Archive for May, 2009

Follow the Hollywood Scenes in Turkey

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Every year hundreds of movies are shot, and luckily not all of them are filmed in front of the green cardboards in Hollywood studios. Some of them are shot in their actual environments giving us the opportunity to sense the real surrounding.

Just as a well played role would bring more business to the actors, so will a good movie to the small town or to the country it was filmed. Movies are one of the most effective ways in the presentation of a country or city. The film “Casablanca” had attracted many tourists to Morocco for years. Similarly thousands of tourists, in the footsteps of “Indiana Jones”, still travel to Jordan to see the treasury in the rock carved temple.

Sometimes you even might not enjoy the movie but the historic street you see at the background may snatch your attention and motivate you to learn more about the location the movie was shot. Or if you have already picked your next destination, why not watch a few movies filmed in that country to get into the groove?

If Turkey is one of your next destinations, here is the list of some well known movies that were shot in Turkey, mainly in Istanbul. These movies captured many touristy highlights as well as less known places which might spice up your itinerary:

• The World Is Not Enough (1999) is the nineteenth movie in the James Bond series. The film was directed by Michael Apted and it is Pierce Brosnan’s third James Bond movie. Bosphorus and Maiden tower are the major places seen in the movie. “I’ve always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey.” is the famous quote said by James Bond.

• Hitman is a 2007 film based on the same-titled video game series. An agent hired by a group known as ‘The Organization’ is trapped and finds him pursued by both Interpol and the Russian military as he treks across Russia, Eastern Europe and Turkey. In this movie you can see the backstreets of old Istanbul and crowded bazaar area.

• Gallipoli is a 1981 Australian film, directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee. It is about two Australian sprinters facing the brutal realities of World War I when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey. Although the whole movie was shot in Australia it is about the place Gallipoli which is in North West Turkey and a district of Canakkale province.

• The Accidental Spy is a 2001 Hong Kong martial arts-action film, starring Jackie Chan and directed by Teddy Chan. It all starts on one normal dull day, Bei a salesman at a workout equipment store follows his instincts to trail two suspicious looking men into an alley and this leads him to an adventurous journey from Korea to Turkey. The scene that Jackie Chan is running naked in the Grand Bazaar is the most haunting moment of the movie.

• Topkapi (1964) is a film directed by Jules Dassin and the film is based on Eric Ambler’s novel The Light of Day. The film stars Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell and Peter Ustinov. The movie is about a man with passport problems gets mixed up with a gang of thieves plotting to rob the Topkapi museum in Istanbul.

• From Russia with Love (1963) is the second spy film in the James Bond series with Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. In the film, James Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Corporal Tatiana Romanova in Turkey. Most of the movie was shot in Turkey and the major places are; Egyptian spice bazaar, Sultanahmet, Bosphorus and the Blue Mosque.

• The Net 2 (2006) is a film directed by Charles Winkler and starring Nikki Deloach, Demet Akbag and Sebnem Donmez. The life of a computer systems analyst is thrown into turmoil when, after arriving in Istanbul to start a new job. This movie was also shot in Istanbul mainly Sultanahmet district and most of the actors are famous Turkish movie stars.

• Head On (2004) is an award winning film directed by Fatih Akin. The movie is about a Turkish man called Cahit in his 40s who has given up everything in life and seeks solace in drugs and Sibel, another German Turk who has tried to commit suicide due to her conservative family. In this movie you can see the real local life in Istanbul.

Above list includes the major movies; however there are several other European, Hindi, Asian movies filmed in various parts of Turkey. If you are planning your next tour to Turkey why don’t you grab a few of above movies from your local video store and get ready for a Christmas in Turkey just like our old pal Bond.

Nil Aykut is the Marketing Manager of Anatolia Travels. Anatolia Travels offer private and escorted tours to Turkey , Greece Egypt, Jordan & Morocco. More information at

Celebrations & Events in Egypt

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Here are some important dates and celebrations in Egypt:

Egyptian Orthodox Christians (or Coptic Christians) celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on January 7th. Although Egypt is mostly Islamic country, celebrations begin in December and you can enjoy the festive atmosphere this time of the year.  All Coptic feasts come after a period of fasting  during which animal related products are forbidden   This fast lasts from November 25th until January 6th (Advent).

Abu Simbel Festival, takes place twice a year Feb 22 and Oct 22; natural sunlight and architectural brilliance combine to make the inner sanctum of the temple light up. It’s a breathtaking sight and makes the music, dance and food that accompanies the festival pale in comparison.

April:  First Monday after Coptic Easter is celebrated as first day of Spring; it is called Shem Al Nessim meaning smelling the breeze.  Traditionally, Egyptians celebrate the ancient Shem al-Nessim spring holiday by eating an eclectic menu of salted fish, boiled eggs, green onions and lettuce – items that their ancient forefathers are thought to have offered to their gods as symbols of fertility and rebirth.  The night before and morning of the holiday Egyptians go out shopping for “fiseekh”, the pungent, salted grey mullet, and other ingredients that many will later take for picnics to the crowded parks along the Nile.

– May: South Sinai Camel Festival takes place in Sharm El Sheikh. This is an annual event that takes place at 3:00pm on the 1st of May of every year and lasts for the duration of the month, thus finishing on the 31st. and over 250 camels take part in this race from 17 different Egyptian tribes. So, maybe its time you know a bit more about these amazing ‘ships of the desert’ and how they are able to stand the heat let alone run and race in it.

August 24th-31st Art Festival:  A weeklong party is held in Ismailia as a celebration of colorful folkloric art from Africa, Europe and Asia. This festival is said to be the greatest art festival in the Arab world.


Eid al Fitr:  This religious event marks the end of the month long fasting or Ramadan period for Muslims.

Eid al Adhha: This religious event begins about 70 days after the end of Ramadan and is dedicated to Abraham’s sacrifice of a sheep in place of his son. This event lasts for four days.