10 interesting places in Turkey
Packed to the brim with ancient monuments left over from a parade of conquerors and endowed with showcase scenery that never fails to impress, Turkey is a dazzling destination that straddles Asia and Europe. Its vibrant culture, famous food, and vast history wow all who venture here, while its glorious landscapes – from the sun-soaked Mediterranean to the mighty mountains and arid steppe – are highlights in themselves. Whether you want to lap up the Byzantine and Ottoman glories of Istanbul on a city break, laze on the beach, delve into history wandering through ruins such as Ephesus, or see some of the world’s most surreal panoramas in Pamukkale and Cappadocia, this country has attractions galore.
1 Aya Sofya
Renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the spellbinding Byzantine glory of the Aya Sofya Museum (Hagia Sophia) is not only one of the top things to do in Istanbul, but also in Turkey. The staggering bulk of its exterior is rimmed by the delicate minarets added after the Ottoman conquest, while the sumptuous and cavernous frescoed interior is a grand reminder of old Constantinople’s might and power. This famed monument is a must-do for every tourist visiting the country.
Not to be missed, the mighty ruin of Ephesus is a city of colossal monuments and marble-columned roads. One of the most complete, still-standing Roman cities in the Mediterranean region, this is the place to experience what life must have been like during the golden age of the Roman Empire. A sightseeing trip here will take at least half a day to cover the major highlights and longer, if you really want to explore, so make sure that you plan your visit so you don’t feel rushed.
The surreal swooping rock valleys of Cappadocia are every photographer’s dream. Cliff ridges and hill crests are home to rippling panoramas of wave-like rock or wacky-shaped pinnacles that have been formed by millennia of wind and water action. And if you don’t feel like hiking for the views, this is one of the world’s top destinations to take a hot air balloon ride. If the lunarscape isn’t enough to tempt you, nestled in these valleys are the frescoed rock-cut churches of the Byzantine Era, when this area was an important early Christian site.
4 Topkapı Palace
6 Sumela Monastery
7 Mount Nemrut
The top sightseeing drawcard for Eastern Turkey, Mount Nemrut’s summit funerary mound is scattered with the broken remnants of once mammoth statues, which guarded it. This weird and lonely place has to be one of Turkey’s most peculiar archaeological sites. The giant stone heads of long-forgotten gods stare out from the summit, casting an eerie atmosphere over the barren mountaintop. The time to come is at sunrise, so you can watch the statues as they loom out of the dark.
Just south of Antalya, the jaw-dropping mammoth bulk of the Roman Theater of Aspendos celebrates the pomp and ceremony of Marcus Aurelius’ rule. Considered the finest surviving example of a classical age theater still standing in the world, it is one of antiquity’s star attractions. Although the theater is the main reason for a visit here – and for most visitors on a half-day trip from nearby Antalya or Side the theater is all they see – there are more ruins to explore over a vast hilly area if you have time.
10 Cruising the Mediterranean
Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline has ruins galore and bags of things to do, but for many people, it’s all about soaking up the sun while enjoying the gorgeous coastal views. Cruising on a yacht is the number one activity for visitors to Bodrum and Fethiye for good reason. The steep forest-clad slopes, hidden coves sporting tiny white sand beaches, and hundreds of scattered islands are the perfect place for exploring by sea. Even diehard landlubbers will be impressed. One of the most famous trips is known as the “Blue Cruise” and travels from Fethiye south down the coast until disembarking near Olympus, home to the famous natural phenomenon of the Chimaera.
Sourse – planetware.com