Renowned guide, historian and cultural campaigner
Advisor to archaeologists, writers and film crews
Award-winning filmmaker and photographer
In one of the birthplaces of human civilization, it takes a particularly cultured and passionate guide to show you the ancient wonders of modern-day Turkey. Aydin Kudu has been exploring and recording the natural, cultural and religious riches of this enchanting land from his earliest years growing up on a hazelnut farm beside the Black Sea. Today, 55 years on, he is regarded as one of Turkey’s most seasoned guides and cultural exponents, and as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, one of its most accomplished storytellers.
As a knowledgeable historian and a champion of Anatolian culture, Aydin has served as an advisor to numerous archaeologists, journalists and film crews on assignment in Turkey. But his true passion – and one he is drawn back to time and again – is leading small parties of discerning travellers keen to discover the cultural riches of his homeland.
From the ancient subterranean chapels of Cappadocia to the flower-filled high pastures of the Pontic Mountains; from the labyrinths of Istanbul’s great bazaars to luxurious gulet cruises along the Aegean and Turquoise Coasts – Aydin has spent a lifetime following some of Europe’s most time-honoured travel traditions.
“An Anatolian proverb says that unexpected guests are gifts from God,” says Aydin, whose own guests invariably benefit from rich expositions from elderly men in village cafés, or farmers in local markets. “As a young man, I cycled hundreds of miles along Turkey’s coastlines and eastern mountains, and I always marvelled at how even the families with limited sources would share their only food with people they’d just met. I made it my mission to introduce Anatolians to visitors from other cultures – and to interpret their culture and thoughts for the outside world.”
A resident of Istanbul, Aydin’s detailed inside knowledge enables his guests to meet people and travel to places far off Turkey’s beaten track and to share personal insights from some of the country’s leading environmentalists and filmmakers with his own company, Turkish Moon.
He combines his love of Anatolian travel with a passion for photography, and his evocative images have been widely exhibited in Turkey and the United States. His first documentary on the vanishing summer migrations of the Turcoman pastoralists won awards in two international film festivals, while his second film on the devastating environmental effects of highway construction along the Black Sea coast won Turkey’s top national documentary award.
His latest film on the impacts of proposed hydroelectric power stations in Turkey’s rainforests has recently been recognized with two international awards.