A Thousand Splendid Suns – H3a Reading Group Review, 7 December 2011

Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.  (Saib-e-Tabrizi 17th C)

Babi:  “The only enemy an Afghan cannot defeat is himself” Continue reading A Thousand Splendid Suns – H3a Reading Group Review, 7 December 2011

Tour to Muğla 4 December 2011

Our group of 27 left on a bright and sunny morning to head off to Muğla.  We were joined by members Hamdi Topçuoğlu and Semih Adyıman who had planned the tour.

The journey to our first stop, breakfast at Kozagac, took two hours through a lovely pine forest.

The breakfast in a villager’s garden consisted entirely of home grown produce and included honey, olives, eggs and walnuts – off the very tree near where we were eating.  The setting was perfect in a small village with countryside as far as the eye could see.  With the sun shining it was a perfect start to our day.

On then to Muğla to visit two restored houses which had been beautifully completed with maximum detail to attention.  A stroll through the old streets followed with a break for coffee, and for those needing something a little stronger, a beer stop.

We were joined by a local guide who was extremely knowledgeable and his words were translated into to English by H3A member Güler.

We took a late lunch at an old water mill, Belen Khakis, where we were lucky enough to have live music played to us by Hamdi Bey’s cousin.

During the trip two new members enrolled taking the membership total to 105. Joining us on the trip was our 100th member – NurcanMatoğlu.

The day ended back at Bodrum in the early evening, and I think every one will agree that it was a very interesting and enjoyable day.

Cheryl Sabey


Activities for December 2011

4 December Sunday 08:30 to 18:00

Day trip to Muğla 08:30 to 18:00   See details below

Linda Bennett ([email protected]) or

Baran Özeren ([email protected])

7 December Wednesday  14:00 to 16:30

Book reading group (English), Limoon Cafe, Cafer Paşa Caddesi, Bodrum

Please note change of venue. 

Contact Christine Davies [email protected]

8 December Thursday 14:00 to 16:00

Sing-along, Maya Hotel

9 December  Monday 10:30 to 12:30

H3A extended board meeting

11 December Sunday 10:00 to 14:00

Visit to Osman Menteşe Olive Oil Production facilities in Koruköy

12 December Monday 14:00 to 16:30

Book reading group (Turkish), Limoon Cafe

20 December Tuesday 15:00 to 17:00

Lecture “ Remnants of Jewish Culture in Milas, Bodrum, Kos and Rhodes” by Sara Pardo, BODTO

23 December Frıday 18:00 to 20:00

Please note change of date

Festive sing-along, Kıyı Restaurant, Bitez

Contact Helena Arkun at [email protected]

27 December Wednesday 20:00 to 23:00

Festive meal for Christmas and the New Year at Eşki Restaurant, Kumbahçe, Bodrum.  Contact Selçuk Şahin at [email protected]


Trips to Antalya, Mardın, Safranbolu and the Black Sea area are being planned for next year.

Details of trip to Muğla on Sunday 4 December to be guided by our fellow members:  Hamdi Topçuoğlu and Semih Adıyaman (official guide):

08:30  Bus departs Ortakent opposite Migros

08:45  Bus departs Bodrum opposite Chamber of Commerce

10:00 to 11:00         Village breakfast at Kozağaç

11:30 to 14:30         Visiting old Muğla houses and shopping streets in Arasta with local guide

15:00 to 16:30         Late lunch at Belen Kahvesi, an old water mill, with local music

16:30 to 18:00         Return to Bodrum

The cost for transport and local guide will be 40 TL per person. The cost of village breakfast and lunch is extra. 

This trip is for H3A members and their guests only.  As we have limited capacity please confirm by email to:

Linda Bennett ([email protected]) or

Baran Özeren ([email protected])




Come along to Sing-along and live longer!

Yes, H3A has started a choir.  Any member can join in the fun.  Song sheets are provided.  It is informal and no auditions or the ability to read music are required.  All you need is a desire to sing with like minded people.  And don’t worry if English isn’t your first language.  Music transcends language and already songs have been sung in Turkish, French and German, bringing people together for fun, friendship and well-being.  The songs include popular and traditional – the sort that most people know.  Continue reading Come along to Sing-along and live longer!

Tour to Izmir 17 to 18 November 2011

The tour

Twelve members of H3A set off from Bodrum bus station on a Pamukkale regular bus service at 09:00, collecting two more at Guvercinlik.  The trip was organised by the academy’s vice president Semih Adıyaman who met us at Izmir bus station where we arrived promptly at 12:30.  From there we were taken by mini bus to the Forum shopping centre in Bornova where we had two hours free time.  From there we checked in to our hotel in the Alsancak area close to the sea.  Again there was free time for an early supper before making our way to the opera and ballet house ousHto see the Izmir State Opera and Ballet Company perform Don Quixote.

On Friday morning after breakfast we departed for the Jewish Quarter where we were met by Sara Pardo,a  passionate and knowledgeable speaker, who showed us three synagogues and gave us a very interesting talk about the Jews who originally came from Cordoba in Spain have being exiled during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and were invited by the Sultan to come to Turkey.  The Jewish population has dwindled as the young people leave Izmir.  Thus, there are a very few old rabbis left and no-one to take their place.  So the services are now led by cantors whose music is being recorded to preserve it.  For further information visit www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org…Izmir.

Later we went to the Kemeralti shopping district followed by a splendid lunch at the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, a visit to the excavated agora and the local history museum before returning home on the bus.


Historical background

‘Izmir is vast.  It is Turkey’s third largest city, the second port (after Istanbul), with a population of over two million, and a harsh approach through long stretches of tough industrial dockland.  Little remains of the old city apart from an area of busy streets around the bazaar at Konak, yet this was the foremost Greek colony after Troy, originally built on the suburb of Bayraklı where people lived 3,000 years ago, and rebuilt as Smyrna by Alexander’s general, Lysimachus.  This meant that it came under the jurisdiction of Pergamom, benefiting equally when the district was ruled from Rome. 

‘The Romans were followed by the musical chairs:  Arabs, Seljuks and Crusaders.  When Tamerlane occupied the city in 1402 he destroyed most of it, but when the Ottomans succeeded in 1415 their tolerance brought a new prosperity.  The Greek population was joined by Jews escaping from persecution in Spain, and the treaty with France arranged by Süleyman the Magnificent turned Smyrna into an international commercial port, trading throughout Europe and acquiring some of the western veneer.  All nationalities and faiths were welcome.

‘This happy relationship endured for centuries until it was shattered after the First World War when the Greeks seized Smyrna as part of their reward for supporting the Allies, and even advanced on Ankara.  This was the crucial turning-point for the new Turkish leader, Kemal Atatürk, but his strength was shown again as his army forced the Greeks back to Smyrna where they were defeated in a battle on 9 September 1922 which left the population devastated and the old city in flames.  ‘This is the end of an era’ said Atatürk, and Smyrna was reborn under the Turkish name of Izmir.  This is why so little of the former city remains to be seen today.  It explains, also, those curious ghost cities further south where the Greek population was evacuated following the agreement ratified at the Lausanne Conference in 1922-3, when 1,300,000 Greeks (as against 40,000 Turks) were exchanged.’ 

Daniel Farson 1988