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Tourist Places To Visit In Turkey
A melted pot of ancient Roman, Persian, Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures, Turkey is a delightful modern country that has one foot in Asia and one in Europe. A leading player in coffee, dry fruits, carpets and weaves, this country is simply becoming a very coveted international holiday destination in the last couple of years. Its exotic nature, coupled with the charm of its mosques and minarets and beaches and valleys make Turkey so exceptional. You have so many tourist places to visit in Turkey that your holiday will go on extending for weeks at end if you fully wish to see the country. From Istanbul to Ankara, Izmir to Cappadocia, Konya to Mardin; you have beaches and straits and rugged valleys and plains.
The ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is home to monuments and mosques that have seen many a reigns and many a kings. The Bosphorus river slices the city into two, one side being the Asian continent and the other on European soil. In every sense, Istanbul can be called the link between the east and the west. Some of the most famous places here are Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and the Old city square. There is also the Maiden’s tower, the Grand Bazar, Spice Bazar and the many cafes and bakeries that make for some good shopping and eating. There are also good places here for fishing, going for a ride in the yacht and enjoying the beach shores by the Black Sea.
The contemporary capital of Turkey, Ankara is a very chic modern city situated in the Central Anatolia region. With commercial hubs, business centres, modern universities and government office buildings, this place fits right in the 21st Century. Home to some great arts and cultural fever, you will also find a collection of art galleries, museums, fashion houses and more here. Visit the Ankara Citadel, Alaaddin Mosque, Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and Mahmut Paşa Bedesten. Other coveted sites are the Temple of Augustus, Column of Julian and the Hacı Bayram Mosque. Many international film festivals as well as fashion shows are held here, along with the famous Children’s Day festivities celebrated on 23rd April.
A rugged beauty perched high up overlooking the Mesopotamian ruins, Mardin is a province in southeastern Turkey. It is considered to be one of the oldest settlements and renowned for its unique culture, that to some extent is also different from the traditional Istanbul's Turkish way of life. The old city of Mardin is made of yellow sandstone and gives out a very desert-like aura, with mazes for streets and terraced houses with thatched roofs. Autumn and Winter are great in Mardin, with tourist places like Deyrü’z-Zafaran Monastery (oldest monastery of the world), Sultan Isa Medresesi (astronomical observatory) and the famous telkari or silver jewellery shops. Mardin is in a true sense, what can be called a heritage city.
The city of Rumi, Konya is today the centre of Sufi and Mevlavi Order of Whirling Dervishes, as established by the great Mewlana Jaluluddin Rumi himself. It is also one of the oldest cities the has been continuously inhabited and was popular by the name of Iconium by the Romans. Its architecture is very unique, a heritage of the Seljuk Turks, along with ancient buildings like the Alaaddin Mosque, Seljuk Palace ruins, Rumi’s mausoleum, Byzantine Aya Eleni church and many beautiful rock chapels. There are also many national parks, lakes and summer gardens here to explore Turkey’s natural beauty. But Konya is a delight for those who are interested in arts, literature, religion and culture. Rumi fans, you will find catharsis here in his birthplace, seeing the dervishes spin around and lose themselves in the greater god.
On the shore of the beautiful Turkish Riviera lining the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya is a big, bright city that is full of welcoming spirits and happy streets. The city has some of the best nightlife scenes in all of Turkey, what with all those bars, restaurants, resorts, hotels, beach shacks and mountain ruins. You have much adventure awaiting you here, from sailing to swimming to mountain climbing. You can go strolling around Kaleiçi and Old Quarter or thread around the maze that is the old city with Roman gates, ancient architecture and the magnificent Clock Tower.
A seaside town situated near the Aegean Sea, Bodrum is a beautiful retreat into quaint and charming small town life. With its stunning beaches, ruins that date back centuries and resorts on top of cliffs, Bodrum is a hidden jewel for all those who believe the French Rivera as the ultimate luxury beach getaway. Some of the most coveted sights here include the Mausoleum, also considered the 8th wonder of the world, Castle of St. Peter (Bodrum Castle), and loads of sparkling beaches. You will also find ample bars, restaurants, hotels, cafes, shacks and shopping arcades here.
Famous for the hot-air balloon rides that take you over the fairytale landscape of rugged chimney-like cone formations, Cappadocia is a jewel of a land in the heart of Anatolia. Ancient volcanic eruptions and erosions have lead to the land becoming the beauty it is today. And humans, as they are wont to do so, carved out houses, streets, even churches from these formations, making Cappadocia one of its kind. There is a whole underground city with tunnels and streets and houses to go, built at one time to ensure safety from Greek and Persian invasions. Today you can avail a room in these underground cityscapes as they are converted into hotels and resorts. Some touristy sights to visit here are the Monks Valley, Fairy Chimneys in Devrent, Göreme Open-Air Museum, Uchisar castle, Underground City and much more.
Literally meaning ‘cotton-castle,’ Pamukkale is one of the top locales to visit when in Turkey. This town is the poster child of Turkish tourism, what with its white terraced travertines that are suffused with mineral waters perfect for bathing, spas and relaxation. The town is also home to the Roman spa town called Hierapolis, with a hot-water spring as its crowning glory. The springs are known to cure skin and other body ailments. These dazzling white fortresses of sorts are the best places to relax, rejuvenate and feel at peace. Some of the best places here are the Hierapolis City Ruins, Hierapolis Theatre, Hieropolis Museum, Pamukkale Antique Pool and Pamukkale Castle.
Another beautiful seaside city, Izmir is home to many a beautiful beaches and an antiquity that is the heritage of Greeks and Romans. The beauty of the Aegean coast grants Izmir its rapturing charm, making it one of the top tourist destinations in Turkey. It has some great archeological sites like Roman Agora of Smyrna, open air museums, hilltop castles like Kadifekale, Velvet Castle and Ephesus (an ancient Roman city). You can also visit Pergamon Acropolis and the Village of Şirince, after you have enjoyed your days at beach surfing, sailing, swimming and kite-surfing.