Blog: Battlefield Tours
If we were sensible and thoughtful students, we would talk about the rich cultural experience we had today visiting the Blue Mosque, Topaki Palace, Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. We would describe the centuries old Christian and Muslim history associated with these places, reflecting on the significant events and people that are part of Turkish history.
The tour has been visiting some of the famous sites of the old city including the Hippodrome, Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. These grand and glorious monuments tell us much of Istanbul's long history. This city is the former capital of three successive empires Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.
Merhaba - after a marathon plane flight we made it. Istanbul is awesome – huge, fast- paced, chaotic and full of people. A cruise on the Bosphorus was a great way to experience the city from the relative calm of our boat. We saw many palaces and mosques, and noted that nearly everything has a Turkish flag. Amazing houses right on the water, just like the OC but older and more expensive. We also cruised Istiklal St, just down from the hotel, and managed to avoid getting run over by trams, cars, bikes and pedestrians – quite an achievement.
It turns out that Rod Stewart, one of our fellow travellers on the tour, is also a fellow blogger. Rod's grandfather Edward John Howells served at Gallipoli where he was evacuated injured.
Reaching Constantinople (present day Istanbul) was the objective of the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. An objective that failed. The battlefield tour, however, managed to arrive safely at Istanbul airport in high spirits and only slightly crumpled from the long flight. We checked into the Marmara hotel to ‘freshen up' and in the afternoon we set off to cruise on the Bosphorus followed by a visit to the Egyptian Spice Market.
Those of us travelling with the Memorial on the Gallipoli battlefield tour arrived in Istanbul today following a long journey from our various home ports. On a flight of over 22 hours it is inevitable that conversations would be struck and I met several Australians also travelling to Gallipoli. For the first leg of the trip I sat next to an Australian Vietnam war veteran. He was planning on touring the battlefields and to attend the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.
The Memorial's annual battlefield tour commences this Sunday with several members of the Memorial preparing to set off for the trip. Ashley Ekins, Head of the Military History Section will lead our Gallipoli tour and Nick Fletcher, Senior Curator in Heraldry and Technology will lead the Western Front tour. We will be walking many of the historic battle sites and commemorating Anzac Day with the Dawn Service at Gallipoli and the Australian National Ceremony at Lone Pine. This year is the 90th anniversary of many major battles fought in 1918.
On Tuesday 18 March, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs announced the winners of the Simpson Prize for 2008. The Simpson Prize is a national competition for year 9 and 10 students which sees eight students, one from each State and Territory, accompanied by two teachers, flown to Gallipoli to attend the Dawn Service and other ANZAC Day ceremonies. The students travelling to Turkey will be contributing to the Memorial blog to share the experiences of their trip.
I'm now back at work and catching up on the email and tasks. I am also still processing the photos taken on the trip. As I go through the images I am adding notes but also looking for those images that where taken to match those in the collection. Here is the first one. It is a panoramic photo of North Beach. Although these images have been taken at a slightly different angle the details are still clear and the changes to the landscape become obvious.
The intrepid Simpson Prize group have now returned to Australia after a very successful tour to Turkey. The final days of the trip were spent in Istanbul visiting the Dolmabache Palace, followed by a shopping frenzy in the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar. Purchases varied from the predictable (Turkish Delight) to the exotic (belly dancing outfit) and many in the group launched into the spirit of haggling with great enthusiasm.