Turkey is a country where many people spend their summer holidays at the beaches. Big hotel areas attract with all inclusive offers and attractions. Such resorts have everything one can wish for but you only stay at one place.
Many people forget that Turkey has so much more to show. The history of the country is very interesting mainly in the early ancient world. Then Turkey was an important country. Many of the sights are from these times or from the time of the Roman Empire. The temples of dignity of the old gods are really impressive and the big harbor cities show the richness and power of these times.
A trip to those places can be really exciting.
Top 1: Churches and Caves of Cappadocia
The whole area of Cappadocia was made UNESCO world cultural and natural heritage. The area is located in central Anatolia and is made of mountains and volcano. In these mountains there are numerous cities cut in the mountain or totally underground. The most important ones are the cave churches of Cappadocia. The ancient builders wanted to be as close to their god as possible. They therefore chose high tops to build their churches in. The inside of the churches is secure because of the stones and mountains and therefore the wall paintings and decorations are preserved well. Today it is impressive and strange to find underground churches but then it was the only place to live in peace and quiet. Because of the location at the Silk Road the area was bothered with depredations and attacks. But inside the mountains the churches were hidden from the eyes of the travellers. The first churches were built in the 7th century.
Top 2: The Ruins of Ephesos
Ephesos was one of the most important cities in the ancient world in this region. It was located at the shore then and has been a vivid harbor city. Over the years the shore has moved because of sedimentation and climatic changes. Therefore, the city is located some kilometers away from it. The Ruins include the famous Temple of Artemis, which belongs to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The ruins of the temple just barely show the former size. 117 pillars each one about 18 meters high were built around the temple and helped to show it’s gigantic appearance. In the ancient times the temple furthermore was decorated with silver statues and complex paintings, but they aren’t there anymore.
The ruins furthermore include the Library of Celsus which once held about 12.000 scrolls. The statues at the library’s entrance are still there and in good condition. More ruins are the Temple of Hadrian and the Theatre of Ephesos. The highest rows of the theater enable a look till the shore. Formerly about 21.000 people could sit in the theatre.
Top 3: Terrace of Carbonate Minerals
The Terrace in Pamukkale is a great natural site. Through thousands of years they were made of Carbonate Minerals from the water. In 1988 they were named UNESCO world cultural heritage. The Terrace is located at a hill and includes numerous ponds filled with water. The white carbonate minerals in combination with the blue water are breathtaking. The water keeps flooding the ponds and is building new and different monuments. Those different shapes are bizarre and can only be built by nature. When the sun is shining the white ponds are bright and brilliant. The beauty of this natural site keeps us imprisoned from the first moment.
It is also worth to visit the Terrace at sunset. The red sun is painting all the white in different shades of red.
Top 4: Rock-Cut tombs in Myra
The city of Myra is a famous place of pilgrimage and is also the location of many impressive Rock-Cut tombs. The bishop Nicholas of Myra is born there. He was a man who helped the poor and the ones in need. In Myra they built a church to his honor. In some legends he is a model for the modern Santa Claus. People say that at his tomb there have taken place surprising healing processes and other wonders. Therefore, it has become a place of pilgrimage.
For tourists the Rock-Cut tombs from 400 before Christ are a great sight. The tombs aren’t dug in the ground but built in high mountains. From this place the soul of the dead can reach heaven with help of the bird’s demons. The tombs look like houses and are decorated with statues and paintings. Those who want to visit the tombs shouldn’t be afraid of high places. Just looking up to them from the bottom is fascinating and impressing.
Top 5: Mount Nemrut
The statues of Nemrut Dagi are located in a national park in the southeast of Turkey. Thos place brings history and believe to life. All old Gods have been built of stone. Some of them are a bit rotten and broke, for example they lost their heads or legs. But this doesn’t make them less impressive. It can be seen exactly how big and gigantic they once have been and what meaning they have.
The hill where they stand is a tomb-sanctuary built by king Anthiochus. Besides the statues, the mountain offers a great view to the surrounding nature and countryside.
Top 6: Bridge across the Bosporus
The Blue Mosque is a mosque in Istanbul the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul is one of the cultural centers and in 2010 was named cultural capital. The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built in the 17th century. The mosque has many domes and minarets and look beautiful. The name originates from numerous blue and white tiles. These form the inside of the mosque and are the reason for the magic light inside the building. The garden and the domes are very impressive, too. The mosque is surrounded by a square of white marble. Despite the tourists crowding the mosque every day, it is still used as a place to pray. The Blue Mosque is the only Islamic house of prayer that was ever visited by head of the Catholic church. In 2006 pope Benedikt XVI visited the mosque.
Top 7: Bridge across the Bosporus
Istanbul has a lot of sights and one of them is the bridge across the Bosporus, the river parting Europe and Asia. When crossing the bridge one can do the step from one continent to another. The first Bridge across the Bosporus was built in the 4th century before Christ. Today there is a modern rope bridge. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents.
Top 8: Ruins of Xanthos
The city of Xanthos has a colourful history. It was an important city in the ancient world and has survived numerous wars, sieges and conquests. Today the ruins show what happened there once. The temple of Letoon has some interesting tombs and is full of mythology. Those living legends and stories should definitely visit this place.