-by Sanan Isayev
We conducted a trip to Konya on 17th December. Konya is a city in Central Anatolia in Turkey which has protected its name for centuries. Legend says that Perseus killed a dragon that had been ravaging the town. The people set up a special monument to honor him, a stone obelisk with an icon of Perseus carved in it. This event gave the city its name, Ikonyon, Ikonyum, Iconium.
We started our journey at the dormitories’ bus station on the main campus at 5:00 am. Our route was from Bilkent to Salt Lake (Tuz gölü) and afterwards to Konya. In total, the route was nearly 330 kilometers.
At 8:00 am we arrived at Salt Lake. When we reached there the weather was freezing, it was near -11C. Salt lake is the second largest lake in Turkey with its 1,665 km2 surface area and one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world. After resting and enjoying the majestic scenery for 30 minutes, we left for Konya.
Our first destination in Konya was Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden. It is the biggest butterfly museum in Europe. They have more than 19 kinds of butterflies from 5 different countries. The guide in Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden was 15 minutes. It was both educational and delightful tour.
After the guide, we were hungry and we went to eat etli ekmek. Etli ekmek is a pizza-like dish which originated in Konya in Turkey. “Etli ekmek” means “bread with meat” in Turkish. It is very common in cities in the central part of Turkey.
After resting for a while in the restaurant we left for the Mevlana Museum. It is the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian Sufi mystic also known as Mevlâna or Rumi. It was a privilege to get to know about the mystic part of Islam, founded or guided by Mevlana Jalauddin Rumi. The shrine of Rumi was there, and some other memories and relics. Even though it was crowded because of şeb-i arus (death day of Rumi) it was an enlightening and enjoyable experience.
Later, we left for visiting Alaeddin Hill, which is located in the city center though we did not stay there for long. We took photos, rested and went to have dinner at 6:30 pm at Kuzucu Ali where we had a specific type of kebab called ‘tandir kebab’. After dinner approximately at 8:00 pm we left Konya and arrived Bilkent at midnight.
On Thursday, October 27th BIH conducted a trip to Trabzon. Our interest was to learn about different aspects of Turkish culture, while exploring a new city. Since, Trabzon is one of the most scenic cities in Turkey and it is famous for its diverse culture in terms of- food, dances and music- it was a perfect spot for our purpose.
On Thursday, as planned we gathered at the dormitories’ bus station at 10:30 pm and left campus by 11:00 pm. We traveled 767 km in 12 hours, with 3 short stops. Our first and second stops were near grocery stores and gas stations with restrooms hence the stop did not last long. However, when we stopped for the third time at approximately 9:00 am, it was breakfast time and we were just an hour and half away from Trabzon. As a result, we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant. The view was spectacular and a Turkish-style breakfast was served to those who chose to eat.
At around 11:00 we arrived in Yılkaça at the Tirebolu hotel and checked-in. After resting for an hour we left the hotel for lunch at Angelique Café and Restaurant. It was an open buffet with a variety of delicious main dishes, salads and desserts.
At 1:30 pm we left for the Hagia Sophia Museum, after which we visited the Atatürk mansion. We explored the museums and took pictures in the magnificent historical areas. By 6:30 PM we returned to our hotel, rested for a while and had dinner in the dining area. Afterwards, at night, we went on a visit to a mountain-top area that has a view of the entire city. We stayed there until 11 pm and then returned to the hotel.
Trabzon by night
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, then checked-out to travel to Uzungöl . Uzungöl is a lake situated to the south of the city of Trabzon. Uzungöl is also the name of the village on the lake’s coast. Over the years, the picturesque lake, its village and the surrounding valley have become a popular tourist attraction. The lake is at a distance of 99 km from Trabzon’s city center. We had around 5 hours to spend at Uzungöl. There were a lot of things to do there including paddle boating, souvenir shopping, eating, cycling, and most importantly taking pictures with the most breathtaking views.
BIH at Uzungol
We departed from Uzungöl at around 5:30PM and directly hit the road back to Bilkent. The ride back lasted 12 hours and we finally reached Bilkent by 6AM.
Bilkent International House conducted its 2nd ever Think Pink Campaign, geared towards spreading awareness regarding Breast Cancer. The campaign took place on the 20th and 21st of October and included several Turkish and international students.
The campaign is the first ever Breast Cancer Awareness project at Bilkent University and was an initiative of Bilkent International House’s Forum members last year. This year the campaign spanned over 2 days and on the first day of the event a BIH stall was set up in front of A building. BIH members at the stall organized and conducted a quiz game to create awareness regarding the disease in an interesting and informative manner.
The quiz game allowed participants to answer questions regarding Breast Cancer and, in the case of successful answers, win a mini cupcake. Additionally, a social media activity required students to post pictures of themselves with the Breast Cancer Awareness photo frame on Instagram with the #ThinkPinkBilkent hashtag and win a candy floss as the prize. All interested students visiting the stall were handed informative flyers to help further raise awareness. The events were organized such that they created direct awareness through sharing of information as well as on a larger platform as Bilkent students learnt about the on-campus campaign through various social media outlets.
The second day comprised of a flash mob as students clad mainly in pink gathered outside the FF Building to form a pink human ribbon, so as to symbolize solidarity with Breast Cancer. A video was filmed on day two, that captured the efforts behind this idea as well as its completion. Participating students were also eligible to receive GE 250/251 points for the second event.
For further information and details, please view Bilkent International House’s official Facebook and Instagram pages, so as to be better acquainted with the visuals of the campaign. Bilkent International House aims to continue with raising awareness in its community through such socially responsible projects. Students with relevant ideas are welcomed to contact the club to put their plans into action.
On Thursday, October 13th Bilkent International House hosted its first movie night of the semester, dedicated to the famous American actor and filmmaker, Tom Hanks. The two movies scheduled for the event were Forrest Gump and Cast Away, which were screened in this order respectively. The movie night commenced at 18:00 sharp and comprised of both Turkish and international students, with no empty seats left in the auditorium. Free drinks and popcorn were served, with Red Bull being the highlight for all those who attended and twenty points were offered for GE 250/251.