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Famous Grand Bazaar In Las Vegas And New Flights To Istanbul Bring Turkey Closer To Home

March 26, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email
The cuisine, culture and experiences that make Turkey the sixth-most visited country in the world are closer than ever for both international and domestic North American travelers, with new direct flights to Istanbul and a replica of the famous Grand Bazaar in Vegas, both launching in 2014.
Travelers visiting Turkey this Spring will have an abundance of things to see and do, including new attractions like a the new Carpet Museum: A world of Turkish rugs to historic landmarks to explore for the first time and the 100-year-old Varda Bridge in the remote outskirts of Adana, which locals say doubled in tourist visitors since being featured in the opening chase scene of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall.

For those looking to explore the centuries of history and exotic blend of eastern and western cultures that Turkey is renowned for, Turkish Airlines will add two new direct routes to Istanbul this year, from Boston in the U.S and Montreal in Canada. Those wanting the Turkish experience closer to home can now roam a replica of Turkey’s famous Grand Bazaar in Las Vegas before seeing the real thing in Istanbul, first built in 1461, and exploring the vast labyrinth of 61 covered streets encompassing 4,400 shops.

Below are highlights of some of Turkey’s most exciting recent developments:

New Flights

  • Turkish Airlines will add Boston (BOS) as its newest U.S. gateway, establishing Logan International Airport’s only non-stop service to Istanbul. The carrier will operate the route between Boston and Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport (IST) five days a week from May 2014 with a 289-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft and increase the service to daily in June. Boston will be the sixth U.S. destination for Turkish Airlines, joining Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington.
  • Starting June 3, Turkish Airlines will offer three regular weekly flights from Montreal, Canada to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Flights are scheduled on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Turkish Airlines, a Star Alliance member, will use Airbus A330-300 aircraft with a capacity for 28 passengers in business class and 261 in economy. Montreal will be the second Canada destination for Turkish Airlines, joining Toronto.
Turkish Experiences in North America
  • A Grand Bazaar replica, set to open in late 2014 in Las Vegas, is designed to bring a taste of Turkey to the U.S. TheGrand Bazaar Shops, which will be located in the heart of the Strip just outside of Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel, will feature more than 150 shops including a spice market, green grocers and the first-ever Swarovski shop to allow customers to haggle over crystal prices. As shoppers bargain with store owners, they’ll also enjoy many of the smells, sights and sounds similar to those at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. www.grandbazaarshops.com
  • The 2013 International Women’s Wine Competition in Sonoma County, California, awarded female vintner Özge Kaymaz of Kayra Wines in Turkey seven awards. Turkey’s wine tradition dates back to antiquity, and in recent years its ancient vineyards have been infused with new life. Among the leaders in this revival is Kayra Wines, which is one of Turkey’s premier wines that are sold in the U.S. and internationally.
New Ways to Explore, Eat and Play in Turkey
  • The amount of tourists visiting a historic bridge in a remote part of Turkey nearly doubles two years after being part of a scene in the blockbuster movie Skyfall. In the valleys outside of Turkey’s southern city, Adana, stands an almost 100-year-old bridge – the Varda viaduct – known by locals as the ‘German bridge’ used in the opening scene of the billion-dollar blockbuster movie, in which actor Daniel Craig’s character James Bond is shot and falls from a train that passes over the Varda Bridge. The bridge was built in 1905 as a joint Ottoman-German project to supply oil from Basra in Iraq, then part of the Ottoman Empire, to Germany. www.aa.com.tr/en/culture-and-art/279714–movie-skyfall-turns-remote-turkish-area-to-tourist-attraction
  • English-style comfort food is the calling card at the new Tom’s Kitchen, launched by British celebrity chef, Tom Aiken, in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center. Here, diners sit at minimalist wooden tables to dine on shepherd’s pie and other expat favorites as well as a variety of steaks and other dishes. www.tomskitchen.com.tr/en/our-story.aspx
  • Famous English chefs are drawn to Turkey, with Jamie Oliver opening the largest location of “Jamie’s Italian” in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center. It features a modern décor, an open kitchen, an outdoor terrace and an upstairs cocktail bar.
  • The Zorlu Center is attracting some of the top restaurants in Istanbul, with SOHO’s Osteria Morini bringing a flavor of New York to Istanbul from the AltaMarea Group, one of NY’s foremost restaurant groups with Michelin-starred Marea and Ai Fiori restaurants under their umbrella.
  • The new Carpet Museum in Istanbul has opened in a historic building near the Hagia Sofia with a total of 806 carpets – 395 for display with the rest reserved for research and conservation. The oldest known hand crafted carpet is the famous Pazyryk Carpet, dating back to the 5th century BC. It was decorated with reindeer and soldiers riding horses.
  • About 100,000 visitors have traveled to Turkey to walk in the footsteps of the ancients, journeying down all or part of the 800-kilometer-long Karia Walking Route in southwestern Turkey since the pathway was opened to tourism last year. Introduced by the Muğla Trade and Industrial Chamber (MUTSA), the nature-filled trail takes in many villages with unique architecture, virgin coves, prehistoric rock paintings and ancient cities. Some  220 signs and 33,000 markings help ensure travelers do not lose their way as they visit places of interest such as Marmaris, İçmeler, the Datça Peninsula, the Gökova Gulf, Akyaka and Milos. www.portturkey.com/tourism/6011-turkeys-ancient-pathways-at-the-service-of-adventurers
  • A new museum devoted to the role of women, the Women’s Museum Istanbul, is now operating as a website as it searches for a site for its physical museum. The museum aims to showcase the largely-untold history of women in Turkey. www.istanbulkadinmuzesi.org/en
For more information on places to stay and things to do in Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourist Offices in New York at 212-687-2194 or in Washington, D.C., at 202-612-6800, or Los Angeles at 323-937-8066 and visit their Web sites at www.goturkey.com or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr

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