A group of legislators from the State of Vermont visited Turkey on July 6-14, 2012. Through this visit, the group had the opportunity to experience Turkish culture, see some of the major landmarks, and taste delicious Turkish cuisine.
The trip started in Istanbul; Ayasofya with its profound historical significance, Topkapi Palace which witnessed the uprising of Ottoman Empire, Sultan Ahmet (Blue) Mosque and Underground Cistern were among many places visited in Istanbul. Boat tour in Bosporus gave the opportunity to view both Asian and European sides of Istanbul along with many landmarks lined on both sides of the shore.
The next stop was Izmir where the trippers paid a visit to Ephesus – an ancient Greko-Roman city, the house of Virgin Mary at Bulbuldagi, a local ceramic workshop where Turkish Ceramic artifacts were crafted. A high school which represents successful private school initiative in Turkey was also visited. In the evening, a local businessman hosted the guests for an outstanding dinner by the breathtaking coast of Aegean Sea in Cesme city.
The participants took a flight from Izmir to Ankara. Turkish parliament building was visited and Mustafa Babayigit -the chief of staff to Kayseri representative Ahmet Oksuzkaya- welcomed the the group and answered their questions. In Ankara, the group was briefed on Turkish international relations by a foreign affairs expert who chairs the department of Turkish-US and -Canada relations.
Fast Train was chosen to travel from Ankara to Cappadocia. The trippers were mesmerized by the outstanding historical wonders such as Underground Cities, Fairy Chimneys and the unique historical and cultural heritage of this prehistoric Cappadocia region. A co-op which runs a carpet making workshop was visited. The workshop is aimed at continuing the region’s hand-made carpet tradition and providing the local residents with employment opportunities.
Konya was the fourth city visited. Mevlana museum and Alaaddin hill were the highlights of Konya part of the trip. Dinner was served in the cafeteria of one of the local businessman who manufactured packaging solutions for consumer products.
The last stop was Kayseri before the group flew back to Istanbul. In Kayseri, the group was welcomed and hosted by the Kayseri representative Ahmet Oksuzkaya who provided information on many activities of Turkish government.
Back in Istanbul, the group visited Hasan Can, the Mayor of the City of Umraniye. The City of Burlington and Umraniye are in process of finalizing a Sister City Project. A national TV station, ATILIM Businessmen Association of Istanbul, a think-tank and a relief foundation were among nonprofit organizations visited, the day ended with a beautiful sunset at Camlica Hill. Last day of the trip was reserved for visiting Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar and lots of shopping.
The group headed back to the States the next morning with lots of great memories and souvenirs.