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Turkey is a transcontinental country with abundant historical, natural and cultural wealth, and its borders span Asia and Europe. Turkey is best known for its bustling markets, delicious Turkish cuisine and grand mosques, along with natural wonders that extend from its Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea coastlines to its majestic mountain ranges.
Turkey’s capital Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest ancient cities and was a part of major empires and also the last stop on the Silk Road trade route that connected Asia and Europe. Due to this, Istanbul offers a vibrant cultural mix and is home to numerous architectural marvels. Hagia Sophia is the most famous landmark in Istanbul, featuring a combination of Ottoman and Byzantine styles. It was built as a church in the 6th-century, converted to a mosque in the 15th-century, and finally, in the mid 20th century, it was labelled as a museum. The 17th-century Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and Hippodrome are other elaborate architectural wonders of the capital. Learn more about the region’s history and culture by visiting the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and Carpet Museum. For shopping, head to the massive Grand Bazaar and aromatic Spice Bazaar.
The Cappadocia region features a unique rocky landscape dotted with caves, rock valleys and churches cut out from rock! A hot air balloon ride over this surreal landscape is an amazing experience you would regret missing. The region also offers excellent hiking opportunities. Also make sure to visit the underground cities in Kaymakli, the open-air museum and cave hotels in Goreme, and the rock castle in Uchisar.
The Turquoise Coast of Turkey is dotted with beautiful resort towns and extends along its Mediterranean coast. The city of Antalya acts as the gateway to the region and houses a picturesque Old Town, the Antalya Museum with a wide collection of displays and sandy beaches lined by hotels and restaurants. The nearby Alanya is known for the massive Alanya Castle (now an open-air museum) that overlooks the town, the wide Kleopatra Beach and its most iconic landmark – the 13th-century Red Tower. Fethiye is another popular Turquoise Coast city known for its ancient rock tombs like the Tomb of Amyntas and sandy beaches like Oludeniz, which is also popular for adventure sports. The underwater ruins of Kekova Island, the little beach of Kaputas in Kalkan town and the ancient ruins found in Kalekoy town, Aspendos and Demre are the other highlights of the Turquoise Coast.
The South Aegean region is where the beautiful resort city of Marmaris and the ruins of the ancient city Ephesus are located. Gallipoli Peninsula, in the southern part of East Thrace, is where the historical battle of Gallipoli was fought between the Ottomans and ANZAC. Here, you can visit the Canakkale Martyrs’ Memorial which honours 2,53,000 Turkish soldiers who fought the battle.
Konya in the Central Anatolia region is a religious university town. The mausoleum of Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, located in the Mevlana Museum is Konya’s main attraction. The city also has a few impressive mosques, most notably the 12th-century Alaeddin Mosque. The old town of Safranbolu in northern Turkey is known for its red-roofed Ottoman houses and cobblestone streets. It is also famous for its mouthwatering flavours of Turkish Delights, an iconic Turkish dessert.
The Eastern Anatolia region is known for its rugged terrain and ancient ruins. The ruins of Ani exhibit an ancient city that was once the capital of Armenia and a thriving stop along the Silk Road. The massive and mysterious statues in Nemrut Dagi which give off an eerie vibe are another major highlight in this region.
Western Anatolia is famous for the white travertine terraces of Pamukkale and taking a dip in its mineral-rich thermal waters is a popular activity here. The well-preserved ruins of Hierapolis, a Roman spa city, is another nearby attraction.
Northeastern Turkey is home to the Black Sea coast that is dotted with small traditional villages and serene beaches. The ruins of the Sumela Monastery, which seems to be carved on the side of a rocky mountain, is the highlight of this region.
Turkey is a colourful country, featuring a diverse mixture of Asian and European cultures, unique natural wonders, jaw-dropping architecture, interesting historical landmarks and an exotic cuisine. The country is packed with stunning sights at every turn, and it is impossible to think of a single reason why Turkey should not be your next holiday destination.
A hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia’s surreal landscape is an experience you would regret missing.