Must See Destinations
“There, God and human, nature and art are together, they have created such a perfect place that it is valuable to see.” Lamartine’s famous poetic line reveals his love for İstanbul, describing the embracing of two continents, with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe. İstanbul once know as the capital of capital cities has many unique features. It is the only city in the world to straddle two continents and the only one to have been a capital during two consecutive empires - Christian and Islamic. Once capital of the Ottoman Empire, İstanbul still remains the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty lies in its ability to embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here. Its variety is one of İstanbul’s greatest attractions: The ancient mosques, palaces, museums and bazaars reflect its diverse history. The thriving shopping area of Taksim buzzes with life and entertainment. And the serene beauty of the Bosphorus, Princes Islands and parks bring a touch of peace to the otherwise chaotic metropolis.
The history of Ankara and its surroundings stretches back to the Hatti civilization of the Bronze Age. Two thousand years before the time of Jesus, the Hittites become the dominant power of the region, and then were followed by the Phyrgians, Lydians and Persians. In the 3rd Century BC, a Celtic race known as the Galatians made Ankara their capital city. The name Ankara comes from the word “Ancyra” what means “anchor.” Ankara gained prominence under the leadership of ATATÜRK during the national resistance, which followed the First World War. It was declared the capital of the new Turkish Republic on October 13th 1923 when the National War of Independence freed Turkey from foreign occupation. Occupying one of the most prominent parts of the city is ANITKABIR, the magnificent mausoleum constructed to commemorate Atatürk. This structure, which was completed in 1953, is a synthesis of antique and modern architectural themes and proves the elegance and strength of Turkish architecture. The oldest parts of the city surround the Castle. The Alaaddin Mosque found inside its walls is still one of the best examples of Selçuk art and wood craftsmanship, in spite of the fact that it was restored by the Ottomans. The area has experienced a rejuvenation with the restoration of many interesting old Turkish houses, and the opening a several art galleries and fine restaurants which feature examples of traditional Turkish cuisine. Near the gate of the castle is the MUSEUM OF ANATOLIAN CIVILIZATIONS, which is a beautifully restored portion of the old bazaar. It contains priceless artifacts belonging to the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras as well as the Hatti, Hittite, Phygian, Urartu and Roman civilizations. Ankara has a vibrant cultural and artistic life with many select ballet, theatre, opera and folk dance performances. The city’s Philharmonic Orchestra, which always plays to a packed house, is especially famous.
İzmir is the third biggest city in Turkey with a population of around 2.5 million, the second biggest port after İstanbul and a good transport hub. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains and was. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey. The climate is comfortable, with a relatively mild summer due to the refreshing breeze from the Aegean. The long attractive palm-fringed promenade, Birince Kordon, which stretches the entire length of the city up to the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, is a popular spot for evening walks, and there are many cafes along the waterfront. İzmir has a good selection of culture and entertainment, from the ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUMS, over the İzmir State Opera and Ballet and İzmir State Symphony Orchestra, to many bars and clubs. The cosmopolitan and lively city gets even busier during the International İzmir Festival (mid-June to mid-July) with music and dance, with performances also in nearby Çeşme and Ephesus.
Because of the archaeological and natural riches of the area, Antalya is also known as the TURKISH RIVIERA. The sun, sea, nature and history combine to from a very popular resort, highlighted by some of the cleanest beaches in the Mediterranean. The 630 km shoreline of the province is liberally scattered with ancient cities, harbours, memorial tombs and beaches, secluded coves and lush forests, many of which are easily accessible from the city. With its palm-lined boulevard, internationally acclaimed marina, and old castle with traditional architecture, all set amidst a modern city, Antalya is a major tourist center in Turkey. In addition to the wide selection of hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops, the city also plays host to a number of sporting event throughout the year, like International Beach Volleyball, triathlon, golf tournaments, archery, tennis and canoeing competitions. The CULTURAL CENTRE, which opened in 1995, hosts cultural and art events in the fields of music, theatre and creative arts. The main area of interest in the city is central old quarter within the Roman walls, known as Kaleici, and there are many good museums.
The province of Nevşehir is one of the major cities of Cappadocia Region and displays a beautiful combination of nature and history. The geographic movements had formed the fairy chimneys and during the historical development process, mankind had settled and inhabited these natural wonders, fairy chimneys and carved houses and churches inside thee formations and adorned these settlements with frescos, carrying the traces of the thousands of years of their civilizations.
The province of Gaziantep is one of the oldest culture centers of Southeastern Anatolian Region. The history of the city extends to 4000 B.C years and most of the civilizations were founded on the surrounding lands. The city is located between Mesopotamia and Mediterranean and is at the intersection point of the roads connecting east to south and north to west and is also located on the historic Silk Road. The province of Gaziantep hosts findings, creations and structures of Paleolithic, Neolithic and Calceolithic Ages, Bronze Age, Hittite, Median Asurian, Persian, Alexander the Great, Selefkos, Roman, Byzantine, Abbasi and Seljuk civilizations periods. Beside its cultural riches, Gaziantep is a tourism paradise with its natural beauties, geography, rich variety of food and shopping possibilities.
Trabzon, which is within Eastern Black Sea Region, is at the beginning of Caucassia and Iran transit road. It has connections with the ports of other Black Sea coasting states. It is a tourism city, which can be visited for four seasons with its historical and natural beauties.
The province of Mardin is a poetic city of Southeast Anatolia Region reflecting the impression as if the time had stopped with its present architectural, ethnographic, archeological, historic and visual merits. The province of Mardin host’s mosques, mausoleums, churches, monasteries and similar religious creations parallel to the different religious beliefs all of which are representing both artistic and historic values. The province of Mardin is located along the historical Silk Road and there are 5 inns and caravansaries in the city.
The province of Muğla is located at the south of the Aegean Region and is founded at the skirts of the ASAR (HISAR) MOUNTAIN spreading towards the plain and is a beautiful and clean tourism paradise with its original architecture, whitewashed walls, red roof tiled roofs, authentic chimneys and narrow streets.
Van and its environment had been a popular center of population because of its geographical structure, and because of a great number of civilizations had lived here. Van used to be the capital city of Urania State. It had been controlled by Hurrines, Hittites, Persians, Meds, Seljuks and Ottomans till today. Lake Van is the most important tourism center of the Eastern Anatolia with the Akdamar Church, the castle in the region with its cat and with its geography that provides many tourism activities.
The province of Kars is located in the North East Anatolia and is on the Historic Silk Road. Kars is a border city whose foundation history extends to the BC 9000-8000 and the city is a well-known city with its historical and archeological ruins, natural beauties and rich folklore culture.
Konya is one of the first centers of population in the history of humankind and it owns the traces of many ancient civilizations. Because of these characteristics, Konya has the specialty of a “Museum-City”. Konya is also famous for the Islamic Elders lived here, besides its innumerable historical, cultural and natural values. During the old times Konya took place on the important and main roads. It used to be one of the most important trade and billeting centers of the Silk Road
Kayseri was one of the most important trade centers of Anatolia during the course of time. It is a central Anatolian city, which is valuable to see with its magnificent ERCIYES MOUNTAIN and improving winter tourism potential and delicious meals besides trade.
Bursa is located in the northwest of the Anatolian peninsula and southeast of the Marmara Sea. The shores of the Marmara Sea are 135 km away. The most important peak in the province is Uludağ, which is a ski resort and national park. The most significant lakes are Lake İznik and Lake Ulubat.
The city, which is the cradle of Trojan, Assos like former civilization centers, and where GALLIPOLI PENINSULA HISTORICAL NATIONAL PARK, various martyr, monument and graves are present, the most bloody flights of Çanakkale Wars are occurred, and Aegean and Marmara Seas are connected, and Europe and Asia is met at its coasts has an important place in inland and foreign tourism.
Cappadocian region is the place where nature and history come together most beautifully within the world. While geographic events are forming Peribacaları (fairy chimneys), during the historical period, humans had carried the signs of thousand years old civilizations with carving houses and churches within these earth pillars and decorating them with frisks. During the Roman Emperor, Augustus period, territories of Cappadocian Region as a wide region lying till to the Toros Mountains at south, Aksaray at west, Malatya at east and Eastern Black Sea shores at north within the 17 volume book named “Geographika “ of Strabon, one of the Antic period writers. Today’s Cappadocian Region is the area covered by Nevşehir, Aksaray, Niğde, Kayseri and Kırşehir cities. More limited area, rocky Cappadocian Region is composed of Üçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı, lhlara and environment. Traditional Cappadocian houses and dovecotes carved into stones are showing the uniqueness of the region. These houses are constructed on the feet of the mountain via rocks or cut stones. Rock, which is the only construction material of the region, as it is very soft after quarry due to the structure of the region, can be easily processed but after contact with air it hardens and turns into a very strong construction material. Due to being plentiful and easy to process of the used material, regional unique masonry is developed and turned into an architectural tradition. Materials of neither courtyard nor house doors is wood. Upper parts of the doors built with arches are decorated with stylized ivy or rosette motifs. Dovecotes within the region are small structures constructed within 18th century and end of 19th century. Some of the dovecotes, which are important for showing Islamic picture art, are constructed as monastery or church. Surfaces of dovecotes are decorated with rich inscriptions and adornments by regional artists.
Cumalıkızık is a village that has preserved the texture of residential Ottoman architecture up until the present time. These historic houses are now protected. Cumalikizik, cumalikizik
Doğubeyazıt, which is the eastern gate of Turkey, hosted for various tribes and civilizations during history. During this long adventure continued for centuries, after being under sovereignty of Urartu, Assyria, Medes, Persians, Roma and Byzantium province had faced with Islamic raids during Caliph Hz. Osman. While Doğubayazıt was holding the signs of all tribes, lives, fight and established civilizations and cultures within Anatolia, it also gains importance with its natural beauties and folkloric richness day by day.
Finike is in the city of Antalya. Finike is a tourism city where history and nature, sea is connected. The city, which is known with its oranges, is drawing attention with its Limyra city ruins and Arykanda antic city ruins.
It is 71 km away from Aydin city center, and present at the coastal band where Aegean Region is meeting with sea. It is at the center of Selçuk and Pamucak at North, Dilek Peninsula limited province center, İzmir, Efes, Meryemana, Milet, Didim, Pamukkale, Marmaris, Bodrum at South like important tourism centers. Kuşadası has the second important seaport of Turkey for tourists coming to here due to being near to Sisam island of Greece.
Kaş, which was one of the most important cities of Lycia, is an imaginary place with historical values and cities belong to Antic period surrounding the province, cultural voyages that one cannot have enough of underwater diving, which lets you to feel excitements at peaks created by Mediterranean within depths; ”canoe tours” full of adventure performed within rivers, ”nature walks” where you can discover ecological compatibility; cavern diving with technical equipment to the deep and dark caverns; ”hillside parachuting” which is slipping from high mountains to the turquoise colored waters’ panorama; ”Blue Voyage and ship tours” to be made to environment and islands reminding valuable stones within Mediterranean; menu composed of regional meals flavored with fragrant herbs, breed on the mountains and sea foods with full of your enjoyment; heritage of centuries, variation and beauty of handicrafts; colorful fan composed of tourism centers at environment and alternative tourism possibilities, natural, historical and cultural richness together with tourism centers of provinces and Antalya in which Kaş is present.
Kemer is an important tourism center with green and blue met qualified, resort, restaurant and beach facilities, yacht ports and historical cities.
Köyceğiz, which is 60 km away from Muğla is a unique beautiful borough with its citrus gardens, spread around the lake with descending from a plain, its village houses, its calm lake, marshes around the lake, its mountains changing their colors from purple to blue.
Every inch of İznik seems to be steeped in history. For centuries, the city took a leading role in the region and was the seat of four empires, the venue of the First Ecumenical Council-and scene of many battles. It was renowned for its tiles and pottery, with craftsmen imported from Persia who kept the profession very much central to the city, the evidence being the ornately decorated mosques and monuments. But they left in the mid-18th century; the city fell into a decline in the early 20th century. No longer a prominent city in terms of recent history, the monuments and mosques are the main tourist attractions. Today, the overriding impression is one of fertile green hills, orchards and vineyards; a town opening up to tourism in a relaxed unhurried manner. İskenderun of Hatay is a modern city at the coast of the bay, which is remembered with its name. It is a green and warm tourism center and busy commercial harbor for four seasons. Besides it is based on the MOUNTAIN NUR that is ascended just like a wall right behind the coast.
Marmaris is a heavenly place where you can see all tones of green and blue for twelve months per a year. It is a heavenly province where all tourists can pass their holidays whatever they desire from five star hotels to the most modest boarding house with plenty of bays within the long coastal line, being natural harbor, being near to antic cities, natural beauties, blue tour possibilities, modern yacht harbors, supplying possibilities for all its fishing, sponge fishing and perfumed plants until to a short period of time. Marmaris, which found possibility to open external world easily via besides road transportation, Dalaman Airport and Rodos Ferries, is increasing its importance due to being on Datça road and being near to the Fethiye road. As well as being a natural harbor appropriate for yachts within Mediterranean, yacht production and maintenance could also be performed within the workshops in Yalancı Strait. While having Mediterranean climate is supplying possibility to enter sea even in the winter, frequent high mountains and pine forests surrounding, Günlük (Liquidamber Orientalis) trees, seen rarely within the world and plane trees with wide leaves are composing the green texture of the Marmaris.
Junction point of East and West Civilizations on 2150 m high in a magnificent pyramid, eight wonder of the world, Nemrut, is within UNESCO World Culture Heritage with its ten meters high miracle statues and meters long inscriptions. MOUNT NEMRUT is drawing attention with being the most marvelous sunrise and sunset watching place of the world besides gargantuan statues on it. Thousands of people are coming to Mount Nemrut for watching sunrise and sunset. Mount Nemrut, which is announced as World Culture Heritage by UNESCO, is one of the most important National Parks of the country together with its surrounding Kommagene Civilization pieces of arts. Gargantuan statues and tumulus, Arsameia (Old Castle), New Castle, Karakuş Hill and Cendere Bridge in Mount Nemrut are within territories of National Park.
Pamukkale, which is an important tourism center with pure white travertine, thermal springs and antic cities, is within city of Denizli.
Within the limits of Karabük city, Safranbolu is a model district, serving historical and cultural pieces of arts to all of the people and existing traditional Turkish social life characteristics within city scale. Its rich cultural heritage and its success for preserving this heritage had gained Safranbolu a world city reputation, maintained to be added to World Heritage List by UNESCO. Safranbolu, mostly known with Old Turkish Houses, is drawing more attention when time goes by with its historical dimension, natural beauties and composing a model in preserving at city scale. Safranbolu, where there are numerous cultural pieces of arts of which 1200 had been taken under protection, is known as Capital City of Preservation at the point reached today.
Selçuk is at the south of İzmir and on the İzmir - Aydın higway. At the moment Ephesus placed in the borders of Selçuk County.
Tarsus, lying in the Mediterranean region, is a province of the city of İçel famous with history, culture, art, commerce and natural beauties. As being a historical and science center and serving to different religions for years, it was the interest center of the world. St. Paul, the first disciple of Christi Jesus, Prophet Daniyal, Bilal – I Habeşi, muezzin of Hz. Muhammed, Harun Reşid’s son Caliph Ma’mun and famous philosopher of Antic Era, Aristo, descendant of doctors, Lokman Hekim, Egypt Queen, Cleopatra and Roman Commander, Antonius had lived in Tarsus.
“Virgin of the Illumination Country” Fethiye, is in a bay open through north, surrounded by pine forests within Fethiye gulf, in which large and small islands distributed within Mediterranean. It descends from rock tombs and the front of the castle to the plains, front Karagözler to sea. Its horizon is composed of Şövalye Adası (knight island), Günlükbarı and mountains towards them. It is known with monuments belong to Persians, Lycians, Carians and Romans. It is one pf the most important tourism centers of our country with its cultural wealth, natural beauties and geography.
Located 100 km north of İzmir in the Bakırçay river basin, Bergama is one of Turkey’s oldest civilized settlements and it has been inhabited from pre-historic times through the Ionic, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. It has yielded archeological treasures whose importance is recognized worldwide. To the southwest of Bergama, Asklepion, an important health center of the ancient world, the acropolis founded on top of a steep hill (300 m) and Temple of Serapis (Kızıl Avlu) make this area a fascinating stop for history-loving tourists. The Altar of Zeus was smuggled to Germany in 1897. Bergama is a region famous for its beautiful thermal springs, the highland of Kozak, its connection with the beautiful beaches of Ayvalık and its very developed rug textile industry.