Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ataturk Museum

A friend and I had a visit to the Ataturk Museum in the Sisli district of Istanbul.  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founder of Turkey's modern republic in 1923.  He lived in this house with his mother and sister from December 1918 to May 1919.  The city eventually purchased the house and turned it into a museum honoring Ataturk and the founding of the republic.
Sisli is a very nice area of Istanbul, with beautiful buildings.  This one is very nicely restored in a pale pink.
No picture taking was allowed inside, although I did sneak one of Mustafa Kemal from 1907, aged 26, having been born in 1881.  He graduated from the Imperial War Academy in 1905, had a successful military career and launched the Turkish War of Independence in 1919 against occupying forces.  In 1923, he was elected president of the newly formed republic and served until his death in 1938.  It was later in the twenties that all Turks were required to establish families names, and Mustafa Kemal's new family name became Ataturk, or father of the Turks.  He is loved by all Turks to this day.
Sisli, being a very nice area, is not without fancy jewelry stores, one featuring gem encrusted animals and bugs.
During the winter, the hot drink, salep, is available in the cafes.  This is a warm, sweet, milk based drink mixed with flour of orchid roots/bulbs.  As the orchids have declined, an artificial flavor has been developed, and the mix is sold in packets, similar to hot chocolate.  Topped with cinnamon, it makes a delicious winter treat.

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