The Turkey Bucket Lists

01-12-14 Suleimanye Night

Here is what John would like to do in Turkey. For the rest of the bucket lists and a fuller explanation, check out our Bucket Lists Page.

In Istanbul

  • Walk the entire length of the Theodosian Land Walls; find the sites of the siege of 1453; find the inscriptions; find a way into the peribolos; climb as many of the walls as possible. If I don’t spend entirely too much time at the walls, I’ll have failed.
  • Get a car and go to the Anastasian walls in Thrace; walk at least a portion of them and take many pictures, since good, explanatory pictures of these walls are shockingly hard to come by on the internet.
  • Comprehensive tour of the Hagia Sophia, to be followed by a blog post about how to see the Hagia Sophia.
  • Comprehensive tour of the Chora church/Kariye muzesi, to be followed by a blog post about how to see Chora.
  • Cross off as many sites as possible on my “Byzantine Istanbul” list, currently up to about 60! To my knowledge very few have comprehensively catalogued the remains of the Byzantines, and of those who have, none have made it available on the web.
  • See both Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari.
  • Get a picture of a guy on a scooter who is doing at least two of the following three things: texting, smoking, and driving on the sidewalk.
  • Find the Galata walls. We live fairly close to the old Genoese trading colony of Galata, and though the walls were largely torn down as the city expanded, some traces of them still exist here and there. I’d like to find out where that is.

Elsewhere in Turkey

  • Go to Edirne; see Selimiye Camii, Murad’s palace, and Ss. Constantine and Helena.
  • Visit the archaeological site of Troy. This will be more of a pilgrimage than I visit, I think.
  • Spend a day or two in Bursa, the first capital of the Ottomans as such. See the sites, and eat authentic Iskender kebab, perhaps more than once.
  • Go to Iznik/Nikaea, and see the Byzantine walls, the theater and the remains of their version of the Hagia Sophia.
  • A few days in Cappadocia would be nice, but I’m going to let Michelle lead that one.


  • Play backgammon with a Turk.
  • Jump onto the Taksim-Tunel streetcar and ride hanging onto the outside.
  • Learn to make my own çay with the crazy double-decker Turkish teapot. Nailed it! Not so hard, as it turns out.
  • Figure out how to do the whole nargile thing.
  • Go swimming in the Black Sea.
  • Swim from Asia to Europe across the Bosphoros (this actually happens, but only once a year: I missed my chance! Registration filled up for 2015.
  • Have some friends and family visit from America, who will hopefully smuggle in good Mexican food, and totally geek out on historical shit to the point where I’m annoying. Hi Jeff! Hi Megan!


  1. I have so much to learn about Turkey. Wow! I am excited to learn vicariously through you two.


    1. Thanks for following along!


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