Ever been in a fantasy world? Ever thought how it looks like if it was in real? If you got a chance to explore Turkey you will find out the answer to it. Sit down with a cup of tea; listen to the calls for prayers, soak up the colorful atmosphere, and gear up for a memorable journey. Exemplary landmarks, delightful natural landscapes, historical heritage, hot air balloons, and extremely rich culture where EAST meets WEST. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia Turkey covers the area 3 times the size of the UK. These two contents meet in the northwest of the country. Tourism in Turkey is an immense rise over the past two decades. Moreover, the World Tourism Organization declared it the 6th top tourist destination in the world and 4th within Europe.
Cappadocia – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cappadocia is one of those places you won’t believe exists unless you experience it with your own eyes. The candidate of the world heritage site displays a fantasy world picture. No wonder why it should be on every tourist’s bucket list as it’s known to be the world’s capital for hot-air ballooning. The lavish scenery will leave you in awe. The sky full of balloons and mesmerizing views during a hot air balloon ride will make you feel in a wonderland.
Cappadocia region has a very old history and was home to cave dwellers in the late 1960s. You can explore these cave villages in two open-air museums. Göreme Open-Air Museum and Zelve Open Air Museum are a great way to explore cave life.
An incredibly perfect photogenic Goreme is declared as one of the best village in the world for so many good reasons. The ash turned fairy chimneys displays the picture-perfect fairyland.
Visits to small towns like Aksaray, Kayseri, and Nevşehir will get you to know about how everyday life looks like. However, Uchisar is a town around the natural stone-castle and the highest point to get the best views of Cappadocia. Lastly don’t miss a chance to explore underground cities in Cappadocia. Some of them go 18 floors underground. There are tunnels, churches, and enough rooms for 30 thousand people.
Topkapi Palace Istanbul
Istanbul is an excellent introduction to discovering Turkey. It is more than a city and a worth of a trip within itself. Due to its exceptional location along Bosphorous between Europe and Asia, it displays a symbolic role between the two continents.
Near the major religious monuments of Istanbul, the Topkapi Palace is located which is one of the most stunning landscapes. Topkapi Palace- the oldest historical place in the world was the residence of Ottomans Sultans for almost 4 centuries. It was then turned into a museum in 1924.
Topkapi palace displays a typical Turkish palace image. It’s not only known for its unique architecture but also holds great cultural significance. The fountain of Sultan Ahmed-III one of the most beautiful fountains of the city symbolizes the entrance to the palace. The palace has expanded over the centuries but its overall layout hasn’t changed. Four consecutive courtyards surrounded by high walls attract tourists from all across the globe towards it. The palace exhibits amazing imperial treasures which are the richest collection of dynasty artwork, jewelry, and heirlooms. These pieces are stored in four rooms. Topkapi is a gem to be discovered. There is so much to explore through the relics and possessions of Sultans. It’s truly mind-boggling how people of bygone eras lived and everything is on display from the utensils they used, their clothing, pottery, and household items – a true feast for the eyes.
As a city that is over 90% Muslim, Istanbul offers a good opportunity to better understand Islam. Visitors are welcome to visit historic mosques and at the same time experience a religion that still packs the house. The Blue Mosque was the 17th-century triumph of Sultan Ahmed-I. Before the completion of this mosque in 1616, the only six minarets mosque was the Holy mosque in Mecca. So architecturally with its six minarets, it rivaled the Great Mosque in Mecca- the holiest in Islam. Its grand courtyard welcomes the visitors that gather for worship. Countless beautiful tiles fill the interior with exquisite floral and geometrical motifs. It is named a BLUE MOSQUE because of its blue tiles. Blue is known to be a popular color in Turkey.
Pamukkale – White Paradise in Turkey
Situated in the southeast turkey, the Hierapolis Pamukkale is exceptional by the virtue of its superlative natural phenomenon. Pamukkale translated as Cotton castle is Turkey’s most sought after destination.
It’s included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1988. Warm heavily mineralized water flowing from springs creating pools and terraces which are visually stunning. These terraces deposit calcium carbonate which leads to the reason for its so white color.
In summer, the water glimmers turquoise while in winters clouds of the steam rise and produce the effect of a frozen waterfall. The Pamukkale National Park is the focal point of the natural values of the site. Besides it, the ancient city of Hierapolis is located in Pamukkale Denizli province. It is known as Holy City because of many temples and religious buildings. It’s a world heritage site and a popular tourist destination. The Greco Roman Amphitheater is an eye-catching sight for all visitors as 45 rows of seats and 8 staircases are well preserved and restored since 1957. Today concerts, religious ceremonies, and other events are arranged in the theatre for around 15 thousand people.
The place hidden in mountains, the history treasured in valleys- the Somela Monastery is an incredible tourist destination. Due to its remarkable location, it seems like hanging off to the cliffs. The 4th-century structure in the black sea region has become a majestic tourist destination for visitors across the globe. Moreover, it’s been restored and reopened for all travelers after 4 years of renovation. Sumela Monastery is said to be 1200 meters above the sea level. The original structure includes several chapels, a library, and a spring. The large area was destroyed as a result of rockfalls and earthquakes. However, a long restoration process results in clearing away the rocks and rubbles. The government of Turkey is playing its utmost part in preserving cultural and religious heritage. As this monastery is significant for Greece and Turkey, however after restoration it may include in World Heritage Sites.
Mount Nemrut- an Enigma of the Ancient World
After the empire of Alexander the Great, a new kingdom of Commagene was formed. This occupied a decent chunk of land in eastern Turkey. The king of this land built for himself a large monument in the Tourist Mountains. This is still known to be home for many well-preserved statue heads that seem to be unique. It was excavated by a German engineer in 1881, however; all the heads he found are still in their original condition. This iconic view attracts tourists across the globe to explore more about the statues present in their original form.
Pergamon – Multi-layered Cultural Landscape
Pergamon was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in Aeolis. It is located 26 kilometers from the modern coastline of the Asian sea. Situated in the north side of the river Caicus and northwest of the modern city Bergama, Pergamon is a multi-layered cultural landscape. It’s one of the most famous and well preserved ancient cities of this region.
Pergamon is UNESCO World’s Heritage Site. With commanding views of the landscape around it, many remains of impressive monuments of ancient times can still be seen. Its monument includes a theatre, the temple to Athena Nicephorus, and the great altar of Zeus. The magnificent Hellenistic theatre of Pergamon is the centerpiece of the ancient city. Moreover, it is said to be the steepest ancient theatre in the world. The view down to the valley is rather spectacular. Pergamon is said to be the home of a library containing 200000 volumes of different writings.
Oludeniz – Pure Paradise
Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz is a pure paradise on earth. If Cappadocia is famous for Hot-air balloons everywhere around, Oludeniz beach is known to be a home for paragliders. Delightful landscapes, watching the water waves striking the surface and feeling it is out of the world experience. The turquoise sea blue color and mesmerizing views are enough to refresh one’s mind.
If you are fond of paragliding, Oludeniz is an ideal place to do it with insane views from the top. Famous as a symbol of Oludeniz, the Blue Lagoon draws crowds of visitors to its scenic shores every year. Stunning views of Blue lagoon, valleys, and mountains covered with forests while paragliding is a lifetime experience. While the majority go for paragliding there is a vast group of people who opt to hike on the nearby route to Faralya. Boating in the blue paradise may add an adventure in touring Oludeniz.
Lake Van – a Mystical Lake
Lake van is a story of an ancient discovery that baffled everybody. This discovery is made in six hundred thousand years old lake. For decades, this lake was surrounded by a beautiful turquoise lake that was confined within the huge mountain terrain. The landscape around here is always something to look forward to. The scenic landscapes are the result of volcanic eruptions that took place 2 million years ago.
On the edge of the cliff, you can spot an ancient church standing tall guarding the lake. But the most fascinating thing about this place is what’s hidden inside the lake. It can’t be any aquatic animal as the lake water is quite saline and no water animal can survive there. The divers discovered a lost kingdom beneath the water. Deep in the water, lying on the lake bed, a vast castle was discovered. The researchers discovered that the castle belongs to the Iron Age civilization standing in its original form. That’s the reason it has become a famous and busy spot for tourists and archaeologists across the globe.
Mount Ararat – Sacred Mountains
Since ancient times, sacred mountains have had a mysterious allure for billions of people around the world. Different sacred sites have the power to heal the body, enlighten the mind, and inspire the heart. Turkey boasts magnificent mountains and forests including a sacred mountain volcano named Mount Ararat which is 5137m tall. Mount Ararat with its glaciers, geological formations, and snow-covered meadows has a magical appearance. It’s covered by an ice cap that extends from 4300m to 5200m. Mount Ararat is not easy to access located in eastern Turkey close to Amenia and Iran borders. Thus the region is politically volatile and often dangerous. However, this can be accessed with the help of locals. Famous in the Bible as the final resting-place of Noah’s Ark, Mount Ararat is considered as a sacred place for all the believers.
Hattusa – World Heritage Site
Hattusa is a wonderful Turkish tale of resilience, mystery, and deep-seated past. Discovered only in 1834, Hattusa, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, had long been believed to be a myth. More and more facts are discovered about this ancient city, the people who lived there, and how they interacted. We know they’ve already been manufacturing weapons, and they’ve been a mighty military force. This site is renowned for significant urbanization and various types of construction and ornamental structures. It’s been a busy top tourist destination spot mainly of archaeologists to uncover more about this site. Hattusa due to its vast urbanization is included among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Mediterranean Sea – Mediterranean Region of Turkey
The Mediterranean area of Turkey offers an outstanding coastline, a wide range of natural attractions, interesting historical and archaeological sites, a wonderfully mild Mediterranean climate, and delicious local food and drinks.
Every area of Turkey has its beauties, but none of them has more than 1577 kilometers (980 miles) of the Mediterranean coastline. The sight from the Tohum Eco-Center near Faralya, reached by the Oilüdeniz Lycian Road, near Fethiye is another worldly escape. Limestone Mountains and fragrant pine forests, all the way from Bodrum and Marmaris in the west to Iskenderun and Antakya in the east — a popular and beautiful holiday scene. Although the Mediterranean area of Turkey is full of beauty and is a top tourist destination spot like New Zealand. Yet, due to its political and geographical strategic significance, it becomes inaccessible in the days of tensions across the borders.