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I've begun a new series of pictures from an exhibition which is on tour in Istanbul: Van Gogh Alive.

An absolutely fascinating show of thousands of images of Van Gogh's paintings, writings and pictures, depicting this master's art and inner world.

You can see a different image whereever you look at, on the floor, on the colums and walls, that's why it is a great pleasure to re-visit.


The official site:

vangogh-alive.com/


My pictures at the exhibition:

suppi-lu-liuma.deviantart.com/…
After almost three years of DA membership, I reached 2.000 pictures, a spectacular number even for an active Deviant like myself. Thank you very much for your continuous support, valuable comments and 16.000+ pageviews.

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A few months after the realisation of an old dream of mine, i.e., taking pictures of Istanbul from one of the balconies of St Sophia, I managed at last to have another dream come true: Capturing the beauty of Cappadocia, a moon-like paradise of volcanic nature, under the snow.

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For an Istanbul shot from above:

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Cappadocia is a volcanic area in central Turkey. It is renowned for its strange shapes, called "fairy chimneys", which are formed during millions of years of volcanic activity of three neighbouring mountains.

Different layers in the landscape reflect different layers of volcanic eruptions, red of iron-based elements, grey-black of basalt, white of lime, etc.

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The area harbors also many underground cities and thousands of Greek orthodox churches carved into the soft tuff, which make Cappadocia a major historical and cultural heritage site.

Balloon tours are a good way to grasp the landscape from above. "Passengers" are picked up from the hotel at 5AM in summer and 6AM in winter. The departures are generally from the Avanos-Cavusin region.

Hot air balloons, which generally have a capacity of 15 people, are heated with propane. There is no predefined itinerary, as the balloon is driven by the wind, followed by a vehicle on the ground. It goes up as high as 300m., sometimes as low as to touch the leaves of the trees next to the "fairy chimneys" in the valleys. Weather conditions are closely-monitored and tours are organized on suitable mornings only.

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I happened to see a minimum of 10 balloons last week-end. The ground temperature was +4C during the day and -6C at night, I don't know how cold it is up there, but normally the temperature falls by 1C every 150 metres, so I would guess it should be around -4C at 300 metres above in the morning. I was told that in summer the number of balloons in the air goes up to 35...

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The landing is done where it is suitable and the ground support people help the balloon land by pulling down the rope that is tied to the basket. A champagne waits the passengers after a calm and spectacular tour of the valley.
Slide Show: The Roof, Festivities and the Tea

After almost a year and a half since the slide show called From the Near East to the Far East, Akbank Sanat, an institution specialising in visual arts, music, theatre and dance in Istanbul, will open its doors for another photo show of mine: A presentation of a selection of pictures taken during a trip to Tibet, Nepal and Sri Lanka in October 2010.

All TE friends who can make to Istanbul in early November are invited. Invitation cards can be obtained at the entrance.

Location: Akbank Sanat, Beyoglu, Istanbul

www.akbanksanat.com/iletisim

Date & Time: November 3rd, Thursday 20:00


Dia Gösterisi Duyurusu: Çatı, Cümbüş ve Çay

3 Kasım 2011 (gelecek hafta Perşembe) saat 20:00'de, Beyoğlu Akbank Sanat'ta, Tibet-Nepal-Sri Lanka seyahati karelerimi paylaşacağım.

Tüm fotoğrafseverler davetlidir.

Davetiye kapıdan edinilebilir.

www.akbanksanat.com/iletisim
Finally my dream has come true.

I spent 10 days at the "Roof of the World". Tibet proved to be much more modern than I thought, at least in its capital Lhasa, due to the Chinese investments.

Another destination of my last trip was Nepal, a country of diversity and color... and chaotic traffic... :-)

My final landing was Sri Lanka (ex-Ceylon) which, I hope I'll visit again in the future.

I hope you'll enjoy pictures of that journey...

With friendship,

Suppi
A year has passed since my first encounter with DA.

Over 1.000 pictures posted, 5.000 pageviews and around 100 watchers.

So far, I tried to share my pictures with a pace which probably proved to be daring even for my most enthousiastic followers. I appreciate your patience and support.

Your comments and critics are very precious for me. Please continue to share your invaluable opinions and insights... :-)

Thank you..
"Once you put your foot down in Africa, your life will change for ever…"

Frankly speaking, I've always seen these kinds of statements with some deep scepticism. Nonetheless, when I landed in the oldest of the continents, I was so fascinated by its people, its nature and its distinct atmosphere which made me forget the stress of daily life within hours.... that, I began to wonder whether there was truth in that saying...

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Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean. Please don't go as far as to confusing it with Tasmania : if we assume the African Continent is a chubby "T" letter, then Tanzania is at the upper end of the stick, on the right. It is slightly bigger than Turkey, whereas its population of 40 million is almost half of Turkey's. With a GNP per capita hovering around USD450, it is the land of Kilimanjaro and the poor, but strikingly beautiful people.

Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar, two regions who were British colonies until the mid-20th century, declared independence in the 1960s, and finally merged in 1964 under the United Republic of "Tan-zania": "Jamhuri Ya Muno Wa Tanzaniaunga"...

Islam and Christianity are the two leading religions in Tanzania, with each capturing 1/3 of the population. That said, the monotheist religions are so intertwined with the local traditional beliefs that, it is not unlikely to meet a Christian prophet among a crowd you come across on the road, where people line up to ask the prophet in writing for forgiveness, healing, a handsome husband or financial fortune.

"Swahili" is the local African language spoken in East Africa, most notably in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. During the reign of the Arabs in the coastal area, Swahili came under the direct influence of the Arabic, which explains why the name of the language is also derived from an Arabic word, i.e., the equivalent of "coastal". Thanks to the existence of Arabic-originated words also in Turkish, it is possible for us to come across to familiar words such as "selam" (hello), "şükran" (thanks), etc.

While driving thru single-storey shanty towns, our eyes were always on the colorful people in the streets. Thus, we were tempted to stop over and walk among them. Except a few Blue-Mosque type youngsters, no one seemed to care about our existence.


The Ngorongoro Crater

Located in the north of the country, the Ngorongoro Crater spreads around 102 square miles, at an altitude of 7,500 feet above the sea level. Being the world's largest unbroken volcanic caldera, this crater which is 2,000 ft deep, offers an unprecedented variety of species for the visitors.

Ngorongoro is estimated to host some 25,000 animals, including the "big five", i.e., rhinoceros, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo. Another common mammal is the Thomson's gazelle, which is named after explorer Joseph Thomson and is often referred to as the "Tommy". 24-35 inch tall and weighing 29-40lb, Tommy has a distinctive black stripe.

Thomson's gazelles get along well with zebras and wildebeests. They run as fast as 50mph, which may seem not sufficient to evade big cats such as cheetahs, which are able to attain higher speeds up to 60mph. But Thomson's Gazelles can outlast cheetahs in long chases and are able to make turns more speedily. This comparative advantage doesn't change the fact that half of the new-born is lost to predators before reaching adulthood.

Zebras communicate with each other with high pitched barks and whinnying. A female zebra may give birth to one foal every twelve months. She nurses the foal for up to a year. The babies are able to stand and run 20 minutes after their birth.

Zanzibar

I came across to the name of Zanzibar for the first time in the title of a restaurant in Tesvikiye, Istanbul.  When I asked the waiter whether that was a special liquor, he replied smiling: "No sir, that's an island in Africa".
Years passed, and I had the pleasure to visit the same island which inspired the owners of that restaurant. And, I learnt that Zanzibar meant the "coast of blacks" in Persian.

Zanzibar, on the eastern shore of Africa, is approximately as large as the island of Rhodes. With a population of one million, it is an autonomous entity with a separate representative assembly.

Once the capital of the Sultanate of Oman and the centre of the East African slave trade, Zanzibar is arguably the location in Tanzania where you can feel the Arabic influence the most. Its population is 99% Muslim.

Farrokh Bulsara was born in Zanzibar in 1946. His parents were from Parsi origin in India and his father was working as a cashier for the British Colonial Office. You probably know him more under his new legal name, Freddie Mercury.  

His inspiration for the lyrics of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" may have originated from his early childhood in Zanzibar, who knows?

(*): To see all related pictures please see the June 2009 issue of www.fotoritim.com.
Who is Suppiluliuma, anyway? :-)

Suppiluliuma I was the king of the Hittites between 1344 – 1322 BC.

Hittites established an empire in the 18th century before our era in the Near East, covering contemporary Turkey and extending to Syria, with its capital in Hattusa, near Ankara.

Suppiluliuma achieved fame as a great warrior and statesman, successfully challenging the then-dominant Egyptian empire for control of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates.

He became so powerful that the widow of the Egyptian king Nibhuruyira (usually identified with Tutankhamun) wrote to him, asking him to send one of his sons to be her husband and rule Egypt, since she had no heir and was on the verge of being forced to marry "a servant", usually thought to be a general of the army.

Suppliluliuma dispatched an ambassador to Egypt to investigate; he reported that the situation was accurately described, and the king decided to take advantage of this windfall; unfortunately, Prince Zannanza was murdered on the way, and the marriage alliance never was consummated.

Suppililiuma was furious at this turn at events and unleashed his armies against Egypt's vassal states in Canaan and Northern Syria capturing much territory.
Unfortunately, many of the Egyptian prisoners carried a plague which would eventually ravage the Hittite heartland and lead to the deaths of both Suppiluliuma I and his successor.

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Some 50 years later, Hittites confronted Egyptian armies in Kadesh, in modern Syria. The first recorded peace treaty in the history was signed some 15 years after this battle between Hattusili III, the Hittite King, and Ramesses II, the pharaoh. The treaty was prepared in both Egyptian hieroglyphs and Akkadian cuneiforms.

Both originals survived to our day: The Akkadian original is in the Istanbul Archeology Museum, whereas the Egyptian version was carved into the Temple of Karnak.

The Peace Treaty of Kadesh is considered of such importance in the field of international relations that a reproduction of it hangs in the United Nations headquarters.


Sources:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppilul…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hittites
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_tr…
I've celebrated my 100th photograph at DeviantArt today, with a picture taken at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is the dream of numereous travellers, arguably the most-dreamed about place on Earth.

Let's take a quick look at this spectacular place...

Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire.

It was built around the year 1450 at 2,430 meters above the sea level, and abandoned a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.

Forgotten for centuries by all except for a few locals, the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian.

Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.