Top Places to visit in Turkey
Turkey is a dazzling destination that straddles Asia and Europe. Its vibrant culture, famous food, and vast history wow all who venture here, while its glorious landscapes – from the sun-soaked Mediterranean to the mighty mountains and arid steppe are highlights in themselves. Here are some of the top places to visit in Turkey you shouldn’t miss.
The best way to feel ancient Constantinople is to visit the church that turned into a mosque – the magnificent Hagia Sophia. This great church of Constantinople is considered to be the greatest house of worship in both Christian and Muslim worlds. Hagia Sophia, built as a church by Byzantine emperor Justinian between 532 and 537, was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. It was one of the grand-est architectural attempts of its time. Its dome was the biggest in the world for 900 years, until the cathedral of Florence was built. Today, Hagia Sophia is a museum.
The Blue Mosque is a mosque of extraordinary beauty, built by the Sultan Ahmed in the 17th century. That is why it’s also called The Sultan Ahmed Mosque. With it’s beauty, architecture, and it’s 6 minarets, The Blue Mosque is as grandiose as The Great Mosque in Mecca (the holiest in all Islam). The grand courtyard at the mosque entrance welcomes the Muslims that gather for worship. It is known as The Blue Mosque because its interior is decorated with lots of distinct blue tiles. Because blue is the popular color in Turkey, early French visitors named the color the color of the Turks, or Turquoise.
Topkapi Palace Museum
For almost 400 years, Topkapi Palace was the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. It is the largest and the oldest palace that survived. In 1924, this Palace was transformed into a museum. You can find a lot of traces of Ottoman culture and history there. The museum contains a large collection of weapons, Ottoman treasures and jewelry, Islamic calligraphic murals, robes, shields, armor and many other historic artifacts.
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul really justifies its name. It is one of the largest covered markets in the world. There are about 5,000 shops. Between 250 000 and 400 000 people shop jewelry, spices, antiques, hand-painted ceramics, carpets and many other things, every day. Over 550 years old, the Grand Bazaar complex even contains fountains, mosques and ham’mams.
The Spice Bazaar is one of the oldest markets in Istanbul. Spices were imported from Egypt, which is why Turkish people also call it Mısır Çarşısı, meaning The Egyptian Bazaar. You can find anything from kaviar to gold, silver, hand made and unique souvenirs, many variety of Turkish delights and, of course, all possible spices you can think of!
Walk across The Galata Bridge is a good way to experience the magic of Istanbul. Witness the nargile cafes under the bridge, the fisher men on the bridge, the mind blowing view on hills and many minarets and mosques. You’ll have a perfect view at sunset.
On the city’s third hill, visible from all directions, is The Suleymaniye Camii, built between 1550 and 1558. It is the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul, and the city’s largest Osmanic building complex. Sultan Süleyman, also known as Süleyman the Magnificent, ordered the building of this mosque. The Suleymaniye Camii is a master piece of the architectural genius Mimar Sinan.
Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Since many of the interesting places to visit in Turkey are historical treasures, you can imagine how important it is to visit their archaeological museums. Istanbul Archaeology Museums are three separate museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art. In these museums you can find over a million objects from all around the world, from almost all of the eras and from almost all civilizations in world history!
Cappadocia hot air balloon ride
There are hundreds of hot air balloons flying over this region each morning. Those flights are a bit pricey, but if you can afford them, you surely won’t regret the experience. You’ll have the best view, and the most amazing photos if your flight is early in the morning. On a nice weather, color changes are particularly beautiful as the sun rises.
There are more than a hundred underground cities in Cappadocia region, built in the Bronze Age for safety and religious reasons. It is estimated that 20,000 people could have lived there at one point in time. There are many churches, dungeons, storage rooms, wine-making rooms and also heavily fortified castles underground. Quick tip: watch your head, if you are tall.
Çatalhöyük is a prehistoric art center and spiritual site, also a place to connect with The Mother Goddess, and a source of inspiration for contemporary art. It is an education, heritage and tourism place. This place is also rich in local tradition.
It is very special to archaeologists since it holds the evidence of a daily life of humans some 9000 years ago.
Ephesus is one of the best and the biggest ancient cities in the world. It also was one of the most beautiful cities. He owns its glory to the developed trade, big and also, protected harbor, and the fact that it was a starting point to the famous King’s road. The city was also a religious center. The Library of Celsus is the most beautiful preserved building.