendors, and other pedestrians.  From the other side of the bridge, we had a decent view of both the bridge and […]