Filled to capacity with ancient monuments, Turkey is a magnificent destination at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. The vibrant culture, unique cuisine and vast history stuns anyone who comes to see the sights of Turkey. Magnificent landscapes of the sun-kissed Mediterranean, mighty mountains and arid steppes are just some of the beauties of this country. Here you can enjoy the Byzantine and Ottoman architecture of Istanbul, laze on the beach, delve into history, explore the Ephesus Ruins and visit some of the world’s most surreal landscapes in Pamukkale and Cappadocia. This collection will help you make your list of the most interesting places to visit.
Hagia Sophia is known as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The charming Byzantine building is not only one of the main monuments in Istanbul, but also an outstanding tourist attraction in Turkey. Much of Hagia Sophia’s exterior is dominated by slender minarets added after the Ottoman conquest, while the sumptuous frescoed interior evokes the power of old Constantinople. This famous monument should be a must on the list of every tourist visiting the country.
Ruins of Ephesus
In no case should you miss the Ruins of mighty Ephesus. It is a city of colossal monuments and roads with marble columns. Ephesus is one of the best preserved Roman cities in the Mediterranean region. It allows you to experience what life was like during the Golden Age of the Roman Empire. The Guided Trip to Ephesus ruins will take at least half a day to cover the main sights. But if you want to explore more monuments, plan your visit accordingly and set aside at least a few days for one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world.
The surreal columns of Cappadocia are the dream of every photographer. The mountain ranges, cliffs and ridges of the hills are home to stunning landscapes with oddly shaped undulating cliffs. They were formed as a result of thousands of years of exposure to wind and water. If you want to organize a special trip, then book a hot air balloon tour. From a bird’s eye view, the most beautiful views of the valley will open. Among the interesting sights of Turkey are the churches carved into the rock of the Byzantine era, when this area was an important place for Christian pilgrimage. An overview of the most beautiful sights of Cappadocia awaits you in a separate feed.
Topkapi Palace is luxurious beyond all bounds and takes you into the fantasy world of the Turkish Sultans. From here, the sultans of the Ottoman era built an empire that stretched across Europe to the Middle East and Africa. The interiors are decorated with precious stones, reflecting the wealth and power of the rulers. The gardens surrounding Topkapi Palace were once part of the royal court but are now open to the public. This is a great place for a relaxing holiday surrounded by greenery, away from city streets, hustle and bustle.
One of Turkey’s most famous natural wonders is the white terraces of Pamukkale. They cascade down the slope like a misplaced snowfield in the middle of a green landscape. While the Pamukkale Baths are the main destination of this Turkish landmark, the sprawling, chaotic Hierapolis Ruins are also worth checking out. This ancient city lay on top of the Pamukkale hill and also deserves attention. For the best scenery, come here at sunset, when the terraces are illuminated by the bright rays of the setting sun.
Lonely perched on a high cliff, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, or Sumela Panagia, is Turkey’s star attraction for visitors to the Black Sea coast. Wandering around this abandoned religious complex with its ecclesiastical interiors and colorful frescoes, you will be able to immerse yourself in history and appreciate the most important role of this complex. This is one of the must-see places in northeastern Turkey. The monastery was opened during the Byzantine era and closed only in 1923. Wandering through its empty cells, it is easy to imagine the isolated life of the monks who once inhabited the monastery.
One of the most popular places in Eastern Turkey is the top of Mount Nemrut. A massive burial place with many ruins of giant statues that once guarded it. The mysterious and lonely monument is one of the most peculiar archaeological sites in Turkey. The giant heads of long-forgotten gods seem to be frozen in stone and look from the top to the eerie slope of the barren mountain. For the most picturesque views, it is worth coming here at sunrise, when the statues mysteriously emerge from the darkness.
The abandoned buildings of the once mighty city of Ani on the Great Silk Road are located on the plains near the modern Turkish-Armenian border. The Golden Age of the former Armenian capital ended in the fourteenth century after Mongol raids, a devastating earthquake and other factors. Among them is also the declining importance of this trade route. Beautiful red brick buildings are still crumbling in the middle of the steppe and have a mesmerizing effect on all visitors. Popular sights in Turkey include the St. Gregory Church, with its elaborate stonework and remnants of frescoes. Ani is included in the list of the 20 largest lost cities according to LifeGlobe.
South of Antalya lies the stunning Roman city of Aspendos. His theater was built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and is the finest surviving example of a classical theatre. This is one of the most outstanding ancient sights of Turkey. Aspendos is a popular day trip destination from nearby Antalya. There are also many ancient ruins in the hilly area around the city that can be explored during the tour.
Turkey has an abundance of Greco-Roman ruins, but none of them can be placed on a par with romantic ancient Pergamum in what is now Bergama. Once it was the home of one of the most ancient libraries in the world, but only the remains of the temple on the top of the hill have survived to this day. It is an incredibly atmospheric place to explore with an acropolis area and theater as well as panoramic views from the top. The attraction will be of interest to those who want to get a real idea of life in the Roman era.
Oludeniz is Turkey’s most popular beach with an incredible turquoise sea. It is surrounded by lush forest that covers the cliff and opens onto a white sand beach. Once here, you can easily understand the reasons for such popularity. During the peak holiday season, the beach is often crowded, but you will have the opportunity to take to the skies and experience the stunning aerial view. First, you need to take a paragliding course. It is also worth mentioning that the top of the mighty Mount Babadag is one of the main paragliding destinations in the world.
Among the sights of Turkey there are buildings that are completely unique for their age. In the central part of Istanbul, deep underground, there is an extremely unusual reservoir called the Basilica Cistern. It was built by Emperor Constantine in case of a potential drought, or a long enemy siege. The unusual underground structure is supported by a series of columns with sculptures of mythological heroes, containing a sufficient supply of water for a long-term supply of the city. Today you have the opportunity to visit the Basilica Cistern on a guided tour thanks to the reconstruction at the end of the 20th century. The cistern is on the list of must-see attractions in Istanbul.
It will hardly surprise anyone that most of the outstanding architectural structures of Turkey are located in Istanbul. Among them is the Suleymaniye Mosque of the mid-16th century. It was built by the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent, about whose life there are many stories and legends. The construction of the structure took 7 years, when the most outstanding masters of the world carefully brought to the ideal every detail of the mosque. The Suleymaniye complex included a library, a school, an observatory, and even baths. The talented architect Sinan combined the Turkish style with a number of architectural innovations in the project, while creating a sufficient margin of safety to withstand the strongest earthquake in the area.
Among the ancient sights of Turkey, the Phaselis complex in the vicinity of the city of Kemer is interesting. The picturesque location combines mountain beauty, the seashore and stunning nature. Phaselis dates back to the time of Greek settlers who traded fish here. Over the centuries, the city has witnessed many historical events, including the arrival of Alexander the Great and a number of other conquests. True Greatness Phaselis received during Roman rule. A number of ruins from this era have survived to this day and are a popular destination for excursions. Already in those days, the Romans were able to build an artificial conduit to provide residents with access to clean water.
There are less popular places in Turkey that still deserve the attention of tourists. Among them is a unique network of caves and tunnels called Derinkuyu. It is located near the city of Nevsehir among the mountain range and appeared several centuries before our era. Here, supporters of Christianity, who managed to establish a full life, hid from religious persecution. They created a whole city where they were engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. Today travelers have a chance to explore the part of Derinkuyu where archaeological excavations are being carried out.
Castle of St. Peter
St. Peter’s Castle in Bodrum has a special architectural charm and is one of the world’s leading masterpieces with a unique history. It was built from the blocks of the legendary Mausoleum in Halicarnassus, which has not survived to this day. During the period of knightly orders of the Middle Ages, the castle was an impregnable fortress. Nevertheless, the crusaders had to surrender under the pressure of the Turks and abandon the fortress. The castle of St. Peter changed its purpose several times, but today there is a museum with exhibits from the bottom of the sea. The sights of Turkey include many similar structures, which you can learn about from separate articles on the site.
Hidirlik Tower in Antalya is also worth your attention. The building was built in the second century in the traditional style of the Roman Empire. According to Turkish studies, the foundation of the tower was created several centuries earlier. Over the centuries, this Turkish landmark has changed significantly, including the construction of a flat platform instead of a roof. The path to the top leads along a winding staircase, opening up beautiful views of the surroundings. The historical purpose of the Hidirlik Tower was to protect and watch over the harbor, but today it is a popular tourist landmark right on the seashore.
Another miracle of the Roman Empire, like many other buildings in Turkey. During Roman rule, Antalya was quite an important city and busy port. Hadrian’s gate and fortress walls were built to protect against attacks from the water. When the enemy attacked, the gates were closed and the defense began. The defensive walls have not survived to this day, but during the tour you can explore their fragments in different parts of the city.
Mosque of Kocatepe
The sights of Turkey have witnessed many important historical events over the centuries. However, the Kocatepe Mosque was built relatively recently, with construction completed in 1987. During the planning, the architects were given the task of integrating modern architectural canons with traditional Islamic style. As a result, the Kocatepe mosque received a classic look and is not much different from the centuries-old mosques in Turkey. Both the exterior and the interior of the shrine deserve attention. What is even more interesting, right under the mosque is a shopping center, due to which the complex is partially contained.
The fortress of Alanya is the central attraction of the resort. Like all other structures of this type, it was built to protect the city from raids. Walls so powerful were built that even cannonballs could not penetrate them. A series of observation towers made it possible to detect the enemy from a great distance and prepare for defense. The fortress was organized in such a way as to survive long sieges without any problems. The territory contained everything necessary for the life of rulers and local residents, including food and water supplies.
Ancient city of Side
The most popular destination for lovers of archaeological excavations in Turkey is the city of Side. An additional advantage is also that here you can enjoy a beach holiday. At the same time, modern hotels are adjacent to ancient ruins, including dilapidated columns and fragments of defensive walls. Archaeological excavations are actively carried out near the remains of the temple of Dionysus and the massive amphitheater, where gladiatorial fights were held.
Ruins of Ancient Troy
The ruins of the ancient city of Troy are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be found in the northwest of Anatolia. This is a popular attraction in Turkey, which is visited by tens of thousands of travelers every year. Many people know about this place thanks to Homer’s Iliad and the story of the Trojan horse. By the way, right at the entrance to the city there is a statue of that same horse. The city also has a museum and a number of ancient ruins that are constantly being excavated.
The red tower of Kyzyl Kule is considered the symbol of Alanya. It was built in 1226 and got its name because of the special brick with a red tint. The facade of the Kyzyl Kule tower looks extremely harmonious, but inside the visitor there are many intricate passages and rooms. It is amazing how up to 2,000 soldiers could fit inside, who led the defense if necessary. The architects thought of everything in such a way that the light penetrating through the roof would pass to the very first floor of the Red Tower.
Green Canyon is a popular attraction in Turkey in the Taurus Mountains. Located at an altitude of 350 meters, the reservoir was formed after the construction of the dam of the power plant. The artificial lake is fed by three dozen natural sources, creating coolness even on the hottest days of summer. The canyon is distinguished by its picturesque nature, therefore it is considered a popular place for tours in Antalya.
One of the most popular thermal pools in Pamukkale is famous for its history. According to legends, Queen Cleopatra loved to swim in its thermal waters, hence the name of the pool. It was thanks to the properties of this water that she was always beautiful and young. The water temperature is kept at a constant mark of 35 degrees. It has the unique property of carbonation, as if you are swimming in a pool of fizz. Due to this property and high mineralization, swimming in the Cleopatra pool is prohibited for more than 2 hours.