3 Reasons To Love Istanbul

(CCO Image via Pixabay)

The following has been contributed by  author Semih Gencer. Semih is an international student, originally from Turkey, currently attending the Touro Graduate School of Business.

“If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

My hometown of Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans two continents: Asia and Europe. The Bosphorus River, meandering through the heart of the city, combines the waters of the Black Sea and Marmara Sea. For that reason, as one article describes, for thousands of years, Istanbul was one of most aspired to cities in the world. It was a city that everyone wanted, and it was all because of its location. We can say that Istanbul has for a long time been the heart and soul of Turkey. It has a huge history. Istanbul has been the capital city of four empires: the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. Istanbul has a rich history, and so much remains of each of these empires that you can still see. There is much interesting historical information about Istanbul, but if you ask me why I love Istanbul a lot, I have strong reasons to explain in the following parts. Continue reading

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Celebrating Sukkot

A sukkah from inside. (From Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)
A sukkah from inside (via Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)

After the solemnity and introspection of the High Holy Days, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, is always a treat. Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to Sukkot every year because this holiday, unlike Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is an unaltered celebration.  After the Exodus from Egypt, the ancient Jews traveled the wilderness for forty years before reaching the land of Israel. They lived in small huts called “sukkot” during this time. The holiday of Sukkot commemorates those temporary dwellings: Orthodox Jewish families build a small hut, or Sukkah, outside the house where they eat all meals for the seven days of the holiday. Many Orthodox Jews also sleep outdoors in the Sukkah. A typical Sukkah would look something like this:

(source)
(source)

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