Between Orient and Occident

There is nobody who never ever heard of the Stories from One Thousand and One Nights before, isn’t there? Without doubt there is no other region in the world as mythic as the shrouded in legends Orient. For centuries it was a cultural centre of then known world, but also birthplace of civilizing achievements. Its proximity to the Holy Land and its wealth in terms of trading and resources quickly brought the Orient into the focus of Western civilisation. Conflicts came up, receded or are persisting until the present days. Empires were built and broke down again. Hence, one of the most enthralling and most misconceived areas of our planet.

Istanbul – The Metropolis at the Bosporus
Travel Report - Orient - Istanbul
There is no better beginning for an orient journey than ancient Byzantium, former Constantinople and today’s Istanbul, the metropolis between Occident and Orient.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque
Travel Report - Orient - Istanbul
Originating from Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Muezzin’s call to prayer spreads out over the city of Istanbul like a stream of fresh ai . Majestically soaring towards the sky and sharpened like pencils the six minarets are framing the massive domes of Sultan Ahmet Mosque, which is also called Blue Mosque.
Fusion of Christianity and Islam – The Hagia Sophia
Travel Report - Orient - Istanbul
The former head church of the Byzantine empire is a part of Istanbul for a little longer time than Blue Mosque is; if even not to say for more than 1000 years. The constitution of the building is a witness of time and religious changes.
A special Bath Tub – The Yerebatan Cistern
Travel Report - Orient - Istanbul
Another of Istanbul’s touristic hightlight is the Yerebatan Sarnici, an ancient cistern and small underground palace of water.
The Bosporus
Travel Report - Orient - Istanbul
One of Istanbul’s truly greatest but at the same time also simplest delights is a ride from Europe to Asia, on the bluish glowing waters between Marmara Sea and Black Sea, called Bosporus.
The Bosporus in late Summer
Travel Report - Orient - Istanbul in late Summer
Beside spring also late summer is one of the most attractive travel seasons to have a closer look at the Bosporus pearl, as the climatic mix of sun, clouds and fresh breezes coming from the Mediterranian sea is a perfect background to soak up Istanbul’s attitude towards life at daytime as well as at night like a sponge.
More eternal than Rome – Damascus
Travel Report - Orient - Damascus/Syria
When having a stroll through Damascus’ manifold Old Town then you will definitely be faced with the complex history of this Arabic metropolis, as today’s capital of Syria was already referred to in the scriptures of the ancient Egyptians. The main alley through the bazaar automatically leads through the remainings of the Roman Jupiter temple towards the gates of majestic Umayyad mosque. In its neighbourhood you can uncover Stories from One Thousand and One Nights still being as fresh as a daisy.
The Crusader castle ‘Krak des Chevaliers’
Travel Report - Orient - Krak des Chevaliers/Syria
The Krak des Chevaliers to the west of Homs is one of the best preserved witnesses of the Crusades, but also a huuuuuge playground for men from where you can even see the coast line and the Libanon mountains.
The Roman Ruins of Palmyra
Travel Report - Orient - Palmyra/Syria
Enjoying a desert sunset in Palmyra and against impressive backdrop of ancient Roman ruins is a definite must-see when travelling Syria.
Hama’s ancient giant water wheels
Travel Report - Orient - Hama/Syria
In Hama there’s a creaking in the wind. That’s not surprising, as the town just 80km up north of Homs is home to giant wooden water wheels called Norias, which once served as a way to pump water to the surrounding fields. Just follow course of Orontes river and it will automatically lead you to those ancient water pumps.
Turbulent, chaotic Soap Paradise
Travel Report - Orient - Aleppo/Syria
From time immemorial the north Syrian city of Aleppo, the former Aramaic Halab, is a centre of trading. Today this glorious history is still pretty much alive at the Medina, the old town, where the fairytale bazar and the mighty citadel tell stories from ancient times. Though the city can be quite a bustle, in particular when it comes to traffic. Then the only quiet place is a hammam, where you can indulge yourself in the famous hand-scooped Aleppo soap.
Colourful Petra
Travel Report - Orient - Petra/Jordan
Once abandoned and ancient mountain city of Petra is Jordan’s jewel. Visitor’s immediately understand why recently suggests came up to add Petra to the list of the new Seven Wonders of the World when meandering through the round shapes of 1.5km long and 150m high Siqh towards majestic Khazne al-Firaun, the fascade of famous treasury building that already inspired to shoot the final part of Indiana Jones III in Petra.
Faith moves Mountains
Travel Report - Orient - Damascus/Syria
Faith, believe and religion are most perceptible in Damascus. Western Europeans will surely immediately spot all the covered women, who are sometimes even completely shrouded in their burqas. In Damas you can meet the coexistence of about 30 different religions. Its adherents are peacefully living together.
Water, Steam and Soap
Travel Report - Orient - Hamam/Syria
Splashing water and having a good time, that is Hamam, the Arabian bath, whose elements are sweating, bathing and tons of lather.
Cairo – noisy, dirty, unappealing
Travel Report - Orient - Cairo/Egypt
After having had positive impressions only, it was time for a damper. The Egyptian capital Cairo is a conurbation you really need to get used to it. Historically seen it is one of the most interesting and unique places in the world, but nowadays it is a little hellhole with a bunch of social and sanitary problems.